Frequently Asked Questions

Library Cards

Note: The information in these FAQs is not accurate during this time. For updated information, please see our Curbside and Closure FAQs.
Apply Online

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

You will need to bring a valid Driver’s License or other official photo identification.

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. 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 other Marin 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.

You can reset your password/PIN by email by going to the Request a New Password (PIN) page of the catalog.

More information about passwords/PINs.


Note: The information in these FAQs is not accurate during this time. For updated information, please see our Curbside and Closure FAQs.

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 other Marin 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 other Marin 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/password. 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.

As of July 1, 2019, we no longer charge late fees on any of our items. Please note that items owned by other libraries in Marin may still be subject to late fees, regardless of checkout location.

Replacement fees for any lost or damaged materials still apply.

If you owe more than $10, you will need to pay down your balance in order to check out again.

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.

Paying fines and fees for items owned by Marin County Free Library:

As of July 1, 2019, we no longer charge late fees on our items. Replacement charges for lost and damaged items still apply.

Charges for any lost or damaged items can be paid:

  • Online by credit card.
    Log in to access the Fees page of your account, using your library card number and PIN/password. Select the fees you wish to pay, then click “Pay selected” or “Pay all”.
  • In person by cash, check or credit card.

Paying fines and fees for items owned by other libraries of Marin:

Other libraries in Marin set their own policies and may still charge late fees on their items, regardless of checkout location.

Fines and fees charged by other libraries can be paid:

  • Online by credit card.
    Log in to access the Fees page of your account, using your library card number and PIN/password. Select the fees you wish to pay, then click “Pay selected” or “Pay all”.
  • In person by credit card at a self-check machine.
  • In person by cash or check at the owning library.

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.

We welcome your purchase suggestions! Each request is carefully considered.

We process all suggestions for purchase through our online catalog. Please log in and use “Suggest a Purchase” in the left menu of your Library Dashboard. You will be able to track your suggestions to see if they are purchased.

We have two other methods for getting materials not in our catalog:

  • LinkPlus – these are items made available for loan through our library partners; check this catalog to see if what you want is available
  • Streaming services are offered for free through the library – you can find movies, audiobooks, eBooks, TV shows and more through Hoopla and Kanopy

Computers & Technology

Note: The information in these FAQs is not accurate during this time. For updated information, please see our new Computers page.
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.
  • 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.

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 or Mobile Device

You can now print from your laptop or mobile device to the public printers at any of our branches. For details and instructions, visit our MobilePrint page.

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
  • South Novato

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.

Limit of 25 scanned pages per day.

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.

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.


Note: The information in these FAQs is not accurate during this time. For updated information, please see our Curbside and Closure FAQs.

Your access to online library services is determined by your residence address. Get more information, and find out what your “home library” is, on our Access to Online Services page.

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

We do not have any meeting rooms that can be reserved by the public. All of our community rooms are used solely for library and partner events.

  • The Civic Center Library is the only branch of the Marin County Free Library that offers test proctoring.
  • Test proctoring is available for open book exams only.
  • You must set up an appointment in advance by calling the Reference Desk at 415-473-6058.
  • The fee for proctoring an exam is $25.
  • On the day of the test, you must bring:
    • photo ID
    • $25 in cash or check to Marin County Free Library
    • any required test-taking materials


Proctoring at Other Locations

The Marin County Law Library in San Rafael will proctor open and closed book exams. To request a proctor, please click here to fill out their contact form.  Please allow 24 hours for response. For their proctoring fee and other information, contact the Law Library at (415) 472-3733.

Santa Rosa Junior College Student Success and Assessment Services Testing Centers in Santa Rosa and Petaluma are available to proctor paper and computerized exams for students enrolled in Independent Study, Online, Correspondence or Distance Education Programs for educational institutions or businesses. Please click here for testing information that includes testing dates, locations and financial information. To make an appointment contact (707) 527-4661.

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