Melrose Branch Library celebrates its 100th Birthday!

Brief history of Melrose Branch Library in celebration of its centennial

This year marks the centennial of the Melrose Branch Library, the first of four Carnegie Libraries built in Oakland.

The area we know as the Melrose District was once a thriving, semi-rural town south of Oakland. The town boasted large factories like the Oakland Chemical Company and a diverse array of light industry (machine shops, lumber yards, planing mills). Banks, tailor shops, pharmacy, and real estate offices could also be found there. Every twenty minutes people could go to the Melrose Terminal and board a Southern Pacific train, or get on a ferry at Clark’s Landing, as the Melrose wharves were known, to travel to San Francisco. East 14th Street (now International Boulevard) was the main commercial strip of the town.

Melrose School shared its building with Union High School #4 (later renamed John C. Fremont High). People, skeptical that the district couldn't justify having a high school, were surprised at how quickly the school filled with students. After the 1906 earthquake, families moved to

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Exploring Queer Lives: By Nightfall

Michael Cunningham’s By Nightfall: "Post-gay" fantasy lives of the art and beauty obsessed.

By Nightfall novel jacket black tulip facing downThe Hours novel jacket

Michael Cunningham’s  By Nightfall is a gorgeously written novel that reveals the inner life of Peter, an art dealer and gallery owner in his 40’s who finds himself powerfully drawn to his wife’s beautiful, directionless  younger brother.  Michael Cunningham is the prize-winning author of many novels, including The Hours

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10 Great Reasons to Read Fiction in September 2016

Wondering what to read next? We've got 10 great books for you, coming soon to the library.

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Homework hint...

Melania Trump taught my son a new word.

Creative Commons photo "Homework" by Roberto Faccenda is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0

This has been a really interesting political season. I'll be the first to admit I am enjoying watching the process unfold. All of the plot twists are

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The Right to Vote

August 26th is Women's Equality Day.

August 26th is National Women's Equality Day. On this day in 1920 the 19th Amendment, which granted women the right to vote, was formally adopted into the United States Constitution. You can learn more about National Women's Equality Day at the National Women's History Project.

Many struggles and challenges preceeded women winning the right to vote and the sruggles continued even after the 19th Amendment was formally adopted. It took many more years until all women were guaranteed the right to vote. If you want to read about the history -- where we were, where we are now, and where we're headed -- check out the titles below.

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Looking for LGBTQ Winners: The Lambda Literary Review

Want to know about the latest gay romance novel, lesbian biography or queer fiction anthology? Check out Lambda Literary.org!

I love weird stories, anything with magic or strange happenings. I also love queer stories. Where do I look for the latest, greatest, weird, queer book reviews?

My go-to website for great LGBTQ reading choices of any genre is the Lambda Literary Review.  This comprehensive resource is the digital offspring of The Lambda Book Report, first published in 1987 out of Lambda Rising Bookstore in Washington, DC. Lambda Literary has evolved into “the world’s premier LGBT literary organization”, awarding the annual Lambda Literary Awards or “Lammys”, sponsoring writers retreats, and maintaining a content-rich website. (http://www.lambdaliterary.org)

I always start with the Genre category, nicely separated into sub-genres such as Romance, Mystery, and (my favorite) Speculative Fiction. I also peruse the General Fiction and Bio/Memoirs.  

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Cover to Cover, Coast to Coast

The National Parks Service is turning 100 this month. Read your way through the parks in these outdoorsy page-turners.

August 26 marks the centennial of the National Parks Service. The Find Your Park initiative encourages all Americans to find and enjoy our national parks, from urban parks to the most remote wilderness. But if you can’t make it to your favorite park this summer, and if you’re in the mood for fiction, here’s a selection of novels set in our national parks.

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10 Great Reasons to Read Fiction in August 2016

Fiction lovers, make room on your holds list! Here are 10 amazing books arriving in August.

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Back to School

Helpful tips for making the start of this year's back to school season successful.

There is only one time of year that is more financally stress-enducing for parents than Christmas: Back to School season. One of my favorite retailers had the Back to School displays up on July 5th. If that is not pressure enough, according to Good Morning America last week parents are anticipated to spend an average of $230-some odd dollars on back to school materials. PER CHILD! Wait...what? $230 per child? I have three children, and I DO NOT HAVE $690 in back to school money. Who did this math anyway? Now we all want our children to start school confident and successful with everything they need, but sometimes our financial situation doesn't support this desire completely. Luckily Oakland has a wealth of resources designed to support parents during the back to school season. I don't know about them all, but here are a few to consider.

Disclaimer: The supplies are offered by indendent orginizations and suppiles are limited. For more

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Seeking summer mysteries? Try Judith Flanders.

Want to try a great mystery series this summer? Read on.

I picked up this series because I liked the titles and I like the covers, they look like fun times. I listened to the audiobooks while doing some summer gardening which, honestly, is laborious, I know some people say that it's relaxing, but I'm just not buying it. The series was a great distraction.  The author, Judith Flanders, besides writing contemporary mysteries also has a fascination with Victorians and murder

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