All branches of Marin County Free Library will be closed on Thursday, Nov 27 & Friday, Nov 28 for Thanksgiving.

Corte Madera Library will be closed for upgrades Nov 27 - Dec 15, reopening on Dec 16. More details.

1914, February 2: The Marin County Board of Supervisors passes a resolution in favor of establishing a county library.

1926, August 3: The Marin County Free Library is established by the Board of Supervisors. At this time, Marin County's population numbers 27,342.

1927, January 3: Muriel Wright is appointed first County Librarian for Marin. Miss Wright was formerly County Librarian for Tuolumne County.

1927, February 14: The Central Branch of the Marin County Free Library opens in the basement of the County Courthouse in San Rafael.

1927, June 6: The Fairfax Branch opens on the second floor of the Bierman-Healion Building on Bolinas Avenue. The Women's Society of the Fairfax Community Church is instrumental in planning the library. Martha Hicks is the first Branch Manager.

1927, June 6: The Kentfield-Ross Branch opens in the Kentfield Firehouse. Mrs. Hough is the first Branch Manager.

1927, August 21: The Novato Branch is established in the Novato Community House, adjacent to the school. Margaret Clark is the first Branch Manager.

1928, January: The Corte Madera Branch opens in the Parkside Hotel building which it shares with the Post Office. Dorothy Pingree is the first Branch Manager.

1928, March 2: The Tomales Branch opens in the Tomales High School. Later it moves to the Tomales Town Hall. Mrs. Elaine Arenander is the first Branch Manager.

Bolinas 1928
The Bolinas Branch was established in 1928. Initially located in a houseboat (pictured) donated by Fred Suhr, its other locations included "Ships Lantern"; a former butcher shop; and a building owned by Mrs. Adams, downtown. In September, 1952, the library moved to the Petar Store building
 

1928, October 4: The Bolinas Branch opens in a houseboat donated by Mr. Fred Suhr. Mrs. Angie Gilbert is the first Branch Manager. Later the branch moves for a short time to "Ships Lantern", a tea house owned by Marin Pepper. Then it moves to a butcher shop, near the Post Office, which was renovated for its use. By 1931, the branch had moved yet again to a small building owned by Mrs. Adams, downtown. From the beginning, the Bolinas Branch featured art exhibits by local artists.

1928: Lomita Park (San Rafael) opens in the newspaper office. Mrs. Nan Parsons is the first Branch Manager.

1929, November 19: The Belvedere-Tiburon Branch opens in the American Trust Building in Tiburon. Mrs. Ellene Weldin is the first Branch Manager.

1929: The Lagunitas Branch (serving Forest Knolls, San Geronimo, Woodacre and Nicasio) opens in the Lagunitas School. The local PTA donates most of the shelving and furniture. Mrs. Zoe G. Bintley is the first Branch Manager.

1930, July: To date, 41 schools have joined the County Library, receiving periodic shipments of books.

1931, May: The Point Reyes Station Branch opens in a railway coach donated by the Northwestern Pacific Railroad. The interior of the railway coach is remodeled to accommodate bookcases and desks. The Point Reyes Lions Club is instrumental in helping to establish this branch. Lavinia Adams is Branch Manager from 1932-1964.

1933: The Tamal Branch (serving Homestead Valley, Tamalpais Valley and the unincorporated areas of Sausalito and Mill Valley) opens in the Homestead School. Evelyn Stout is the first Branch Manager.

1935, March: Muriel Wright resigns as County Librarian and is replaced by Virginia Keating who implements bookmobile service and establishes the California Room during her 33-year tenure with MCFL.

1935: The California Room is started with a small collection of books kept in two locked cases at the Central Branch, in the basement of the Marin County Courthouse. Collections of newspaper clippings, photographs and ephemera, begin to be assembled.

First Branch 1936
County Librarian Virginia Vail Keating, seated at her desk in the Marin County Courthouse basement, San Rafael, circa 1936. This was the first home of the Marin County Free Library.

1936: The Stinson Beach Branch opens in a building which also houses real estate and insurance offices. Due to lack of space, it quickly moves to a summer cottage located at the rear of a building owned by Mrs. Van Son. Mrs. Angie Gilbert (formerly librarian for the Bolinas Branch) is the first Branch Manager.

1937, October: The Tamal Branch moves to Brown's Hall near Locust Station.<

1941: The Tamal Branch moves to Miller Ave. to occupy a building owned by Mr. Ferrera.

1941, April: The Kentfield-Ross Branch moves to the Faure Building on Sir Francis Drake Blvd.

1941, November: The Corte Madera Branch moves to a new location, occupying a portion of the automotive showroom of Harold Bates.

1942: The Central Branch of the Marin County Free Library together with Library Administration and the California Room, move from the basement of the County Courthouse to the former Coleman School at 1711 Grand Avenue, San Rafael.

1942: The Marin City Branch opens in the Community Center Building to serve those who have moved to Marin City to work in the emergency World War II shipyard known as Marinship. Helen Sullivan is the first Branch Manager.

1942, September 11: The Inverness Branch opens in the First Aid Station and Community Service Building. The impetus for opening this branch was to serve the needs of residents who, due to wartime gas rationing, could no longer travel to Point Reyes Station. Ruth Thiele is the first Branch Manager.

1943: The Stinson Beach Branch moves to a building on the newly acquired Stinson Beach Park property, per a grant by the Marin County Board of Supervisors.

1945: The Novato Branch moves to the Torassa Building on Grant Avenue.

1946, March: The Forest Knolls Branch opens at the Post Office and then moves to a small building owned by Mr. Roberts; later it moves to the Kenny Burt Building. The first Branch Manger is Mrs. Zoe Bintley (previously of Lagunitas). Forest Knolls replaces the Lagunitas Branch after a survey shows that circulation is higher in Forest Knolls than in other San Geronimo Valley towns.

1948, April: The Inverness Branch moves to a small building adjoining Czenkus Garage.

1948, September 30: Bookmobile Service is launched using a customized 1938 Dodge one-ton truck. The bookmobile serves areas lacking easy access to branch libraries, including rural schools. This is the first bookmobile service in the State of California.

1950, October: The Fairfax Branch moves to a new location at 55 Broadway, formerly, Peri's Bar.

1951, November 15: The Tamal Branch moves to a remodeled fire truck garage at the Tamalpais Valley Improvement Clubhouse. At this time the branch changes its name to the Tamalpais Valley Branch.

1952, June: The California Room expands at the Central Branch with a new collection of Californiana provided by the California State Library (part of a program to provide California history to all county libraries).

1952, September: The Bolinas Branch moves to the Petar Store Building owned by Mrs. June Smith.

1954, March 12: The Corte Madera Branch moves to the new Corte Madera Recreation Center where a space was designed to accommodate the library. The new recreation center and library had been planned by the Corte Madera Lions and Women's Clubs.

1954, July: The Point Reyes Station Branch moves to the West Marin shopping center.

1955, August: The Belvedere-Tiburon Branch officially opens in the Boardwalk Shopping Center. In 1931 Belvedere had separated itself from the County Library system and established a library of its own. In 1953, Belvedere petitioned to rejoin the County Library system. 1955 marks the re-merging of Belvedere and Tiburon into one branch under the auspices of MCFL.

1956: A second bookmobile is added to keep up with growing demand. Bookmobile circulation for the year 1955 had numbered 50,000 books.

1958, May: The Stinson Beach Branch moves to new quarters in the Sea Beach Hotel.

1959: The Woodacre Branch opens in the recently built Woodacre Improvement Club building. Mrs. Lucile Le Count is in charge.

1960, May: The California Room receives a large donation of records on Marin County history compiled by the Writers Project of the WPA during the mid-1930s. Clifford Flack, the donor, supervised 12 writers in the WPA's San Rafael office.

Civic Center 1962
The Civic Center Branch, circa 1962, in the recently-opened Marin County Civic Center, designed by Frank Lloyd Wright. County Librarian, Virginia Keating, is pictured on the right.

1962, October: The Central Branch of the Marin County Free Library together with Library Administration move to the Frank Lloyd Wright-designed Marin County Civic Center in Terra Linda. The California Room occupies a space of its own, adjacent to the Library, in today's rooms 421, 423 & 425.

1964: The Fairfax Branch moves to 47 Broadway, occupying half of the building formerly housing the Alpine Market.

1964, October: Marin County Free Library loses 4,160 square feet at the Marin County Civic Center (that area dedicated to books for Marin County Schools) due to a space re-allocation program approved by the Board of Supervisors who decide more space is needed by other county departments.

1965, January: The Marin County Board of Supervisors, the Administrator's Office, the Auditor's Office and the County Library embark on a new program of branch library construction and development to be financed by a continuation of the capital outlay tax which had been used to finance the construction of the Civic Center Branch.

1965, July 12: The Marin City Branch moves to a larger location in the Rosa Building.

1965, August 2: The Novato Branch moves to interim quarters in the Tresch Triangle building where they double their square footage to meet the needs of a rapidly growing population. By this time, the Marin County Board of Supervisors has approved a "full service" library for Novato by 1968.

1966: The Inverness Branch library building is separated from the Czenkus Garage and is relocated to a corner of the same lot, giving it greater autonomy and improving its atmosphere.

1966, July: The School Library Department is taken over by the Marin County Superintendent of Schools and is no longer under the auspices of MCFL.

1966, September 29: The Kentfield-Ross Branch moves to new quarters in the Bon Air Shopping Center and is renamed the Ross Valley Branch.

1966, December 7: The Belvedere-Tiburon Branch moves to Beach Road, near the Post Office.

1967, January: The Stinson Beach Branch moves to the Eagle Building next to the Silver Dollar Café.

1967: The Tamalpais Valley Branch (formerly the Tamal Branch) moves to the Johnson Building.

1968: Marin County adopts a regional branch development plan which calls for three regional branches: 1.) Novato, to serve Northern Marin; 2.) Corte Madera, to serve Southern Marin; 3.) Fairfax, to serve the western portion of the county. The central Civic Center Branch is to specialize in reference services in conjunction with the North Bay Cooperative Library System.

1968, June 28: The Marin City Branch relocates to the Manzanita Community Center.

1968, November 5: Virginia Keating retires as County Librarian.

1969, January 1: Bruce Bajema, formerly Librarian for Mendocino County, assumes position of County Librarian.

1969: The Friends of the Marin County Free Library is established.

1970, June: The Tomales Branch closes and a local stop is added to the Bookmobile route.

1971, April 15: The new Novato Regional Branch opens in a 10,300-square foot building at 1720 Novato Blvd., designed by Marquis and Stoller, architects.

1971, June 1: The Fairfax Branch moves to the Fair-Anselm Shopping Center.

1971, November 30: The New Corte Madera Regional Branch opens in a 9,682 square-foot building at 707 Meadowsweet Dr., designed by Smith, Barker & Hanssen, architects.

1971, December: The Ross Valley Branch is incorporated into the new Corte Madera Regional Branch.

1972, January: The Bolinas Branch moves to the old Bolinas fire house on Wharf Road.

1972, August: The Dr. Leo L. Stanley Collection on the history of the San Quentin State Prison is donated to the California Room.

1973: The Tamalpais Valley (Tamal) Branch closes and becomes a bookmobile stop.

1974: Civic Center Branch Manager, Virginia Borland, recruits Anne T. Kent and Carla Ehat, to conduct the California Room's Oral History Program.

1974, December: Under the leadership of County Librarian, Bruce Bajema, MCFL implements an automated library circulation system (CLSI), the first such system west of the Mississippi and just the fourth in the nation.

1975: MCFL transitions to a microfiche library catalog.

1976: The Forest Knolls Branch closes.

1977, January: A San Geronimo Valley Branch is established in Lagunitas adjacent to White's Lagunitas General Store on Sir Francis Drake Blvd.

1978, January 24: Board of Supervisors Resolution 78-42 resolves that "The California Room shall continue to be an established and permanent part of the Marin County Free Library as long as the Marin County Free Library exists."

1978, February: The new Fairfax Regional Branch opens in a 9,000 square-foot building at 2097 Sir Francis Drake Blvd., designed by Bull Field Volkman & Stockwell, architects.

1978, September 8: With the passage of Proposition 13, MCFL projects the following reductions: 45 employees to be laid off, 23 retained; open hours cut by 25%; young adult programs eliminated; children's programs cut 50%; reference services cut 30%; books & materials cut 40%; exhibits cut 90%.

Inverness 1981
The Inverness Branch was featured on the cover of American Libraries magazine in February 1981. First housed in the Community Service Center Building, in 1948 the library moved to a small building adjoining Czenkus Garage. In 1966, the same building, pictured here, was detached from the garage and moved to the corner of the lot, greatly enhancing its general appearance.

1979, April 1: Bruce Bajema resigns as County Librarian.

1979, June 28: James W. Buckley appointed County Librarian.

1979, October: James W. Buckley resigns as County Librarian.

1980, February 7: Mary Lou Rowe appointed County Librarian.

1981, June: Budget reductions force the closure of the Woodacre Branch and result in the layoff of the Civic Center Children's Librarian.

1982: The California Room is officially named "The Anne T. Kent California Room" in honor of Anne Kent (1892-1981) who instigated the oral history program and who was instrumental in the establishment of the County Library system. The California Room itself moves to a smaller space adjacent to Library Technical Services with an entrance at Room 404.

1983: The Civic Center Branch is threatened with closure but community support for the branch succeeds in keeping it open.

1983: The Marin County Free Library Commission is created. "Its purpose is to work to find ways and means of enlisting public interest in supporting and improving library services."

1983, September 30: County Librarian, Mary Lou Rowe resigns.

1984, January: Sharon Hammer is appointed County Librarian.

1984, March: The Civic Center Branch hires a Children's Librarian (Lesley Farmer), the first Children's Librarian since 1981.

1984, June: Defeat of a special tax measure (Measure A) to fund the MCFL system results in the elimination of 4 staff positions and a reduction in hours. The Civic Center functions exclusively as a reference library, closing its stacks. Stacks re-open at the Civic Center in August.

1984, August: The Anne T. Kent California Room moves into the Civic Center Branch, next to the Children's collection.

Storytime 1984
Karen Nielsen and her daughter Lisa enjoy a story together at the Civic Center Branch, April, 1984.

1985, June 1: The Marin County Library Foundation has its first meeting.

1986, July 16: Dedication of the Children's Room of the Novato Regional Library in memory of Margaret Todd.

1986, December 7: Dedication of the new Inverness Branch at "The Gables", the former home of historian, Jack Mason. Mason, who donated his house to MCFL, also designated space there to accommodate his historical collection — The Jack Mason Museum.

1988, February 7: The San Geronimo Valley Branch opens at Sir Francis Drake Blvd. and Meadow Way, the result of an agreement between the Lagunitas School District and the San Geronimo Community Center. Funding for the new branch comes from the Buck Trust and the Marin County Free Library.

San Geronimo
The San Geronimo branch library 1988 - 2009.

1988, April 8: County Librarian Sharon Hammer resigns.

1989, February 21: Anne M. Appel assumes the position of County Librarian.

1993 - 1994: Due to a loss in tax revenue, library hours are reduced and 17.31 fulltime positions are eliminated at MCFL. By June, 1994, passage of several special bond measures (K & L) allow for the restoration of 15.83 full time positions and the reinstatement of library hours.

1995, January: The library begins offering public Internet access.

1995, February: Establishment of MARINet, a consortium of city and county libraries sharing a single online catalog.

1995, October: The Belvedere-Tiburon Branch opts out of the Marin County Free Library system. They establish their own library in 1997.

1996, December: County Librarian, Anne Appel, resigns.

Bookmobile
The new Bookmobile was dedicated on April 11, 2000. This new model is ADA-compliant and wired for satellite technology. The Bookmobile continues to serve isolated areas of Marin County.

1997, February 16: Dedication of the new Marin City Branch in the Gateway Plaza Shopping Center.

1997, August 18: Carol Starr becomes Director of County Library Services.

1998, January 18: The Point Reyes Station Branch opens in a new location at the Creamery Building on State Route One.

1998, December 13: Grand opening celebration of the new South Novato Branch at the Pacheco Plaza Shopping Center in Ignacio.

1999, March - April: The community comes to the support of the Civic Center Branch and prevents its closure due to a budget shortfall.

1999, December 12: Grand opening of the Stinson Beach Branch in a newly renovated 2,400 square-foot building on the Shoreline Highway.

2000, April 11: The "Bookmobile 2000" is dedicated. This new model is ADA compliant and wired for satellite technology.

2002, October 20: Dedication ceremony for "The Friends Garden" at the Corte Madera Branch. The garden was designed by Royston Hanamoto Alley & Abey, landscape architects and made possible by the Friends of the Corte Madera Library and individual donors.

2003, April: The California Room Digital Archive is launched, via the Internet.

South Novato Library 2004
The South Novato Library at the former Hamilton Field, June 5, 2004. The library doubled its space at Hamilton, one of the fastest growing areas of Novato.

2004, June 5: The South Novato Branch relocates to Hangar 6 at Hamilton Landing.

2007, August: Following a year-long study by Library Administration and over 1500 community residents and leaders, a long-term vision for MCFL facility improvements and space needs are presented in the Marin County Free Library Service and Space Needs Assessment by Page & Moris LLC.

2007, October 31: Library Director, Carol Starr, retires.

2007, November 1: Gail Haar becomes Director of Library Services.

2009, June 25: Due to budget cuts, the San Geronimo Valley branch closes. Service to the San Geronimo Valley is assumed by the Fairfax branch and the bookmobile.

2013, March 31: Library Director, Gail Haar, retires.

2013, July 8: Sara Jones becomes Director of Library Services.