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Best-Looking Library San Francisco 2005 -

Marin Civic Center

3501 Civic Center (at Avenue of the Flags), Fourth Floor, San Rafael, 499-6056, www.marincenter.org

Many people live in the Bay Area without ever realizing that there's a gigantic, beautiful building designed by Frank Lloyd Wright in Marin County. The Civic Center is a sprawling flying saucer with all the playful details the architect is famous for, but the library on the fourth floor is the most fun. You'll find tons of Wright information here, of course, but you can also search for other subjects in the round-edged, golden jester-balled, tastefully lit rooms that he built. This library contains Marin's largest collection of business reference information along with a fine selection of art displayed in the Dome Gallery; in addition, its California History Room is a treasure trove of (noncirculating) material for the local researcher. After you've found a book, head over to the cafeteria and admire Wright's jaunty wraparound porch while you enjoy an old-school sandwich.

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