Oakland Public Library is participating in California Reads this year. California Reads is a state-wide read, and provides a springboard to think about and discuss ideas using thought-provoking books about issues that are of importance to our state.
This year, the theme is the veteran experience, with two goals:
- increase public understanding and empathy for those who have served
- spark a public conversation on how best we can support the process of reincorporating our veterans into the fabric of civilian life
We're one of 43 libraries throughout California to be awarded the grant, and we're working with some partner agencies to plan programs and a essay contest with Veterans for Peace East Bay and the Unsung Heroes Oral History Project.
The title selected for the read is What It Is Like to Go to War by Karl Marlantes. Marlantes is a Vietnam veteran, a Rhodes Scholar, and the author of the New York Times best-selling novel Matterhorn. His newest book has received much reader and critical acclaim since publication in 2011, and has frequently been cited by veterans as the work that best expresses their experience. According to the San Francisco Chronicle, it “ought to be mandatory reading by potential infantry recruits and by residents of any nation that sends its kids—Marlantes’s word—into combat.” The book is available at all locations now.
We've also created reading lists of alternative titles; you can see both fiction and non-fiction titles here.
Please note that we will host a community discussion with select text from the book at Main, on Saturday, November 15, from 11 AM to 12:30 PM. Details for this program are available here. We will also host a community discussion at the Temescal Branch on Tuesday, November 25, from 6 PM to 7:30 PM. Details for this program are available here. You don't have to read the entire book to participate in these discussions, although knowing the full text will allow for a deeper discussion.
For programs: OPL has an essay contest planned for teens and adults on the theme of "War in Your Life". The grand prize for each age group is a iPad Mini! Details are available here; you can also download the guidelines and judging criteria.
We also have the following programs planned for October and November:
- Theater of the Oppressed Workshop for Teens: Saturday, October 4, 2014 - 10:00am - 12:30pm
- Theater of the Oppressed Workshop for Adults: Saturday, October 18, 2014 - 1:00pm - 4:00pm
- Tell Your Homecoming Story: For African American Veterans - an Unsung Heroes Presentation and Recording Session: Friday, October 10, 2014 3:00 PM – 5:00 PM
- Panel Discussion: Coming Home from War - at the Chavez Branch: Saturday, November 1, 2:00 PM - 4:00 PM
- Reading and discussion of "Veterans of War, Veterans of Peace" with editor Maxine Hong Kingston: Saturday, November 22, noon to 3:30 PM
- Film screening of "The Kill Team" at the New Parkway, Sunday, November 30, at 12:30 PM. The essay contest winners will also be announced at this event.