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.

Click here to read more

Bright Eyes and Others at the Library

What do you know about Shirley Temple, Sid Caesar and other Hollywood stars?

Hollywood lost two of its notables this week.  

Shirley Temple, America's Darling, died Monday, February 10, at the age of 85. She was one of the most popular child actors, beginning her career at the age of 3; by the time she was 10 she was a box office sensation. She sang, she danced, she charmed.  Her box office power has been credited with saving 20th Century Fox from bankruptcy during the Great Depression. 

On Wednesday we learned of the death of pioneering TV comic Sid Caesar at 91. He was best known for the brilliant Your Show of Shows which aired in the early 1950s.  He also appeared in films like Grease and It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World.  

Click here to read more

Lakeview Book Club Update: House of Mirth by Edith Wharton

Notes from the Lakeview Book Club Meeting about Edith Wharton's, The House of Mirth

Eight of us discussed House of Mirth and all seemed to really like it a great deal. We agreed that the writing was wonderful and many quotes were shared that pointed out Edith Wharton's fabulous writing style.

Our discussion leader came with a noted biography of Edith Wharton written by Louis Auchincloss, which she passed around so we could see photos of Edith, her home, her husband, her friends and her style of living. Edith Wharton was born a few blocks from Teddy Roosevelt and was of the same incredibly wealthy class of Americans as Teddy Roosevelt. She lived most of her life abroad, (One aside comment was that she may have had to, because her books put her class in a bad light.) During World War I she was involved with raising money from her wealthy friends to aid Belgian refugees and other needed charities. She received the French Legion of Honor for her good works during that war.

 She started writing as a child. Her education was

Click here to read more

Black History Books for Kids

A list of excellent African-American history books for kids recommended by children's librarians at Oakland Public Library.

If you're seeking children's books that honor and celebrate African-American history, Oakland Public Library has what you need! The following staff recommendations are perfect to share with your kiddos year-round, and especially in observance of African-American History Month. We hope you enjoy our suggestions; let us know in the comments if we missed any of your favorites!

Picture Books

Charlie Parker played be bop book cover

Click here to read more

I'm Going On a Trip! Starring CultureGrams and Transparent Language Online

Want to go around the world? Grab your library card and get started on CultureGrams and Transparent Language Online, two of Oakland Public Library's handiest databases.

I'm going to France next month, for the first time ever! I'm very excited. To prepare for my trip, I'm going to pay a visit to one of Oakland Public Library's friendliest databases, CultureGrams.

Want to come too? Grab your library card and let's go!

We'll start here: Articles and Databases. Now scroll down with me. Come on, I wanna see you scrrooooooolll. All the way down to Country Information, where you'll see the link for CultureGrams.

At this point, you'll need to enter your library card number and pin. (If you have trouble during this step, call any OPL location during open hours--we'll help!)

And here we are:

Click here to read more

More Found!

Check out the latest batch of things we've found in library books!

Did you see all the attention this blog got?  Not only were we featured in the San Francisco Chronicle (hey, that's me!), but KQED had us on the California Report (it's very strange to listen to your own voice on tape).  We even showed up in the Library Journal.  That was all so super awesome and exciting, but not as exciting as when you read and comment on the posts! 

After all that, too much time has passed since I brought you more items found in library books (and around the library).  So, here you go!  Thanks so much to all the Oakland Public Library staff for sending me their treasures.  I hope you enjoy these as

Click here to read more

Eat seafood responsibly with the Seafood Watch Pocket Guide.

Research the most sustainable seafood options with the free Seafood Watch Pocket Guide, available at the Main Library.

The Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch program helps you make the most sustainable choices in seafood to help keep our oceans healthy. You can pick up your very own wallet-sized copy of the Pocket Guide at the Main Library's community information area. Also, if you have a smartphone, you can also download the free Seafood Watch App for Android and iPhones - you can share restaurants with others that have downloaded the app, and also use an interactive Sushi Guide that lists seafood by the by the Japanese name as well as the common market name. 

 

 

Click here to read more

Q&A Patrons ask; librarians answer. The Dangers of Reading Aloud (Reluctant Readers, part 2)

Q&A: Children's Librarians answer questions all day, every day, from children, parents, caregivers, and teachers. This is part two in our series sharing questions from patrons and answers from a children's librarian.

Illustration by Richard Scarry of bunny reading newspaperQ:  You say it's okay to read aloud to my daughter even though she's 9 years old and she thinks everyone in her class is ahead of her, BUT I'm still worried that it's becoming a crutch for her to avoid learning to read on her own. Are you sure I'm not sabotaging her work or impeding her progress by continuing to read aloud to her?

A:  Yes, I'm sure. From my experience – talking to kids, parents, and teachers for the past 18 years, and reading studies on literacy, the only potential down-side of reading aloud to your daughter is that she may do worse on spelling tests. The up-sides, on the other hand, are many:

  • She can relax and enjoy the story. (Enjoying reading is crucial.

Click here to read more

Bombogenesis -- and other new words

New Words and How to Find 'Em

"Bombogenesis."  Did you run across this word last week?  I heard that word on the radio and wanted to know
right away what it meant.  Turns out it's a weather word. 

Remember how the East Coast started January with the "polar vortex" while we basked in our freakishly warm weather?  Well, after the polar vortex had gone away, in came "bombogenesis."  According to AccuWeather.com -- a website that I really like -- "bombogenesis" describes a storm that usually forms over water.  Cold and warm air clash, causing the storm to intensify rapidly.  In a bombogenesis the atmospheric pressure at the center of the storm must drop 24 millibars in 24 hours.  Drops like a bomb. Weather experts also call this kind of storm an "extratropical surface cyclone." 

But back to this nifty new word. What sources do

Click here to read more

10 Great Reasons to Read Fiction in February

Here's a preview of some great new books arriving in February.

Cover of Kinder Than SolitudeCover of BarkCover of Good Luck

Click here to read more