County of Marin - News Releases - Summer Backpacks Program

For Immediate Release
June 02, 2023

Library, First 5 Marin Team Up Again on Backpacks

Free distribution starts soon at or near Marin County Free Library branches

The following is a joint news release from the Marin County Free Library and the First 5 Marin Children and Families Commission.

San Rafael, CA – The Marin County Free Library (MCFL) is partnering with the First 5 Marin Children and Families Commission to provide summer learning backpacks to young children to promote learning-at-home, kindergarten readiness and early literacy. The backpacks will be distributed at Play! ¡Juega! events at library locations across the county June 7-23 in coordination with visits by the mobile preschool known as the Learning Bus.  

“MCFL wants every child to reach their full potential,” said MCFL Deputy Director Raemona Little Taylor. “We are delighted to expand our early literacy backpack program to include free lunchboxes and resources to support families facing food insecurity."

A young mother holds up a summer backpack while holding a very young daughter and standing next to a young son.This summer, 1,500 backpacks will be distributed for free through a collaboration to promote kindergarten readiness and literacy.

The free backpacks include notebook, markers, colored pencils, crayons, pencils, sharpener, eraser, scissors, and glue stick; a matching lunchbox will also be included. For the third consecutive year, the backpack set will be available to children ages 2 to 5; younger children will receive a “busy book” and other developmental/early learning toys with activities to promote dexterity and early learning.

“First 5 Marin is committed to school readiness and a backpack full of home learning supplies will help young children prepare for kindergarten this summer,” said Michelle Fadelli, Manager of Public Policy and Communications for First 5 Marin. “Our commission is happy to provide 1,500 backpacks to promote learning to young kids across the county." 

Summer Play! ¡Juega! events will include the Learning Bus, outdoor storytime, performances by bilingual artists, and free books at each event, courtesy of Friends of the Marin County Free Library. Here is the schedule:

  • Wednesday, June 7, 10 a.m., Inverness Library
  • Thursday, June 9, 11m., Parent Services Project, San Rafael
  • Monday, June 12, 10m., Point Reyes Station Library
  • Tuesday, June 13, 10 a.m., Novato Library
  • Wednesday, June 14, 10m., South Novato Library
  • Thursday, June 15, 10 a.m., Marin City Library
  • Friday, June 16, 2 p.m., Fairfax Library
  • Tuesday, June 20, 10 a.m., Corte Madera Library
  • Thursday, June 22, 9:30 a.m., Civic Center Farmer’s Market, San Rafael
  • Friday, June 23, 2 p.m., Mesa Park, Bolinas

First 5 Marin provides strategic investments, policy leadership and community partnerships to support families and to empower all children to grow, learn and thrive. The commission voted to approve a contribution of $25,000 again this year to purchase the backpacks, school supplies and art supplies for this year’s program. (MCFL and Friends of the Library are contributing bilingual books, and children can select their favorite titles.

The Learning Bus, a free drop-in mobile program, delivers bilingual activities that support early childhood development through exploration, stories, songs, games, art, and lots of fun. Classes are designed for children up to 5 years old and provide a great opportunity for parents to engage with their children while preparing them for school.

MCFL strives to be the preferred place for local children, families and caregivers to connect, learn and grow together. Learn more online about MCFL’s programs for kids.

Would you like to contribute to the Summer Learning Backpacks Program? Your contribution will help fund the distribution of free bilingual books to young children. Check out the Friends of the Marin County Free Library webpage.


Raemona Little Taylor
Deputy Director
Marin County Free Library

3501 Civic Center Drive
San Rafael, CA 94903
(415) 473-2272
Email: Raemona Little Taylor
Library website