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, May 1st, 2017, American Libraries

At Oakland (Calif.) Public Library (OPL), Nina Lindsay, children’s services coordinator and president-elect of the Association for Library Service to Children, manages youth programming across 17 libraries. Lately, her staff members have fielded an unprecedented number of worries from their patrons: Is my family going to be separated? Am I going to be deported? Is Dad ever going to be able to join us?

About a year ago, OPL librarians hung a poster by local artist Micah Bazant of a headscarf-clad woman with the words “Everyone Is Welcome Here.” Bazant designed the poster after OPL librarian Amy Sonnie informed the artist that local literacy class students were routinely harassed on the street. The pair launched the poster in partnership with members of the Alliance of South Asians Taking Action, and Bazant now provides the poster free of charge for noncommercial use.

“We feel that the Library Bill of Rights is very clearly expressed through that statement—‘Everyone is welcome here,’” says Lindsay. “It’s important for us to make visible [those] communities who otherwise may feel marginalized.”

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Monday, May 1st, 2017, Bike East Bay

Oakland Public Library (OPL) has creatively and innovatively made bike-friendly spaces for employees and patrons at their 18 locations. From community bike shop The Shed at the MLK Branch to kamishibai - children’s storytelling on the back of a bike - to good old indoor bike parking, OPL supports what staff and community like, want, and need. Lots of employees bike to work, so lots of branches have ever-improving bike parking, pumps and locks, tools, and even shower facilities available.

OPL goes above and beyond to promote bicycling, by supporting librarians professionally sharing their passion for bikes. Additionally, OPL is building a network and a conversation about the role of libraries in public space and as sources of free information, and sends librarians to present and learn at non-library events, such as the California Bicycle Summit. Mana and Emily have been producing a series of webinars for other libraries to share approaches for being bike-friendly.

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Thursday, March 16th, 2017, The Mercury News

Libraries have always responded to what the community needs, says Winifred Walters, community relations specialist for the Oakland Public Library. For instance, she notes the popular tool lending library near the Temescal branch, which emerged as a response to the 1991 Oakland hills fire that destroyed thousands of homes.

“We got the idea that we could lend tools to people working on rebuilding their homes,” she says. “But it’s become a core service. There are lines out the door regularly.”

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Wednesday, March 15th, 2017, Hoodline

If you live in Oakland and haven't filed your taxes yet, don't worry; in partnership with AARP, Oakland Public Library is offering free tax filing assistance at its Main, Eastmont, Golden Gate and Cesar Chavez branches.

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Tuesday, March 14th, 2017, Oakland Tribune/East Bay Times

How about toy fire trucks, dump trucks and recycling trucks, even? The Oakland Public Library has all those and more, available for check-out at a growing number of branches.

They are all part of the toy lending library, now in its second year with no end in sight. The library has exhausted the Pacific Library Partnership Innovations & Technology Grant provided in 2014 to establish one of only a very few public library toy programs in the country, but the program’s success has led to its now being included in the library’s collection budget.

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Monday, March 13th, 2017, Library Journal

Working with OPL administrators, Propernick and Burnette found grants to pay for tools and parts, including free helmets. Between 20 and 40 youths attend the clinics. More than 500 bikes have been repaired and 1,000 flats fixed, Turbak says. Burnette, who is also president of the Original Scraper Bike Team, a community-oriented group that works with kids 12–18 to repair, decorate, and customize their bicycles, joined the 81st Avenue Branch in December 2014.

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Tuesday, February 28th, 2017, East Bay Times

Patrons and librarians at the Oakland Public Library’s Dimond branch have given way to carpenters, painters and other workers while the building undergoes a face-lift.

The branch at 3565 Fruitvale Ave. closed for renovation in December and is scheduled to reopen around the end of May.

This marks the first refurbishing of the building since it opened 36 years ago. Funds for the $600,000 remodeling project have come from donations and foundation grants. Friends of the Dimond Library, a volunteer group that assists the branch, has raised $40,000 of the $50,000 needed to buy new furniture, said supervising librarian Mary Schrader.

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Wednesday, February 15th, 2017, Oakland North

Members of organizations such as the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU); Speak Out Now, an East Bay revolutionary socialist group; the Oakland Public LibraryShowing Up for Racial Justice (SURJ),  a national network organizing white people for racial justice; and Narika set up information tables to speak to attendees about registering as volunteers, signing petitions, or how to donate or get involved in local activism.

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Friday, February 10th, 2017, KQED

It’s story time at the Dimond Branch of the Oakland Public Library, and librarian Miriam Medow sits before a group of about 30 kids and parents — black, white, Latino, Asian American and Arab American. First Medow leads them in a song where everyone gets to blow raspberries, and then she reads about the all-animal cast in Mr. Tiger Goes Wild. Medow says one of the toughest parts of her job is finding enough books that reflect this very diverse neighborhood.

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Thursday, January 26th, 2017, San Francisco Chronicle

Librarians, however, who have never subscribed to the book’s motto that “ignorance is strength,” will be glad to let card-carrying citizens borrow “1984” for free. Patience is required. In Oakland, only four of 20 print copies were available to be checked out Thursday. There were nine holds on two e-book copies.

“It appears to be a very popular title right now,” said Oakland community relations librarian Sharon McKellar. “You might see this for a new book, but it’s unusual for a classic.”

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