2020-21 was an incredibly challenging year for Oakland, the Oakland Public Library (OPL), and our community of staff, patrons, and supporters.
I am tremendously proud of OPL staff, who demonstrated compassion, flexibility, and a dedication to our community. I am enormously grateful to OPL patrons, who were overwhelmingly patient and supportive as the library modified services to meet the changing community health requirements. And I am amazed by all the OPL supporters who demonstrated their passion for Oakland’s public libraries by raising funds, advocating for improved library services and facilities, and sharing OPL news within their networks.
Oakland faces huge challenges, but I believe that OPL – staff, patrons, and supporters – will continue to work together to play an important role in the future of our city. Together, we are stronger and better. I thank you for being a part of the OPL community.
Director of Library Services
Approximately 30% of OPL staff were called upon to provide Disaster Services to the City of Oakland after the pandemic hit. They distributed food to those in need, phoned high-risk individuals to connect them with services, supported the city’s Emergency Operations Center, and provided information on how to access COVID-19 tests.
By the fall of 2020, most staff had transitioned back to library service work, making materials available to the community through Sidewalk Service, reopening facilities for limited in-person service in February 2021, and finally resuming most of our pre-pandemic hours of operation in June 2021.
The COVID-19 pandemic left many Americans without work or school and in need of food. Thanks to funding from the Eat.Learn.Play Foundation and a partnership with World Central Kitchen (WCK), several Oakland Public Library sites became meal distribution centers during the pandemic. Staff at these libraries fed over 214,000 meals to individuals and families in East and West Oakland.
In addition to meals, OPL sites gave away approximately 15,000 bags and boxes of fresh produce. Library staff also helped support WCK food distribution at Rainbow Rec Center, and delivered meals to seniors sheltering in place as a part of the Great Plates Delivered program.
OPL is grateful to have been part of this important program.
The Oakland Public Library (OPL) has continued to offer programs and services during an incredibly challenging year. Our 2020 Oakland Youth Poet Laureate, Greer Nakadegawa-Lee, was part of more than 25 virtual performances. OPL’s tenth Oakland Youth Poet Laureate, Myra Estrada, was announced in a live virtual event in June 2021. Our 2020 Summer Program shifted to being entirely virtual, with programming, video content, and prizes for adults, teens, and children.
Throughout the year, OPL continued to host virtual history talks, a travel series, and several book clubs and ESL conversation clubs. Patrons met with lawyers and the Oakland Tenants Union through the library and were offered talks from East Bay Parks, all without leaving their homes. OPL’s partnership with MOCHA continued, allowing us to send children home with craft supplies during sidewalk service, and we offered video storytime content for the youngest children of Oakland.
The Oakland Public Library is pleased to acknowledge the following private and government institutions that provided financial support for specific library programs. We are also deeply grateful to the hundreds of individual donors who support the library through the Friends of the Oakland Public Library and branch friends groups.
- Alameda County Transportation Commission/Lifeline Transportation Program
- Association of Moving Image Archivists (AMIA)
- California State Library
- Herman Auerbach Memorial Fund Trust II*
- BART/Lifeline Transportation Program
- First 5 Alameda County*
- Friends of the Oakland Public Library
- William G. Gilmore Foundation*
- Hellman Foundation*
- Matson Foundation
- Oakland Athletics*
- The Bernard Osher Foundation*
- Pacific Library Partnership
- Kenneth Rainin Foundation*
- Southern California Library Cooperative
- Porter E. & Helenmae Thompson Foundation
- U.S. Institute of Museum and Library Services under the provisions of the Library Services and Technology Act, administered in California by the State Librarian
*Provided support through the Friends of the Oakland Public Library
Expenditures by Fund Source
|General Purpose Fund:||$12,607,572|
|Trust Fund & Others:||$149,347|
Expenditures by Category
|Operations & Maintenance:||$7,287,538|
|Books & Other Materials:||$2,121,093|
Population by City, April 1, 2020
From the US Census Bureau
|Total OPL Service Area||464,821|
Average Investment Per Capita
Based on the service area population 464,821 (Oakland, Emeryville, and Piedmont)
Library Advisory Commission
- Ada Chan
- Alternier Cook
- Angelica Valentine
- Ayushi Roy
- Caleb Smith
- Carolyn Moskovitz
- Cathy Smith
- Jessica Jung
- Joseph Karwat
- Mary Forte
- Mary Going
- Mary Jo Cook
- Nathaniel Dumas
- Tyron Jordan
- Viola Gonzales
Friends of the Oakland Public Library
Board of Directors, 2020-21
- M.C. Abbott
- Ynez Arce
- Stephen Cole
- Michael J. Dalton
- Erica Dennings
- Elizabeth Falkner
- Colleen Haikes
- Corey Hatcher
- Sara Jewell
- Genevieve Katz
- Pooneh Koohyar
- Ronile Lahti
- Nick Marble
- Charu Mehra
- Sheila McCormick
- Sanam Nassirpour
- Rebecca Pfiffner
- Ashley Robinson
- Kathryn Sterbenc
- Valerie Villanueva
- Julie Waldman
- Winifred Walters
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All photos by Doug Zimmerman, except: Summer Reading Prize Winner by Jason Jakaitis and OPL staff member by Sharon McKellar.
OPL Annual Report produced by the Oakland Public Library's Community Relations Department: Amy Martin, Sara Dubois, and Andrea Guzmán; and Sharon McKellar, Oakland Public Library Teen Services Coordinator.
Printed report and graphic elements designed by Innosanto Nagara.
Made possible by a grant from the Friends of the Oakland Public Library.