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.

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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Tuesday, January 21st, 2014, KALW

If you head southeast from the Lakeview Library, way down to the 80s blocks of International Boulevard, be sure to take a turn at 88th to visit the Elmhurst branch of the Oakland Library. You'll have to look closely—this library is in a small converted house. Elmhurst operates like any other public library: books to check out, computers to use, and a children's program. But it's got a problem: most kids can’t get to it very easily. The Elmhurst branch is trying to fix that.

On a recent afternoon, toddlers from the neighborhood are gathered in the Children’s Room of the library for a special story time with shadow puppets and musical instruments.

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Friday, January 10th, 2014, KQED

Have you ever wondered what happens to the papers, notes and impromptu bookmarks that you leave in your library books? Well, if you’re a patron of the Oakland Public Library, you’re about to find out.

Librarian Sharon McKellar says she began saving the ephemera she found in books even before she started working at Oakland’s library in 2003.

McKellar manages the library’s blog, and one day it occurred to her that other people might enjoy the pictures and “to do” lists she finds stuck in returned books.

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