Back to School Help!

Many organizations in Oakland are accepting donations or giving away school supplies for the start of school.

BackpackIt's true! Summer's already drawing to a close, and all over Oakland kids are getting ready for school. 

Can you volunteer your help or donate supplies? 

The Oakland Ed Fund is recruiting volunteers who can help onsite at schools with special projects on August 19, 20, or 21st.  They are also accepting donations towards classroom school supplies.

Do you need supplies?

These backpack giveaways each have different sign up details, and pre-registration may not be a guarantee you will receive supplies, so please review information carefully.  

Our Youth Matter, Inc.  Saturday August 15th, Rainbow Rec Center.  Online

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Q&A Patrons Ask: I want to read a book that is “too hard” for me…

Listening to a story is an enjoyable way to improve literacy skills for children of all ages and reading levels.

Hello Everyone,

Over the past week I have answered the same question many times, so it must be a trending topic in Oakland right now:

  • My second grader wants to read Diary of a Wimpy Kid but doesn’t read chapter books yet. Do you have any suggestions?

  • I borrowed The Sorcerer’s Apprentice DVD from the library and my kid loved it. Now she wants to read the book, but she isn’t a strong reader. Do you have any suggestions?

  • I want to read a book with my child but I am not the best reader, do you have any suggestions?

  • I want read with my child in English, but I need help with my pronunciation, what do you suggest?


Every one of these questions can be answered with the same answer:

Read along with an audio book!

An audiobook, otherwise known as a recorded book, is an audio recording of a talented thespian (that is a fancy word for actor)

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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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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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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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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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Q&A: Patrons Ask; Librarians Answer. How do you know if a person is cheating on the Summer Reading Challenge?

In the thick of the Summer Reading Challenge, not everyone believes we should trust the readers...they ask us; How do you know if someone is cheating; filling in their reading log with stickers without actually reading anything at all?!?!!

Q: How do you know if a person is just cheating by filling in all the stickers but not reading?A volunteer (unnamed) looking sneaky with her reading log.

A: We don’t know!

Of the approximately 500 kids who have signed up for the Summer Reading Challenge at my branch library, only 3 have had the audacity to ask this question.

However, at the beginning of June, when I visited classrooms at a number of Oakland Public Schools (all the children's librarians do this every May & June) to tell kids about the Summer Reading Program, another dozen kids asked the same question. At every school, there is always at least one person, usually in 3rd, 4th, or 5th grade, who asks me, "What if someone

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Your Library is Warrior's Ground!

Where better to celebrate than at your library?

We love this photo at SF Gate of Library regulars Cici and Madison Hung-Hass. We know there are more Library & Warrior fans out there!  So tweet your photos of  Warriors Pride at the Library to

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Be a Summer Reading Super Hero!

Celebrate National Summer Learning Day at the Library with a Summer Reading Super Hero festival!

OR2020 LogoAll kids are invited to participate in Oakland's Summer Reading Challenge. But two special events this Friday invite kids to be summer reading heroes!

Join us on Friday, June 19th, from 1pm to 3:30pm at the Martin Luther King Jr Branch, or the 81st Avenue Branch, for a summer reading festival including free books, facepainting, bubbles, popcorn, storytime, a superhero photo booth, and a chance to win a Kindle!

The Summer Reading Super Hero festival celebrates National Summer Learning Day, and is sponsored by

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It's Summer at Your Library!

With an incredible line up of events and activities, the library invites the whole family to the 2015 Summer Reading Challenge: Read to the Rhythm.

The Oakland Public Library has reading, fun, and adventure for children, teens, and adults this summer.

Smiling girlWe invite you to hang out, play, meet new people, and read for fun this summer.

Studies show that kids who don’t read during the summer lose approximately two months’ worth of gains made during the school year.  But we have you covered, with the kids Summer Reading Challenge.  

We know (because studies also show!) that when kids choose their own reading, they enjoy reading more, and when reading is fun, they become better readers.  We'd like to celebrate your child's summer experiences by rewarding them for reading, which they can track in their own reading log.  Come to any Oakland Library to pick one

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