Watchman, Related Reading

Interested in Harper Lee? Read Paul Theroux's Smithsonian article about the bittersweet past and present of Monroeville, Alabama; the real-life setting for Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird.

Unless you've been trying real hard to ignore the literary world these past few weeks, you'll know what Harper Lee has released Go Set a Watchman. Watchman, which The London Evening Standard callsa very late sequel to  To Kill a Mockingbird," published in 1960, is also described as "a nasty surprise" both for writing and plot (but you can be be judge of that). Puliter prize-winning, Mockingbird, if you haven't read it, is set in the fictional town of Maycomb, Alabama, and

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Celebrate Families and Reading this Sunday with us at the Oakland Museum

Free fun for the whole family at the Oakland Museum this Sunday celebrates reading, and Summer Reading Challenge finishers!

Picture of Chiquy Boom!

Oakland proved we know how to party with our city-wide celebration of the Warriors in June. Now it's time to celebrate something even more important: almost 10,000 children have read this summer in the Oakland Public Library's Summer Reading Challenge. So let's party! 

Logo of Oakland Museum of California

Join us at the Oakland Museum of California on Sunday (August 2) from 12 to 4. All children who've finished the Summer Reading Challenge will receive a signed certificate of completion. Everyone is welcome, and every child will receive a book, thanks to the East Bay Children's Book Project. 

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Travel with a Book

Even if you aren't planning a vacation this summer, you can still travel with a book.

Last month I highlighted travel memoirs. This month I've gathered together fiction titles in which the protagonists embark on journeys and quests. So even if you aren't planning a vacation this summer, you can still travel with a book.

The Country of Ice Cream Star     The Green Road    

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Musician Biographies for Every Taste

Featuring ten of our most highly recommended Musician Biographies and Music Memoirs in celebration of the Adult Summer Reading Program's "Read to the Rhythm" theme.

Have you signed up for the OPL “Read to the Rhythm” Adult Summer Reading Program, yet? All you have to do is:

  1. Pick up a raffle card from any library location.
  2. Either read a book and write a short description/review OR complete three different activities listed on the card.
  3. Turn in your completed card at the library.
  4. Do it again!

Sure, reading is its own reward, but our Summer Reading prizes this year include a variety of gift cards and a Kindle Fire HD, so get those raffle cards in by the program end date of August 8th!

Among the listed activities, in keeping with the musical theme, is to read a book about a musician. To further that goal, here is an annotated list of 10 of the best musician biographies and Music Memoirs we have on our shelves:

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Q&A: Patrons Ask; Librarians Answer. Help! My preschooler won't sit through a whole picture book!

It can be hard for preschool-aged kiddos to sit through an entire picture book.... Here are suggestions for fun, interactive books that will leave them asking for more!

Q: My Preschool-aged child is having trouble paying attention while I read her an entire picture book. Can you suggest books that will better hold her interest?

A: First of all, don’t get frustrated if your child isn’t paying attention to books as long as you would like them to—it’s totally normal for kiddos to tire of a book or get distracted before you think reading time should be over. The important thing is to make reading a fun and special time, so if your child becomes restless go ahead and move on to another activity! You can always return and finish the book when your child is ready.

Oakland Public Library also has MANY interactive and sensory-friendly read-aloud picture books that will grab your kiddo’s attention and not let go! Interactive picture books are a great way to involve your child in the story, by asking them questions, inviting them to dance or move around, or providing flaps to lift.

Check out these super fun and interactive picture books at your local Oakland Public Library branch—or put these on hold in our online catalog using your

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Hidden Histories of the United States

The little known histories of the United States

July 4th is over and we have celebrated the independence of the United States from Britain once again. There are many stories, legends, and myths surrounding the birth and past of our country.They generally tell the story of those in power. The days leading up to Independence Day got me thinking about the stories of those who weren't in power or the stories of the regular folks. Here are a few.

book cover of Strange Fruitbook cover of Lies My Teacher Told Me

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Have you tried Beanstack?

OPL is proud to announce... Beanstack! Get weekly emails with recommended books, apps, and events for your kids.

Are you looking for a way to find new books for your kids, or keep track of your favorites? How about adding to your little ones' excitement about reading with digital badges? Wondering what apps will be best for your family? Sounds like you should give Beanstack a try!

When you sign up for Beanstack, you'll start getting weekly emails with recommended books, apps, and events based on your child's interests and age. Click the link in your email and go straight to OPL's online catalog, where you can place the book on hold to pick up at your nearest branch. Couldn't be simpler! Click here for instructions and a helpful (and cute) video.

As you and your child read, you can save the books to their profile and earn animal and superhero badges. 

Here at OPL, we especially love that Beanstack helps families find books with diverse characters doing everything things, and its emphasis on

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10 Great Reasons to Read Fiction in July 2015

Summer's heating up and so are the books! Place your holds now for these novels arriving in July.

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Q&A Patrons Ask: My Kid Only Reads Junie B. Jones....

Reading should be fun. The benefits of children reading anti-hero stories.

Q: My child only wants to read Junie B. Jones and Junie B is a bad influence. How can I encourage my child to read more substantial literature?

A:. I don’t know when it happens, but somewhere along the process of raising children and wanting only the best for them, we forget that sometimes kids just need to have fun. Unlike too much television and video games that have a negative effect on a child’s physical and intellectual development, excessive reading will only have the opposite effect. Kids who read regularly perform well in school, become critical thinkers, have quality writing skills, continually improve grammar and vocabulary, and a host of other benefits.  The only way to develop a voracious reader is to allow the child to read what interests them. So if you want the best for your children, (and I know you do) my professional advice is to relax and let the kid read any age appropriate material they want to.

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Have You Seen ... Mr. Turner?

A coming attraction blog post for Mr. Turner, the DVD

From IMDB: Mr. Turner explores the last quarter century of the great if eccentric British painter J.M.W. Turner (1775-1851). Profoundly affected by the death of his father, loved by a housekeeper whom he takes for granted and occasionally exploits sexually, he forms a close relationship with a seaside landlady with whom he eventually lives incognito with in Chelsea, where he dies. Throughout this, he travels, paints, stays with the country aristocracy, visits brothels, is a popular if anarchic member of the Royal Academy of Arts, has himself strapped to the mast of a ship so that he can paint a snowstorm, and is both celebrated and reviled by the public and by royalty.

Mike Leigh's "

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