Today I have the great pleasure of introducing you to Miranda Everitt, a library user who agreed to answer all my questions (for which I am very grateful).
Miranda, who grew up in Ohio and has lived in Oakland for 3 years, is currently a grad student at UC Berkeley working on a master's degree in public policy. In the meantime she is working at The Food Labor Research Center, studying working conditions in grocery stores throughout the state. Before that she worked at a food bank, did a turn in AmeriCorps, and wrote headlines at The Oakland Tribune. Good stuff!
I asked Miranda a bunch of questions and she gave some amazing answers, that you just have to read!
What is the most embarrassing book that you love?
No way -- I'll own what I like! I guess I'll go with the toughest one to explain. I was staying with friends in Philadelphia last spring and picked up a copy of "Wifey" by Judy Blume from their shelf -- and could not put it down! I took it with me on buses and trains around town but didn't make it all the way through. Since it didn't belong to me, I put it back, and the day I got back to Oakland checked it out of the Main Library so I could read to the end. I grew up reading lots of authors (like Roald Dahl) who wrote stuff for adults that I've only lately started to read.
What is your favorite food to eat while reading a library book?
Aw, I try to never smudge the pages of something I'll share with other people! That's why I opt for a glass of wine. Haha!
What’s the weirdest thing you’ve seen in a public library?
The San Francisco library has (or had) a typewriter room! I used it a few years ago to address a big batch of letters. You could only use it for a few hours at a time, so I'd often wait patiently in line behind a man writing real manifestos on the typewriter. Though the place had lots of computers and printers, too, I can understand the impulse. It feels great to bang on a keyboard.
Do you want to give a shout out to any particular library location or staff member?
I love the Main Library! And not just because it's 3 blocks from my house. The Oakland History Room is my favorite. I never go in there with any particular historical fact in mind, but I always come out surprised. One of my favorites was learning about the history of Mosswood Park, where I've spent lots of summer weekends.
Tell us about your favorite book or movie.
This is an impossible task! My "favorite" changes every few weeks. I'm really loving books by John McPhee lately. "Every 12 Seconds" really stayed with me, too.
What’s the best event you ever attended at the library?
Free summer lunch! I used to work at Alameda County Community Food Bank (before grad school called me away) as a media person, so I went to a couple branches to take photos and hang out with the kids having delicious-looking lunches while food bank volunteers ran the show. Free Summer Lunch is a sorely underused federal nutrition program, and bringing it where kids are is totally brilliant. (By the way, anyone under 18 is eligible! You just show up and eat!)
If Oakland Public Library could do one thing we don’t already do (your wish is our command), what would it be?
Can't think of a thing. Main Library even has a container garden!
Where’s your favorite non-library place to go in Oakland?
I love hiking, but without a car it's tough to go as often as I like. You can get most of the way to Joaquin Miller Park on the bus, and then you can check out beautiful redwoods, a babbling creek (except during a drought ...), and really great views of east Oakland and Alameda from the top of the trail. Then there are the wacky stone monuments that Joaquin Miller built himself. Because the only thing I might love more than a walk in the woods is finding some remnants of a human world long gone.
What’s the most important thing the Oakland Public Library does?
Libraries are so much more than a place to shelve books, and OPL does a great job of helping people make connections in their neighborhoods (summer lunch!). I've found the VITA tax help at Main indispensable.