San Rafael Public Library

Library Updates

Letter to your future self

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SRPL invites you to write a letter to your future self! Last year, we mailed out all the letters you had written in December 2019.

Two photos side by side. In each photo, a different library staff person is standing next to a USPS mail box holding letters. It's clearly winter, as they are in coats and the trees are bare.

Join us for this program once again!

Starting Monday, December 13th, you can pick up a set of stationery at all of our branches; we’ve got different sets for all ages, from little ones to adults. You can write about whatever you wish: your hopes and dreams for the coming year, plans you’re looking forward to, a list of things you love – anything goes! You are also more than welcome to draw or paint your letter instead, write a poem, or just express yourself in any way.

Once your letter is ready, return it to us sealed in the envelope that we provided, and we’ll do the rest! Your letter will arrive in one year.

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United Against Hate Week

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United Against Hate Week, November 14-20, 2021

The City of San Rafael commits to standing against all forms of hate in our communities. United Against Hate brings together Bay Area communities every year to reaffirm that commitment.

While hate constitutes a very broad range of words, feelings, and experiences, one specific action that you can take is to simply get involved in your community. The following local organizations host events, provide support and advocacy to marginalized communities, and work to educate and connect community members.

Black Americans

Library resource: Join us for our Virtual Book Club! This month we will be discussing All American Boys by Jason Reynolds & Brandon Kiely. This YA novel centers around police violence as it impacts Black youth–a population that is significantly more vulnerable to police violence.

Local organization: Showing Up For Racial Justice (SURJ) Marin – a local branch of a larger nationwide movement that seeks racial justice and accountability.

LGBTQ+ Communities

Library resource: Read All Boys Aren’t Blue, a memoir-manifesto by George M. Johnson. In this collection of essays, the author recounts their experiences as a queer Black teen and shares encouragement and joy alongside the very real issues faced by queer communities. 

Local organization: The Spahr Center – Marin’s local, nonprofit community center that serves queer and HIV+ community members of all ages, with particular support for youth.

AAPI (Asian American Pacific Islander) Communities

Library resource: Watch Vincent Who? The Murder of a Chinese-American Man via Kanopy. This film explores the history of anti-Asian hate throughout American history, as well as this particular case’s impact on contemporary civil rights movements.

Local organization: Stop AAPI Hate – a list of actions you can take to support the AAPI community, including a tool to report a hate incident as well as links to organizations and resources.

Muslim Americans

Library resource: Read Amina’s Voice by Hena Khan. This middle-grade novel follows a Muslim American girl as she learns to tackle the joys and complexities of life with her Muslim family and American classmates.

Local organization: Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) Bay Area – providing advocacy and legal services as well as youth support for the Muslim communities of the Bay Area.

Latinx Communities

Library resource: Explore Latinx Photography in the United States, a visual history by Elizabeth Ferrer. Part history of photography and part history of Latinx communities in the US, this collection ranges from narrative series to street photography. 

Local organization: Canal Alliance – connecting San Rafael’s Latinx families to the resources they need, including legal advocacy, education, and COVID-19 support.

Jewish Americans

Library resource: Read (((Semitism))): Being Jewish in America in the Age of Trump by Johnathan Weisman. The author discusses not only his personal experiences with the ways that anti-Semitism has surfaced in recent years, but includes a history of contemporary anti-Semitism and fascism through online movements such as GamerGate and the emergence of the alt-right.

Local organization: Anti-Defamation League (ADL) San Francisco – local branch of a nationwide organization dedicated to tracking anti-Semitic hate as well as empowering local Jewish communities.

Indigenous Women

Library resource: Read If I Go Missing by Brianna Jonnie. This graphic novel was adapted from a letter that the author sent to the Winnipeg Chief of Police, detailing her fears as an Ojibwe teen in the face of an onslaught of murdered and missing Indigenous people in Canada.

Local organization: Sovereign Bodies Institute – an organization that collects data and publishes reports on violence against the Native communities of Northern California, particularly focused on gender and sexual violence to support the Murdered and Missing Indigenous Women, Girls, and 2-Spirit (MMIWG2S) movement.


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Native American Heritage Month

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Every November we celebrate and acknowledge the Native American, Alaska Native, and Native Hawaiian history, culture, and heritage that makes up a fundamental part of the land that we think of as the United States of America.

The City of San Rafael and most of Marin County occupy traditional Coast Miwok land, and the Bay Area has always been home to many more indigenous populations. If you’re curious about other territories in North America and around the world, Native Land is a great map tool for exploring North America’s native cultures and languages.

The Native American Heritage Month website has plenty of resources, online exhibits, and virtual events planned for this year, so be sure to check them out. If you’re looking for some new reads, check out our list focused on Indigenous Culture & History!

For more information and materials:

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National Friends of the Library Week

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This week, we want to appreciate our Friends of the Library group for all of the work they do. These wonderful volunteers are the ones who take in your generous book donations, organize sales, run the Friends Store on C street, and support all three branches of the San Rafael Public Library.

You might have joined the Friends for their Rare & Special Book Sale earlier this month, or you might be a regular patron of the Friends Store down on C Street – or perhaps you donate like-new books regularly! Please be sure to thank the Friends volunteers the next time you drop off donations with them or pick up a new title at their store. 

Visit the Friends of the Library page to learn more about membership and as well as the guidelines for donations.

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National LGBTQ+ History Month

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Celebrate the history of queer communities in the United States this month! October was chosen to be LGBTQ History Month to honor the Marches on Washington for Lesbian and Gay Rights that took place in October of 1979 and 1987. On October 11th 1988, exactly one year after the second march, the United States first celebrated National Coming Out Day. Six years later, in 1994, National LGBTQ Month was founded by Rodney Wilson, and this year we celebrate LGBTQ History Month for the 27th year in a row.

While this celebration is relatively new, queer history is not! Historical nonfiction, biographies, and memoirs are all great ways to connect with local and national stories of empowerment and perseverance – check out the following lists to get started, and you can always give us a call or use our chat module if you’d like help finding more titles.

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Banned Books Week

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Every year, Banned Books Week celebrates freedom of information in public libraries. Banning books is censorship, and directly contradicts our mission to provide access for everyone.

Here are the top 10 most challenged books from 2020, per the American Library Association. Check them out – or check out our list of commonly challenged books over time – and celebrate your right to read!

  1. George by Alex Gino. Challenged, banned, and restricted for LGBTQIA+ content, conflicting with a religious viewpoint, and not reflecting “the values of our community.”
  2. Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You by Ibram X. Kendi and Jason Reynolds. Banned and challenged because of the author’s public statements and because of claims that the book contains “selective storytelling incidents” and does not encompass racism against all people.
  3. All American Boys by Jason Reynolds and Brendan Kiely. Banned and challenged for profanity, drug use, and alcoholism and because it was thought to promote antipolice views, contain divisive topics, and be “too much of a sensitive matter right now.”
  4. Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson. Banned, challenged, and restricted because it was thought to contain a political viewpoint, it was claimed to be biased against male students, and it included rape and profanity.
  5. The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie. Banned and challenged for profanity, sexual references, and allegations of sexual misconduct on the part of the author.
  6. Something Happened in Our Town: A Child’s Story about Racial Injustice by Marianne Celano, Marietta Collins, and Ann Hazzard, illustrated by Jennifer Zivoin. Challenged for “divisive language” and because it was thought to promote antipolice views.
  7. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee. Banned and challenged for racial slurs and their negative effect on students, featuring a “white savior” character, and its perception of the Black experience.
  8. Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck. Banned and challenged for racial slurs and racist stereotypes and their negative effect on students.
  9. The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison. Banned and challenged because it was considered sexually explicit and depicts child sexual abuse.
  10. The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas. Challenged for profanity, and because it was thought to promote an antipolice message.
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Hispanic Heritage Month

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Hispanic Heritage Month celebrates the rich histories and incredible achievements of the Hispanic American and Latinx communities in the United States.

Check out our book list featuring adult novels and our list of teen reads by Latinx authors if you’re looking for your next read, or take a look at the awesome resources – such as online exhibits, historical photos, and fun programs – on the official Hispanic Heritage Month website!

Here are some other fun ways to celebrate Hispanic Heritage Month:

  1. Support a Latinx-owned business in San Rafael
  2. Cook a Latin American dish and share with your friends and family 
  3. Learn about a Latinx public figure
  4. Explore Latin American music 
  5. Learn about Indigenous people in Latin America
  6. Choose a Latin American country and learn about it
  7. How much Spanish do you know? 
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Library Card Sign-Up Month

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Did you know that the San Rafael Public Library is now fine-free? And that there is no minimum age needed to get a library card? Now you know! September is Library Card Sign-Up Month, so if you know someone without a card, spread the word that signing up is as easy as filling out this form. Did we mention it’s free?

Your SPRL card also gives you access to a huge selection of completely free online resources. Do you want to read eBooks? We’ve got tons available through Libby and Hoopla. Are you a big fan of movies? Kanopy has an amazing selection. Want to brush up on that language you started learning? Check out Mango. Online access to newspapers like the Washington Post or New York Times? Our resources have you covered. We also support your research with Ancestry.com, Archives Unbound, the California Digital Newspaper Collection, and more.

We also offer Pint-Sized Storytimes online, document preservation via our Memory Lab, 3D printing, drop-in tech support, local park passes, and more, all on our Services page. All you need in order to access any of these resources is your library card number and your PIN. 

(Have we mentioned yet that this is all free? Oh, we did? Well, good things bear repeating!)

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We’re Fine Free!

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In July, the San Rafael City Council approved the elimination of daily fines for adult patrons, and the elimination of the $1 library card replacement fee. The library had already removed daily fines for children’s and youth materials in 2015. These changes to fines and fees will eliminate barriers and improve equity of access for all San Rafael residents. Additionally, the national trend of eliminating overdue fines has been found to not adversely affect the return of Library materials, but instead to increase the use of the Library and its resources.  

Eliminating daily fines will align our practices with many libraries in the greater Bay Area and, most importantly, with the largest library in our consortium, Marin County Free Library (MCFL). A large percentage of San Rafael residents use the Marin County Free Library’s many locations as well as San Rafael Libraries. Being consistent with MCFL policy in this area will reduce confusion in communicating to patrons about this issue. Only San Anselmo and Mill Valley libraries still charge daily fines, so San Rafael users who request books from those locations could incur daily fines if their books are overdue. In addition, patrons will still be required to pay for damaged or lost materials, but the elimination of daily fines will hopefully remove a psychological and economic barrier to access that has previously prevented patrons from fully using all the library resources. 

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Elections Department Seeks Feedback from Disability Community

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Marin County Registrar of Voters and Disability Rights California invite members of the disability community, family and friends to join a discussion on Marin County’s plan for changing elections in your county!

WHO: This is a public meeting open to all members of the disability community

WHEN: July 28, 2021 3:00 p.m. to 4:30 p.m.

WHERE: Join us on Zoom: Meeting ID: 986 7226 2073 Password: 860438#

You can also join by: Phone: (669) 900-6833 or Toll free: (833) 548-0276

WHY: Come learn about how upcoming elections will change and give your input on how Marin County can ensure that voting is accessible to all voters.

ASL Interpretation and English captions will be provided for this meeting. For disability accommodations please phone (415) 473-6456 (Voice), CA Relay 711, or e-mail at: elections@MarinCounty.org by July 23.

More Info

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  • Downtown Library

    Hours
    Sun: 10:00-5:00
    Mon: 9:00-7:00
    Tues: 9:00-7:00
    Weds: 9:00-7:00
    Thurs: 9:00-7:00
    Fri: 10:00-5:00
    Sat: 10:00-5:00

    Contact
    (415) 485-3323

    Address
    1100 E Street (at 5th Avenue)
    San Rafael, CA 94901

  • Pickleweed Library

    Hours
    Sun: closed
    Mon: closed
    Tues: 9:00-5:00
    Weds: 9:00-5:00
    Thurs: 11:00-7:00
    Fri: 10:00-5:00
    Sat: 10:00-5:00

    Contact
    (415) 485-3483

    Address
    50 Canal Street
    San Rafael, CA 94901

  • Northgate Library

    Hours
    Sun: closed
    Mon: closed
    Tues: closed
    Weds: 11:00-5:00
    Thurs: 11:00-5:00
    Fri: 11:00-5:00
    Sat: 11:00-5:00

    Contact
    (415) 890-5670

    Address
    5800 Northgate Drive Ste. 083
    San Rafael, CA 94903


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