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.

Tuesday, June 3rd, 2014, Live Work Oakland

Echa Schneider, web developer at Oakland Public Library, used to hang out in Reed College’s rec room dropping quarters into a pinball machine. It was Medieval Madness, she remembers, and the object of the game was to  knock over a castle. A Classics major from Texas and Louisiana, she was roped in by the ecstatic noise, the flashing lights,  the wobble of flippers, and the tilting, what she calls “artful nudging.” It launched her into the world of pinball, and soon tech, where it’s all about taking a plunge. “I just start,” she says. “I love figuring it out, playing the game to figure out the rules.”

Echa has been helping the library figure out how to stay ready and relevant as e-book readers gain popularity. Expectations are high, she says, and you don’t want to be stuck with a static, “janky” website. Working with limited resources, she helps card holders find what they’re looking for by sprucing up the library’s online catalog and blogs.  She’s also led Oaklanders to free programs like Discover & Go, which offers discount passes to local museums, and OPL’s Summer Reading camp.

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Sunday, June 1st, 2014, Oakland Tribune

"All the library locations will be featuring live entertainment and fun activities to lure kids in," said Community Relations Librarian Sharon McKellar. "As added incentive, prizes will be given to all children who reach reading goals."

The program began June 14 and will continue through Aug. 9.

Don't count yourself in the child demographic? Well, there is an Adult Summer Reading Program going on as well, says Adult Services Librarian Kathleen DiGiovanni. "We have raffle prizes for participants," said DiGiovanni. "If you read a book and write a review, or do three other library activities, you could win a Kindle Fire, or a Clipper card, or a Fenton's ice cream gift card.

As in past years, there are special incentives for teens to sign up. As part of the teen program, participants are encouraged to explore their community and collect passport stamps. An End of Summer Party at the Oakland Main Library TeenZone is planned Aug. 16. Drawings and door prizes will be the featured attraction says Lana Adlawan, head of teen services.


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Friday, May 2nd, 2014, Book Riot

In case you need any more reason to join the #WeNeedDiverseBooks campaign, here are some amazing photos from the Oakland Library via their Twitter feed.

Oakland librarians, including Amy Martin, created signs and the "We need diverse books because..." template and had kids fill in their thoughts during a class visit. The results are inspiring and, best of all, genuine. These are some smart kids, folks. We should listen to them.

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Tuesday, April 15th, 2014, NY Journal of Books

The most memorable essay is provided by Dorothy Lazard of the Oakland Public Library. She recalls as a 10 year old helping her grandmother in a care home for adults with psychological problems, not knowing that she would use many of these same skills (patience, compassion, stamina) as a librarian, practicing “seva”, the Sikh notion of selfless service.

“We know we are hopelessly unqualified to treat what ails many of the people who pass through our doors,” Ms. Lazard writes. “There is deterioration all around us, yet we carry on, providing service to the underserved, a patient ear to the unheard. We are acting as the last outposts of community space.”

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Thursday, March 20th, 2014, VOYA

Amy shared the teen services department’s philosophy on emerging technologies and social media: “We prioritize experimentation and thoughtful evaluation of new technologies that we think will help inform our practice and reach new audiences.  At the time we adopted Pinterest around two years ago, it was gaining popularity, but not necessarily with teen audiences.  We saw an opportunity to try something new that might help us provide readers’ advisor in a more visually engaging way.”

At that time, the library was in the process of transitioning from their old web platform to Drupal.  The librarians needed to update reading lists and record teen culture in their space.  Pinterest seemed a great way to share the photos and to highlight aspects of the collection, and it was a far faster way to put lists together then would be possible with a formal web platform.

Within the first year, the TeenZone Pinterest audience exceeded the one they’d been building on Facebook.

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Friday, February 28th, 2014, Oakland Tribune

For more than 130 years, Oakland residents have had access to a public library that today has grown with a citywide network of branches.

The system goes back to 1878, but the branches range in age from the oldest, the former Greene Library, built in the early 1900s, to the newest, the 81st Ave. Branch, completed in 2011 and comanaged with the Oakland United School District.

The Main Library, at 125 14th St. near Lake Merritt, is the system's center and the historic former Greene Library at 659 14th St. was the city's second main library from 1902 to 1951. It is now the African American Museum and Library. Sixteen other branches serve residents around the city.

According to the history files, six of the library buildings are city landmarks, including the Golden Gate, Temescal and Melrose branches originally funded through the Andrew Carnegie Foundation.


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Wednesday, February 12th, 2014, Oakland Local

The Caldecott Medal is awarded annually “to the artist of the most distinguished American picture book for children” published during the past year.  This year’s winner isLocomotive, written and illustrated by Brian Floca. Silver-medal Honor Books were Journey, written and illustrated by Aaron Becker; Flora the Flamingo, written and illustrated by Molly Idle; and Mr. Wuffles, written and illustrated by David Wiesner.

And Oakland was there. Miriam Medow, Children’s Librarian at the Lakeview Branch of the Oakland Public Library and devoted client of the East Bay Children’s Book Project, was one of the members of the selection committee.

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Wednesday, February 5th, 2014, Inside Bay Area

At the third annual -- but first ever in the Bay Area -- "90-Second Newbery Film Festival" at the Rockridge Branch of the Oakland Public Library beginning at 12 p.m. Saturday, imagination will run rampant as festival director James Kennedy co-hosts a screening with three-time Newbery honor winner, author Jennifer Holm.

The Newbery awards, consisting of one medal-winning book and two to five honor books, have been given by the American Library Association since 1922. Selected by librarians, recognition as "most distinguished American children's book" in any given year can cause the top winner to jump like a grasshopper into reader's hands and soar onto bestseller lists -- or into the wild world of cinema, with Kennedy's rollicking, curated-according-to-content festival.

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Wednesday, January 22nd, 2014, KALW

Pulling a pyramid-shaped bookcase on a trailer behind her bike, Tominaga is bringing about 50 books to Libros Libres, an event that promotes literacy by loaning books to anyone who wants them. Today the selection is mostly children’s literature, but it changes for different events and includes books that are in popular demand. All of the books can be checked out on the spot. 

"We're hoping that it will be a nice reminder to visit their local library, and also, just a way to get books into the hands of readers without a lot of obstacles," Tominaga says. "We can't do mobile library card applications just yet and this is the next best thing."

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Wednesday, January 22nd, 2014, KALW

But the problem is, many people have no idea that they’re even eligible. So Calfresh is trying to reach out, and one place they’re doing that is at the Asian Branch of the Oakland Public Library. For nearly a decade, the Food Bank has been offering application assistance to some of Oakland’s most vulnerable residents: immigrants who are not native English speakers. The Food Bank’s multilingual outreach staff visit the bustling Chinatown library each month to provide counseling in Cantonese, Mandarin, and Vietnamese.

Patrons of all ages fill the single-story space: they’re browsing the shelves, reading Chinese language newspapers, using the computers, and socializing. It’s the busiest branch in the Oakland library system—located in the heart of Chinatown.

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