Events & Programs

Meet Children's Book Author Andrea Davis Pinkney

Did you know there are many award-winning children's book authors coming to town next week for the sold-out ALSC National Institute?  That's where a lot of us will be, but we jumped at the chance to ask Andrea Davis Pinkney to stay a little longer in town to meet with you at your Main Library, on Monday September 22nd at 1:30pm

Martin and MahaliaMs. Pinkney is a Coretta Scott King Award-winning and New York Times best-selling writer of more than 20 books for children and young adults including picture books, novels and nonfiction. These books include Bird in a Box and several collaborations with her husband Brian Pinkney, including Sit-In,Hand in Hand, and Martin & Mahalia.   Ms. Pinkney is also a publisher, and launched Hyperion Books for Children/Disney Publishing’s Jump at the Sun imprint, the first African American children’s book imprint at a major publishing company. 

Red Pencil Book CoverJoin Ms. Pinkney for conversation as she introduces her newest title, The Red Pencil, a novel in verse about a Sudanese girl turning twelve in the early days of the Darfur conflict.

Groups (grades 4-6 recommended) must register in advance with Nina Lindsay, Supervising Librarian for Children's Services at and wait for confirmation; space is very limited.

Summer Reading Challenge Celebration - Come to OMCA to Party!

Paws to Read! LogoIt’s fun for the entire family as the Oakland Public Library’s 2014 Summer Reading Challenge finishes up with its 10th annual Summer Reading celebration at the Oakland Museum of California on Sunday, August 3, from 12 to 4 p.m. The party will take place in the Museum Gardens, 1000 Oak Street, just two blocks from the Main Library.

The celebration links two fantastic summer events – the library’s Summer Reading Challenge and the Oakland Museum of California’s Free First Sundays – for a wonder-filled day of culture, entertainment, learning, and fun. Admission is free!

Picture of Little Explorers Petting ZooThe celebration offers fun ways to learn and celebrate a love of reading.  Entertainment and activities will include performances by Germar the Magician, caricature art by Rad Sanza, appearances by the animals of Little Explorers Petting Zoo, face-painting by folks from Oakland Parks and Recreation, storytime, hands-on arts and crafts, and more. There will be a brief ceremony to honor all Summer Reading Challenge participants who succeed in reading 20 days or more this summer.

The Summer Reading Challenge is a fantastic way to encourage children to explore the world through reading and activities. This year’s theme has been “Paws to Read!” Participants have benefitted not only from the pleasure of reading, but also from a summer’s worth of free events.

Reading, Talking, Singing, Writing and Playing Works

picture of babyI recently returned from sweltering Las Vegas where the American Library Association Annual Convention was taking place.  One of the programs I attended looked at whether or not the five activities developed by Every Child Ready to Read 2 - reading, singing, talking, writing and playing with children aged 0-5 had a statistical impact on that child's literacy levels.  A research grant in Washington State looked at the literacy levels of kids who attended storytimes where those practices were modeled.  

The results?  Yes they do!  Children who attended library storytimes that incorporated those activities did have higher literacy rates.  Just another reason to come to the storytimes offered here at the library and practice these activities at home.

For more information about the study, check out:  and click on the "Project Views" link.

To find our storytime schedule, check the OPL calendar:

Are Your Children Bored this Summer? There's Lots to Do at the Library!

Busy Bee Dogs at Dimond                    Germar the Magician at Rockridge
                                                                              and 81st Avenue    




Make a Bug Magnet at                        East Bay Vivarium at Golden Gate
  César Chávez

Bug on a branch





Chess Clinic at West                             Paper Airplane Contest at Elmhurst

Picture of chess pieces

                 Picture of a paper airplan



PAWS to Read with BARK                Weekly Art Workshops with MOCHA 
Therapy Dogs at                                   at Main Children's Room, 81st Ave.
Montclair and 81st Ave.                           and Eastmont

Picture of a BARK therapy dog

                MOCHA Logo



Afternoon Crafts at Melrose                     PAWS to Read at Lakeview

  Picture of craft making                  PAWS to Read at Lakeview

Join us. 

Hands-on Summer Reading!

Summer at the library is for reading, sure, but that's only part of it.  We have all kinds of activites planned to engage you and your children when you stop by for a visit.  Check out our full events page, or our daily events calendar to see what's in store.

We know that reading during the summer is important to a child's reading and learning success, but this has to be a part of a variety of engaging learning opportunities.  And fun!  At your library you'll find hands-on craft activites, fabulous magic and theatrical performances, and--in the spirit of this year's theme "Paws to Read"--lots of animals!  This week, for instance, you can catch the Oakland Zoomobile at:

César E. Chávez Branch, tonight, Tuesday June 24th, at 6pm

81st Avenue Branch tomorrow, Wednesday June 25th at 1pm

Martin Luther King, Jr. Branch Saturday June 28th at 2pm

See you soon!  And while you're here, ask us for something fun to read. We'll find it.

Summer Begins Early in Oakland

 Summer Reading Challenge - Paws to ReadWild About Books cover

Your child does not have to lose her or his reading skills over the summer. Studies have shown that by reading just 20 minutes a day, a child retains, and can even increase, reading levels. We once again offer two fabulous grand prizes: one family membership in Children's Fairyland (ages 0-4) and one iPad (ages 5-14). 

Our 2014 Summer Reading Challenge runs from June 14 through August 9. See our blog from last week for suggestions for books to read on this year's theme. 

How to Play

  1. Sign up online or come to your neighborhood library.
  2. Choose whatever you want to read, and start reading.
  3. Track your progress online and add optional book reviews to share with friends. For every day you read or are read to, add an online sticker or put one in your reading log.
  4. Pick up your coupon prize packet after 10 days of reading.
  5. Choose your free book and get a badge and a raffle ticket when you complete the 20-day reading challenge.

 Performers and Crafts and Parties, oh my!

Bubble Party at ChavezWe started strong with a Bubble Party at Melrose, Magic Dan at Elmhurst, Bodac Drumming at Martin Luther King, Jr. Busy Bee Dogs at the Main Children's Room, and Arts & Crafts at Brookfield. But wait, there's more, lots more. In just the next two days (Tuesday, June 17 and Wednesday June 18) we have many more activities for children and the whole family.

Cesar Chavez hosts Magical Moonshine Theatre at 6:00 June 17

Rockridge hosts Sean's Shadows at 7:00 June 17

Dimond hosts Goofball the Magician at 7:00 June 17

Golden Gate hosts Bodac Drumming at 10:30 am June 18

Elmhurst hosts East Bay Vivarium Reptile Show at 1:00 June 18

81st Avenue hosts Little Explorers Petting Zoo at 1:00 June 18

Main, Eastmont, and 81st Avenue host MOCHA Art Workshops 2:00 June 18

And there's more where all this came from. Check our kids' events page to find out what's going on from day to day. 


And last, but not least, summer lunches at ten branches for children 0 to 18. 

Girl eating lunch

81st Avenue Tuesday-Friday from 12-1 

Cesar Chavez  Tuesday-Friday from 12:30-1:30

Dimond Tuesday-Friday from 12:30-1:30

Eastmont Monday-Friday from 12-1

Elmhurst Tuesday-Friday from 12-1 

Golden Gate Monday-Friday from 12:30-1:30 

Main Library (basement & second floor) Monday-Friday from 12:30-1:30

Martin Luther King, Jr. Tuesday-Friday from 12:30-1:30 

Melrose Tuesday-Friday from 12-1 

Temescal Tuesday-Friday from 12:30-1:30 

Summer Means Activity at Oakland Public Library

Our children's Summer Reading Challenge runs from June 14 through August 9. There are some changes this year. We have changed both the rules and the prizes. We are counting days read instead of hours. And we are awarding coupons at ten days and a badge (see right), a book, and raffle entry at twenty days.

How to Play

  1. Sign up online (starting on June 14th), or come to your neighborhood library.
  2. Choose whatever you want to read, and start reading.
  3. Track your progress online and add optional book reviews to share with friends. For every day you read or are read to, add an online sticker or put one in your reading log.
  4. Pick up your coupon prize packet after 10 days of reading.
  5. Choose your free book and get a badge and a raffle ticket when you complete the 20-day reading challenge.
  6. Get an extra raffle ticket for reading 30 days, 40 days and 50 days.

Branches will have raffle drawings throughout the summer, and on August 11 we will have the grand prize raffle drawings - a yearlong family membership in Children's Fairyland for children 0-4 and an iPad for children 5-14.

In addition to the reading challenge, branches will host performers, offer craft programs, and serve lunches to children and teens.  

Yuyi Morales is Coming to Oakland

Yuyi MoralesThe Oakland Public Library (OPL) will be hosting Yuyi Morales at the César Chávez Branch on Tuesday, May 27th, at 6:00pm.

Yuyi Morales is an award-winning author and illustrator whose books include Niño Wrestles the World, Just in Case, Little Night/Nochecita, and Just a Minute: A Trickster Tale and Counting Book. Her books have won a total of four Pura Belpré Awards, the Américas Book Award for Children’s and Young Adult Literature, The Golden Kite Award, the Christopher Award, the Jane Addams Award and the Tomás Rivera Mexican-American Children’s Book Award.

As a Spanish-speaking immigrant and new mother who migrated to the U.S. from Mexico in 1994, Yuyi struggled with English and adapting to a new home. She found support in public libraries, where she and her son practiced English by reading children’s books. There she found her life passion writing and illustrating children’s stories.

She writes on her web page's bio, "When I grow old I dream in becoming a professional liar. You know, those kind of people that tell stories and everybody goes, “Ahh, Ohh!"'

On Tuesday, May 27th, at 6:00pm, Yuyi will read her work and talk about her personal history and Mexican children’s folklore at the César Chávez Branch of the Oakland Public Library (3301 East 12th Street, Suite 271). She will be available to answer questions and to autograph books which will be for sale at the event. The library will be closed that day and will open only in the evening for this very special program.

This will be Yuyi’s only East Bay appearance during a Bay Area tour that includes presenting the prestigious Effie Lee Morris lecture at the San Francisco Public Library. This is a rare chance to see this visiting author/illustrator.

Sean's Shadows

Sean's Shadows brings shadow puppet stories from all over the world. This month we celebrate Asian Pacific Islander Heritage Month with two stories from China: Fool me Once and Bloom Tree. After each performance he shows and demonstrates musical instruments he used during the show.

Join us.  

Martin Luther King, Jr. Tuesday, May 20 at 4:00 PM

Dimond  Tuesday, May 20 at 7:00 PM

West Oakland Wednesday May 21 at 10:30 AM

You and Your Baby @ the Library Pt. 1

Being a brand new parent is a joyous but sometimes scary event.  After all, you have to pass a test to drive a car but no test is required to become a parent.  You want to do your best for your baby and that best is probably pretty sleep deprived right now.  But do not fear - the library is here to help you.

We offer baby storytimes every week.  These lapsit storytimes, called "Baby Bounces" are 15- minutes long and filled with gentle rhymes, songs and movement that will start your baby on the path to reading.  After each Baby Bounce, there is a play time with age-appropriate toys.  This is a great chance to get out of the house, stimulate your baby's brain, meet other babies and their caregivers, share information, and make new friends.  Check out our Baby Bounces at the following times and places: 

  •      Dimond Library.     3565 Fruitvale Ave.               Wed. @ 10:15 am
  •      Golden Gate Library.     5606 San Pablo Ave.     Tues. @ 11:15 ambaby playing on rug
  •      Lakeview Library.     550 El Embarcadero            Wed. @ 11:30 am    
  •      Main Library Children's Room.     125 14th St.     Tues. @ 10:15 am
  •      Montclair Library.     1687 Mountain Blvd.           Thurs. @ 11:30 am