Books for Wider Horizons - Taking Storytimes to Young Children

Books for Wider Horizons - Expanding the library beyond its walls.

BWH VolunteersEvery week about 60 dedicated volunteers read to children in 40 preschools in Oakland. They have been trained, tested, and sent forth to share their joy in language and literature with some of Oakland's youngest children.

These wonderful folks have committed themselves to a pretty rigorous schedule. They spend more than 20 hours over a period of two weeks in training. Then, once they are ready, we ask them to read 30 minutes a week at a Head Start or other preschool. That may not sound like a lot of time, however most volunteers spend hours choosing books, songs and fingerplays the children will enjoy. 

One of our volunteers has been with the program for almost twenty years, as long as Books for Wider Horizons has been in existence. Others take on multiple time slots, because they love it so much. Several manage to fit their storytime reading into their lunch break. Others are retired

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How Does Your Garden Grow?

It's time for spring planting! Check out our collection of gardening books to help plan your garden.

It's nearly spring and if you're a gardener that means time for spring planting. Although we haven't had much rain this year, that doesn't mean you have to forgo your garden.  Oakland Public Library has many books featuring drought tolerant plants as well as books written specifically for Bay Area gardening by local gardeners and urban homesteaders. 

If you're new to gardening or have questions about planting, The Alameda County Master Gardener's website is a great place to find information, including a monthly planting guide.  The USDA PLANTS Database is also a useful resource and includes information about plant classification, as well as plant sheets and fact guides.

And don't forget that the Chavez and Dimond branches both have seed libraries where you can check out

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Writing and Reading

Playing with shapes will help babies learn to identify alphabet letters. This will, in turn, lead to learning how to write and even how to read better.

The skills needed to learn how to read and write are connected in children's brains.  In order to ready your child for reading, try some of these easy and fun writing activities:

FOR BABIES:  Of course your baby is not ready to read or write just yet, but learning to recognize shapes is the first step towards acquiring those skills. So point out different shapes you see and describe them to your child.  Find things that are round, such as balls, and let your child explore them.  Boxes are all around you; let your child play with a cardboard box and talk about squares and rectangles.  Playing with simple shape and color puzzles will also help develop these skills.

FOR TODDLERS:  Keep playing with shapes but also have fun introducing alphabet letters.  Toddlers love hearing their names,  Expand the sound of your toddler's name by writing it on all sorts of

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Seeing Stars at the Melrose Branch

Meet a star from Disney on Ice, and visit the Chabot Space and Science Center's Star Lab, this week at the Melrose Branch.

Have you visited the Melrose Branch?  This week might be the time. 


Wednesday, February 26, 2014 - 2:00pm - 
2:45pm, come to the Melrose Branch to meet a star from  "Disney on Ice presents ROCKIN' EVER AFTER."  One of the stars of this production will be making a stop to greet you, on the way to the Oracle Arena for their evening performance.

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Free File - free software to help you file your federal taxes.

File your federal taxes online and securely for free!

It's tax season, and we are offering free tax help at Main (and other locations), as in prior years. This year, the IRS is also providing some help in the form of software called Free File, which lets you prepare and e-file your federal return for free if your income is under $58,000/year. If your income is higher, you can still use free fillable forms online. Join the 33 million Americans who have used this service and saved money! 

 

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Library User Spotlight - Meet Dominic!

Meet Dominic - a bicycle-riding, comic-loving library supporter!

Dominic Lucchesi is a great friend of the library.  He's also a District 1 resident and a worker-owner of Pedal Express - the East Bay's only bicycle courier company.  Monday through Friday, you can find him riding the streets of Oakland, Berkeley and Emeryville making deliveries of all kinds.  On the weekends, you can find himpicking over the comic book collection at the Temescal Branch Library, or checking out something useful at the Tool Lending Library

Thanks to Dominic for answering my questions!  Anything in parentheses

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Boxer or Saint?

I know that we're only in February, but these are the best books I've read all year. Yang's Boxers & Saints are both epic and dramatic and cinematic. I skipped House of Cards to finish these books and that's saying a lot.

Boxers / Gene Luen Yang ; color by Lark Pien
Saints / Gene Luen Yang ; color by Lark Pien
 
 
I know that we're only in February, but this is the best book (actually two books) I'

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Q&A Patrons ask; librarians answer. Killjoys: Judgment, Shame, & Frustration (Reluctant Readers, part 3)

Q&A: As Children's Librarians, it's our job to answer questions from children, parents, caregivers, and teachers. Part three responds to a question about kids reading trashy junk & endless series.

Q: I'm ready for him to move on! My son has been reading Garfield books forever! (or Junie B. Jones, Captain Underpants, Rainbow Magic, Geronimo Stilton, Diary of a Wimpy Kid, or endless hours of comics.) Isn't it time for him to read harder books? Old illustration of baby getting thrown out with bathwater

A: Don't throw the baby out with the bathwater. While those books may seem as worthless as old bathwater; repetitive, stale, and stagnant to you, in fact re-reading or reading formulaic writing builds fluency and increases comprehension – but the baby in this metaphor is your son's fledging motivation. In your efforts to dump those stale books, make sure you'

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Love Letters to OPL

Happy Valentine's Day, OPL!

How much do you love your library?  Check out these amazing, beautiful, heartfelt, heartwarming, and sometimes hilarious Valentines we received from some of our library users.  They were presented to City Council last night, and today I want to present them to you.  Add your voice!  Why do you love your library?  Leave a comment!  Let us know!

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Kirk Waller - Storyteller Extraordinaire

Are you looking for something to do to celebrate African American Heritage Month? Come to hear Kirk Waller's tales based on the African American experience.

For the past several weeks we have been honoring the citizens and institutions of Oakland in our children's programming. Public Works has sponsored the annual Re-Create art competition, with free workshops by Pro Arts at OPL branch libraries. Goofball the Magician and Chabot Space & Science Center have helped us commemorate Lunar New Year in a new way.

Next up is our annual celebration of African American Heritage Month

The children's librarians at Oakland Public Library wanted to celebrate this year with something both pithy and entertaining. We could not have made a better choice.

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