Connecting to the Natural World

Books that focus on our nature and our connection to each other.

Lately I've been asked for book recommendations that inspire a sense of hope or aren't all about "everything that's wrong with the world." I've recommended books about social justice movements and change and ways of building community. I've also been thinking about other types of books that inspire hope. For me, nature writing can instill hopefulness because it helps me feel connected to the natural world which in turns reminds me of our interconnectedness. The books below all address our connection to nature and to each other. I hope you enjoy these recommendations.

The Abundance 

The abundance : narrative essays old and new

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We Love Nerds

Have you always wanted to spend an evening in a bar with library staff, enjoying lectures by local experts?

Join us for Nerd Nite East Bay 57: Animal Maps, Industrial Zone Art, Nature Myths.

We’re happy to provide reading lists based on the topics of the night’s lectures. Here’s a taste of this month:

To accompany Oliver Uberti’s talk entitled, "Where the Wild Things Go, Using Modern Technology to Map Nature’s Elusive Animals", we suggest you read his book, Where the Animals Go.

Liam O’Donoghue and Joey Enos’ will discuss "Art of the Emeryville Mud Flats". If you'd like to learn more, we suggest

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Climate Change & Community: a science cafe series

How will climate change affect us here in the Bay Area? Learn more about resilience and adaptation strategies from local experts at this 3-part series.

How do climate change and severe weather events affect our lives in the Bay Area?

How do we become stronger, smarter, and more resilient?

The Oakland Public Library is one of fifty libraries nationwide to host a reading, viewing, and discussion program on climate change, called Pushing the Limits: PLACE (Public Libraries Advancing Community Engagement). Come to the Golden Gate Branch to explore adaptation strategies and building resiliency at this "science-cafe-meets-book-club."

At each meeting, we will view a short video and learn from local organizations playing active roles in adapation and resilience. We will also discuss the book "Being the Change: Live Well and Spark a Climate Revolution," by Peter Kalmus. Pick up a copy at Golden Gate.

To encourage the conversation and provide context, we are joined by Brian Garcia, a meteorologist with the National Weather Service serving the Bay Area. An expert in weather- and water-related impacts of our region, Brian partners with Emergency Managers in the area to help their communities

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Change for the African American Museum & Library at Oakland (AAMLO)

We're excited about the changes we have in store for AAMLO, but we need your help to develop an amazing 21st Century museum.

If you'd like to give feedback about the changes at AAMLO, you can go directly to the feedback form here.   

The originating agreement between the City of Oakland and the Northern California Center for Afro-American History and Life that created AAMLO can be found here.  

UPDATE:  An Interim Chief Curator has been hired.  You can read the press release here.  

History of AAMLO

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Strengths and Accomplishments

What has OPL accomplished in the last six months?

Here at the library, we are engaged in a strategic planning process and through that process, we have developed a new mission statement, a vision statement, core values, and three-year goals.  

You've probably seen "explore, connect, and grow" on some of our materials recently, including our last annual report and all of our summer program materials.  That's because our mission is, "Your Oakland Public Library empowers all people to explore, connect, and grow," and we take it quite seriously.

Hopefully our core values aren't a surprise to you, as we aspire to infuse them into everything we do.

And what about those three year goals?  Well, in no particular order, we are working to:

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    Books for Wider Horizons - Taking Storytimes to Young Children

    Be a rock star to Oakland children. Volunteer for Books for Wider Horizons.

    "She is fantastic. She brings every story to life. The children just love her storytelling...The staff loves her as well."

    "Our reader is amazing. She ranks as one of the top five activities for students and teachers. We love her stories, songs, enthusiasm, and calm. Thank you for bringing her into our lives!"

    "He is an excellent storyteller. The children, staff, and parents love him. He is unique in his own way."

    These are just some of the reactions we received from the teachers of the preschool classes that our Books for Wider Horizons (BWH) volunteers read to this past school year. These 67 BWH volunteers are changing the lives of Oakland children, one week at a time.

    If you want to be a hero in a child's life and are interested in volunteering for BWH, please call our coordinator, Rochelle Venuto, at (510) 238-7453. She will be happy to sign you up. 

    We hold

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    The OPL Kids' Summer Reading Fairyland Winner Is...

    Announcing the 2017 OPL Children's Summer Reading grand prize - Fairyland family membership

    Tiago! Tiago is 3 years old and goes to the Piedmont Avenue Branch when he wants to find good book. He's not all that fond of getting his picture taken but loves the glow-in-the- dark Fairyland key he received as part of his prize. In addition to the glow-in-the-dark key, he also won a Fairyland family membership. Congratulations Tiago!

    Every child who played the game got to choose a book to keep and received a packet of coupons and a chance to win in this raffle. 

    Of course, the real prize was the time he and every player spent reading, singing, talking, playing, and writing with friends and family during the summer.

    Clifford with Winning Pre-Reader CardClifford

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    10 Great Reasons to Read Fiction in September 2017

    Presenting our monthly fiction picks, with great new books from some of our favorite authors!

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    What to do with those eclipse glasses?

    Bring your eclipse glasses to the library and we'll send them to Astronomers Without Borders for use by school children in other countries

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    Building Community: Flavors of Oakland

    What makes your community stronger?

    What makes your community stronger? We recently posed that question to our patrons after the violence in Charlottesville and posted their responses in our branch. It's also a question I've been pondering for a while.

    A few weeks ago we hosted Anya Ku and Elazar Sontag at the Dimond Branch for a discussion about the making of their book Flavors of Oakland and shared some of the recipes. After listening to the authors talk it became clear to me that projects like these make our communities stronger.

    Anya, a photographer, and Elazar, a writer, began their collaborative project when they were 16 and 18 years old. As part of the project the two shared meals with home cooks throughout Oakland and learned their personal histories. Many of the

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