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, January 10th, 2014, KQED

Have you ever wondered what happens to the papers, notes and impromptu bookmarks that you leave in your library books? Well, if you’re a patron of the Oakland Public Library, you’re about to find out.

Librarian Sharon McKellar says she began saving the ephemera she found in books even before she started working at Oakland’s library in 2003.

McKellar manages the library’s blog, and one day it occurred to her that other people might enjoy the pictures and “to do” lists she finds stuck in returned books.

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Friday, January 10th, 2014, Library Journal

McKellar and other staff at the Oakland Public Library have been collecting notes and other items found in between pages of books or left on the floors and tables of the library for years. (You can get a look at some of their favorite finds in the gallery below this post.)

“As library staff members, I think we have a natural affinity towards ephemera, stories, pieces of paper,” McKellar said.

McKellar got the idea to document the library staff’s collection of these objects when she stumbled on the website for Found Magazine, which documents found items. (There’s also a Tumblr account, Found in a Library Book, which has a similar purpose.)

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Friday, January 3rd, 2014, Oakland Tribune

Oakland City Hall has achieved an important milestone, and the Main Library's History Room exhibit, "Oakland City Hall Centennial, 1914-2014," relates the saga of how this landmark was built, highlighting some of the major events in and around this unique structure.

Featured in the display are images of previous City Halls, floor plans and renderings of the current building, plus news articles, building statistics, and vintage photos and postcard views.

It is interesting that throughout its 160-year history, Oakland has had five different city halls. The first two were rented spaces, dating from the 1850s and '60s. Both were on upper floors of commercial buildings on Broadway, the first between Second and Third streets from 1852 to 1867, and the second between Seventh and Eighth streets from 1867 to 1871.


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Saturday, December 28th, 2013, San Francisco Chronicle

For decades librarians at Oakland's main library have collected the scraps of paper ephemera left behind in returned books, shoved into nooks in the library shelves or secretly slipped to librarians.

The collection ranges from half-done to-do lists to childish notes about gossip and crushes passed in the hush of the library children's room. There are letters of adult love and tragic scrawlings of lonely longing, perhaps used as bookmarks in pulpy romance novels.

The stories in the scraps are known only to the people who left them behind. Some notes are found on the floor or tables of the lbirary at the end of the day. Others are found when librarians thin the collection of books or check in returned items.

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Monday, December 23rd, 2013, Oakland North

 It’s not your average Saturday afternoon in the “teen room” at Rockridge Public Library. Carl Holland walks down a row of computers, peering over the shoulders of people navigating Covered California’s website.

“How are we doing over here?” he asks Lawrence Lincoln, an Alameda resident who has hit a snag in his pursuit of health insurance through the online exchange. A self-employed contractor, proving income is complicated for Lincoln, and he’ll have to produce more documents to get a price estimate. Holland plots strategy with Lincoln; others up and down the row wait for help too. More people wait for a computer in a line that snakes out the door.

Everyone came for information about the insurance options available thanks to the Affordable Care Act – just two days before the first enrollment deadline. At the same time, all across Oakland residents have flocked to other workshops held by volunteers and community organizations working to get California’s uninsured acclimated to the new system.

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Friday, December 6th, 2013, Iserotope

So I countered. “How about doing our own book fair?” The principal agreed but wondered how we would pull it off. “Won’t it be a lot of work?”

It turns out, no, it didn’t take a lot of work. Actually, it was pretty easy, thanks to the wonderful teen librarians at the Oakland Public Library. The vice principal and I called up Brian Boies, the lead TeenZone librarian, and his staff pulled 150 high-interest titles (both fiction and nonfiction) for us to borrow for the book fair. I drove over in my Honda Civic and loaded the back seat with mountains of books.

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Sunday, November 24th, 2013, Oakland Tribune

The African American Museum and Library of Oakland, or AAMLO, is housed in a 100-year-old city landmark that is also listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

AAMLO is a non-circulating library dedicated to preserving the history and experiences of people of color in Northern California, and a research archive containing diaries, correspondence and family photos belonging to African-Americans.

It is featured in a new book, "Here Tomorrow, Preserving Architecture, Culture, and California's Golden Dream," published by the California Preservation Foundation, a nonprofit advocacy group based in San Francisco that for the past 30 years has bestowed design awards on those who have excelled in restoration and creative reuse.


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Thursday, November 21st, 2013, Oakland Tribune

Lana Adlawan, Teen Services Librarian, says, “the Teen Zone is built on a culture of acceptance, where all are welcomed and respected.” Signs demarcating the hater-free space are posted on the walls around the room.

The library is very successful at bringing in teens to use its services. Lana says it’s not enough to just get teens in the door. If you want them coming back, she says, you have to consider how to keep them engaged. Innovation and out-of-the-box thinking is the key to keeping teens interested and involved. It’s this unique approach that led Teen Outreach librarian Amy Sonnie to hook up a custom-built mobile library to her bike to ride around this year’s Life is Living Festival.

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Tuesday, November 19th, 2013, KALW

For about a year and a half now, KALW has been popping into the 81st Avenue East Oakland library to record the stories of the people who live and work in the neighborhood. Today we meet the man who helps make the library a safe and valuable place for the community, Anthony Propernick.

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Tuesday, November 12th, 2013, Oakland Local

The African American Museum and Library at Oakland will host “The Griots of Oakland: Voices from the African American Oral History Project, “an exhibit that is opening on Saturday, Nov. 16 from 4 p.m. to 7p.m.

The opening celebration and book release will moderated by a local talent and include talks from leading educators, activists and participant youth. Community members will have time to voice their experiences and reactions to the exhibit, which will run through March 1.

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