Community Relations Blog

Illustrator Christian Robinson Installation at Oakland Public Library (OPL)

Large pieces based on art by the children's book illustrator can be viewed on the grounds of three OPL locations.

Thanks to the generosity of Target, Oakland Public Library is now the permanent home to an installation of art by award-winning Oakland-based children's book illustrator Christian Robinson

A larger-than-life installation of Robinson's artwork was up for a single weekend at Jack London Square to celebrate the release of the Christian Robinson X line at Target. When that event was over, the brightly colored kids and pets needed a place to live more permanently, so Target reached out to OPL. 

You can see some of the results in photos below. OPL's Associate Director, Nina Lindsay, describes,

"Our Elmhurst Branch in East Oakland now has a small parade of a telescope kid, scooter girl, and dog walker. This little library on a residential street is set back from the sidewalk and this gives a beautiful boost of color and visibility.

Our West Oakland Library has been wanting to liven up the lobby of their shared facility (there’s a job center upstairs), and the Wagon Kids and Couple with Corn now provide some warm company there. They also found the perfect spot for everyone’s favorite: the Jump Rope Kids.

And Parachute Kids fit right in and provide a welcome at the Children’s Room entrance to our Main Library, across the street from Lake Merritt. The colors provide a much needed boost to this façade and play off the murals at our Main entrance around the corner.

We are so delighted to provide a home for these."

The next time you visit our Main LibraryElmhurst Branch, or West Oakland Branch, make sure to take a picture with one of the kids and hashtag it #ChristianRobinsonAtOPL to share your smiles!

Don't forget, while you're there, to borrow some of Christian Robinson's beautiful books.

Check Your Shelf: Fall Oakland History Miniseries feat. Dorothy Lazard

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. In this miniseries, Dorothy Lazard (Oakland History Center) brings her Fall History lecture series to you.

Listen to the full miniseries!

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Episode 4: Archiving the Pandemic

Dorothy is the interview subject in this final episode of the Fall History Miniseries. Amy Martin, Community Relations Librarian and our usual host, talks with Dorothy about the COVID-19 pandemic and the changes it has brought to our lives. Dorothy shares some early submissions to the Oakland History Center's COVID-19 East Bay Community Archive, a digital record of our pandemic experience that needs your stories.

Contribute to the COVID-19 East Bay Community Archive

Photos, stories, blog posts, videos, art - the Oakland History Center welcomes your contributions to what will be a digital archive of the COVID-19 pandemic in the East Bay. Submissions will be accepted through December 31.

Read more and submit!

Dorothy Recommends:

Other Resources

Featured in this Episode:

Dorothy Lazard, Oakland History Center Librarian
Amy Martin, Community Relations Librarian

The novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has impacted the every day lives of residents in the East Bay. It is important to capture the feelings, memories, and perspectives of people in our communities to accurately preserve this moment in time in our nation and our region. Contribute to the COVID-19 East Bay Community Archive and help us document our history.

Got a local history question for Dorothy or the Oakland History Center? Email eanswers@oaklandlibrary.org, or call (510) 238-3134.

Check Your Shelf: Fall Oakland History Miniseries feat. Dorothy Lazard

dorothy lazard seated by microphone

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. In this miniseries, Dorothy Lazard (Oakland History Center) brings her Fall History lecture series to you.

Listen on:

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

Episode 3: William Wong, Author of Oakland's Chinatown

Dorothy interviews Oakland journalist William Wong. His books Oakland's Chinatown and Yellow Journalist: dispatches from Asian America are celebrated by scholars and local history buffs alike, and offer a window into the history of Asian Americans in Oakland and across America. Join Dorothy and William for a conversation about Chinatown in the mid-20th century, the COVID-19 crisis, and this era of gentrification.

Books by William Wong

Dorothy's Recommended Reads:

Community Resources

Featured in this Episode:

Dorothy Lazard, Oakland History Center Librarian
William Wong, Journalist and Author

The novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has impacted the every day lives of residents in the East Bay. It is important to capture the feelings, memories, and perspectives of people in our communities to accurately preserve this moment in time in our nation and our region. Contribute to the COVID-19 East Bay Community Archive and help us document our history.

Got a local history question for Dorothy or the Oakland History Center? Email eanswers@oaklandlibrary.org, or call (510) 238-3134.

Check Your Shelf: Fall Oakland History Miniseries feat. Dorothy Lazard

dorothy lazard seated by microphone

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. In this miniseries, Dorothy Lazard (Oakland History Center) brings her Fall History lecture series to you.

Listen on:

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

Episode 2: Cheryl Fabio and the Black Filmmakers Hall of Fame

Dorothy interviews Oakland filmmaker Cheryl Fabio, whose works include Evolutionary Blues: West Oakland's Music Legacy. They reminisce about the Black Filmmakers Hall of Fame, an Oakland organization that supported Black film and arts from 1974 into the late nineties.

Mentioned in Episode 2

Dorothy's Recommended Reads:

Black Arts and Film in Oakland

Featured in this Episode:

Dorothy Lazard, Oakland History Center Librarian
Cheryl Fabio, Sarah Webster Fabio Center for Social Justice

The novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has impacted the every day lives of residents in the East Bay. It is important to capture the feelings, memories, and perspectives of people in our communities to accurately preserve this moment in time in our nation and our region. Contribute to the COVID-19 East Bay Community Archive and help us document our history.

Got a local history question for Dorothy or the Oakland History Center? Email eanswers@oaklandlibrary.org, or call (510) 238-3134.

Check Your Shelf: Fall Oakland History Miniseries feat. Dorothy Lazard

dorothy lazard seated by microphone

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. In this miniseries, Dorothy Lazard (Oakland History Center) brings her Fall History lecture series to you.

Listen on:

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

Episode 1: Oakland Heritage Alliance

Dorothy interviews the editorial crew of the Oakland Heritage Alliance (OHA): Erika Mailman, Naomi Schiff, and Kathleen DiGiovanni. They talk about the founding of the OHA, Oakland's architectural history, and what changes may come in the wake of the pandemic.

Oakland Heritage Alliance (OHA)

Books and Other Library Resources

Local History 

Featured in this Episode:

Dorothy Lazard, Oakland History Center Librarian
Naomi Schiff, Oakland Heritage Alliance
Erika Mailman, Oakland Heritage Alliance
Kathleen DiGiovanni, Oakland Heritage Alliance
Amy Martin, OPL Community Relations Librarian.

The novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has impacted the every day lives of residents in the East Bay. It is important to capture the feelings, memories, and perspectives of people in our communities to accurately preserve this moment in time in our nation and our region. Contribute to the COVID-19 East Bay Community Archive and help us document our history.

Got a local history question for Dorothy or the Oakland History Center? Email eanswers@oaklandlibrary.org, or call (510) 238-3134.

How to Make Sure Your Vote Counts

Make sure you are registered to vote

In California, the deadline to register to vote for any election was 15 days before Election Day - October 19. However,  people can cast a conditional ballot and do same day registration on November 3rd (see Same Day Voter Registration below)

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
    • As required by Assembly Bill No. 860, they must provide 1 Accessible voting locations for every 10,000 voters. At the top of this page Alameda County lists the confirmed locations by city (more are pending): https://www.acvote.org/community/partnerships
      The Accessible Voting Locations (AVLs) will available to the public for 4 days:
       
        • Saturday, October 31, 2020, from 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM
        • Sunday, November 1, 2020, from 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM
        • Monday, November 2, 2020, from 9:00 AM to 5:00 PM
        • Tuesday, November 3, 2020, from 7:00 AM to 8:00 PM
       

      AVLs will include booths that are wheelchair accessible, accessible voting machines which provides two options for voters to cast their ballot (touchscreen with enlargement capabilities /or an audio ballot which allows voters to listen to instructions and ballot selections), and voting assistance will be available as well. 

       
      The following link has more details on AVLs and what is required to become a designated location: https://www.acvote.org/avl

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:

English
(510) 272-6973

中文
(510) 208-9665

Español
(510) 272-6975

Tagalog
(510) 272-6952

Tiếng Việt
(510) 272-6956

日本語
(510) 272-5036

ខ្មែរ។
(510) 272-5035

한국어
(510) 272-5037

ਪੰਜਾਬੀ
(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:

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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

Partners

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 
recovery.


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 eAnswers@oaklandlibrary.org. 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, officeofthemayor@oaklandnet.com 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: http://www.oaklandlibrary.org/yplbooking

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.

Greer Nakadegawa-Lee performed a poem at the Oakland Symphony's Inaugural Gala for Kamala Harris.  See the performance and find a printable version of the poem.

*** 

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:

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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