Goodbye Mr. Spock

In which we celebrate the life and work of Leonard Nimoy, Star Trek's iconic Mr. Spock.

Today we acknowledge the passing of Leonard Nimoy, forever to be remembered as Mr. Spock. 

Nimoy a Boston native, began acting at the age of 8 in a production of Hansel and Gretel. Before Star Trek Nimoy enjoyed an active career in film and television. His first science fiction film role, foreshadowing Spock, was as the Martian Narab in the 1952 Republic serial Zombies of the Stratosphere. 

After Star Trek, he contiued to act until 2013 when, in his final film role, he reprised Spock again as Spock Prime in Star Trek Into Darkness.

How did Nimoy feel about his unshakeable identification with Spock? The answer may lie in the titles of his two published memoirs, I am Not Spock in 1975 followed by I am Spock in 1995. His identification with Spock became part of

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On "The Stupid Dress" and Other Optical Illusions

Is it white/gold or blue/black? WHO CARES! Check out these other awesome optical illusions and then make your own dress.

There is a lot of conflict going on in the world these days, but none of it is as divisive as....THE DRESS!!!  

Which side are you on?  Is it white and gold?  Or blue and black?  Can you even believe that people can see it differently than you can?  Did it change colors before your eyes making you doubt everything you believe (like it did to me)?

THIS DRESS IS EVERYTHING!  At least it is everything, according to the Internet yesterday.  But let me tell you, there are better less frustrating optical illusions out there!  Like this spiral.

Would you believe me if I told you that the

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Got Vegetables?

It's planting time!

Are you interested in growing your own food? Or maybe you've been growing your own fruit and vegetables for years. Whether you're a novice or experienced gardener, OPL has new gardening books to help you create and cultivate your garden. From growing to harvesting to juicing and cooking, there's something for everyone.

If you need seeds to start your garden, don't forget to stop by the Chavez and Dimond branches and check out their seed libraries.

The Mix and Match Guide to Companion Planting    

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Aw, Bologna

Your Oakland Public Library has three out of four winners of this prestigious international award for children's illustration.

Someday when I'm rich, really disgustingly wealthy, I'm going to the Bologna Children's Book Fair in Bologna, Italy, and I will meet aaaaalll the wonderful illustrators and buy them a glass of vino. Seriously, I am obsessed with picture book illustration, and the book fair in Bologna attracts artists from every corner of the globe.*

This year, though, we're all in luck! Because you don't have to go any farther than your local Oakland Public Library branch to see almost all the 2015 winners of the Bologna Ragazza Awards. 2015 is the 50 year anniversary of the award, which means--fun fact--that it was created during the birth year of Alex Winter, aka Bill S. Preston of seminal American film Bill and Ted'

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Salute Your Shorts

Machine of death : a collection of stories about people who know how they will die . And also other creepy, creepy shorts.

Do you ever find yourself wanting to dig in to a nice long juicy book, like The Goldfinch or maybe some hardcore economics like Capital in the Twenty-first Century, but find that your life keeps getting in the way? Might I introduce you to a genre known as the Short Story (remember those)? They're not just for 8th grade English. This time, I'll just tell you about the existential, thought-provoking, and slightly horrifying stories, I wanted to include Dorothy Parker, that lady is sassy, but I think she deserves her own post. 

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Q&A: Patrons ask; librarians answer: Do you have books that explain about the birds & the bees?

Children's Librarians talk with parents, caregivers, and children all day, every day. This week: Human reproduction! If your post-Valentines conversation with your tweens & pre-teens went from lovey-dovey to the birds-&-bees, you might appreciate some literary support. This is a frequently-asked-question...

Shocked dadQ: My eight-year-old son is asking me about how babies are made. I gave him a short-version answer, and now he has a lot more questions. I'm realizing that my older daughter (now 12) probably had a lot of questions she didn't ask out loud when I gave her the simple answers a few years ago. What books do you have for both of them?

It's Perfectly Normal - a book cover.

A: We have plenty of books on this topic for different ages. You will find it much easier to answer your children's questions with the help of some well-chosen books! Whether you read a book aloud to a younger child, give one to an older child to read herself, or simply read

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Books for Wider Horizons Anniversary Party

After 20 years of taking storytimes to Head Starts and CDCs, Books for Wider Horizons marked the occasion with food, cake, and wonderful memories.

As the culmination of the months-long 20th anniversary Books for Wider Horizons celebration, we all partied at the end of January in the Main Library. Current and past volunteers, staff, and community members gathered to share memories and honor the passion, effort, and time that have gone into this simple storyreader program.     

Nina Lindsay Emceeing the PartyAfter we all enjoyed some wonderful snacks, Nina Lindsay, Supervising Librarian for Children's Services, opened the remarks section by reflecting on the impact that BWH has had in the community. This year our 61 volunteers are delivering 91 weekly storytimes at 36 centers, resulting in 1,456 more hours of storytimes a year than the library could possibly offer without these dedicated souls. 

Gerry Garzón, OPL's library director, then thanked the past and present volunteers without whom the program could never

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Tell us what you think!

The City of Oakland is conducting a survey to evaluate the quality of our service. Take a minute and fill it out!

The city is conducting a 2-week survey to look at language access to city services.  Please take a couple of minutes and let us know how the library is doing.  

You can print the survey here - fill it out, and bring it to the library.

Or you can take it here, online:

In English

In Spanish - Español

In Chinese - 中文

You have until February 28th.  Thank you so much!  We really appreciate it.  

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The Mermaid Chair by Sue Monk Kidd: A Lakeview Book Club Review

The Mermaid Chair, the second novel by Sue Monk Kidd, explores the life of a woman returning to an island off South Carolina and the decisions she must make.

What an entertaining discussion of The Mermaid Chair by Sue Monk Kidd this month!

Eight of us had a wide range of reactions to this book. More of us found this selection not to our taste. There was at least one of us who really liked this book. All of us found intriguing elements and some characters or plot devices we really liked. Almost unanimously we found the sex elements of the seduction of the monk to be of a bodice-ripping nature and humorously so. A few skipped that part entirely. Some literally groaned at those sections of the book..

 

One of us thought some of her plot machinations to be similar to Ann Patchett, intricate, interwoven, filled with some suspense and somewhat believable events. Some of the descriptions our group used about this book were, "light, poorly written, titillating, contrived, annoying characters, shocking regarding the finger cutting, "nature held its own" and "like a 10 cent book from a flea market."

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7 Reasons The 2015 ALA Youth Media Awards Are SO COOL

Kid lit history was made this year, my friend.

Did you see the ALA Youth Media Awards this year? They are SO COOL. Groundbreaking choices were made in every category of these annual awards for children's books. Here's why:

1) Diversity rules!

This year's Medal and Honor recipients are African-American, Latino, Asian, multiracial, deaf, queer, and differently abled. The Newbery and Caldecott Awards have been criticized in the past for being overwhelmingly white; perhaps the #WeNeedDiverseBooks movement is causing a cultural shift in children's literature.

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