Coming soon: OPL's 2015 Holiday Gift Guide

On November 12, we're releasing a list of books we recommend and independent bookstores where you can buy them! Which books do you recommend?

So, we at the library love letting you borrow books for free. It's kind of our thing. But we know that when you give a book as a gift, you don't want to have to whisper "bring it back in three weeks" while receiving your thank you hug, do you? Sometimes, you really need to buy a book.

And boy, do we have thoughts about which books you should buy, and where you should buy them. That's why on November 12, OPL will release our first Holiday Gift Guide. We'll include recommended titles for the children, teens, and adults in your lives, AND a handy-dandy list of independent bookstores in Oakland! What more could you ask for?

While we're making our list and checking it twice,* chime in with your suggestions here. What books have you loved this year? Which are you planning to give as gifts? I'll go first and say that multiple people on my list will be getting Kate Beaton's two 2015 books:

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Advice for Readers Librarian Recommendations Featured on Overdrive

Get started on Overdrive for eBooks and eAudio Librarian recommendations, and more.

Hiya eBook Readers! Here's a tip: You can find titles featured in this blog on Overdrive. We are maintaining a featured collection list entitled, Advice for Readers Blog Picks. Go directly there anytime to scroll through eBook and eAudio librarian recommendations, dating back to our first post in July 2012. Get started with this videoAdditional E-Book Help is available on an appointment basis. 

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Q&A: Patrons Ask; Librarians Answer. Where do you keep your Level K books?

Children’s Librarians talk with parents, caregivers, and children all day, every day. In October, many parents find out their children's reading level from tests given at school. Their children's teachers may encourage them to find books at that level at the library. So where do we keep them?

Q: Where do you keep your Level K books?cover of a reading primer called I Know a Secret

A: The short answer is that Oakland Library doesn't label books with reading levels using any of systems associated with proprietary testing...

...however, we do have areas of the library that gather a range of reading levels together. This allows readers to browse an area that encompasses their reading level and includes choices of subjects, visual presentations, genres, and writing styles. Our hope is that (without too much effort) readers will find books that appeal to them and are close enough to their reading level. 

So, when you ask us for leveled books, let us show you to the section that includes the level you need. At that point, many readers decide to get any books that look interesting

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Oakland Family History Day is October 17

Oakland Public Library celebrates Oakland Family History Day October 17.

October is Family History Month. With that in mind, the Oakland History Room has planned a series of interesting events that will encourage you to discover and preserve your family's story. First up is Oakland Family History Day on Saturday, October 17, noon to 5 p.m. at the Main Library. Preserving family stories and mementos is very important and contributes to our understanding of ourselves and our communities. Oaklanders are invited to bring up to six photographs or documents to this event where they will be scanned by Oakland History Room staff and volunteers. If you'd like to participate, here are the answers to some questions you may have:

  1. How can I participate in Oakland Family History Day? Space for this event is very limited. Pre-registration is required. Pre-register by October 16 by calling the Oakland History Room at 510.238-3222. Come to the event on Saturday, October 17, noon to 5 p.m. at the

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Kids' magazines for your smartphone or tablet!

If you've got little magazine readers, you'll want to download popular children's magazines like American Girl and Highlights--free with your library card!

Zinio is the Oakland Public Library's digital magazine provider, and your library card gives you access to hundreds of titles on your iPad, Kindle Fire, smartphone or other digital device. The New Yorker, Vogue, National Geographic, Forbes and many others are available... and now, so are over a dozen popular children's magazines

Do your kids love Highlights, Cricket, or American Girl Magazine? Zinio lets you download them for free, and you can keep them on your device forever.

To use Zinio, you'll need to add the app on your

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Make Zines with Author Cathy Camper

Join us for zine fun!

Book Cover Lowriders in SpaceCathy Camper, the author of Low Riders in Space, comes to Oakland to present a series of zine-making workshops at five braches. Join us as she shares her process in writing Lowriders in Space and shows how to create zines. These workshops are designed for ages 10 to 14, but all are welcome. 

Saturday, October 10, 2015 - 1:00pm 81st Avenue

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10 Great Reasons to Read Fiction in October 2015

The days grow shorter, the nights grow longer... time for something terrific to read! Here are 10 great October releases.

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Q&A: Patrons Ask; Librarians Answer: Will you really let my kid read whatever they want?

Librarians fight for your freedom to read. Read this to learn why.

Summary of a conversation I had this week: 

Parent: My kid said you will let him read whatever he wants! Is that true? 

Me: The short answer?  Yeah.  Anything available to the public he is allowed to borrow. 

Parent reply: He's only 9 years old! The library is full of subjects he is not mature enough for yet! You are going to let him borrow anything!?!?!

Me: As long as he checks it out with his library card... yeah, pretty much. 

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The Supermoon and other Astronomical Phenomena

Learn more about Sunday's supermoon.lunar eclipse.

If you're under 33 years-old, you've never seen a supermoon lunar eclipse. And if you're older than 33, it's been a while. Now's your chance to view this phenomenon!  This Sunday night a blood-red moon will appear in the sky, announcing the lunar eclipse. While the earth is lined up between the full moon and the sun during the eclipse a bit of sunlight still reaches the moon, bathing it in a reddish color. 

Sunday's lunar eclipse is unique because the moon will be closer to the earth than usual, making it appear bigger -- a supermoon. This is the first supermoon lunar eclipse since 1982 and will be the last until 2033.   

The NASA website has in-depth information about Sunday's supermoon eclipse. If you're intersted in learning more about viewing eclipses or other astronomical phenomena, take a look at the following titles from OPL's collection. Happy

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Literacy Week: Are You Connected?

Learn how we are bridging the digital divide while investing in the professional capacity of local youth.

By Andrea Guzman, Coordinator, Ready Set Connect Program

Computer help photo

What can you do with the Internet?

As witnessed in business trends, Silicon Valley, San Francisco, and the Bay for the past couple of decades: A LOT. From gaming to job searching, online dating, apps, virtual classrooms and so much more, the use of the Internet through computers and personal devices has become a prevalent and necessary component of daily life in the Bay Area.

In Oakland, however, there are numerous families without access to a computer, the Internet, and other essential tools many of us take for granted. Just like the ability to read, using and understanding how to use digital tools can greatly impact the accessibility of crucial services and opportunities!

Luckily, the Oakland Public Library continues to serve as a valuable resource to community

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