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, October 31st, 2014, Oakland Magazine

For librarian Gerry Garzon, there is nothing more important than reading.

“Two-thirds of our third-graders read below their grade level, and it’s even worse for Latino and African-American kids. Right now I’m involved with the Oakland Reads 2020 initiative, a project that envisions an Oakland where at least 85 percent of students are reading at grade level by the end of third grade in 2020. Why third grade? Because that’s when kids shift from learning to read to using reading as a tool for learning, and if they don’t read well at that point, they’re less likely to catch up.

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Thursday, October 9th, 2014, Oakland North

Many of Elkin’s poems touch on her difficult childhood, but her delivery was confident on this September afternoon— the verses of the last poem almost tumbling out of her mouth, her arms tucked defensively close to her sides so that only the tips of her tattoos peeked around her forearms.

A slouchy, tattooed kid on an unconventional path may not be the most common image associated with the word “laureate,” but the Youth Poet Laureate program exists precisely to shed light on the potential of young Oaklanders like Elkin and their inevitably varied experiences. “We think of it as a spider web across our community,” said Lana Adlawan, Supervising Librarian for Teen Services at the Oakland Public Library. “We each do our part to help youth in Oakland, but this brings it together.”

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Wednesday, October 1st, 2014, Oakland North

As Vicky Chen, the teen librarian at the Rockridge Library Branch, attempted to settle the chaotic rush of middle school students visiting the youth section after school, a student suddenly asked, “Ms. Vicky, how can a book be banned?”

Chen, along with other Oakland librarians, highlighted banned books at their respective branches by creating displays for Banned Books Week, which ran from September 21 to 27, an annual event that celebrates the freedom to read. At the Rockridge branch, Chen’s display is in a small corner of the teen section: bright yellow caution tape surrounding a few plastic shelf slots with banned graphic novels and chapter books including Maus by Art Spiegelman, Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi and a book from the Twilight saga.

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Sunday, September 28th, 2014, Oakland Local

At-risk youth (or rather at-promise youth, as BRL puts it) build self-esteem, creative and critical thinking skills, coping strategies, and trust through BRL’s programs. As demonstrated by their pilot program, the young men who participated in the Hip Hop Therapy group reported feeling more confident and less likely to engage in risky behaviors.

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Wednesday, September 10th, 2014, Oakland North

Schnabel works with the city's Library Education and Arts program (LEAP), a collaboration between the Oakland Public Library and MOCHA, the city's Museum of Children's Art. Aimed at kids without ready access to art classes, the free afterschool art programs encourage children to paint, draw, sculpt, and use a variety of other art media. The program's 2014-2015 season began last Wednesday at eight Oakland Public Library branches, and will run through August 2015.

Working with officials from the city's public library system, the nonprofit museum launched LEAP in 2010 in response to the decline of art instruction in schools. "Art in the schools in Oakland is something that's seen as non-essential, so I'm really happy the library can do this," said Helen Bloch, Librariand and Children's Room Manager at the Main Library.

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Tuesday, September 9th, 2014, Fast Company

The tool-lending program in Oakland is the third oldest affiliated with a library in the U.S, Raymond says when he has a moment to speak the next day. Founded in 2000, it's so popular that the library is seeking a new, larger space to house the 3,500-tool (and growing) collection.

Elsewhere in the Oakland library, the emphasis has shifted over the past 10 years from books and traditional audio materials to online and digital resources like e-books. But in the Tool Lending Library, analog rules.

"(The tools) are old things that are very popular and becoming more popular," Raymond says. "It's how the post-book library is going to function."

Raymond says the tool-lending program makes the library more relatable for people who might otherwise perceive librarians as "gatekeepers of knowledge" and opens the collection as a new type of community resource. Because of the tools' success, Oakland is developing a pilot program for lending children's toys.

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Friday, August 22nd, 2014, Oakland Tribune

The Oakland Public Library is partnering with Community Technology Network to offer a free workforce development program for Oakland youth and young adults.

They will learn how to use graphic and web technologies, as well as social media and graphic design tools in Ready, Set, Connect!

Mentors from local technology companies will help them in resume creation, job search skills and interviewing. As a way to bridge the technology gap, students from bilingual families are encouraged to participate.

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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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