Collections

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 15 branches. 

Download our Collection Development Policy (PDF).

If an item you need is not available on the shelf or is not owned by Oakland Public Library, you may order it through interlibrary loan.

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

Reconsideration of Materials

Persons raising an ojection 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.

Special Collections

Family History & Genealogy Resources

Genealogy questions are answered in the Oakland History Room, Main Reference, and Magazine & Newspaper sections of the Main Library.

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 Grants to Individuals Online. Both databases are only available on-site at the Oakland Main Library.

Oakland History Room - Main Library, Second Floor

Books, clippings, photographs document the history of California with an emphasis on the East Bay. 

Language Collections at OPL (Branches)

Music Collection

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 of over 1900 LPs (vinyl records), thousands of CDs and access to Freegal, an online streaming and download service giving patrons access to over 8 million songs.

Click here to access the OPL Music Collection website for OPL resources and links to other music related resources.

Tool Lending Library - Temescal Branch 

This program lends tools to the Oakland community, ranging from screwdrivers to reciprocating saws.
 

Ethnic Resources

Our community is multicultural and so are our collections! Check out our unique resources:

African American Museum and Library at Oakland (AAMLO) 

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, archival and research documents. AAMLO's home is the newly refurbished Charles Greene Library building in downtown Oakland.
 

Asian Branch Library

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. * See our list of language materials available in all library locations at http://oaklandlibrary.org/about/collections/language-collections-opl

César E. Chávez Branch Library

Spanish language materials are available, as well as materials in English about Latin America and the Chicano/Latino experience in the U.S.* See our list of language materials available in all library locations at http://www.oaklandlibrary.org/services/langcollection.html

Black History Collections

Black history collections are available at the African American Museum and Library at Oakland (AAMLO) (for reference use only), the Main Library, the Martin Luther King, Jr. and West Oakland Branch Libraries.