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, January 26th, 2018, Oakland North

In the meeting room at the Oakland Public Library’s Cesar Chavez Branch, girls grades 6 to 12 gather for their Tuesday club meeting. They remove their school backpacks and power on the laptops provided by the library. With some instruction from their club advisor, they immerse themselves in learning a new language: the language of coding.

This Girls Who Code club is one of the hundreds nationwide. This particular club location was launched four years ago. During each school year, from 5 pm to 7 pm, the girls come to the library to hang out and code with each other. January 23 was the first meeting for the spring school quarter.

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Friday, January 12th, 2018, Ed Week

National news about institutionalized racism, including in the law enforcement sector, have led to searing debates about the different ways in which communities of color experience policing.

Now, a group of Oakland, Calif., librarians have created an online toolkit aimed at helping other librarians, teachers, and other educators scrutinize children's books that depict the police—and think about where they may be coming up short.

Amy Martin, the children's collection management librarian for the Oakland Public Library, said she started working on the toolkit in 2016 in the days following the killing of Philando Castile by a police officer in Minnesota, which was recorded by his girlfriend and then went viral online. She started by going through her own library's collection of books about community helpers—firefighters, teachers, and so forth—and found patterns in how they discussed law enforcement.

"When they talk about police officers, they are consistently very positive about how police officers keep people safe. And that's the ideal, but not the reality that we always see," she said. 

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Friday, December 8th, 2017, Oakland North

Erin Sanders, branch manager at the Golden Gate Library, has helped develop community programming in partnership with the project. “There’s sort of this institutional veil that people see museums, archives and libraries as housing stories of ‘important’ people,” said Sanders. “That’s why this project is so interesting, because it’s community driven—all of the material will be from the community, and it is based on participation from the community.”

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Friday, November 3rd, 2017, KQED Forum

Olivia the Pig. Corduroy the Bear. Fancy Nancy. Captain Underpants. These are just some of the colorful characters who have captured kids’ imaginations over the years. What are your children’s favorite books? We ask our listeners – especially our tiniest ones! – for suggestions on the best children’s books, from classics to the latest selection.

Amy Martin, children’s collection librarian, Oakland Public Library
Christian Robinson, children’s book illustrator
Lauren Savage, owner, The Reading Bug, a children’s bookstore in San Carlos
Sara Wigglesworth, children’s book buyer, Green Apple Books

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Thursday, November 2nd, 2017, Oakland North

In the center of the room stood Miriam Medow, the children’s librarian, dressed for the occasion as a fuzzy blue dinosaur. She welcomed the kids with a song—“Come on and join the game, you’ll find that it’s always the same”—and had them follow along as she acted out different animal sounds.

Although the event drew a smaller crowd than usual—the library expects between 60 to 80 people each week for the Tuesday night story time—Medow was pleased with the turnout. “I wasn’t sure that they would show up,” she said. “It’s always beautiful to see people come together at the library, and on Halloween no less.”

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Tuesday, October 10th, 2017, School Library Journal

While our libraries boast open doors and diverse collections, we began to ask: What more could we do?

We started with a visible message of inclusion and support. Shortly after this incident, we collaborated with local artist Micah Bazant to develop “Everyone Is Welcome Here,” a bold poster featuring a Muslim woman wearing a headscarf. Since early 2016, thousands of these have been distributed in print and online, giving businesses, libraries, and schools a clear way to stand against fear and hate.

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Tuesday, October 3rd, 2017, School Library Journal

A bike program can be as simple as storing a tire pump on-site and loaning bicycle locks—or as complex as loaning out bikes, says Emily Weak, a librarian at the Oakland (CA) Public Library (OPL), which has a variety of bike-related activities. These services include a shipping container–turned–bike repair shop behind OPL’s Martin Luther King Jr. branch where the members of the Original Scraper Bike Team—an East Oakland youth mentoring organization—meet to fix and decorate their bikes. 

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Wednesday, August 9th, 2017, East Bay Times

“This remodel was a real community effort. It wouldn’t have happened without community participation and input, as well as money,” said Mary Schrader, supervising librarian in charge of the renovation. “It’s been so long since we’ve done any kind of upgrade and we’re so pleased to share this with the community, so I think the community deserves a party.”

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Wednesday, August 2nd, 2017, KQED

A section of Rodriguez’s new Requiem Sinfonica (Requiem Without Words) premiered at Awesome Orchestra Collective’s open session outside the Oakland Public Library Tuesday evening. While traditional requiems — masses for the dead — are usually composed with giant choirs, Rodriguez says the voiceless, instrument-only tribute serves as a poignant reminder of the lives lost seven months ago.

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Tuesday, August 1st, 2017, East Bay Express

Best Place to Borrow a Dowling Jig or a Chainsaw 

Tool Lending Library

Located at the Telegraph Avenue branch of Oakland’s public library, the epic practicality of this place pairs well with its democratic approach to building stuff and making things. Instead of books, the main draw of the tool library is its selection of more than 5,000 machines, apparatuses, and hand tools that will help you get your jobs done — although there are also how-to books and videos to learn from. The tool library is now seventeen-years-old and strong. You have to be an Oakland, Emeryville, or Piedmont resident to borrow, and there’s a few other simple rules, such as no more than three power tools at a time can be checked out. Also, make sure you understand how to safely operate or use whatever cutting, smashing, or twisting device you elect to borrow. And have fun with your projects! 

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