How well do you know the Oakland Public Library?

Take a short quiz about the library and win a chance for a prize. All answers can be found in the new Oakland Public Library Annual Report 2014-15.

To celebrate the publication of the Oakland Public Library's 2014-15 Annual Report, we're having a contest!  Answer seven questions correctly and be entered into our weekly drawings for a $20 gift certificate to the Friends of the Oakland Public Library's Bookmark Bookstore in Old Oakland (721 Washington Street). 

Drawings will take place at noon on January 8, 15, and 22, 2016.  All eligible entries with 100% correct responses will be entered into each of the drawings -- there is no need to resubmit each week. 

Do you need a hint or two?  Check out our 2014-15 Annual Report.

Have fun!

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Oakland Public Library Staff’s Favorite Books of 2015

OPL staff look back on their favorite books of 2015.

It's that time of year when everyone publishes their best of the year lists. I look forward to seeing what the New York Times has to say on this matter, but I think my colleagues at Oakland Public Library always come up with the best reading suggestions! Here are some of our favorites from 2015. 

We'd love to hear from you, too--please share your favorites of 2015 in the comments. 

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Has this happened to you?

No one wants to talk about accidentally damaging a library book, but it happens to everyone, even librarians.

Yesterday one of our children's librarians told me this story:

"Today a young child came to me with her mother carrying a book. Eyes downcast she explained that her three-year-old sister learned how to use scissors and handed me this":

Cut Book

"I laughed and told her the story of my library book when my three-year-old sister discovered crayons. I asked her if she kept her temper,  she admitted she lost her temper "a little, but she deserved it!"  The girl promised to keep her library books in her backpack next time. Luckily I had a back-up copy in storage anyway. The child is relieved, the mother is happy, and they checked out several more chapter books."

Baby Eating Book

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Moving Toward a Sustainable Future

What can you do about global warming? Check out some of OPL's books on the topic.

During the past few weeks you've probably heard and read about the United Nations Conference on Climate Change held in Paris earlier this month. At the close of the conference, the Paris Agreement was adopted. If you're interested in reading more about climate change, OPL has many new titles on the topic. The books listed below cover the current issues while also offering solutions for a more sustainable future.

This Changes Everything     

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Most Popular Books of 2015

Think you know OPL's most popular books of 2015? Some of these may surprise you.

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Q&A: Patrons Ask; Librarians Answer. What books do you have for and about Muslim children?

Q&A: Patrons Ask; Librarians Answer. What books do you have that will help our Muslim classmates feel welcome, and give the rest of the class some idea of what it means to be Muslim? I teach reading in elementary school, so a range of reading levels would be best.

Q: I’m looking for books to help our Muslim students feel welcome, and give the rest of the class some ideas of what it means for their classmates to be Muslim. Where do you keep books about Muslims for kids? I need books for kindergarten through third grade.

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The Top 5 Books I REALLY Wanted to Read in 2015

Here are five terrific books from 2015 that are still on my bulging, ever-growing to-read list.

Too many books, not enough time… does this sound familiar? Here are five books I had on my hold lists this year that I never got around to reading. I guess they’ll be moving to the top of my 2016 list. 

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Researching Your House's History at OPL

Researchers can use several handy tool at the Oakland History Room to discover the history of their homes and businesses.

The houses many of us live in have long and fascinating histories. Some are architecturally distinguished, some have been moved from other locations, some are the former homes of important people. For those of you interested in finding out more about your house, a trip to the Oakland History Room (OHR) may answer your questions.

A first stop should be to OHR's Map Room where patrons can find their houses in tax assessment block books (1877-1925) and Sanborn Fire Insurance maps (1882-1951). There you can find out names of previous owners, property values, physical information about the house, and prior street names. Another important resource in the Map Room is the Oakland annexation map. The city grew by five annexations; knowing when your neighborhood became part of Oakland helps facilitate your search. Researchers can then consult Oakland city directories (in OHR's Main Room) to find out

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Researching Your House's History at OPL

Researchers can use several handy tool at the Oakland History Room to discover the history of their homes and businesses.

The houses many of us live in have long and fascinating histories. Some are architecturally distinguished, some have been moved from other locations, some are the former homes of important people. For those of you interested in finding out more about your house, a trip to the Oakland History Room (OHR) may answer your questions.

A first stop should be to OHR's Map Room where patrons can find their houses in tax assessment block books (1877-1925) and Sanborn Fire Insurance maps (1882-1951). There you can find out names of previous owners, property values, physical information about the house, and prior street names. Another important resource in the Map Room is the Oakland annexation map. The city grew by five annexations; knowing when your neighborhood became part of Oakland helps facilitate your search. Researchers can then consult Oakland city directories (in OHR's Main Room) to find out more about the owners. Some, for example, were contractors, possibly the builders of their properties. 

Further

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Is Santa Real? A Librarian's Dilemma

Not all questions asked in the library have cut and dry answers. And not all can be accurately answered using a book. When a child asks me about the existence of Santa, what am I supposed to say?

In my personal life, I don't touch this question with a 10-foot pole. But when I am asked this question as a librarian; I cannot deflect. The child is asking me as a trusted professional for an accurate and factual answer. Furthermore I am obligated to provide reliable resources to justify my answer. And herein lies my dilemma; I am supposed to affirm or deny the “realness” of a “person” whose very existence is based on faith! The potential answer to this question is as dangerous as a child asking me if Jesus Christ is “real.” Now before you guffaw or laugh at me, I understand  Jesus and Santa are not the same. 

But just like everyone doesn't share the same beliefs about Jesus, everyone doesn't share a universal belief in Santa. Furthermore there are many adults who would not appreciate my answering this question contrary to their beliefs especially considering I am working in a professional

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