Commemorate Women's History Month with Electronic Resources

In honor of Women's History Month, here is a selection of electronic books and films celebrating women's achievements in and contributions to society.

Black & white image of civil rights activist Angela Davis

As we shelter in place during this global health emergency, let's not forget the contributions of women out there who keep us safe, directed, inspired, and moving forward. It's Women's History Month, after all! In this unpredictable time, I'm thinking about the nurses, doctors, home health workers, domestic workers, agricultural workers, and government officials who are holding it down every day for family and community.

You can celebrate women's important societal contributions and learn about our ongoing struggles by checking out these e-books available through the Oakland Public Library.

A Black Women's

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The Influenza Pandemic of 1918

Over 100 years ago, Oaklanders faced another worldwide health crisis.


(Above) The Oakland Municipal Auditorium in use as a temporary hospital during the 1918 flu epidemic.

This week we all became players in a global drama brought on by the COVID-19 coronavirus. How we respond in the coming weeks will help determine our survival rates. But, as unique as this experience seems, it’s really just another case of history repeating.

A little more than a century ago, the world was gripped by another pandemic which left our country and the city of Oakland in fear. It was called the Spanish influenza epidemic. This was before the time of antibiotics and respirators and healthcare plans. The flu spread quickly and reached pandemic proportions due, in large part, to the global conflict of World War I. Though Americans only joined the war in 1917, three years after it began, they were among the virus’ major carriers.

The first

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1919: the year that changed America

This year marks the centennial of a momentous year in world and American history.

As we head into the last month of the year, I’ve been thinking about all the centennial anniversaries that were marked in 2019. The Great Migration of African Americans out of the agrarian South and into the industrial North began in 1919. World War I veterans returned home to communities—including Omaha, Charleston, Chicago—that would be shook by race riots. The artistic and cultural explosion that would become known as the Harlem Renaissance began that year. Oakland Tribune columnist Delilah Beasley published her monumental history of African Americans, “The Negro Trail-Blazers of California” in 1919. The 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, granting women the right to vote, was approved by Congress.

These events and many others significantly changed our society. They were influenced, among other things, by

  • the Progressive Movement that called for social reforms in the workplace;
  • the labor movement that looked beyond capitalism to create a more equitable society;
  • the early civil rights

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Back to School? These Resources Can Help

Oakland youth go back to school next week, so the Oakland Public Library’s E-Resources Committee would like to share a couple of online resources available to OPL cardholders that can help with learning!

Oakland youth go back to school next week, so the Oakland Public Library’s E-Resources Committee would like to share a couple of online resources available to OPL cardholders that can help with learning! 

To access these and other online resources go to Oakland Public Library's Online Research and Learning page.

For K-8 Students…

World Book Kids: Provides thousands of easy-to-read articles with embedded multimedia for increased comprehension.

World Book Student: Packed with such research tools as Citation Builder, How to Do Research, Compare Places, Interactive Maps, and the World Book Atlas to help students get the most out

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Don't Throw It Out!

Learn how to mend clothing items by hand using creative embroidery stitches.

Can you guess one of the largest pollutants in the environment?  Clothing!  That's right, clothing and textile industries are the second largest polluters in the world. The vast majority of fabric and textiles can be recycled. The Mending Collective - Leeza Doreian, Liz Harvey, Danielle Wright--will show you how to mend your items by hand using embroidery stitches. Don't get rid of your old, ripped jeans. Even those socks with holes can have a second life with some cool stitches. And you don't have to be a sewing maven!  No sewing machines are used during these community mending circles. Both new and experienced menders will learn how to use simple embroidery stitches in eye-catching but practical ways. Participants will also enjoy stories of ancestors' sewing practices. The Mending Collective invites YOU to share the history of your item to be mended.



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Celebrating Oakland's Own Frank Robinson, 1935-2019

Frank Robinson, graduate of Oakland's McClymonds High School, became Major League Baseball's first African American manager after a distinguished playing career.

We at the Oakland Public Library were saddened to learn of the death of former baseball player and manager Frank Robinson this week. Born in Beaumont, Texas, in 1935, Frank Robinson grew up in Oakland. He attended McClymonds High School in West Oakland and was active in sports during the school's athletic heyday. He played basketball with Bill Russell and baseball with Curt Flood and Vada Pinson. All of them went on to exceptional careers in professional sports.

As a player, Robinson distinguished himself early as part of McClymonds' winning varsity baseball team led by the famed Coach George Powles. The Mack Warriors won the Oakland Athletic League championship two years in a row while Robinson was there. He was voted to the All-City team his junior and senior years. As a basketball player, he led the Mack team in scoring (96 points) during his senior year. Robinson graduated from McClymonds High in Spring 1953. He signed with the Cincinnati Reds ball club, playing on their minor league team, later that year. Three

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Grammy nominees are available on hoopla and at the library!

This year's Grammy Awards will be held on February 10. Take a listen to the nominees on hoopla and at OPL.

The 61st Annual GRAMMY awards are less than a month away. Need to catch up on the biggest hits of the year? Your Oakland Public Library is here to help, with nominated music available on hoopla and at the library.

hoopla is OPL's streaming music service. It also offers streaming video, ebooks, comics, and more — all with no holds ever. To sign up, you just need an email address, your library card number and library PIN. Patrons can check out eight items per month.

This crop of nominees is larger than in previous years: each of the "big four" general categories (Album, Record, and Song of the Year, along with Best New Artist) has expanded from five to eight nominees.

Black panther the album cover art 

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A Brief History of Oakland's Madison Square

Madison Square has been home to the Chinese community since the 1860s.

Madison Square, originally called Caroline Square, was one of seven public squares in the early days of Oakland. The residential district that grew up around it makes up the residential end of Tong Yan Fow--Chinatown--and has housed the Chinese community since its earliest days. By 1860, there were 200 Chinese residents out of a total population of 1500 in Oakland. 

In 1882 President Chester A. Arthur signed the Chinese Exclusion Act which prohibited Chinese workers from coming to America and denying citizenship to those Chinese nationals already living and working here. This act suppressed the Chinese population in America for decades; Oakland’s Chinatown was no exception. There was widespread housing and employment discrimination. Few white employers would hire Chinese except as houseboys or agricultural workers. Even the refugee camp along the shores of Lake Merritt after the Great Quake of ‘06 was racially segregated with

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The Oakland Public Library celebrates 50 years of Oakland A's Magic

This year marks the fiftieth anniversary of the Oakland Athletics.

Before the arrival of the Oakland A's, baseball in the town had withered to Little League and play on school yards. The Oakland Oaks franchise had outgrown its ball park in Emeryville by 1957. The team was dismantled and relocated to Vancouver, British Columbia, and rebranded the Vancouver Mounties.

Charles O. Finley, a Chicago-based businessman, who had bought the Kansas City Athletics in 1960, was eager to leave Kansas City after a few short years because he felt the community did not offer the financial support or promotion he thought the team deserved. Major League Baseball officials denied Finley's efforts to relocate the team to a better market and forced him to sign a three-year lease, then a four-year lease. He also had a contentious relationship with the Kansas City press and with fans. 

In 1967 when his lease expired Finley moved the team to Oakland. He listed four reasons for choosing Oakland:

  • The Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum sports complex provides the finest facilities
  • The Bay Area climate is ideal for baseball
  • The

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Women Bike Book Club: Now We are Two

A booklist from the Women Bike Book Club, meeting at the intersection of bikes, books, and feminism on the first Thursday of the Month at the Golden Gate Branch library.

In the spring of 2016, Bike East Bay created The Women Bike Book Club as part of an initiative called Women Bike, which aims to “encourage and inspire more women, trans and femme folks to ride bikes.” In January 2017, the library began co-sponsoring this club.

We've been meeting for over two years now! We discuss experiences and issues, and sometimes we do a little coloring too. While the focus of this group is women and biking, everyone is welcome to join.

Last year we posted our one year list, so we thought we'd do it again this year.  Here is everything we read (or watched or did):


April 2017

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