Marin County Libraries continue to find ways to expand their offerings.

As the Mill Valley Public Library did in 2022, county libraries are now looking forward to network equipment updates aimed at enhancing the reliability and speed of internet services and contributing to local digital literacy initiatives.

The updates will be funded by a $175,211 state grant to MARINet, a group of public and academic libraries in the county, according to a Marin County press release published on Thursday. The project will be completed over the next year with the help of local firm Marin IT.

“Providing internet access at libraries bridges the digital divide in our community, empowering all individuals to explore, learn, connect, and thrive in the digital age,” Belvedere Tiburon Library Director Crystal Duran said, according to the press release.

The grant is funded by the State of California and administered by the California Library Connect program on behalf of the California State Library.

MARINet libraries include Marin County Free Library, Belvedere Tiburon Library, College of Marin Library, Dominican University of California’s Archbishop Alemany Library, Larkspur Library, Mill Valley Public Library, San Anselmo Public Library, San Rafael Public Library, and Sausalito Public Library.

The move comes on the heels of the announcement in late 2023 that four multi-talented Mill Valley artists, as well as dozens more across Marin, have been chosen to participate in a program that allows patrons of Marin County Free Library branches to borrow art for free with a library card.

That program is part of Marin’s new “On the Wall” program, which enlisted local artists to provide pieces that will be made be available to borrow. The 30 artists selected were chosen by board members of the Marin Cultural Association for the inaugural run out of more than 400 submissions.

An exhibit displaying the works opened last week on the first and third floor of the Marin County Civic Center in San Rafael.

“We think it’s really exciting that art will be available to borrow with a library card, just like a book or a magazine,” said Raemona Little Taylor, an assistant director at the library. “This is a way for us to support a diverse group of local artists and enhance the library’s collections. It’s also a way to give library cards new power, expand access to art for Marin residents, and provide direct support for local artists by purchasing and exhibiting their work.”

Early this year, the works will be available to borrow from library branches in South Novato, Point Reyes Station, Corte Madera and Marin City, soon followed by the remaining Marin County Free Library branches.

Officials said the program was envisioned as a way to give residents better access to art, while directly supporting artists.

The Mill Valley artists include Steve Disenhof, Bob Hemstock of Mill Valley; Victoria Mimiaga and Marnie Walters.

Here are the participating artists for the inaugural run:

  • Harvey Abernathey of Novato; Maalak Atkins of Marin City; Richard Blair of Inverness; Cathy Bowman of San Anselmo; Molly Brown of Bolinas; Rick Budde of Novato; Miranda Chen of Greenbrae; Jennifer Isaac of Tiburon; Toni Littlejohn of Point Reyes Station; Barbara McLain of Nicasio; Susan McMudie of Novato; Nancy Nichols of San Anselmo; Anne Pelletier of Fairfax; Mary Pieper-Warren of Forest Knolls; Carlos Porrata of Inverness; Meg Reilly of Novato; Noel Ryan of Novato; Wendy Schwartz of Point Reyes Station; Tom Soltesz of Point Reyes Station; Stephanie Thwaites of Novato; Amanda Tomlin of Novato; Tim Walker of Larkspur; Ayumi Kie Weissbuch of San Anselmo; Kathryn Whitten of Point Reyes Station; Thomas Wood of Nicasio; and Jane Zich of Fairfax.

Funding for the program is supported by the Marin County Library Foundation, Tomales Bay Library Association, Friends of Marin City Library and Friends of the Novato Libraries.

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