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, 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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Friday, January 10th, 2014, Library Journal

McKellar and other staff at the Oakland Public Library have been collecting notes and other items found in between pages of books or left on the floors and tables of the library for years. (You can get a look at some of their favorite finds in the gallery below this post.)

“As library staff members, I think we have a natural affinity towards ephemera, stories, pieces of paper,” McKellar said.

McKellar got the idea to document the library staff’s collection of these objects when she stumbled on the website for Found Magazine, which documents found items. (There’s also a Tumblr account, Found in a Library Book, which has a similar purpose.)

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Friday, January 3rd, 2014, Oakland Tribune

Oakland City Hall has achieved an important milestone, and the Main Library's History Room exhibit, "Oakland City Hall Centennial, 1914-2014," relates the saga of how this landmark was built, highlighting some of the major events in and around this unique structure.

Featured in the display are images of previous City Halls, floor plans and renderings of the current building, plus news articles, building statistics, and vintage photos and postcard views.

It is interesting that throughout its 160-year history, Oakland has had five different city halls. The first two were rented spaces, dating from the 1850s and '60s. Both were on upper floors of commercial buildings on Broadway, the first between Second and Third streets from 1852 to 1867, and the second between Seventh and Eighth streets from 1867 to 1871.


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Saturday, December 28th, 2013, San Francisco Chronicle

For decades librarians at Oakland's main library have collected the scraps of paper ephemera left behind in returned books, shoved into nooks in the library shelves or secretly slipped to librarians.

The collection ranges from half-done to-do lists to childish notes about gossip and crushes passed in the hush of the library children's room. There are letters of adult love and tragic scrawlings of lonely longing, perhaps used as bookmarks in pulpy romance novels.

The stories in the scraps are known only to the people who left them behind. Some notes are found on the floor or tables of the lbirary at the end of the day. Others are found when librarians thin the collection of books or check in returned items.

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Monday, December 23rd, 2013, Oakland North

 It’s not your average Saturday afternoon in the “teen room” at Rockridge Public Library. Carl Holland walks down a row of computers, peering over the shoulders of people navigating Covered California’s website.

“How are we doing over here?” he asks Lawrence Lincoln, an Alameda resident who has hit a snag in his pursuit of health insurance through the online exchange. A self-employed contractor, proving income is complicated for Lincoln, and he’ll have to produce more documents to get a price estimate. Holland plots strategy with Lincoln; others up and down the row wait for help too. More people wait for a computer in a line that snakes out the door.

Everyone came for information about the insurance options available thanks to the Affordable Care Act – just two days before the first enrollment deadline. At the same time, all across Oakland residents have flocked to other workshops held by volunteers and community organizations working to get California’s uninsured acclimated to the new system.

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Friday, December 6th, 2013, Iserotope

So I countered. “How about doing our own book fair?” The principal agreed but wondered how we would pull it off. “Won’t it be a lot of work?”

It turns out, no, it didn’t take a lot of work. Actually, it was pretty easy, thanks to the wonderful teen librarians at the Oakland Public Library. The vice principal and I called up Brian Boies, the lead TeenZone librarian, and his staff pulled 150 high-interest titles (both fiction and nonfiction) for us to borrow for the book fair. I drove over in my Honda Civic and loaded the back seat with mountains of books.

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Sunday, November 24th, 2013, Oakland Tribune

The African American Museum and Library of Oakland, or AAMLO, is housed in a 100-year-old city landmark that is also listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

AAMLO is a non-circulating library dedicated to preserving the history and experiences of people of color in Northern California, and a research archive containing diaries, correspondence and family photos belonging to African-Americans.

It is featured in a new book, "Here Tomorrow, Preserving Architecture, Culture, and California's Golden Dream," published by the California Preservation Foundation, a nonprofit advocacy group based in San Francisco that for the past 30 years has bestowed design awards on those who have excelled in restoration and creative reuse.


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Thursday, November 21st, 2013, Oakland Tribune

Lana Adlawan, Teen Services Librarian, says, “the Teen Zone is built on a culture of acceptance, where all are welcomed and respected.” Signs demarcating the hater-free space are posted on the walls around the room.

The library is very successful at bringing in teens to use its services. Lana says it’s not enough to just get teens in the door. If you want them coming back, she says, you have to consider how to keep them engaged. Innovation and out-of-the-box thinking is the key to keeping teens interested and involved. It’s this unique approach that led Teen Outreach librarian Amy Sonnie to hook up a custom-built mobile library to her bike to ride around this year’s Life is Living Festival.

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