You know when you meet someone or go to a place (bar / restaurant / hotel) for the first time and you just like them / it? They could drool or might not carry your favorite condiment but you’d explain it away as something eclectically cool. “They don’t carry mustard here because it changes the taste response of their Norwegian yeast”. Well, thats what I do for the Mill Valley Library. Winner chicken dinner!
I only spent an afternoon here so I don’t have the details like some of the others, but here is the net net. Go. Period. After one date (ie. a 2 hour session), I’d recommend this place to anyone. Here’s why….
Its located at the base of Mount Tamalpais, thru downtown Mill Valley. Parking is decent, although as far as suburbs go I’m sure some would complain (I had to circle once to find a spot….I know, rough). The building is surrounded by huge mature douglas firs. Its a very natural setting and the building sort of blends in. I’m not an architect but I’d say there’s some Craftsmen influences involved. They did a fantastic job ensuring the trees felt included in the function of the building.
When you walk in, its almost like an A-frame lodge in Yosemite or something. Huge ceiling, big beams, well lit and then you notice the trees almost immediately. They have these large floor to ceiling windows that really opens the place up. You almost feel like you’re in a giant tree house. After a quick scope, I broke towards the big tables to the left. Lots of big tables in the middle (maybe 10). I settled on a spot near a window (my airplane and restaurant seating preference).
Another floor plug configuration, get on those knees! I couldn’t even pretend to do the seated reach down, thats how deep it was. Standard wooden chair so I’m currently debating if I bring my own cushion like a 90 yr old man, eat more fat, or always wear biking shorts. Great lighting, lots of natural white creating some natural energy to get stuff done. There was some chi going on in here people! Wireless worked well, never noticed a glitch. Plenty of room to put my stuff without feeling concerned someone would squeeze next to me.
Mostly middle aged folks with some artistic nuances and a couple “youngish professionals” (late 30s – early 40s) with macs. Lots of laptops and probably a handful of moms with tikes. Its not a set of people that would make you stop typing and stare unfortunately. Sadly I miss those people. But, you’ll get stuff done and won’t have to worry about someone inappropriately “loud whispering” to you about what WIFI means (this happened at the SF main library). Its a pretty innocuous group.
No one is checking books folks, no one.
Food options are a 15 minute walk into town. Once there you’ve got a handful of options that are tasty – from flatbread goodness to burritos and sandos.
There is a river that runs past the back of the library. For breaks, you can walk out the back and within about a minute can feel like you’re camping. Seriously, I’m not joking. Huge trees, a running stream, and that smell of outdoors you can only get driving 6 hours to the woods. There are a couple places to sit and chill out. Occasional drum circles may emerge, so don’t be afraid to hang it out.
Wait, I wrote this whole thing being positive. Thats how good this place is. If it can change me it can change you.