OPL in the News

Below, you can read selected media stories showcasing Oakland Public Library programs and staff. To view an archive of press releases from the library, click here.

Wednesday, August 9th, 2017, East Bay Times

“This remodel was a real community effort. It wouldn’t have happened without community participation and input, as well as money,” said Mary Schrader, supervising librarian in charge of the renovation. “It’s been so long since we’ve done any kind of upgrade and we’re so pleased to share this with the community, so I think the community deserves a party.”

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Wednesday, August 2nd, 2017, KQED

A section of Rodriguez’s new Requiem Sinfonica (Requiem Without Words) premiered at Awesome Orchestra Collective’s open session outside the Oakland Public Library Tuesday evening. While traditional requiems — masses for the dead — are usually composed with giant choirs, Rodriguez says the voiceless, instrument-only tribute serves as a poignant reminder of the lives lost seven months ago.

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Tuesday, August 1st, 2017, East Bay Express

Best Place to Borrow a Dowling Jig or a Chainsaw 

Tool Lending Library

Located at the Telegraph Avenue branch of Oakland’s public library, the epic practicality of this place pairs well with its democratic approach to building stuff and making things. Instead of books, the main draw of the tool library is its selection of more than 5,000 machines, apparatuses, and hand tools that will help you get your jobs done — although there are also how-to books and videos to learn from. The tool library is now seventeen-years-old and strong. You have to be an Oakland, Emeryville, or Piedmont resident to borrow, and there’s a few other simple rules, such as no more than three power tools at a time can be checked out. Also, make sure you understand how to safely operate or use whatever cutting, smashing, or twisting device you elect to borrow. And have fun with your projects! 

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Tuesday, August 1st, 2017, East Bay Times

The couple came together with a group of barbers and friends to put together an event modeled after a similar one in San Francisco and hosted it at the main branch of the downtown Oakland Public Library. On Tuesday, they set up shop in the parking lot of the Starline Social Club on Martin Luther King Jr. Way and West Grand Avenue. They want homeless people to be able get a haircut, good meal, new clothes and leave with a sense of dignity and purpose.

Jerome Malvin, of Oakland, homeless for years until he recently moved into the San Pablo Hotel, stopped by for a haircut and a meal.

“It helps me keep my self-esteem up and makes me feel like I can be somebody again,” he said. “I love this.”

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Friday, July 7th, 2017, KQED - California Report

A drag queen and a 4-year-old walk into a public library. It’s not the setup to a joke — it’s Saturday morning in Oakland at the Drag Queen Story Hour.

Hundreds of parents and kids crowded into the Dimond Recreation Center on a recent Saturday to hear drag queen Black Benatar read Pride-themed storybooks.

According to its website, Drag Queen Story Hour is “just what it sounds like — drag queens reading stories to children in libraries, schools and bookstores.” The program started in San Francisco and has spread to cities across the United States.

Miriam Meadow first heard about Drag Queen Story Hour when it was held at the San Francisco Public Library two years ago. She immediately knew she wanted to bring it to the East Bay. Meadow is the children’s librarian at the Dimond Branch Library.

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Thursday, July 6th, 2017, KALW Crosscurrents/Audiograph

Chairs are moved back and strollers pushed outside as kids, toddlers, and parents pack the recreation room. Oakland’s first Drag Queen Story Hour is a hit. More than 300 people show up for story time with Beatrice Thomas, whose alter ego is Black Benatar. 

Dressed in a bright green dress, stilettos, and big, blonde hair, Black Benatar starts off with what she calls a “drag queen primer.” She asks the crowd, “So how does a drag queen say hello?” She demonstrates, and the room laughs and echos back, “He-eyyyyyyy!” And for the real hello, she says, “If you see a really close friend, and gender is not an issue, you go ‘Heyy girrrrrllll!” The crowd calls back, “Hey GIRRRLL!”

By the second book, kids are on their feet at the front of the large circle, jumping and laughing through the story. Some recognize books like “This Day In June,” a story of the annual Pride Parade and everyone who is a part of it. Black Benatar reads, “This day in June, parades start soon. Rainbow arches, joyful marches... Motors roaring, spirits soaring... Woo!”

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Wednesday, June 7th, 2017, East Bay Times

Teaming up with the California State Library, Facebook’s Oculus said Wednesday it hopes to bridge the digital divide by donating 100 sets of Rift headsets, touch controllers and computers to 90 libraries throughout California as part of a new pilot program.

Participating libraries include those in San Jose, Berkeley, Oakland, Sunnyvale, Campbell and other locations in the Bay Area.

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Thursday, June 1st, 2017, East Bay Times

The city’s library is finding new ways to connect to residents, adding  bicycle bookmobiles that staffers pedal to community festivals and hand out free books, while also documenting people’s recollections of a neighborhood quickly changing.

Librarians and supporters rolled out two new bicycle-powered bookmobiles Saturday at the Main Library on 14th Street for a ride down Grand Avenue along Lake Merritt to the Lakeview Branch.

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Monday, May 1st, 2017, American Libraries

At Oakland (Calif.) Public Library (OPL), Nina Lindsay, children’s services coordinator and president-elect of the Association for Library Service to Children, manages youth programming across 17 libraries. Lately, her staff members have fielded an unprecedented number of worries from their patrons: Is my family going to be separated? Am I going to be deported? Is Dad ever going to be able to join us?

About a year ago, OPL librarians hung a poster by local artist Micah Bazant of a headscarf-clad woman with the words “Everyone Is Welcome Here.” Bazant designed the poster after OPL librarian Amy Sonnie informed the artist that local literacy class students were routinely harassed on the street. The pair launched the poster in partnership with members of the Alliance of South Asians Taking Action, and Bazant now provides the poster free of charge for noncommercial use.

“We feel that the Library Bill of Rights is very clearly expressed through that statement—‘Everyone is welcome here,’” says Lindsay. “It’s important for us to make visible [those] communities who otherwise may feel marginalized.”

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Monday, May 1st, 2017, Bike East Bay

Oakland Public Library (OPL) has creatively and innovatively made bike-friendly spaces for employees and patrons at their 18 locations. From community bike shop The Shed at the MLK Branch to kamishibai - children’s storytelling on the back of a bike - to good old indoor bike parking, OPL supports what staff and community like, want, and need. Lots of employees bike to work, so lots of branches have ever-improving bike parking, pumps and locks, tools, and even shower facilities available.

OPL goes above and beyond to promote bicycling, by supporting librarians professionally sharing their passion for bikes. Additionally, OPL is building a network and a conversation about the role of libraries in public space and as sources of free information, and sends librarians to present and learn at non-library events, such as the California Bicycle Summit. Mana and Emily have been producing a series of webinars for other libraries to share approaches for being bike-friendly.

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