Oakland Family History Day is October 17

Oakland Public Library celebrates Oakland Family History Day October 17.

October is Family History Month. With that in mind, the Oakland History Room has planned a series of interesting events that will encourage you to discover and preserve your family's story. First up is Oakland Family History Day on Saturday, October 17, noon to 5 p.m. at the Main Library. Preserving family stories and mementos is very important and contributes to our understanding of ourselves and our communities. Oaklanders are invited to bring up to six photographs or documents to this event where they will be scanned by Oakland History Room staff and volunteers. If you'd like to participate, here are the answers to some questions you may have:

  1. How can I participate in Oakland Family History Day? Space for this event is very limited. Pre-registration is required. Pre-register by October 14 by calling the Oakland History Room at 510.238-3222. Come to the event on Saturday, October 17, noon to 5 p.m. at the

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Delilah Beasley: Oakland's crusading journalist

Delilah Beasley (1867-1934) was Oakland's first Black newspaper columnist who chronicled the activities of Black residents for the Tribune from 1915-1934.

Any serious student of California history will encounter the name of Delilah Beasley, African American author of the 1919 classic work, “Negro Trail Blazers of California.” Her natural curosity about Black life and culture led her to writing early in her life. As a teen, she wrote articles for the Cleveland Gazette, the Catholic Tribune, and the Ohio State TribuneMs. Beasley came to California from her native Ohio in 1910 at the age of 39. To support herself, she found work as a nurse, a masseuse, and maid. Soon after her arrival, she began to immerse herself in the study of Blacks in California. 

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Be Who You Are - How Boring!

Local author Alex Gino shares a good reason to hope your book is boring -- and gives us a totally awesome new heroine.

Local author Alex Gino has a new book with a powerful message: “Be Who You Are.”

That’s easier said than done in the 4th grade. But it’s especially hard for Melissa, because everyone still calls her George (her birth name) and they don’t know what she knows: She is a girl.

Melissa is transgender and the book George, published by Scholastic, is one of the first middle grade books to give voice to a transgender heroine.

We introduced you to George in a post last week

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Happy International Literacy Day!

Today is International ‪Literacy Day‬! What are you doing to observe the day? We have an idea...

Celebrate literacy today by doing some homework: For the next 30 minutes try to count the number of times you have to read or write something to go about your day.

How many street signs or bus routes? Text messages or Facebook posts? Menus or store prices? Bills or important mail? Job applications or work-related emails? Instructions from a teacher, doctor or pharmacy? What else?

What did you notice? How did you feel? Ask a friend to do the same and talk about your experiences.

Keep Noticing.
Cover of Push by SapphireI'll never forget the book Push by Sapphire (which inspired the movie

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Peace, Love and Jewelry-Making

Main Library Jewelry-Making Workshop, September 12, 3:00-4:30pm

Who doesn't love jewelry?  People all over the world adorn themselves for many reasons.  Jewelry can be worn to convey social status, express cultural heritage and individuality, or simply make a fashion statement. Some even believe jewelry has physical and spiritual healing properties.  Making your own jewelry in not only fun, it also makes people feel good.  Whether jewelry-making is a relaxing, solitary activity or a vibrant social gathering, it relieves stress and gets those creative juice flowing.  Here is a few of books to get you started:

 book cover

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Oakland Has Jobs!

Looking for a job? We're posting Help Wanted signs over on Instagram.

We librarians get asked about job openings all the time.  In an effort to help answer people’s questions about jobs, Main Library Teen Zone librarian Brian Boies started the oaklandhasjobs Instagram account last September. From a slow beginning where Brian posted one or two help wanted signs a week to a handful of followers, the project has grown. He's now posting at least thirty job opportunities a week. Oaklandhasjobs now has more than 2,000 followers and is gaining about a hundred new followers a week.    

You can help us find jobs for these many followers by taking pictures of help wanted signs and sending them, along with the cross streets where you see the signs, to oaklandhasjobs@gmail.com. It’s fun! Once you start looking, you’ll see them all over the place, especially along commercial corridors like College, Piedmont, and Lakeshore Avenues and International Boulevard. Brian and the Teen Services team can’t find them all by themselves. 

And keep an eye out for

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Have You Seen ... Mr. Turner?

A coming attraction blog post for Mr. Turner, the DVD

From IMDB: Mr. Turner explores the last quarter century of the great if eccentric British painter J.M.W. Turner (1775-1851). Profoundly affected by the death of his father, loved by a housekeeper whom he takes for granted and occasionally exploits sexually, he forms a close relationship with a seaside landlady with whom he eventually lives incognito with in Chelsea, where he dies. Throughout this, he travels, paints, stays with the country aristocracy, visits brothels, is a popular if anarchic member of the Royal Academy of Arts, has himself strapped to the mast of a ship so that he can paint a snowstorm, and is both celebrated and reviled by the public and by royalty.

Mike Leigh's "

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June Is Adopt-A-Shelter-Cat Month!

June 2015 Is National Adopt-A-Shelter-Cat Month

Each spring during “kitten season,” thousands of newborn kittens join the millions of cats already in shelters across the country. That means your local shelter has tons of cute, cuddly newborns, in addition to all the mellow, older cats and everything in between. And the shelter staff are ready to help you adopt your very first cat — or to bring home a friend for another beloved cat!


  1. If you’re thinking about adopting a cat, consider taking home two.
  2. Find a cat whose personality meshes with yours.
  3. Pick out a veterinarian ahead of time and schedule a visit within the first few days following the adoption.
  4. Make sure everyone in the house is prepared to have a cat before s/he comes home.
  5. Budget for the short- and long-term costs of a cat..
  6. Stock up on supplies before the cat arrives.
  7. Cat-proof your home. A new cat will quickly teach you not to leave things lying

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OHR Preserves Local Treasures on Obsolete Media

The Oakland History Room has preserved rare and culturally valuable recordings in its collection.

Since 2013, the Oakland History Room (OHR) has been a partner of the California Audiovisual Preservation Project which preserves and provides access to unpublished and rare audiovisual content that is significant to state history. The CAVPP also works to raise awareness of the need to preserve such items and to raise funds for this type of archival preservation. The project, known locally as California Light & Sound, is administered at the University of California at Berkeley.

Through this partnership, the Oakland History Room has been able to preserve such items as 8mm and 16mm film of speed boat races on Lake Merritt and the 1948 Christmas Balloon Parade in downtown Oakland; VHS recordings of community events like the annual Black Cowboy Parade; oral histories recorded on audiocassette, and Oakland junior high orchestra and choir recordings on vinyl. So far, forty-nine items from OHR's collection have been digitized. These recordings now live on the Internet Archive (www.archive.org). Just type in “Oakland History

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Veteran Resource Center Online

Veterans can connect to resources at the Main Library starting in mid-April when we open a Veteran Resource Center.

Did you know that Alameda County has the 5th highest veteran per capita population in the state? To help veterans connect with resources, the Main Library will open a Veteran Resource Center in partnership with the California Department of Veterans Affairs (CalVet) in May. Veterans can drop by during open hours to learn about state and federal education, employment, housing, health, disability and other benefits that may be available to veterans and their families. The Center will be open and staffed by trained volunteers. We'll also have a collection of books and other resources, and access to computer equipment for extended periods in order to complete online application and do research. If you have any questions or want a note when we schedule the opening, please email Mana Tominaga, Supervising Librarian for the Main Library, at mtominaga@oaklandlibrary.

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