Storytime

Black History Read-In and Heritage Fest Events for Children and Families on February 4th at the Main Library

January is almost over, which means it's just about time for Black History Month. 

The Main Library is celebrating the achievements of Black Americans with a day-long Black History Month Read-In and Culture Fest for community members of all ages.

At the Oakland Public library, we strive to incorporate the work of people of African descent as part of our programming all year long, but appreciate the opportunity to highlight and celebrate Black history and culture as part of Black History Month.

Black History Month's origins date back to 1926, when Carter G. Woodson founded Negro History Week, a time set aside for studying the achievements and contributions of African-Americans. 

In 1990, the Black Caucus of the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE) established the African-American Read-In to encourage literacy during Black History Month.

Join us at 10:15 for a lively storytime that will feature songs, books, and rhymes that represent people from the African Diaspora. 

An example of a book that will be featured is This Jazz Man, by Karen Ehrhardt. 

Coffee, tea, and light snacks will be served. 

At 11:30, we'll host the Samba Samba Workshop, an interactive educational workshop led by James Henry, that uses music, rhythm, percussion instruments, and drums as tools for capturing the imagination of the participants. This program is suitable for all ages from children to adults. 

The full schedule of events can be found here.

If you miss the Samba Samba workshop at the Main Library on the 4th, he'll also be performing at four other branches throughout the system throughout February and once in March. For more information about his performances, check out the library's website or call 510-238-6844

Bring Your Child to Storytime

Yuk Yau Preschool StorytimeThis last week I was talking with some teen moms about what they can do to help their babies get ready to read. I had given them the full presentation about five simple activities - talking, singing, reading, writing, and playing - that help a baby, toddler, and preschool child be ready to read by kindergarten.

One of the teen moms said her favorite memory of libraries was all the storytimes she went to when she was a child. She and her parents went to libraries all over Oakland. Her face changed as she talked about the pleasure of hearing stories with her family. It reminded me that when I was young, I spent weeks one summer listening to my librarian read C.S. Lewis's The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe. She talked about "being transported to a different world." Being a very literal child, I was disappointed when we all stayed in the garden of the library. But I still remember that summer and have reread the book over and over again. 

There is something magical about being read to. The imagination can fly free to follow whimsy and visit different  worlds. And the memories of those visits can last as long as a visit to a "real" place. As added benefits, children increase their vocabulary by hearing new words in context, and adults get to visit long-forgotten places, feelings, and memories. 

Oakland Public Library has lots of storytimes. There are seventeen locations that serve children and families, and all of them have at least one storytime a week. We have baby bounces for children 0-18 months, toddler time for children 18 months to 3 years, preschool storytime for those who are getting ready to start kindergarten, and family storytime for the whole family.

Do you have a favorite memory of storytimes? Come make some with your child.