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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Oakland Has Jobs!

Looking for a job? We're posting Help Wanted signs over on Instagram.

We librarians get asked about job openings all the time.  In an effort to help answer people’s questions about jobs, Main Library Teen Zone librarian Brian Boies started the oaklandhasjobs Instagram account last September. From a slow beginning where Brian posted one or two help wanted signs a week to a handful of followers, the project has grown. He's now posting at least thirty job opportunities a week. Oaklandhasjobs now has more than 2,000 followers and is gaining about a hundred new followers a week.    

You can help us find jobs for these many followers by taking pictures of help wanted signs and sending them, along with the cross streets where you see the signs, to It’s fun! Once you start looking, you’ll see them all over the place, especially along commercial corridors like College, Piedmont, and Lakeshore Avenues and International Boulevard. Brian and the Teen Services team can’t find them all by themselves. 

And keep an eye out for

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10 Great Reasons to Read Fiction in August 2015

Here are 10 fascinating works of fiction arriving in August. Place your holds now!

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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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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 that Harper Lee has released Go Set a Watchman. Watchman, which The London Evening Standard calls "a 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). Pulitzer prize-winning, Mockingbird, if you haven't read it, is set in the fictional town of Maycomb, Alabama, and is

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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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