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.

Monday, November 24th, 2014, School Library Journal

Overall, Lindsay says, the emphasis on nutrition and food has had a positive response from patrons.

“We get a huge thank you from kids and their parents,” she says, attributing its success to the library’s ability to foster a sense of community. “It makes the library feel much more like their home. It adds to that quality of the third space.”

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Sunday, November 16th, 2014, Oakland Tribune

Utilizing funds from a California State Library grant, the library staff has digitized more than 8,000 pages of manuscripts and 200-plus photographs related to civil rights, women's history, Negro baseball leagues and the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters.

The online resources include the entire collection of noted civil rights and labor leader C.L. Dellums, who is the uncle of former Oakland Mayor Ronald Dellums. There are photographs and administrative records of the West Coast Negro Baseball Association and historical records of the California State Association of Colored Women's Clubs.

Twenty years of the official newsletter of a black masons organization, the Prince Hall Grand Lodge of California, are also now available online, says Sean Heyliger, the African American Library's archivist, who is in charge of the digitalization project.

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Wednesday, November 5th, 2014, San Jose Mercury News

Friends of Rockridge Library (FORL) want to promote the idea that a lot can happen at your public library and on Saturday, participants in "Seasoning to Taste with Linda Carucci" will even be able to eat at the library.

Described as "Tasting, testing, tempting: all at the library," the morning workshop is just another way that the volunteer-run, 501(c)(3) organization wants to put the spotlight on Rockridge Library as a place that's so much more than books. Having put their efforts into funding children and teen resources, FORL decided it was time to sponsor some adult programs.


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Friday, October 31st, 2014, Oakland Magazine

For librarian Gerry Garzon, there is nothing more important than reading.

“Two-thirds of our third-graders read below their grade level, and it’s even worse for Latino and African-American kids. Right now I’m involved with the Oakland Reads 2020 initiative, a project that envisions an Oakland where at least 85 percent of students are reading at grade level by the end of third grade in 2020. Why third grade? Because that’s when kids shift from learning to read to using reading as a tool for learning, and if they don’t read well at that point, they’re less likely to catch up.

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Thursday, October 9th, 2014, Oakland North

Many of Elkin’s poems touch on her difficult childhood, but her delivery was confident on this September afternoon— the verses of the last poem almost tumbling out of her mouth, her arms tucked defensively close to her sides so that only the tips of her tattoos peeked around her forearms.

A slouchy, tattooed kid on an unconventional path may not be the most common image associated with the word “laureate,” but the Youth Poet Laureate program exists precisely to shed light on the potential of young Oaklanders like Elkin and their inevitably varied experiences. “We think of it as a spider web across our community,” said Lana Adlawan, Supervising Librarian for Teen Services at the Oakland Public Library. “We each do our part to help youth in Oakland, but this brings it together.”

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Wednesday, October 1st, 2014, Oakland North

As Vicky Chen, the teen librarian at the Rockridge Library Branch, attempted to settle the chaotic rush of middle school students visiting the youth section after school, a student suddenly asked, “Ms. Vicky, how can a book be banned?”

Chen, along with other Oakland librarians, highlighted banned books at their respective branches by creating displays for Banned Books Week, which ran from September 21 to 27, an annual event that celebrates the freedom to read. At the Rockridge branch, Chen’s display is in a small corner of the teen section: bright yellow caution tape surrounding a few plastic shelf slots with banned graphic novels and chapter books including Maus by Art Spiegelman, Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi and a book from the Twilight saga.

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Sunday, September 28th, 2014, Oakland Local

At-risk youth (or rather at-promise youth, as BRL puts it) build self-esteem, creative and critical thinking skills, coping strategies, and trust through BRL’s programs. As demonstrated by their pilot program, the young men who participated in the Hip Hop Therapy group reported feeling more confident and less likely to engage in risky behaviors.

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Wednesday, September 10th, 2014, Oakland North

Schnabel works with the city's Library Education and Arts program (LEAP), a collaboration between the Oakland Public Library and MOCHA, the city's Museum of Children's Art. Aimed at kids without ready access to art classes, the free afterschool art programs encourage children to paint, draw, sculpt, and use a variety of other art media. The program's 2014-2015 season began last Wednesday at eight Oakland Public Library branches, and will run through August 2015.

Working with officials from the city's public library system, the nonprofit museum launched LEAP in 2010 in response to the decline of art instruction in schools. "Art in the schools in Oakland is something that's seen as non-essential, so I'm really happy the library can do this," said Helen Bloch, Librariand and Children's Room Manager at the Main Library.

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Tuesday, September 9th, 2014, Fast Company

The tool-lending program in Oakland is the third oldest affiliated with a library in the U.S, Raymond says when he has a moment to speak the next day. Founded in 2000, it's so popular that the library is seeking a new, larger space to house the 3,500-tool (and growing) collection.

Elsewhere in the Oakland library, the emphasis has shifted over the past 10 years from books and traditional audio materials to online and digital resources like e-books. But in the Tool Lending Library, analog rules.

"(The tools) are old things that are very popular and becoming more popular," Raymond says. "It's how the post-book library is going to function."

Raymond says the tool-lending program makes the library more relatable for people who might otherwise perceive librarians as "gatekeepers of knowledge" and opens the collection as a new type of community resource. Because of the tools' success, Oakland is developing a pilot program for lending children's toys.

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Friday, August 22nd, 2014, Oakland Tribune

The Oakland Public Library is partnering with Community Technology Network to offer a free workforce development program for Oakland youth and young adults.

They will learn how to use graphic and web technologies, as well as social media and graphic design tools in Ready, Set, Connect!

Mentors from local technology companies will help them in resume creation, job search skills and interviewing. As a way to bridge the technology gap, students from bilingual families are encouraged to participate.

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