San Rafael San Rafael San Rafael

San Rafael, Marin County

North Bay Loop area, San Francisco Bay Area region

San Rafael Public Library
1100 E Street
San Rafael, CA 94901

opened 1909
Public library from 1909-present
currently a public library

grant amount: $25,000
architectural style: Classical Revival (Type A)
architect: Reid Bros.


The library's address identifies a new entrance on E Street, between Fifth and Mission streets, which connects the old Classical Revival Carnegie and its new wing which incorporates some of the stylistic themes of the original. The old Carnegie remains, facing Fifth Street but with its parapet and entrance steps removed.

In 1987 the San Rafael Public Library celebrated the 100th anniversary of the WCTU meeting to plan a free reading room and subsequent formation of the first Library Association. The library was turned over to the city in 1890 but it remained in temporary quarters. In 1904 the Good Government Club and Judge Morrow, a local federal judge, Carnegie trustee, and personal friend of Andrew Carnegie, petitioned Carnegie for building funds. A grant of $25,000 was awarded. Reid Bros., architects of San Francisco's Fairmont Hotel, designed the building and Hoyt Bros. of Santa Rosa were the builders. In 1960 the new wing was added, tripling the space; earthquake stabilization, reconstruction and further expansion took place in 1973, 1976, and 1993. The interior of the original wing has been preserved as a spacious and airy reading room, and over the fireplace may be seen the Carnegie memorial tablet of sculptured Carrara marble installed in 1912-13.