Our staff is committed to meeting the needs of the communities we serve through quality collections. Explore the 1.2 million books and other materials which are located in the Main Library, the African American Museum and Library at Oakland, and our 16 branches.
View our Collection Development Policy.
New Items in our Collections
To see featured lists of some of the newest items in our catalog (DVDs, Music CDs, Books on CD, Nuevos Títulos and 中文新书) please visit this page.
Learn about our growing collections of e-books, downloadable audiobooks and magazine, and other digital resources on our e-Books and digital content page.
Many of our branches maintain collections of books, videos, and CDs in non-English languages. You can view a complete list of branch language collections here.
Our community is multicultural and so are our collections! Check out our unique resources:
The African American Museum and Library at Oakland is a service of the Oakland Public Library devoted to preserving, organizing, and sharing the African American experience in Northern California through exhibits, programming, archives, and research documents. AAMLO's home is the refurbished Charles Green Library building in downtown Oakland.
Books are available in Cambodian, Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Tagalog, Thai, Vietnamese, and Laotian. Asian and Asian American studies collections in English are also housed here.
Spanish language materials are available, as well as materials in English about Latin America and the Chicano/Latino experience in the U.S.
Black History Collections
Black history collections are available at the African American Museum and Library at Oakland (for reference use only), the Main Library, the Martin Luther King, Jr. branch, and the West Oakland branch library.
Family History & Genealogy Resources
Foundation Center Cooperating Collection
Free resources available to individual and nonprofit grantseekers, including a print collection of Foundation Center directories and publications, and two databases: Foundation Directory Online Professional and Foundation Grands to Individuals Online. Both databases are only available on-site at OPL's Main Library.
Oakland Public Library provides free access to government documents published in print and online by the United States Federal Government, the State of California, the City of Oakland, and many Bay Area regional agencies. Documents published in print, microfiche, DVD or CD are shelved at the Main Library. For access to government documents and services online please visit our library’s guide to Government Resources Online.
A computer is freely available at the Main Library Reference Services Desk for use by all patrons needing to access electronic government resources.
Collections and Services available at the Oakland Public Library.
City of Oakland and other local government agencies
The Library’s collection of local government documents include City of Oakland publications such as the City Charter, City Council agendas, annual budgets, audits, and agency reports, and also select publications from area agencies, including the County of Alameda, Port of Oakland, Oakland Unified School District, East Bay Regional Park District, Alameda-Contra Costa (AC) Transit District, Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART), Metropolitan Transportation Commission, East Bay Municipal Utility District (EBMUD), Association of Bay Area Governments, and other regional agencies. Print publications are for use in the library only and are held either in the local document collection or by the Oakland Public Library Oakland History Room. All local documents can be found in the library’s online catalog.
California State Government
Oakland Public Library is a selective depository for California State documents distributed through the Library Distribution Act (California Gov. Code 14900). Our collection includes state agency annual reports, budgets and financial analysis, directories, research reports, periodicals published by state agencies, and other select documents.
Print and digital publications received since 1981 can be found in the online catalog. For help locating older materials not in the catalog please contact Oakland Public Library’s eAnswers service at firstname.lastname@example.org or call the Reference Services Desk at (510) 238-3138 to leave your question with a librarian. Most California Documents can be checked out.
United States Government
Oakland Public Library has been a congressionally designated Depository Library for U.S. government documents since 1923. Free public access to the government documents collection is guaranteed by public law (Title 44 United States Code). As a selective repository the Oakland Public Library has historically received approximately 30% of the materials distributed through the Federal Depository Library Program. Increasingly, more are available online. Our collection is based on the Core Collection for Small to Medium Sized Libraries from the GPO’s Federal Depository Library Manual and includes Congressional hearings, census publications for nearly all decennial censuses, economic censuses, materials on health, education, labor, business and trade, employment and careers, parks and recreation (including topographical and trail maps), statistical data, military histories, civil rights, federal government operations, government hearings, and other subjects addressed by the federal government.
Federal documents received since 2007 can be found in our online catalog while most materials published earlier remain uncatalogued. For help locating uncatalogued items in our collection please contact Oakland Public Library’s eAnswers service at email@example.com or call the Reference Services Desk at (510) 238-3138 to leave your question with a librarian. Many Federal Documents can be checked out.
Special collection housed on the second floor of the Main Library containing books, clippings, photographs document the history of California with an emhpasis on the East Bay.
The Oakland Public Library has an extensive music collection located at the Main Library. This collection includes over 13,000 circulating music scores: chamber music scores & parts, solo instrumental & vocal repertoire, instructional methods, play-along CDs with accompanying scores, full and study scores, piano/vocal scores and songbooks for operas, musicals, sacred and popular music, and more.
OPL also has a significant non-circulating songbook collection, in addition to the OPL Sheet Music Special Collection, with over 16,000 popular songs, art songs, and popular and classical piano pieces. Sound recordings also make up a significant part of the collection, comprising over 1,900 vinyl records, thousands of CDs, and access to Freegal, an online streaming and download service giving patrons access to over 8 million songs.
This program lends tools to the Oakland community, ranging from screwdrivers to reciprocating saws.
Veterans Resource Center and Community Services Kiosk
The Oakland Public Library has a Veterans Resource Center in the Main Library. Located in the lobby, the Veterans Center houses a circulating collection of books for and about veterans and their families. Subjects covered include benefits, careers, families, homecoming, health and healing, PTSD, and the impacts of war. The Veterans Center also stocks pamphlets and information about services provided by government agencies and local organizations. The center is open whenever the Main library is open. Trained staff and volunteers are available to help navigate benefits and resources on Thursday evenings, Saturdays, and Sundays. Outside organizations that connect people to social services also provide periodic drop-in outreach in the center. Check the center for an up- to-date schedule. While veterans have a priority, books, resources, and services are available to all patrons.
Reconsideration of Materials
Persons raising an objection to a book or other material in the library will be asked to provide a written explanation of their objections, citing specifics from the material in question. The supervisor of the unit receiving the complaint will refer the Request for Reconsideration of Library Materials form to the Collection Development librarian, who will appoint a commitee composed of librarians whose expertise or reading background is related to the material in question. The committee will evaluate the material and compose a report with the recommendations for action for the Director. The Library Director will respond to the individual or group making the complaint.
If you have found materials or library resources which you have concerns about, please complete the Request for Reconsideration of Library Materials form (PDF) and return it to your nearest library location.