Screen Time and Story Time

E-reading vs.reading with young children is a hot topic; your library is developing its services around this content, and how we deliver it to you.

Did you catch the article in the October 11th New York Times: Is E-Reading to Your Toddler Story Time, or Simply Screen Time?  There were several responses in today's Letters to the Editor section, but we are curious about your thoughts. 

This is something librarians have been talking about for quite a while*. The Amercian Academy of Pediatrics "strongly recommends no screen time for children under 2, and less than two hours a day for older children," according to the Times article.   But we know that apps and ebooks can play an important role, along with picture books, in the development of your

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Quake!

It's been 25 years since the last "big one."

Where were you 25 years ago at 5:04? At work? At school? Candlestick Park?

Today, October 17, marks the twenty-fifth anniversary of the Loma Prieta earthquake. 

Loma Prieta wasn't the first big earthquake to rock the East Bay and it won't be the last. Whether you want to prepare yourself for earthquakes to come or to learn more about Loma Prieta, the 1906 San Francisco earthquake, or the October, 1868 earthquake -- the last "big one" on the Hayward Fault, the Main Library can answer your questions. 

With the media reminding us that we're overdue for another big earthquake, what can you learn at the library to help you prepare yourself, your family, and your home? We have lots to read on the science of earthquakes if you're looking for general information. Want to know how to retrofit your house? We've got that, too. Don't want a book? There are DVDs in our collection on

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The African American Museum & Library at Oakland (AAMLO) wants your home movies!

Donate your home movies, and have them digitized for free!

AAMLO has something exciting going on, so I asked the librarian there to share with me, so I can share with you all!  Here's what she has to say:

Donate your home movies - in any format - and we will digitize them, add them to our collection, and give you a free DVD copy of your own. Do you have any older films you haven’t watched for years, gathering dust and waiting to be transferred to a newer format? This is the perfect opportunity! Share your unique history and help us expand our Home Movie Collection.

AAMLO collects film images from local families and individuals, to preserve and to make them accessible for future generations. Your cherished memories could become a part of our exclusive collection!

Don’t miss

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Q&A: Patrons ask; librarians answer: Do you have true information about dragons?

Children’s Librarians talk with parents, caregivers, and children all day, every day. Kids who ask for information don’t always differentiate between fantasy and reality. Why not believe in dragons, if you're going to believe in dinosaurs - Right?

In the following scenario, Q is a boy, age 4½, accompanied by his mother, known here as Q(mom), and A is the children’s librarian. (btw: When Q says, “Guys!” he’s looking straight at the librarian. This is a bit unusual, but only because it’s plural. “Hey, you!” is more common.)

Q: Guys! Do you have a book about a dragon? A fierce dragon! A real, live, true dragon! Dragonology

A: So, you don’t want one of those stories where the dragon turns out to be friendly, I see. You want to know about real, fierce dragons! Okay, I think we can find something. Tell me, would

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Books for Wider Horizons - Taking Storytimes to Young Children for Twenty Years

Books for Wider Horizons is celebrating twenty years.

Books for Wider HorizonsThis year is our 20th anniversary of taking storytimes to young children in Oakland preschools, including Head Starts and CDCs, through the efforts of our trained volunteer storyreaders. We will be celebrating all year with posts on the history and future of Books for Wider Horizons.

Picture of Gay DuceyFirst up is an interview with Gay Ducey. Gay is a nationally-known storyteller and has been training our volunteers since the beginning. Her commitment to this program is legendary within the library, and she is a beloved mentor to all our volunteers.

We interviewed Gay on Saturday, October 11.

How and why did Books for Wider Horizons start?

As a group, OPL’s children’s librarians were not happy

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East Bay Home Front at OPL

The Oakland History Room is hosting an exhibit and a program on the East Bay Home Front during World War II.

With the recent week-long broadcast of Ken Burns’ “The Roosevelts: an intimate history” and a number of key anniversaries passing this year, the study of World War II is as popular as ever.  

The Oakland Public Library is following the trend with its current exhibit, “East Bay Home Front during World War II.” This display tells the story of how Oaklanders and other East Bay residents mobilized to assist in the war effort. Men and women not only volunteered for military service, they worked in shipyards, canneries, the aircraft industry, and the burgeoning construction trades. They grew victory gardens at home, observed curfews and blackouts, and reduced their meat and milk consumption to abide by rationing rules. They became blood donors and civil defense officers. They even volunteered their dogs for service!

World War

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THE PORTRAIT OF A LADY by Henry James: From the Lakeview Book Club

Notes from The Lakeview Branch Library Book Club's discussion of The Portrait of a Lady by Henry James, a gripping psychological novel of kindness, manipulation, betrayal and the strength to deal with this in an American expatriate world in Europe during the last half of the 19th century.

The Portrait of a Lady Henry James's grandfather immigrated to the United States in 1789 and was a successful venture capitalist, who owned a canal and made a fortune. The grandfather had 3 wives and 16 children.

Henry's father inherited wealth and was a philosopher. There were five children in the family. Henry was the second child. His sister was an invalid, who only lived to her early 40s. Henry traveled extensively with his family.

Henry was not the only famous James from that family. His brother William was the very famous psychologist. It is said that William wrote psychology as if it were fiction, and Henry wrote fiction as if it were psychology. Both William and Henry were Calvinists, but we didn't see evidence of a religious point of view in this novel.

Portrait of a Lady is considered to be the best of the novels of Henry James. Henry's insight into the lives and emotions of his

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Concept Books for Kids

A list of books recommended by Oakland Public Library that help to teach concepts such as the alphabet, numbers and counting, colors, size and shape, opposites, etc.

Of all the picture books in the library, concept books are arguably some of the most useful. Alphabet books help young readers recognize letters and learn their ABCs, while counting books support early math skills. Toddlers and preschoolers may strengthen their understanding of many more concepts, such as color, size, shape, time, and opposites, through books at the library. Some branches have a special section for children's concept books; ask a staff member to help you find them!
Here are some of our favorites to get you started:

ABCs

Calavera Abecedario book cover

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The Latest Found!

We found some more stuff. All of it is awesome.

Here's another amazing installment of items found in library books (or just in the library)!  Which are your favorites?  Some of these just make me ask SO MANY questions.  Like who are those well-dressed men?  And what about raisin bran? And are all moms exactly the same?

What do you think?

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Self Publishing? Format Counts.

Self publishing secrets! and how one author did it right.

If you're one of the many children's book creators who've turned to self publishing to get their stories out, pay attention! A small change may improve your book's chances of getting picked up by libraries. 

Brooklyn based author Zetta Elliott self publishes children's books that are transitional chapter books--longer than easy readers, shorter than middle-grade novels. The Oakland Public Library calls them "Moving Up," and they have their own special place on our shelves.

Notice how they're all about the same size? That's on purpose-- major publishers tend to print them all this way. Transitional chapter books represent a reader's transition from easy readers--which are larger, slimmer, and shorter in text than moving ups, and include color illustrations on almost every spread--to middle grade novels, which vary in length as

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