Exploring the Travel Collection at Main

profile of travel resources and programs at Oakland Main Library

This year the Main Library’s Travel Series marks its eleventh year. In that time we’ve helped people plan vacations, discover new countries and cultures, and travel more efficiently and safely. Photographers, travel guidebook writers, and experienced travelers have generously shared their knowledge and enthusiasm for travel with members of our community. Our virtual journeys have taken us to Greece, Kenya, Brazil, Cuba, Southeast Asia, Mexico, Paris, New York City, South Africa, Italy, Croatia, and many other locales.

This year’s roster of programs will be held, as always, in the Walters Auditorium and include:

California Deserts   Wednesday, May 10; 6 pm

Intrepid traveler Trevor Cralle returns to the Main Library to share tips on exploring Death Valley, Mojave National Preserve, Anza Borrego State Park, and more. 

Exploring the Grand Canyon and Utah’s National Parks   Saturday, May 13; 2 pm

Lonely Planet travel writer and park ranger Sara Benson will discuss adventures Death Valley National Park, the Mojave National Preserve, Joshua Tree National Park, and Anza Borrego State Park.

Why We Travel  Wednesday, May 17; 6 pm

The Oakland Public librarians are avid travelers who hit the road as regularly as possible. With that in mind, we’ve planned a slide presentation designed to inspire wanderlust and curiosity about the world.

Cuba wall

Besides the annual travel series the Main Library offers our patrons travel guidebooks (in both paper and electronic formats), domestic and international road maps, language learning tools (dictionaries, electronic databases, and phrasebooks), and an extensive collection of inspiring and informative travel narratives.

Travel literature, or armchair travel as it’s sometimes called, provides readers with in-depth portraits of famous cities, out-of-the-way places, and uncharted territories. Bringing together history, geography, the arts, sociology, and politics, they are educational without being pedantic. Sometimes funny and, other times, deadly serious. Travel narratives can also serve as wonderful dream books for the reader.

 Here are a few travel narratives you might find interesting:

The Lady and the Monk: four seasons in Kyoto by Pico Iyer

The Only Street in Paris: life on the rue de Martyrs by Elaine Sciolino

A Walk in the Woods: rediscovering America on the Appalachian Trail by Bill Bryson

The Colossus of New York by Colson Whitehead

Grammar Lessons: translating a life in Spain by Michele Morano

Lost on Planet China by J. Maarten Troost

The Caliph’s House: a year in Casablanca by Tahir Shah

Travel as a Political Act by Rick Steves

Trek to the Main Library today and check out our useful travel resources. Then hit the road!


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