Community Relations Blog

How to Make Sure Your Vote Counts

The Oakland League of Women's Voters and OPL are hosting a free, online program to go over the pros and cons of November's ballot measures on Wednesday, September 23 at 7 PM. Click here for more information.

Make sure you are registered to vote

In California, the deadline to register to vote for any election is 15 days before Election Day, so register early! The last day to register online in California is October 19You can apply to register to vote right now by filling out the online application. This application is available in English, Spanish, Chinese, Hindi, Japanese, Khmer, Korean, Tagalog, Thai, and Vietnamese.

If you are enrolled in California's confidential address program, Safe At Home, please do not apply to register to vote using this site. Contact the Safe At Home program toll-free at (877) 322-5227 or by the Safe At Home email.

Are you already registered to vote?

You can check your status here: visit Check Status of Your Voter Registration.

When do you need to re-register to vote?

You need to re-register to vote when:

  • You change your name
  • You change your address
  • You change your political party choice.

Same Day Voter Registration (Conditional Voter Registration)

In elections conducted by your county elections official, you can “conditionally” register and vote. Click here for more information.

College students, military, and voters living abroad

If you are a Californian living away from home while attending a college, trade school or technical school, or a voter living temporarily outside the United States, please click here for more information on how to vote and be counted.

Do you need to cancel your registration?

If you are currently registered to vote in California and would like to cancel your voter registration, you can complete the California Voter Registration Cancellation Request Form (PDF) and submit it to your county elections office. If you have any questions, you can contact your county elections office or the Secretary of State's Voter Hotline at (800) 345-VOTE (8683).

Now that you’re registered, it’s time to Vote!

Early voting begins Monday, October 5

  • Know Your Rights! 
  • Vote by mail.
    • On May 8, 2020, Governor Gavin Newsom issued Executive Order N-64-20, which among other things, orders that a vote-by-mail ballot be mailed to each voter prior to November 3, 2020, in addition to offering in-person voting locations. Any registered voter may vote using a vote-by-mail ballot instead of going to the polls on Election Day. Mail-in ballots must be postmarked by Election Day, November 3rd.
    • To find more information on voting by mail, tracking your ballot, and requirements when voting for the first time, click here.
  • Vote by ballot drop box.
    • To find the nearest drop box to you, here is a map of boxes in Alameda County. Ballot drop boxes are open 24-hours and will close at 8:00pm on Election Day, November 3. Vote by mail voters who don’t want to mail in their ballot can also drop their ballots off at these drop-off sites.
  • Vote in Person
    • Vist for the latest information on polling places in Alameda County.

Language Assistance

Some polling places will have translated copies of the Official Ballot that voters can use as a reference tool when voting. To request a copy of the translated Official Ballot to be mailed or emailed to you, please call 510-272-6973. ACVote has language assistance on their website:

(510) 272-6973

(510) 208-9665

(510) 272-6975

(510) 272-6952

Tiếng Việt
(510) 272-6956

(510) 272-5036

(510) 272-5035

(510) 272-5037

(510) 272-5035

The Secretary of State also offers voter information and assistance in English and 9 more languages. SpanishChineseHindiJapaneseKhmerKoreanTagalogThai or Vietnamese.

Thanks for following along with our quick voting guide. If you are you interested in local data on voting, visit the Official Election Site of Alameda County for voting charts, graphs, and statistics.

Make sure your vote counts!


Check Your Shelf Podcast: Other Duties As Assigned

Made possible by a Friends of the Oakland Public Library mini-grant, Check Your Shelf: The Oakland Public Library Podcast, invites listeners to take an inside look at OPL. Community Relations Librarian Amy Martin brings you inside the walls to get to know Your Library. The first season will feature six episodes diving into the different places, programs, and initiatives that make OPL truly special.

Listen on:

Anchor Spotify | Apple Podcasts | Google Podcasts | Breaker Overcast Pocket Casts | RadioPublic | RSS Feed

Episode 4: Other Duties As Assigned - Notes

Many OPL staff have been serving as Disaster Services Workers since early May during the public health crisis. During times of emergency, City of Oakland employees can be assigned to support the crisis response - often performing tasks they normally don't do. In this episode, we talk to six OPL staff about their Disaster Service Work assignments: handing out food, calling seniors, supporting COVID-19 testing, and more. 

Food Distribution at Oakland Public Libraries


Testing Sites

Services for Those Experiencing Homelessness

Library Staff Featured in this Episode

Jamie Turbak, Director, Oakland Public Library
Pete Villaseñor, Manager, César E. Chávez Branch of the Oakland Public Library
Sabah Abdulla, Library Assistant, Lakeview Branch of the Oakland Public Library
Brian Guenther, Manager, 81st Avenue Branch of the Oakland Public Library
Sandra Toscano, Manager, Brookfield Branch of the Oakland Public Library
Larry Whitaker, Library Aide, Elmhurst Branch of the Oakland Public Library
Claudia Barrientos, Library Aide, Martin Luther King, Jr. Branch of the Oakland Public Library

Understanding Your City’s Budget

Do you ever wonder where the City of Oakland gets its revenue? Do you want to find out about proposed budget cuts to city services and departments? Are you interested in finding out how much each city department is allocated?

A great place to look is the City budget! Download and read Oakland’s Adopted 2019-2021 Policy Budget

The City’s Budget Bureau generates a Biennial Proposed Budget and an Adopted Budget for Oakland to determine how best to spend its resources for the community. The budget includes allocations for youth programs, services for homeless, funding for various city departments such as parks, transportation, police, fire, libraries, and much more. Every other year, between January and June, the biennial proposed city budget is developed, deliberated, and approved. At the end of June, this proposed midcycle budget must be voted on (as outlined in Oakland’s city charter). Creating a balanced budget is done over three phases. First—Development of a five-year forecast is sent to the City’s Finance Committee and the Mayor addresses community questions and concerns. Second—Deliberation, in this phase a proposed two-year budget is released for review to be considered by City Council. Third—Approval, in June, council will present amendments to the proposed budget for final approval by June 30th.

Oakland’s proposed midcycle budget for 2020-2021 can also be viewed online at the city’s website. The Proposed Midcycle Budget identifies factors that may affect future city revenues, expenditures, and staffing. As cities everywhere face cuts due to reduced revenue stream in the midst of COVID-19, this document provides citizens a chance to view the city’s spending and proposed adjustments. For instance, do you ever wonder where the city gets its money? See below for projected loss revenues:


The largest dips in revenue are projected to be from Business License Tax, and Transient Occupant Tax (TOT), (Oakland’s proposed midcycle budget, pages 13-14). These tables also break out the revenues from other taxes such as Parking Tax, Real Estate Transfer Tax, Sales Tax, etc. Due to the unpredictable nature of COVID-19, Table 4 below outlines a more severe projection of economic 

In addition to revenues, city budgets contain lots of valuable information on city demographics and economics, as well as statistics and surveys. These reports contain information on capital improvements, service impacts, taxes, measures and bonds, allocations for employee salaries and pensions, as well as, hiring and staffing changes. The city budget also outlines individual department goals, services, and spending.

 Below is a breakdown of all funds by department:

Interested in local politics and want to understand more about your city’s spending? Local government documents are an excellent resource. As a designated Federal Depository Library for US Government Documents, the Oakland Public Library houses a collection of State, Federal and local government documents, including past and current city budgets.  If you’d like to know more about our government documents collection, please check our catalog for recent added items and online resources. Have a reference question? Email Current city budget documents are made available online through the city’s Budget Bureau.

For questions or concerns regarding city spending and the budget contact Mayor Schaaf, or your City Council member


Meet the Six Amazing 2020 Oakland Youth Poet Laureate Finalists!

The Oakland Youth Poet Laureate program is an unprecedented citywide effort to celebrate literacy through poetry and connect young writers to far-reaching opportunities. Each year we accept submissions from talented Oakland writers (ages 13-18) to be considered for the city’s top literary honor. The Laureate earns an educational scholarship and embarks on a year of opportunities as an ambassador for literacy, arts and youth expression.


It's been a strange year. In the midst of so much uncertainty and so much change, we are glad to be able to bring you, as we do each year, these amazing young poets. Art, poetry, and the voices of our young people matter, and Oakland is so lucky to have such incredible wealth of talent.

This year we have six wonderful Finalists. Live on Facebook, on Friday, June 5th, 2020, we shared performances from each of them and announced our new 2020 Oakland Youth Poet Laureate.  If you missed it live, you can still watch it on YouTube or on Facebook.

Congratulations to 2020's Oakland Youth Poet Laureate, Greer Nakadegawa-Lee and 2020's Vice Oakland Youth Poet Laureate, Michelle Arango!


***Follow along with their work this year at the bottom of this page.***


If you would like to book Greer or any of the other 2020 Oakland Youth Poet Laureate Finalists, please do so here:

Oakland poets between the ages of 13 and 18 can join the Oakland Youth Poet Laureate community by applying with three poems in early 2021.

Get to know our new 2020 Youth Poet Laureate, Vice Youth Poet Laureate, and all of the Finalists here by checking out their insightful and thoughtful interviews and watching their incredible performance videos.  

First up, 14-year-old Hunter Jackson:

Hunter Jackson in conversation with Eleanor Wikstrom.

Hunter Jackson's performance video.

Meet 15-year-old Siara Edmond:

Siara Edmond in conversation with Lucy Flattery-Vickness.

Siara Edmond's performance video.

15-year old Greer Nakadegawa-Lee is next:

Greer Nakadegawa-Lee in conversation with Samuel Getachew.

Greer Nakadegawa-Lee's performance video.

Chiana Griswa is 16 years old and our next Finalist:

Chiana Griswa, in conversation with Shanga Labossiere.

Chiana Griswa's performance video.

Meet 17-year-old Michelle Arango:

Michelle Arango in conversation with Tova Ricardo.

Michelle Arango's performance video.

And, finally, here is Jordan Tisnado, who is 18 years old:

Jordan Tisnado in conversation with Steph Yun.

Jordan Tisnado's performance video.

2020 Oakland Youth Poet Laureate Poets' Projects and Words

Listen to Greer Nakadegawa-Lee perform her poem, "2020", and find a printable version of her inspiring words.


Check out Finalists from other years, and the work they've done, here.  

Check Your Shelf: the OPL Podcast, Episode 3: Your Library at Home

Made possible by a Friends of the Oakland Public Library mini-grant, Check Your Shelf: The Oakland Public Library Podcast, invites listeners to take an inside look at OPL. Community Relations Librarian Amy Martin brings you inside the walls to get to know the library as a friend. The first season will feature six episodes diving into the different places, programs, and initiatives that make OPL truly special.

Listen on:

Anchor Spotify | Apple Podcasts | Google Podcasts | Breaker Overcast Pocket Casts | RadioPublic | RSS Feed

Episode 3: "Your Library at Home" 

In this episode, we explore ways you can still access Your Library from home with your Oakland Public Library card. We touch base with various staff members to discover how they are continuing to serve Oaklanders while working from home. Learn how you can receive phone and email support, get a customized reading list from an OPL librarian, and learn how you can attend a storytime from the comfort of your own home.

Show Notes

Transcript coming soon.

Just for kids

(Mostly) for teens

Library staff featured in this episode:

Matt Berson, Public Information Officer, Oakland Public Library
Camille Peters, Electronic Resources Librarian, Oakland Public Library
Christy Thomas, Reference Librarian, Oakland Public Library - Main Library
Annabelle Blackman, Children's Librarian, Oakland Public Library - César E. Chávez Branch
Sharon McKellar, Teen Services Coordinator, Oakland Public Library

Great Movies for Earth Day (Stream Free with Library Card)

by Ashley Bonifacio, Teen Services Youth Development Librarian

Does the shelter in place order have you feeling somewhat isolated from the rest of the world?

Earth Day is on Wednesday, April 22nd. Celebrate the earth and increase your awareness on environmental issues by checking out these movies. These films are available to check out online through Kanopy and Hoopla.

Since you are unable to check out these movies from our locations, we have increased maximum checkouts on these platforms so you can enjoy our virtual libraries. You can check out 10 titles on Hoopla and 5 titles on Kanopy (per month)!

Whether you’re looking for a film that will transport you to some of the planet’s most beautiful places, an intimate encounter with nature’s majestic wildlife, or you want to learn more about the environmental issues at hand, this list has a little bit of everything.


Earth: A New Wild (2015)
Not Rated, 288 min (5 videos)
Fans of Planet Earth and Life will enjoy this five part PBS series, which documents the beauty of the planet’s wildest places and offers a visually stunning look its wildlife and people.

Learning to See : The World of Insects (2016)
Not Rated, 70 min
If bugs are your thing, journey into the forests of South America to discover some of the world’s most exotic insects.

If a Tree Falls (2011)
Not Rated, 1h 25min
This Oscar nominated documentary profiles the Earth’s Liberation Front, a radical environmental group whose extreme efforts led the FBI to label them the ‘number one domestic terrorist threat’.

2009, 1h 12min
Corporate power has strong stakes in most industries including farming and agriculture. This documentary discusses the issue of industrialized farming, the influence it has on what we buy and how we eat, and profiles the farmers trying to combat this with sustainable, organic practices.


More Than Honey (2012)
Not Rated, 1h 35min
Where did all the honeybees go? This documentary explores the extinction of honeybees and the effect their endangerment has on the environment and our economy. 

After the Spill (2015)
Not Rated, 1h 2min
After Hurricane Katrina devastated the Lousiana coastline, the Gulf of Mexico suffered another ecological blow when BP’s Deep Horizon Oil Rig spilled more than 200 million gallons of oil into the water—permanently affecting 16,000 miles of coastal wildlife. This film follows the aftermath, five years after the spill.

An Inconvenient Truth (2006) & An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power (2017)
PG, 1h 36 min & 1hr 38min
This academy award winning film and its sequel focuses on Al Gore’s convincing campaign against global warming and the call for immediate action to curb humanity’s destructive impact on the planet.


Blue Gold : World Water Wars (2008)
Not Rated, 1hr 30min
This film investigates the environmental implications caused by the privatization and commoditization of water and the strain on the planet’s supply.

Blackfish (2013)
PG-13, 1hr 23min
This Sundance nominated documentary explores the dichotomy of nature and the human world by examining the issue of raising orca whales in captivity for entertainment purposes. 

Crude: The Real Price of Oil (2009)
Not Rated, 1h 45min
Details the $27 billion legal case that 30,000 Ecuadorians brought against the Chevron Corporation in efforts to seek damages to their ancestral homeland.

Earth Day Electronic Resources for Teens and Others

By Ashley Bonifacio, Teen Services Youth Development Librarian

With the world at home sheltering in place, a correlation between the decrease in daily human activity and the environment has been a topic of interest in the media these last few weeks. Talks about the decrease in air pollution in countries with high carbon emissions like India, as well as sightings of rare wildlife in urban streets, has encouraged humanity to think about its impact on the natural world.

With Earth Day on Wednesday April 22nd, what better way to think about the Earth and the impact we have on the environment than to check out the electronic resources we have on the subject. Whether you are a passionate environmentalist or someone just wanting to learn a little more, these resources will help you find your voice on various environmental issues.

You can browse all our databases by typing the title into our catalog or by selecting “Online Research and Learning”, under “Online Services”

You'll need your library card to access most of them, but don't worry. If you don't have a card, or can't find your card, or forget your PIN, even while closed, we can help you out.  If you don't have a card, please complete an online application and email to set up your account or resolve any account issues.  You can also use that address to resolve any issues with your card if you do have one.

Not sure where you stand? Get a complete view of differing perspectives by visiting Gale’s in Context: Opposing Viewpoints. Opposing Viewpoints contains primary and secondary resources that range from viewpoint articles and topic interviews in addition to videos, podcasts, statistics and full-text magazine and news articles. This database is especially good if you are writing an opinion piece or position assignment for school.

Just by browsing the issues, you can see find many relevant topics including the Flint Water Crisis, Food Waste, Sustainability, Renewable Energy, Green Cities, and so much more.

Similar to Opposing Viewpoints, Gale’s in Context: High School database is a great way to introduce yourself to the different resources available on environmental studies. The interface is very user-friendly where you can browse by issue or type an issue of interest in the search box. From there you can narrow down a subject further by selecting your content type.

Want to learn more about Earth Day and top environmental issues? Check out the World Environment Earth Day section in Newsbank: Hot Topics. Newsbank provides information on a variety of hot topic issues and also provides access to full-text articles from the Oakland Tribune. You can browse articles, videos and can also get connected to other reputable websites. Newsbank also gives you the flexibility to browse by subject so you can narrow down your search by location (if you’re interested in environmental issues by geography), specific environmental issues such as “global water shortages” and so on.

OPL also subscribes to various magazines that you can check out online on RB Digital. All you need is your library card number. ID (Ideas & Discoveries) Magazine is a science and nature magazine and May’s issue focuses on climate change. Check it out online by clicking here.

If you simply want to look at beautiful pictures and read some articles about the world and its wildlife, check out National Geographic’s magazine here.

Happy Earth Day!

The 2020 Teen Reading List is Here!

OPL's Teen Services department puts out an annual Teen Reading List of recommended Young Adult titles, and 2020's is here!

Staff members carefully curated and personally recommend these titles, published from March 2019 to March 2020.

Our libraries are currently closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but you can still read these books through the library!

Search our catalog for a hardcopy and pick it up with our sidewalk pickup service

Electronic copies can be found on hoopla and OverDrive. We link to the hoopla copy, below, if there is one. 

The electronic versions are eBooks you can read on your computer, phone, or tablet and/or audiobooks that you can download and listen to.

If you haven't tried hoopla yet, the app is free, the library pays for the content, and your library card will get you 10 downloads per month. There's no wait list for items so you can read or listen to these right now.  All you need is your library card! 

If you don't have a library card, or you do, but it's not working for any reason, we can help you.  While the library is closed, please complete an online application and email to set up your account or resolve any account issues.

If you have any questions, please email or call 510-238-3134 Monday thru Saturday, 10 am - 3 pm .

The print copies of this list will be available soon! 




Are You Listening?
Tillie Walden
Acquaintances Bea and Lou, on the run from the struggles of ordinary life, find themselves on a surreal road trip together.


Aurora Rising
Amie Kaufman, Jay Kristoff
Rescued after two centuries of cryo-sleep in interdimensional space, Aurora is determined to outrun the evil that hunts her and a band of misfits.


The Avant-Guards 
Carly Usdin, Noah Hayes 
As the new kid at college, Charlie makes connections—and might even find love—when she joins her school’s mediocre basketball team.


Meredith Russo 
Through six years of shared birthdays, best friends, Eric and Morgan, navigate their relationship, as well as their evolving sexual and gender identities.


Blank Canvas: My So-Called Artist’s Journey 
Akiko Higashimura 
Akiko creates manga and expects to attend art school. Through her studies with an exacting teacher, she discovers she still has much to learn.


Brown Girl Ghosted 
Mintie Das 
As one of the few Indian-Americans on campus, Violet just wants to survive high school, not face her destiny as an Aiedeo, a powerful woman warrior.


Elsie Chapman
Invited to an underground magic tournament, Aza must now use illegal magic to save her family’s legacy and to solve her sister’s death.


A Castle in the Clouds
Kerstin Gier
Sophie interns at a grand old hotel in the Swiss Alps, filled with cosmopolitan international Christmas guests, but not everyone is who they seem.


Color Outside the Lines: Stories About Love
Sangu Mandanna (editor)
An anthology of fun, thoughtful love stories about difference. Also: Chinese pirate ghosts, black girl vigilantes, a garden of poisons and more.


Crier’s War
Nina Varela
Sparks fly as the fires of rebellion rage around Crier, heir to the robot throne, and Ayla, her human court attendant who is secretly plotting vengeance.


A.S. King
How do white youth face and challenge racism in their families and themselves? This creative, surreal novel engages with this and other important questions.



The Downstairs Girl 
Stacey Lee
In 1890 Atlanta, Jo Kuan, a 17-year-old Chinese-American hat maker, takes an opportunity to be heard, leading to unexpected challenges that uncover undesired truths.



Frankly in Love 
David Yoon 
Frank’s Korean, Brit’s white, and they’re in love. Frank’s parents won’t accept Brit, so he starts fake dating his friend Joy. A perfect plan. . .right?


A Good Girl’s Guide to Murder 
Holly Jackson 
Budding journalist Pippa questions a murder verdict; someone is threatened by her snooping. Despite danger and dead ends, Pippa persists to uncover the truth.



The Good Luck Girls 
Charlotte Nicole Davis
Five girls on the run from prostitution search for freedom in a Wild West that’s full of ghosts, robbers, and bounty hunters.



The Grace Year 
Kim Liggett 
Girls who are approaching womanhood in fictional Garner County experience a “grace year” of horror and strong sexual powers in this haunting tale.


Sarah Deming 
For fierce Gravity Delgado, boxing is not just everything she needs to channel her anger and lift her family out of poverty—it’s the only thing.


The Gravity of Us 
Phil Stamper
In this teen-saves-the-day story, Cal uses social media to aid NASA’s Mars mission and falls in love along the way.


The Grief Keeper
Alexandra Villasante 
Marisol participates in a human study to cure PTSD in exchange for asylum for her sister and herself in New York.


Harley Quinn: Breaking Glass 
Mariko Tamaki, Steve Pugh 
Fifteen-year-old Harleen moves to Gotham City, makes new friends, and battles against evil forces that threaten them all.



If You’re Out There 
Katy Loutzenhiser 
Zan’s BFF Priya moved away and ghosted her unexpectedly. Everyone’s telling Zan to move on, but she’s determined to solve the mystery: What happened?


The Infinite Noise 
Lauren Shippen 
If you have extreme empathy, what do you do with it? Learn how Caleb uses his in an entangled story of love.


Keep This to Yourself 
Tom Ryan
In this terrifying page-turner, two boys are determined to catch a serial killer while also navigating dating. But can romance survive their mutual distrust?


Kiss Number 8
Colleen AF Venable, Ellen T. Crenshaw 
Join Amanda on a journey through family secrets, gender surprises, love, and friendship. Regrettable behavior and changed relationships, for better and worse, await.


Komi Can’t Communicate 
Tomohito Oda 
Though charming and likable, Komi doesn’t communicate easily with others. Tadano helps her overcome her anxiety to achieve her goal of forming friendships.


The Last True Poets of the Sea
Julia Drake 
The sea has a big role in this novel with a rebellious, queer protagonist dealing with the dysfunction and the legend of her family.


Laura Dean Keeps Breaking Up with Me 
Mariko Tamaki 
Laura Dean is cute, popular, and charismatic, yet selfish and flaky. And Frederica can’t resist her—despite warnings from friends and strangers.


Let Me Hear a Rhyme 
Tiffany D. Jackson 
It’s 1998 Brooklyn— Steph has been killed. His friends and sister take risks to make sure his tracks, beats, and name live on.


Life is Short and Then You Die: Mystery Writers of America Presents First Encounters with Murder 
Kelley Armstrong (editor)
An anthology of 18 short— but definitely not sweet!— mystery stories featuring all sorts of murder. An opportunity to revisit favorite authors and discover new ones.


Light It Up 
Kekla Magoon 
A community comes together to bring justice to Shae Tatum, a 13-year-old shot in the back by a police officer.


Loveboat, Taipei 
Abigail Hing Wen 
At Loveboat, a Taiwanese heritage program Ever’s parents enroll her in, adults turn a blind eye as students hang out and drink sake all summer.


Skottie Young, Jorge Corona, Mike Huddleston
In a world that’s slightly different from our own, Abel is on the run from his abusive father, with his talking fox in tow.


The Never Tilting World
Rin Chupeco 
Twin goddesses separated at birth must fulfill a prophecy to restore their broken world—but only at the cost of one of their lives.


Our Dreams at Dusk 
Yuhki Kamatani 
Tasuku is struggling with his sexuality when he stumbles upon a mysterious house where he is offered acceptance and an escape from his troubles.



Akwaeke Emezi
Trans girl, Jam, grew up being told that there are “no more monsters.” But after accidentally unleashing one such creature, Jam goes on a quest to find more.



Rainbow Rowell, Faith Erin Hicks, Sarah Stern 
Deja and Josiah, best friends working at a pumpkin patch together, spend their final night on the job looking for love and other adventures.


Run, Hide, Fight Back 
April Henry 
A diverse, disparate group of teens must work together to stay alive when they are trapped inside a shopping mall held hostage by gunmen.


The Silence Between Us
Alison Gervais
Deaf teen Maya starts attending a hearing school. That won’t deter her dreams, though, not even when Beau learns American Sign Language to speak with her.



Spin the Dawn 
Elizabeth Lim
Disguised as a boy, Maia is a gifted tailor who dodges death threats and uncovers family secrets while embarking on the journey of a lifetime.


Jen Wang 
Neighbors Christine and Moon become close friends, despite their many differences. But will their friendship survive hurt feelings and a life-threatening condition?


That Night 
Cyn Balog 
Why did Hailey’s boyfriend kill himself when he had everything going for him? And who can she trust, when even her own memory’s unreliable?



This Was Our Pact 
Ryan Andrews 
Two boys find themselves on a fantastical adventure, involving a talking bear and other mysterious phenomena. Will they manage to find their way home?


Untamed Shore 
Silvia Moreno-Garcia 
1979, small-town Baja California. Viridiana takes a job for three rich Americans. When a suspicious death occurs, only Viridiana’s wits can match their deceit.


War Girls 
Tochi Onyebuchi
In future Nigeria, civil war is fought Gundam style. Follow two sisters to see how the war has devastated both life and soul.



Wilder Girls
Rory Power
Hetty and friends are quarantined for a disease that deformed their bodies. Will they find a cure?



Witch Hat Atelier 
Kamome Shirahama 
Coco desperately wants to be a witch, and to help people with magic. But practicing her own spells is harder than it looks.



With the Fire on High 
Elizabeth Acevedo 
Teen mom Emoni navigates parenting a toddler, a passion for cooking, and relationships, all while trying to finish high school on her own terms.


Woven in Moonlight 
Isabel Ibañez 
Ximena seeks revenge— and an ancient relic keeping her people from power. But her loyalties get tested after she infiltrates the other side.



Abused by family and bullies, Jonas, AKA Wrath, turns to the streets. When he finds love, he faces a tough question: Will love overpower money?






The (Other) F Word: A Celebration of the Fat & Fierce
Angie Manfredi (editor)
Thirty-three contributors, some quite well-known, with diverse gender and racial identities, share their writing and art in this beautifully designed book celebrating fat bodies.


Brave the Page: A Young Writer’s Guide to Telling Epic Stories
Rebecca Stern, Grant Faulkner Motivation, inspiration, and information is presented with how-tos, practical tips, and encouragement from well-known YA authors in this guide to writing a novel.


Dissenter on the Bench: Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s Life & Work
Victoria Ortiz
Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s life, work, and passions are shared through narratives of especially intriguing court cases that she has argued or heard.


A Fortune for Your Disaster
Hanif Abdurraqib
Abdurraqib’s poetry speaks to his felt conflict among the identities he carries. Haunting, heartbreaking, and, at times, funny, his voice is unique and urgent.


Free Lunch
Rex Ogle
The author’s first semester of sixth grade is vividly told in this memoir that explores the shame of poverty and the pain of neglect.


Gender Queer: A Memoir
Maia Kobabe A personal account of the feelings and experiences surrounding identity, gender, and sexuality from an author who identifies as nonbinary and asexual.


I Was Their American Dream: A Graphic Memoir
Malaka Gharib
Growing up as a child of Filipino and Egyptian immigrants, the author shares her own unique American experience.


An Indigenous Peoples’ History of the United States for Young People
Debbie Reese, Jean Mendoza, Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz
This rendering of American History from the Native perspective is a needed counter to the Eurocentric version typically taught. It engages and enrages readers.


Know My Name: A Memoir
Chanel Miller
Miller reclaims her identity through telling the story of being sexually assaulted on Stanford University’s campus and the aftermath of media coverage and trials.


Ordinary Hazards: A Memoir
Nikki Grimes
Reading this poetic journal is like picking up a best friend’s heartfelt, wanting to-be-loved childhood diary and discovering the trauma she survived when she was small.


The Other Side: Stories of Central American Teen Refugees Who Dream of Crossing the Border
Juan Pablo Villalobos
Eleven harrowing stories of teens from Central America who survived river rapids, extreme desert heat, icy holding cells, and missing parents to migrate to the U.S.


Laurie Halse Anderson
The author’s deeply personal memoir in verse reveals how her past abuse and trauma impacted her life and led her to write Speak.


They Called Us Enemy
George Takei, Justin Eisinger, Steven Scott, Harmony Becker
Actor George Takei recounts the injustice of being torn from his home and community during World War II—all because his family was Japanese-American.


This Book is Anti-Racist: 20 Lessons on How to Wake Up, Take Action, and Do the Work
Tiffany Jewell, Aurelia Durand
Want help standing up to racism in your life and community? This short, empowering, and visually appealing book will give you the tools you need.


Trans+: Love, Sex, Romance, and Being You
Katherine Gonzales, Karen Rayne
A comprehensive guide for transgender, nonbinary, and gender nonconforming youth and their allies covers a breadth of topics and includes teen voices.


Wait, What? A Comic Book Guide to Relationships, Bodies, and Growing Up
Heather Corinna, Isabella Rotman, Luke Howard
This good read answers all the questions you might be too afraid to ask. A fun and inclusive resource for young teens.


Check Your Shelf Podcast: "Hello, AAMLO"

Made possible by a Friends of the Oakland Public Library mini-grant, Check Your Shelf: The Oakland Public Library Podcast, invites listeners to take an inside look at OPL. Community Relations Librarian Amy Martin brings you inside the walls to get to know the library as a friend. The first season will feature six episodes diving into the different places, programs, and initiatives that make OPL truly special.

Listen on:

Anchor Spotify Apple Podcasts | Google Podcasts | Breaker Overcast Pocket Casts | RadioPublic | RSS Feed

Episode 2: "Hello, AAMLO" Notes

Transcript coming soon.

The African American Museum and Library at Oakland (AAMLO) is located at 659 14th Street in Oakland.

Audio recordings used in Episode 2. Recordings included in this episode are used with permission from the African American Museum and Library at Oakland.

A Mystery Reel of Film Arrives at AAMLO - photo essay featuring Sean Dickerson

AAMLO Collections Mentioned in Episode 2

And Some Fun Extras:

Library staff featured on this episode:

Bamidele Agbasegbe-Demerson, Chief Curator, African American Museum and Library at Oakland (AAMLO)
Marco Frazier, Library Assistant, African American Museum and Library at Oakland (AAMLO)
Sean Dickerson, Library and Archives Assistant, African American Museum and Library at Oakland (AAMLO)
Dorothy Lazard, Librarian, Oakland History Center at the Oakland Public Library


Episode 1: "Public Detectives" Notes

Click here for a transcript.

Dorothy Lazard, manager of the Oakland History Center, talks annexation and developing exhibits on Oakland history.

vintage ad, harbor with text oakland the city of opportunity

book cover dated 1902 text "oakland athens of the pacific"

Are you also in the throes of potty training? Here are the books and DVDs Mahasin Aleem recommends:

And finally, the red snapper recipe that made us cry. Thanks, Kirsten Baldock.

Until next month, we'll see you around the library!



Women's History Month

Girl Power Film Festival 2020Girl Power floral

Celebrate Women's History Month with a series of four films chronicling inspiring and trailblazing women!

  • 3/2 - What's Love Got to Do With It
    This autobiographical film is centered on the life of Tina Turner; her rise to fame and her fall from the idyllic American marriage.
  • 3/16 - Frida
    Salma Hayek stars as Mexican surrealist artist Frida Kahlo in this biopic, which chronicles her turbulent marriage to Diego Rivera, her political activism, and the severe pain she experienced following a bus accident.
  • 3/23 - On the Basis of Sex
    Future Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg launches her career fighting for gender equality by proving discrimination "on the basis of sex" is unconstitutional.
  • 3/30 - Harriet
    The incredible true story of Harriet Tubman, and her quest to lead hundreds of slaves to freedom on the Underground Railroad.

Mondays in March @ Eastmont Branch
Keywords: adults, films, movies, East Oakland


Women Bike Book ClubBook cover for the "the Mechanical Horse"

Let's explore the history of women in American cycling with Margaret Guroff's The Mechanical Horse: How the Bicycle Reshaped American LifeLearn how "women shed their cumbersome Victorian dresses—as well as their restricted gender roles—so they could ride. [...] Margaret Guroff demonstrates that the bicycle's story is really the story of a more mobile America—one in which physical mobility has opened wider horizons of thought and new opportunities for people in all avenues of life."

Thursday, 3/5 - 6pm-7:30pm @ Golden Gate Branch
Keywords: bikes, The Mechanical Horse, book club, Women Bike Book Club, North Oakland



Intro to Female Persian PoetsPersian Poetry

To celebrate Women's History Month, and to expand answer that was asked in our first session on Persian Poets, what about Persian female poets? In this session female poets, female feminist poets, modern feminism, and ancient Persia will be discussed.

Saturday, March 7 - 1pm-2:30pm @ Piedmont Avenue Branch 
Keywords: poetry, Persian, Persian poets, Persian authors, feminism, North Oakland, Piedmont

Button and Bookmark Making for Women's History MonthWomen's History Month graphic

Come make bookmarks and buttons featuring important and inspiring women. Use our artwork or create your own tribute to the important women in your life!

Saturday, March 7 - 1pm-4pm @ West Oakland Branch
Keywords: poetry, Persian, Persian poets, Persian authors, feminism, North Oakland, Piedmont

Black Women: Their Presence in the City of LightTomb of Josephine Baker

Journey with Oakland native Riki Stevenson, whose slide-illustrated presentation—Black Women: Their Presence in the City of Light—takes us across the landscapes of Paris, France. We explore places where African and African American females studied, created art, forged socio-political alliances, opened businesses, and at times made the famed City of Light their home. (This program is organized by Stevenson’s European-based company Black Paris Tours.)

Saturday, March 7 - 2pm-5pm @ African American Museum & Library at Oakland
Keywords: Black women, history, Black History, African American Women, African American history, culture, art, Paris, presentation, AAMLO

Women's History Trivia Nightvintage and outdated drawing of the female brain

Come test your trivia prowess and celebrate Women's History Month at a women's history-themed trivia night. Play solo or with a team. 6 people max per team. Eat snacks, learn, win prizes! Door at 5:30, trivia starts at 6pm. 

Tuesday, March 10 - 6pm-8pm @ Main Library
Keywords: trivia, women's history, games, adults, teens, Downtown Oakland, Lake Merritt



Meet Saadia Faruqi, author of the Yasmin! book series, & book giveawayBook cover for Yasmin! children

Come meet Saadia Faruqi, author of the popular Yasmin! series. Attendees will learn about the Yasmin! series in this fun, interactive presentation. Author, Saadia Faruqi, will also share her experiences growing up in Pakistan and talk about her journey as a writer. Pizza and refreshments will be served at 5:30. Presentation will begin at 6:00. FREE books will be signed and given away at the end of the presentation.  *Limited quantities of the books are available and are intended only for children in attendance at the program. One copy per child, please. First-come, first serve.  

Wednesday, March 11 - 5:30pm-7pm @ Main Library (Children's Room)
Keywords: children, kids, books, Pakistan, Yasmin!, food, free books, Children's books, family, Downtown Oakland, Lake Merritt



Shifting Culture Conversation Series: Race, Gender and Leadership with Shaana RahmanShifting Culture Conversation Series @ Main Library 

Shaana Rahman is a bicycle personal injury lawyer who runs her own firm, and is dedicated to tearing down barriers to women leading in business and succeeding in their careers. Hear Shaana's story and then join a guided discussion group on topics of race, gender, leadership in the workplace, and leadership in the bicycling movement. The Shifting Culture Conversation Series is presented in collaboration with Bike East Bay.  Bike East Bay promotes healthy, sustainable communities by making bicycling safe, fun and accessible.

Wednesday, March 11 - 6pm @ Main Library
Keywords: Shifting Culture, series, bikes, bicycles, business, professional, leadership, Bike East Bay, Downtown Oakland, Lake Merritt


Women and the Art of Meditationgraphic of dark head profile outline with a tree and roots within it

Learn how to rejuvenate yourself in our workshop, Women and the Art of Meditation. Part of AAMLO’s ongoing Festival of Knowledge, the session conducted by Josie Santiago focuses on “chair” yoga, relaxation techniques, aromatherapy, stress free music, and more.

Saturday, March 14 - 2pm-4pm @ African American Museum & Library at Oakland
Keywords: meditation, Festival of Knowledge, mindfulness, relaxation, health, adults, AAMLO, West Oakland, Downtown Oakland


The Girls in the Bandvintage black & white photograph of Black women with instruments

When the world told them they couldn't play, they did it anyway! They wiggled, they jiggled, they wore low cut gowns and short shorts, they kow-towed to the club owners and smiled at the customers…and they did it all, just to play the music they loved. THE GIRLS IN THE BAND tells the poignant, untold stories of female jazz and big band instrumentalists and their fascinating, groundbreaking journeys from the late 1920s to the present day. These incredibly talented women endured sexism, racism and diminished opportunities for decades, yet continue today to persevere, inspire and elevate their talents in a field that seldom welcomed them. This 2013 documentary is 88 minutes long. 

Tuesday, March 17 - 6pm-7:30pm @ Golden Gate Branch
Keywords: music, history, music history, women's history, Black history, African American history, arts, culture, jazz, documentary, North Oakland, Emeryville, South Berkeley

Shirley Chisolm: Unbought and Unbossed Film Screening

Recalling a watershed event in US politics, this Peabody Award-winning documentary takes an in-depth look at the 1972 presidential campaign of Shirley Chisholm, the first black woman elected to Congress and the first to seek nomination for the highest office in the land. Shunned by the political establishment and the media, this longtime champion of marginalized Americans asked for support from people of color, women, gays, and young people newly empowered to vote at the age of 18. Chisholm's bid for an equal place on the presidential dais generated strong, even racist opposition. Yet her challenge to the status quo and her message about exercising the right to vote struck many as progressive and positive. Official Selection at the Sundance International Film Festival and the SXSW Film Festival"A refreshing antidote to the opportunism and cynicism that rules the political roost inspiring tale of someone who made a difference." - James Greenberg, Hollywood Reporter

Tuesday, March 17 - 6pm-8pm @ Temescal Branch
Keywords: women's history, Black history, African American history, American politics, Black politicans, Women Politicians, documentary, North Oakland, Emeryville

Documentary Film Series: She's Beautiful When She's AngryFilm poster for "She's Beautiful When She's Angry"

Join us at the Dimond Branch for a series of documentary films on Wednesday evenings. Snacks will be provided and a brief discussion will follow each film. March's film is She's Beautiful When She's Angry, a documentary about the birth of the Women's Liberation Movement in the 1960's.

Wednesday, March 18 - 6pm-8pm @ Dimond Branch
Keywords: women's history, Women's Liberation Movement, 1960s, documentary, feminism, films, Dimond District, Fruitvale, East Oakland

In Praise of Our Mothers and GrandmothersBlack Female Project poster

Join AAMLO for a community discussion, In Praise of Our Mothers and Grandmothersorganized by BlackFemaleProjectThe discussion will include topics such as: kinship roles, mentorship, workplace dynamics, and community leadership. 

Saturday, March 21 - 2pm-4pm @ African American Museum & Library at Oakland
Keywords: Black Female Project, mothers, grandmothers, community, leadership, adults, AAMLO, West Oakland, Downtown Oakland


Women's History Month Film: A League of their OwnA League of their Own movie poster

Come celebrate Women's History month with us by watching the true story of two sisters who join the first female professional baseball league. Snacks will be provided but feel free to bring something to share!

Saturday, March 21 - 3pm @ Lakeview Branch
Keywords: movie, true stories, sports, baseball, women's baseball, film, women's history, Lake Merritt, Grand Lake






Lunch Hour with the DivasMaya Angelou receiving medal of honor from ex-President Obama

Take a break for Lunch Hour with the Divas. Selected documentary film screenings explore Black women in the arts and the struggle for freedom. 

  • Monday 3/23 & Tuesday 3/24 - Maya Angelou: And Still I Rise
  • Wednesday 3/25 & Thursday 3/26: Ida B. Wells: A Passion for Justice 

Monday, March 23 - Thursday, March 26  @ African American Museum & Library at Oakland
Keywords: movies, documentaries, Civil Rights, films, lunch time, AAMLO




Trailblazing Journalist Delilah Beasley & California's African American Historyblack & white portrait of Delilah Beasley

Join Liam O’Donoghue, host and producer of the East Bay Yesterday podcast, as he interviews writers Dana Johnson and Ana Cecilia Alvarez, authors of the new book, “Trailblazer : Delilah Beasley’s California.” Dana Johnson is a professor of English at the University of Southern California and author of the short story collection, "In the Not Quite Dark." Ana Cecilia Alvarez is a professor at California Institute of the Arts and serves as the Development and Communications Manager at Clockshop, a Los Angeles-based arts collective.

Tuesday, March 24 - 6pm-8pm @ Main Library
Keywords: Delilah Beasley, East Bay Yesterday, East Bay history, Black history, women's history, African American history,Dana Johnson, Ana Cecilia Alvarez, journalism


Women's History Month Craftdrawing of Mae Jemison, first black woman in space

Create your own refrigerator magnets featuring famous women from history! Best for ages 3 and up.

Wednesday, March 25 - 3:30pm @ Dimond Branch
Keywords: crafts, DIY, arts, creative, programs, Dimond, East Oakland, Fruitvale


Shifting Culture Conversation Series: Intersectional Issues in Biking With Childrentwo young children pose in front of a bike

Parents are uniquely focused on the next generation. A panel of parents will explore the intersectional issues faced by people biking with children or while pregnant. Then we'll engage in discussion that turns to these leaders for safer streets and more people-focused infrastructure. The Shifting Culture Conversation Series is presented in collaboration with Bike East Bay.  Bike East Bay promotes healthy, sustainable communities by making bicycling safe, fun and accessible.

Wednesday, March 25 - 6pm-8pm @ Main Library
Keywords: intersectional, bikes, cycling, bicycles, biking, children, pregnancy, motherhood, Bike East Bay, Downtown Oakland, Lake Merritt



Before I Was a Critic I Was a Human BeingBook cover for "Before I Was a Critic I was a Human Being"

Join us in March for our monthly book club featuring titles from Small Press Distribution. Pick up a free copy of our March book at the February Book Club meeting (2/26), or at the Main Library Reference desk starting on February 27 while supplies last. MARCH’S BOOK CLUB PICK: Before I Was a Critic I Was a Human Being by Amy Fung. Literary Nonfiction. Asian & Asian American Studies. Native American Studies. Women's Studies. BEFORE I WAS A CRITIC I WAS A HUMAN BEING is the debut collection of essays by Amy Fung. In it, Fung takes a closer examination at Canada's mythologies of multiculturalism, settler colonialism, and identity through the lens of a national art critic. Following the tangents of a foreign-born perspective and the complexities and complicities in participating in ongoing acts of colonial violence, the book as a whole takes the form of a very long land acknowledgment. Taken individually, each piece roots itself in the learning and unlearning process of a first-generation settler immigrant as she unfurls each region's sense of place and identity. 

Wednesday, March 25 - 5pm @ Main Library
Keywords: Amy Fung, Small Press Distribution, books, Asian studies, Native studies, women's studies, conversation, book club, Downtown Oakland, Lake Merritt



Berkeley Rep Talk: School Girls; Or, The African Mean Girlsstill image from School Girls; Or, The African Mean Girls play

By Jocelyn Bioh
Directed by Awoye Timpo
Main Season · Roda Theatre
March 19–May 3, 2020

“Modeling. That’s the plan after I graduate you know. Become the next Iman. College is cute, but I’m thinking about my future realistically.” Paulina, the reigning queen bee at Ghana’s most exclusive boarding school, has her sights set on the Miss Universe pageant and the glamorous life that’s sure to follow. But her plans and even her very reputation are shaken up when Ericka, a new student who’s strikingly beautiful and talented, captures the attention of the pageant recruiter—and Paulina’s hive-minded friends. Winner of the 2018 Lucille Lortel Award for Outstanding Play and the Outer Critics Circle John Gassner Award, School Girls; Or, The African Mean Girls Play is a biting comedy that tackles the universal issues of beauty and self-worth that face teenage girls across the globe.

Saturday, March 28 - 1pm-2pm @ Piedmont Avenue Branch
Keywords: Berkeley Rep, School Girls, plays, Ghana, African, Piedmont, Emeryville, North Oakland



Women's History Month Film: Queen of Katwe Queen of Katwe film poster

Come celebrate Women's History Month with us by watching the incredible true story of a Ugandan girl who sees her world rapidly change after being introduced to the game of chess in the Queen of Katwe. Snacks will be provided but feel free to bring something to share!

Saturday, March 28 - 3pm @ Lakeview Branch
Keywords: Queen of Katwe, true stories, chess, movies, films, Uganda, Lake Merritt, Grand Lake