Frequently Asked Questions

Library Cards

Apply Online

Library card application forms are also available at any branch – your card will be issued while you wait.

  1. Photo I.D. – a valid Driver’s License or other official photo identification
  2. Proof of current California address – if your current address is not printed on your photo I.D., then you also need a document with your address: e.g. bank statement, utility bill, imprinted check, rental agreement, rent receipt, or canceled mail with name and address. If you have recently moved and cannot verify your new address, we can send you a postcard in the mail to use as your proof of addres

If you cannot provide proof of your address, you can still apply for an Internet Only Card. This type of card gives you access to the library’s public computers, but cannot be used to check out materials.

If you are a visitor from out-of-state, you can apply for a Visitor’s Card. It costs $10 and is good for 3 months.

If you are under 16, your parent or legal guardian must come with you to the library, and bring their photo I.D. and proof of current address. The parent or legal guardian is responsible for items checked out on the child’s card and any related fines and fees. Notice to Parents.

  • Check out books, DVDs, books on CD, music CDS & magazines
  • Download/stream ebooks, audiobooks, videos and music from home*
  • Access online resources for research and e-learning
  • Use the library’s public computers and Internet

*the use of downloadable and streaming books/movies/etc. is limited based on your residence. See individual resources for more information.

Your Marin County Free Library card can be used at any public library in Marin. View a list of locations.

Please note: borrowing policies (including check-out lengths and overdue fines) for items belonging to City or Academic Libraries may differ from those of the Marin County Free Library.

If your library card is lost or stolen, please report it immediately by phone or in person at any branch.

You are responsible for any materials checked out on your card until the card is reported lost or stolen.

To get a replacement card, you will need to bring your photo I.D. to any branch.

Library cards automatically expire every 5 years, so that we can confirm we have your current address and phone number. If your card has expired, you may renew your card by contacting your local library.


The maximum number of items you may have checked out at a time is:

  • 50 Books/ Magazines
  • 10 Books on CD
  • 15 DVDs
  • 10 Music CDs

Books, Magazines, Books on CD, Music CDs, Nonfiction DVDs
3 weeks

DVDs (except Nonfiction)
1 week

Lucky Day Collection – Books
1 week

Lucky Day Collection – DVDs
3 days

LINK+ Books
3 weeks

Two renewals are allowed on most items, except LINK+ items, Lucky Day DVDs and items that have been requested by other patrons. Items renew for the same period of time as the original checkout.

Vacation loans:
Items can be checked out for a vacation loan period of 6 weeks, with the exception of DVDs, new & high-demand materials. No renewals are allowed on vacation loans.

(PLEASE NOTE: Checkout periods for items belonging to city or academic libraries may differ, as they set their own policies.)

Two renewals are allowed on most items, except Lucky Day DVDs, and items that have been requested by other patrons. Items renew for the same period of time as the original checkout.

LINK+ items can be renewed one time, unless the item has been requested at the owning library.

(Note: Renewals for items belonging to city or academic libraries may differ, as they set their own policies).

You can renew an item three ways:

  • Online by logging in to “My Account” using your library card number and PIN. Click on “Checked Out Items”, then either “Renew All” or “Renew Selected”, then click “Yes” to confirm. Please check the screen carefully to make sure that the items were renewed.
  • By phone at any branch during open hours. Please have your library card number ready.
  • In person at any branch during open hours. Please bring either your library card or items to be renewed.

Books and materials checked out at a Marin County Free Library branch can be returned to any public library in Marin County. View a list of locations.

Adult books, DVDs, CDs and magazines
25¢ per day

LINK+ items
$1 per day

Bookmobile patrons are charged by the scheduled stop, rather than by the day that items are due.

The Maximum Overdue Fees for all adult items is $6 per item
If you owe more than $10, you will need to pay down your balance in order to check out again.

(PLEASE NOTE: Overdue fees for items belonging to city or academic libraries may differ, as they set their own policies.)

If the item cannot be located through a Marin County Library or Link+, you can place an Interlibrary Loan request for the item by calling or visiting your local branch library. We will search academic and public libraries in the United States for the requested item using WorldCat.

There is a nonrefundable $5.00 charge to initiate the search for books, microfilm, DVDs or audio books. This fee does not guarantee the receipt of the material. Occasionally, a lender may require additional fees for postage or copying charges before they will loan an item; you will be contacted if any additional charges are necessary. The ILL process can take from 4 to 6 weeks.

The staff of the Marin Free County Library welcomes your purchase suggestions. Each request is carefully considered and replied to. If purchased, the item(s) will be placed on hold for you and the pick-up location will be your home library unless you request otherwise.

To suggest a purchase, follow this link. You will be prompted to log in; once logged in, click the “Make a Suggestion” button.

Lost or damaged beyond use
List price + $6 processing fee

Lost or damaged part of multi-part audio set
$10 per disc

Replace CD and DVD cases

LINK+ items

The library generally does not accept personally purchased replacements.

Fines & fees can be paid:

  • Online by credit card. Log in to “My Account” using your library card number and PIN.
    Select “Unpaid Fees”, then “Pay Online”. (Get more help).
  • In person by cash, check or credit card.

Computers & Technology

  • Marin County Free Library cardholders may use a public computer for up to 2 hours a day when stations are available.
  • You may reserve a computer up to 1 week in advance.
  • You may have a maximum of 1 reservation per day, but you can have one for each day for the next week if you choose.
  • Please note that you will lose your reservation if you don’t show up on time! There is a 5-10 minute reservation grace period depending on the branch. Since this grace period varies between branches, be sure to know the policy of the branch where you have reserved a computer.
  • The computers do not accept new logons 15 minutes before the library closes, and computers shut down 10 minutes before the library closes.
Reserve a Computer

The Library’s public computers can be reserved at a library catalog station or remotely from work, school or home using your own library card and PIN. We do not take phone reservations.

  • Click on the Reserve a Computer button.
  • Select a library location, and then click on the Reserve a PC button.
  • Enter your library card number and PIN.
  • Select the area where you wish to reserve a computer (options may include 20 minutes, 30 minutes or one hour computers).
  • Select the date and time for your reservation, and click on the Submit button.
  • Review the PC number and date/time, and if everything is ok, click on the Accept button.
  • The next screen will verify that your reservation is confirmed
  • To view or cancel a reservation, click on the Manage Existing Reservations button.

Our network name is Library. No password is required. You will need to agree to our Acceptable Use Wireless Policy. After reading our Wireless Policy, click on “Accept ” at the bottom of the page.

Your computer or device will need to have an activated wireless network card.

If you normally use other wireless networks, your computer may not connect automatically. You may have to go into the “settings” area of your device to find our network.

Because laptops and devices vary greatly, Marin County Free Library staff cannot offer technical assistance with establishing a wireless connection nor handle privately owned equipment. You are responsible for setting up your own equipment. If you are not familiar with configuring computers or networking, we recommend consulting your device’s manual.

Wireless Network users will not be able to use FTP (file transfer protocol), file share, or outgoing SMTP (simple mail transfer protocol). You can access web-based email using a laptop such as gmail, yahoo mail, etc.

The Marin County Free Library is not responsible for any changes that you make to your computer’s settings and cannot guarantee that your hardware will work with our wireless connection. We recommend that users read their PC and/or Wireless manuals thoroughly.

Printing from Library Public Computers

Printing is available from all library public internet computers. Library cardholders and Internet Only cardholders receive 5 FREE black and white pages per day. Subsequent black and white pages are 15 cents per page, color prints are $1 per page. Cash is required for printing (no credit/copy cards). Please use Print Preview to avoid wasting paper and toner.

Printing from Your Laptop

It is possible to print from laptops at most library branches.

  • Download the necessary software.
  • Choose the type of laptop (Windows or Mac) and the library location.
  • After the download is complete, click on “Run” to start the Print Client.
  • After the Print Client launches, you will be able to choose the library printer(s) as a destination for your print jobs.
  • You will be able to use the same payment options as those available from library computers.

A screencast demonstrating how to print from a Windows-based laptop using a branch’s wireless network is available on our YouTube channel.

All of our branches have public photocopiers.

  • Price per copy is 15 cents.
  • Black and white prints only; no color copying is available.

The following branches have a scanner/fax machine:

  • Civic Center
  • Corte Madera
  • Fairfax
  • Marin City
  • Novato
  • Point Reyes

There is no charge to scan or fax, but printing is 15 cents per page for black and white copies. These machines can not receive a fax.

Accessible Workstations are public access computers designed to provide online access for individuals who may be visually impaired or have disabilities that affect mobility/dexterity.

Each station includes special assistive software and hardware such as:

  • Zoom Text large print keyboard with Reader software
  • Special pointing devices available on request (ex. trackballs, touchpads)

An accessible Workstation is located at the following Marin County Free Library branches:

  • Civic Center Library
  • Corte Madera Library
  • Fairfax Library
  • Marin City Library
  • Novato Library
  • Point Reyes Library
  • South Novato Library

Session lengths on Accessible Workstations at branches may vary (30/60 minutes) and may only be extended by staff. Non-qualified patrons will not be permitted to extend time beyond the designated length.

Anyone may use an available Accessible Workstation but patrons with a verified disability quality for special privileges such as reservations by phone and next-session priority for drop-in use.

To qualify for Accessible Workstation privileges, a patron must:

  • Have a current MARINet library card
  • An Approved Application for Adaptive Computer Station which requires proof of disability (ex. such as disabled parking placard, disabled transit pass, a letter on official letterhead from a doctor, social worker, registered nurse, psychologist; a letter on official letterhead from a learning disabilities, rehabilitation or special education teacher).

Application will be approved by the Branch Manager. Patrons who qualify may reserve the ADA workstation by phoning the library branch information desk during open hours.

When not in use by ADA qualified patrons, these workstations may be used by others.

The Marin City Library has a 3D printer available for public use by appointment. See more information about the Marin City Library 3D printer.

The Makerspace next to the South Novato Library also has a 3D printer. See more information about the Makerspace.

Got tech questions? Marin City WebStars have the answers.

  • Headquartered in the Marin City Library, the program trains young people as technology ambassadors. The WebStars then serve our community, offering tutoring and troubleshooting with the following:

Email, word processing, and basic hardware/software maintenance, social media, blogging, and photo sharing, webpage design, photo editing, and animation.

Watch the Webstars in Action (YouTube)

Sign up for free computer appointments in person, or by calling (415) 332-6157.


Yes, you can get free or discounted museum passes with your library card!

We have 2 types of museum passes:

  1. Discover & Go – free & discounted passes to many different museums and cultural institutions, that you reserve online and print from home.
  2. Bay Area Discovery Museum – physical passes for free admission to the Bay Area Discovery Museum in Sausalito, that you reserve and pick up from the library.

For more details please see Museum Passes.

The Civic Center Library has microfilm of the Marin Independent Journal (currently the name of paper with the widest circulation) back to March 1861 and the Novato Advance dating to July 1922.

The Library has digital microfilm reader/printers, you are welcome to come in and research any time the Library is open.

MCFL can search for your obituary/article if you fill out a request form and submit a $10 payment. Make checks payable to” Marin County Free Library” (no cash please). The payment covers 30 minutes of staff search time. We can send you a digital or a paper copy. The more information you provide us about the article or obituary you are looking for the better we can search. Please be sure to incude your name, address, phone number and email so we may get back to you.

Useful information includes:

  • Date of death or news event
  • Name of the Individual or subject of the article
Download Request form

Please send completed request form and payment to:

Obituary/Newspaper Article Request
Marin County Free Library
3501 Civic Center Drive, Room 427
San Rafael CA 94903

Three branches have a meeting room or community room that can be reserved by the public: Fairfax Library, Point Reyes Library and South Novato Library. Please contact the branch directly for more information or to make a reservation.

Don’t see your question?

Ask it here – we’ll get back to you with an answer.

Your Name (required):

Your Email (required):

Subject (required):

Your Question or Comment