Oakland Public Library's 2017 Holiday Gift Guide

We've compiled a list of some of our favorite books for kids, teens and adults for your year-end gifting needs.

Giving a gift to a book lover anytime soon? Our third annual Holiday Gift Guide features some of our favorite recent books for kids, teens and adults. If you don't already have a favorite local bookseller, we've also provided a list of Oakland bookstores below. 

Have suggestions of your own? We would LOVE to hear them--please share in the comments!

Books for Children

Click here to read more

African American Firefighters In Oakland

Facing racism and discrimination African Americans have served the Oakland Fire Department with honor for nearly 100 years.

 

Royal Towns (center) and two Oakland firefighters standing outside of fire engine no. 22

In 1919 the city of Oakland began seeking and testing African Americans applicants to serve as firefighters for a segregated unit of the Oakland Fire Department. As a result of this test, on January 1, 1920, three African American men were hired.  The first firefighter worked at a pumping station at Lake Merritt until two additional men were hired. These men worked in the same firehouse on 8th and Alice as their white counterparts but on separate shifts.  In 1925, the first all-African American firehouse 22 Engine opened in west Oakland at 3230 Magnolia Street.

Royal Towns was one of the many African Americans to work at 22 Engine. He served as a firefighter for 17 years before being promoted to Lieutenant. He helped recruit African American firefighters and conducted classes to help them study for the fire-

Click here to read more

The Handmaid’s Tale and Other Dark Dystopian Dreams

The Handmaid’s Tale and Other Dark Dystopian Dreams: 5 novels of speculative fiction exploring themes of gender and power.

The Handmaid’s Tale and Other Dark Dystopian Dreams

If the news has been feeling like some dark dystopian TV series for the past year, consider reading some speculative fiction exploring themes of gender and power. (And when is the next installment of The Handmaid’s Tale returning to Hulu, anyway?)

The Power : A Novel  by Naomi Alderman (2017)

“All over the world, teenage girls develop the ability to send an electric charge from the tips of their fingers. It might be a little jolt, as thrilling as it is frightening. It might be powerful enough to leave lightning-bolt traceries on the skin of people the girls touch. It might be deadly. And, soon, the

Click here to read more

Finding Your Next Great Read

A Readers' Advisory Round-Up

What do you like to read? Do you follow an author until you’ve read everything then wait impatiently for the next book? Do you read one genre exclusively? Science fiction? Popular science? Biographies?

How do you find the next book you’re going to read or listen to? Do you read reviews? Ask your friends? Or do you ask a librarian?

Good idea. Readers’ Advisory is our middle name. Names. When you ask us for help we open our bag of librarian tricks. Guess what the first trick is -- we will ask YOU more questions. We’re going to find out what you like and don’t like. And why. Once we’ve drawn you out, we’ll pull our other tricks out of the bag. Like the library catalog. A catalog search really can get you to a book with qualities like other books you’ve liked. We usually will start with keywords in the basic search box, moving later to an advanced search.

We also use library databases like

Click here to read more

A Music Survey -- with Prizes!

Help us serve you better by filling out a short music survey, and you'll be eligible to win tickets from local venues.

Blues or bluegrass? Jazz or folk? Streaming, vinyl, CDs ... or cassettes? What are your favorite kinds of music, and how do you listen to them?

We'd like to know more about your listening habits to ensure that our music collection meets your needs. That's why we've created a short survey on listening to music, whether live or recorded. Please take the survey to let us know what you're listening to and how:

http://www.oaklandlibrary.org/music-survey

Rather write than type? Paper copies are coming to a library near you.

Did you say prizes?

Everyone who completes the survey will be eligible to enter a raffle. Just fill in your name and phone number at the end of the survey to enter. The results will be tallied anonymously, and your information will not be shared.

The raffle is optional, but the prizes are pretty enticing. You could win:

  • A $75 ticket voucher from

Click here to read more

Evolutionary Blues: West Oakland’s Music Legacy

Staff at the African American Museum and Library at Oakland share stories and information about West Oakland's Music Legacy.

Guest post by African American Museum and Library at Oakland (AAMLO) Staff Member, Sean Dickerson.  Stay tuned for more posts from AAMLO soon!

Jenkins Corner Building

Jenkins' corner building exterior, Harold Jenkins Photograph collection, MS 11, African American Museum and Library at Oakland, Oakland Public Library. Oakland, California.

Singer Sugar Pie DeSanto, one of many musicians featured in filmmaker Cheryl Fabio’s documentary Evolutionary Blues, remembers learning to play classical piano as a child in the 1930’s Bay Area. DeSanto, whose mother was an African American concert pianist, grew up studying classical and jazz standards

Click here to read more

Books about Veterans and their Families

A booklist from The Oakland Public Library’s Veterans Center Resource Collection

Did you know the Oakland Public Library has a Veterans Center?

It is located in the lobby of the Main Library. Trained staff or volunteers are often available to help veterans and family members learn about benefits for education, health, employment, housing, and more. There is also a collection of books. They can be checked out from the Veterans Center anytime the library is open or can be delivered to any branch by placing a hold.

You can pick up a paper copy of this list in the Veterans Center, as well as at branch libraries.  

Careers, Benefits and More: The Business of Becoming a Civilian

Cover of Best Careers book      Cover of Military Guide      

Click here to read more

Books and Dance in honor of Native American Heritage Month

Children's books by and about Native American / First Nations people, recommended by Oakland Public Library, and upcoming performances by Sewam American Indian Dance

OPL is a great source of children's books by and about Native American / First Nations people, perfect for reading and sharing year round. In honor of Native American Heritage Month, we're excited to share with you our current list of favorite:

Great Native American Children's Books

Check them out today!

Click here to read more

10 Great Reasons to Read Fiction in November 2017

These ten great novels are heading to Oakland Public Library this month. You can place your holds now!

Click here to read more

Kids Bike: A Booklist from the Women Bike Book Club

Books for kids who love bikes!

Did you know that the Oakland Public Library co-hosts a Women Bike Book Club with Bike East Bay? We gather to discuss biking, feminism, and the intersection of the two on the second Thursday of each month at 6:00pm, at our Golden Gate Branch (5606 San Pablo Avenue). The book club was started by Bike East Bay as part of their Women Bike initiative, which brings women and gender nonconforming folks together in social settings to share experiences and resources with each other. 

Ok so the book club sounds awesome but why are we talking about that here?

Our meeting on November 9th will focus on children’s books! We'll have some great selections of bike-related children's literature, and we'll talk about moms, biking, and the next generation of cyclists. Join us to enjoy beautiful illustrations, good conversation, and maybe even pick up some gift ideas for the little feminists in your life. 

If you can’t join us,

Click here to read more