OPL in the News

Below, you can read selected media stories showcasing Oakland Public Library programs and staff. To view an archive of press releases from the library, click here.

Friday, November 3rd, 2017, KQED Forum

Olivia the Pig. Corduroy the Bear. Fancy Nancy. Captain Underpants. These are just some of the colorful characters who have captured kids’ imaginations over the years. What are your children’s favorite books? We ask our listeners – especially our tiniest ones! – for suggestions on the best children’s books, from classics to the latest selection.

Guests:
Amy Martin, children’s collection librarian, Oakland Public Library
Christian Robinson, children’s book illustrator
Lauren Savage, owner, The Reading Bug, a children’s bookstore in San Carlos
Sara Wigglesworth, children’s book buyer, Green Apple Books

Read the full story
Thursday, November 2nd, 2017, Oakland North

In the center of the room stood Miriam Medow, the children’s librarian, dressed for the occasion as a fuzzy blue dinosaur. She welcomed the kids with a song—“Come on and join the game, you’ll find that it’s always the same”—and had them follow along as she acted out different animal sounds.

Although the event drew a smaller crowd than usual—the library expects between 60 to 80 people each week for the Tuesday night story time—Medow was pleased with the turnout. “I wasn’t sure that they would show up,” she said. “It’s always beautiful to see people come together at the library, and on Halloween no less.”

Read the full story
Tuesday, October 10th, 2017, School Library Journal

While our libraries boast open doors and diverse collections, we began to ask: What more could we do?

We started with a visible message of inclusion and support. Shortly after this incident, we collaborated with local artist Micah Bazant to develop “Everyone Is Welcome Here,” a bold poster featuring a Muslim woman wearing a headscarf. Since early 2016, thousands of these have been distributed in print and online, giving businesses, libraries, and schools a clear way to stand against fear and hate.

Read the full story
Tuesday, October 3rd, 2017, School Library Journal

A bike program can be as simple as storing a tire pump on-site and loaning bicycle locks—or as complex as loaning out bikes, says Emily Weak, a librarian at the Oakland (CA) Public Library (OPL), which has a variety of bike-related activities. These services include a shipping container–turned–bike repair shop behind OPL’s Martin Luther King Jr. branch where the members of the Original Scraper Bike Team—an East Oakland youth mentoring organization—meet to fix and decorate their bikes. 

Read the full story
Wednesday, August 9th, 2017, East Bay Times

“This remodel was a real community effort. It wouldn’t have happened without community participation and input, as well as money,” said Mary Schrader, supervising librarian in charge of the renovation. “It’s been so long since we’ve done any kind of upgrade and we’re so pleased to share this with the community, so I think the community deserves a party.”

Read the full story
Wednesday, August 2nd, 2017, KQED

A section of Rodriguez’s new Requiem Sinfonica (Requiem Without Words) premiered at Awesome Orchestra Collective’s open session outside the Oakland Public Library Tuesday evening. While traditional requiems — masses for the dead — are usually composed with giant choirs, Rodriguez says the voiceless, instrument-only tribute serves as a poignant reminder of the lives lost seven months ago.

Read the full story
Tuesday, August 1st, 2017, East Bay Express

Best Place to Borrow a Dowling Jig or a Chainsaw 

Tool Lending Library

Located at the Telegraph Avenue branch of Oakland’s public library, the epic practicality of this place pairs well with its democratic approach to building stuff and making things. Instead of books, the main draw of the tool library is its selection of more than 5,000 machines, apparatuses, and hand tools that will help you get your jobs done — although there are also how-to books and videos to learn from. The tool library is now seventeen-years-old and strong. You have to be an Oakland, Emeryville, or Piedmont resident to borrow, and there’s a few other simple rules, such as no more than three power tools at a time can be checked out. Also, make sure you understand how to safely operate or use whatever cutting, smashing, or twisting device you elect to borrow. And have fun with your projects! 

Read the full story
Tuesday, August 1st, 2017, East Bay Times

The couple came together with a group of barbers and friends to put together an event modeled after a similar one in San Francisco and hosted it at the main branch of the downtown Oakland Public Library. On Tuesday, they set up shop in the parking lot of the Starline Social Club on Martin Luther King Jr. Way and West Grand Avenue. They want homeless people to be able get a haircut, good meal, new clothes and leave with a sense of dignity and purpose.

Jerome Malvin, of Oakland, homeless for years until he recently moved into the San Pablo Hotel, stopped by for a haircut and a meal.

“It helps me keep my self-esteem up and makes me feel like I can be somebody again,” he said. “I love this.”

Read the full story
Friday, July 7th, 2017, KQED - California Report

A drag queen and a 4-year-old walk into a public library. It’s not the setup to a joke — it’s Saturday morning in Oakland at the Drag Queen Story Hour.

Hundreds of parents and kids crowded into the Dimond Recreation Center on a recent Saturday to hear drag queen Black Benatar read Pride-themed storybooks.

According to its website, Drag Queen Story Hour is “just what it sounds like — drag queens reading stories to children in libraries, schools and bookstores.” The program started in San Francisco and has spread to cities across the United States.

Miriam Meadow first heard about Drag Queen Story Hour when it was held at the San Francisco Public Library two years ago. She immediately knew she wanted to bring it to the East Bay. Meadow is the children’s librarian at the Dimond Branch Library.

Read the full story
Thursday, July 6th, 2017, KALW Crosscurrents/Audiograph

Chairs are moved back and strollers pushed outside as kids, toddlers, and parents pack the recreation room. Oakland’s first Drag Queen Story Hour is a hit. More than 300 people show up for story time with Beatrice Thomas, whose alter ego is Black Benatar. 

Dressed in a bright green dress, stilettos, and big, blonde hair, Black Benatar starts off with what she calls a “drag queen primer.” She asks the crowd, “So how does a drag queen say hello?” She demonstrates, and the room laughs and echos back, “He-eyyyyyyy!” And for the real hello, she says, “If you see a really close friend, and gender is not an issue, you go ‘Heyy girrrrrllll!” The crowd calls back, “Hey GIRRRLL!”

By the second book, kids are on their feet at the front of the large circle, jumping and laughing through the story. Some recognize books like “This Day In June,” a story of the annual Pride Parade and everyone who is a part of it. Black Benatar reads, “This day in June, parades start soon. Rainbow arches, joyful marches... Motors roaring, spirits soaring... Woo!”

Read the full story