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Our Story


The Marin Literacy Program’s mission is to provide and promote free adult and family literacy services to all residents of Marin County in partnership with libraries, philanthropic organizations and community groups. This includes anyone in need of literacy services who works in Marin or has a family member working or attending school in Marin.

Since 1985 our volunteer tutors have been liberating their student’s voices and minds through the power of literacy. At MLP we train and support our tutors to work one-to-one or in small groups with adult students and their families. Our uniquely designed training program enables our volunteers to address our students’ individual needs through a variety of methods. Many of our original volunteer tutors are still with us and we have graduates of our program on our board and working for us.

Originally a joint venture between the San Rafael Public Library and the Marin County Free Library, the program had been co-managed by the two libraries with the fundraising and advisory support of The Marin Literacy Program 501c3 Board. In January of 2011, The Marin Literacy Program faced a structural and financial crisis that pulled all of us together side by side to streamline and reimagine ways we could continue to serve. The board of MLP’s 501c3 and the two library Directors (San Rafael Public Library and Marin County Free Library) realized that with the current structure and the announcement of the pending termination of all State funding for the 2011-12 fiscal year the program was facing closure within six months.

With the support of both library directors, the MLP Board became the governing body of MLP in June of 2011 and took over management and restructuring of the program. We discovered the most important part of our program (tutors, students, teachers, and trainers) always thrived regardless of financial changes because they based everything they did on peer relationships, collaboration and innovative problem solving.  We embraced the resiliency our students modeled for us. Many had been forced to survive when they immigrated to an unknown place with a language they didn’t know or had been born in the United States and had arranged their lives around the dark secret of their illiteracy in their own country of birth.

As a freestanding 501c3 we continue to partner with libraries and other community organizations to provide literacy services throughout Marin County to continue our legacy offerings. We are grateful our primary founding partner, the San Rafael Public Library, continues as a partner and provides us with our original Resource Center as well as all of our donors and supporters. We are currently serving approximately 500 students and family members per year. .

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