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 13th, 2014, Inside Bay Area

My tomatoes ripened all at once this summer, and I've got more than I can devour. No problem. A crop swap will take place from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m Saturday at the Dimond Library, 3565 Fruitvale Ave. I'll be looking for zucchini.

Garden-related programs are popular at the Dimond Library. Last summer, Urban Adamah, the sustainable gardening project from Berkeley, put on a worm composting program for kids at the library. It's not often children get to take home books and worms together. It's eco-literacy, hands-on style.

More programs are scheduled this fall: a seed gathering class on Oct. 11, led by Carmen Cortez, a local permaculturist and a Nov. 1 seed exchange.


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Wednesday, July 23rd, 2014, The California Report

School's out for summer, and for some kids that can mean carefree summer days. But for many kids in California, summer means going hungry or eating unhealthily.

Thousands of schools, community centers and libraries in California serve kids meals in the summer - for free. But they only reached 400,000 youth last July, about 1 in 5 children who qualify for free or reduced price lunch during the school year.

The "TeenZone" of Oakland's Main Library is one of the nearly 4,000 meal sites in California. Brian Boies manages the space, which features video games, Top 40 music, and art projects - in addition to stacks of books.

A few minutes after noon, Boies walks around the room and asks kids a question: "Would you like a lunch?"

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Monday, July 7th, 2014, School Library Journal

Oakland Public Library began serving summer meals in 2011 at two branches in east Oakland. “Now, we’re [running meal programs] in more than a dozen branches, says Susan Maldonado, a teen services librarian at Oakland. “Our role is more and more to serve as community centers.” While outside of traditional library services, providing food to hungry citizens is “another way we can serve the community,” she says.

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Saturday, July 5th, 2014, Oakland Local

What does the Oakland Public Library (OPL) have going on that you need to know about but don’t? Chances are a whole heck of a lot. I walked into the Main Branch one recent afternoon and left with my spirit soaring and my eyes aloft, feeling like a born-again member- and I’m here to spread the gospel.\

Want to read the latest issue of the Economist (or, ahem, US Weekly) on your phone or tablet? Just reach for your OPL card. You have full access to those magazines and an extensive database of others for free with your OPL membership.

Thinking of gardening this summer and eager to start growing your own vegetables or expand your current vegetable garden? Start by heading to a Seed Lending Library for free seeds.

Hoping to take your sweetie on a date to see the latest exhibit at San Francisco’s Asian Art Museum? Flex that OPL card again and save $30 by printing a free museum pass for two to that museum—or a free or significantly discounted pass to a whole host of others.

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Wednesday, June 11th, 2014, Inside Bay Area

Shames and Jacobs are pleased to be participating in this library event, citing their wish to support public libraries and enjoying the interest and appreciation shown by the audiences.

"I love doing events at libraries. I find they are well run by people who really like books and who are appreciative and supportive of authors," Jacobs said. "Most of my books, including this latest, are set in the east Bay Area, and it's fun talking to readers who are familiar with the terrain."

Shames concurred, adding that library events are her favorites.

"I am never disappointed in library events; there's always a big crowd and people are always very eager, alert, ready to ask questions and know about your book," she said. "There's something about library readers; they're really serious."

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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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