Oakland Main Library turns 70!

The Main Library marks its 70th birthday on January 7.

Seventy years ago, on January 7, 1951, Oaklanders gathered shoulder to shoulder on 14th Street in numbers that made traffic impassable to be the first ones to visit a new, modern library. The previous Main Library, the handsome Carnegie building located on 14th and Grove (now Martin Luther King, Jr. Way), was nearly 50 years old and too small to accommodate the population which had exploded during the Second World War. After years of citizens campaigning for a larger library, a bond measure was passed in 1945 to finance the new library.

The new central library was to be located on a key block of the planned Civic Center, a municipal district that clustered government agencies and cultural organizations around the western end of Lake Merritt. To make way for the project, several houses and an old music conservatory had to be torn down. Designed by the firm of  Miller and Warnecke, the library construction didn’t begin until 1948. The cornerstone was laid by the Native Sons of the Golden West in May 1949. The firm of Stolte, Inc. won the construction

Click here to read more

Introducing SimplyE, the Library E-reader App

SimplyE is the e-reader app that will meet (*nearly) all of your needs

By about a month into the initial lockdown, I was tired of every physical book I'd checked out in a frantic, last-minute rush. On a whim, I read an ebook recommended by a colleague and rather liked it. But when I looked for other volumes in the series, I ran into a issue familiar to many library ebook users—the series was spread across two different ebook providers. I had to search for titles in two places, which was kind of a drag.

And that's where SimplyE comes in.

SimplyE is an e-reader app that provides access to most of OPL’s 

Click here to read more

The Afro-American Association: Forerunner to the Panthers

Founded in 1962, the Afro-American Association taught African Americans history, race pride, and self-reliance, and had a significant influence on the founders of the Black Panther Party.

Of all the topics people come to the Oakland History Center to research, few subjects are more popular than the Black Panther Party. If Oakland has contributed anything to society that is internationally known, it’s the Black Panthers. So many books, articles, dissertations and films have been written about them, and deservedly so. But the Panthers did not spring--as many researchers assume--wholesale from the earth, without influences, mentors or predecessors. Taking them out of their historical context may not reduce their luster, but it certainly compromises the story of Black liberation struggles in America. One of the Panther’s key influences was a local organization called the Afro-American Association (AAA).

Founded in 1962 by a group of graduate and law students at UC Berkeley, the Afro-American Association’s central mission was to educate African Americans about their history. The founding members--Donald Warden, Donald Hopkins, Otho Green, and Dennis Ramsey--knew that many of the obstacles that faced their community were due to lack of self-knowledge. They

Click here to read more

Oakland Public Library Launches Playlist to Help You Find New Books and More

Video tutorials to help you find books in OPL's online catalog.

Have you been wondering how to find new books in Oakland Public Library's catalog? We've created a brief tutorial that shows you how.

Click here to read more

Publish Your Own E-Books for Free

Bilblioboard and the Black Caucus of ALA 2020 Self-Publishing Award: Create your own eBook, share with libraries, and possibly even win a prize. A post written by 81st Avenue branch manager, Brian G.

If you’ve ever written a memoir, a novel, a collection of poems, short stories, or anything else that could be considered a book, you may have wondered how you can share it with your community.

With Biblioboard, local authors can share their work electronically with their communities through their library. Biblioboard allows you to create your work, share it, and discover works by local, independent authors. You can also win awards and honors, such as inclusion in the Independent Author Project's Select Collection or a self-publishing award from the Black Caucus of the American Library Association.


With BiblioBoard’s

Click here to read more

How Does Your Garden Grow? Seed Saving Books and Tips

OPL has books to help you get started saving seeds.

Did you plant a garden last spring? Throughout the COVID-19 crisis many people decided to grow their own food for the first time. Others have been growing their own vegetables for years. Whether you're a novice gardener or a seasoned one, you may be interested in making seed saving part of your gardening routine. Seed saving is a way to keep the food supply in the hands of the people rather than large companies and it's also a way to help you save money. Oakland Public Library has books to get you started.

Seed Saving

Click here to read more

RBDigital is now OverDrive!

RBDigital and OverDrive have merged; RBDigital audiobooks will now be available on OverDrive.

OverDrive has acquired the RBdigital platform. RBdigital content will move to OverDrive, and the RBDigital platform will eventually go away. You should see updates about this in the RBDigital app. 

Digital magazines will still be available via RBdigital for now. 

You can yes, export your wishlist and reading history by logging in to your account, and going to My Account -- Profiles; there is an option to export transactions there. 

Current checkouts will be available through the remainder of the item's lending period in the RBdigital app. Current checkouts will not be moved to OverDrive but you should be able to finish your title without losing your place in the book. 

Holds will not be moved to OverDrive. You can export your Transaction History from the RBdigital

Click here to read more

OPL Launches Gardening Video Playlist

The Oakland Public Library continues providing the community with gardening tips, book lists, and now, videos.

With the Bay Area sheltering at home, many of us have turned to gardening for recreation, food production, and relaxation. In response, the Oakland Public Library has launched a new YouTube playlist all about gardening. 

Recently Chavez Library branch manager Pete Villasenor showcased the "Huerta de Dolores" garden. Dimond Branch librarian Rebekah Eppley filmed a tour of edible herbs and weeds in her home garden. This new resource will provide visitors with garden tours, planting tips, plant identification, and other information to make your time in the botanical world more productive and enjoyable. If you missed our

Click here to read more

Harvesting Gardening Tips from the Oakland Public Library

The Oakland Public Library offers resources on all types of gardening projects, from container gardening to urban farming.

Since no one knows yet how long we’ll be sheltering in place, we might as well make the most of our time at home. For many of us, that means spending more time in our gardens, planting new flowers, shrubs, and vegetables for spring. For many more of you who don’t have gardens, you now have the time to start one of your own. 

The Oakland Public Library offers all the practical tips you need to plan, start, and nurture your garden whether it be a a row of pots on an apartment balcony or a large urban farm. Gardening has many benefits. It’s environmentally restorative, economical, physically stimulating, meditative, and creative. 

The library offers a variety of e-books on every aspect of gardening. Here are a few to get you started:

Click here to read more

Juneteenth in Oakland

Celebrating this Texas holiday in the Bay Area. A post by Donielle Woods, Librarian at the African American Museum and Library

Although our local festival has been cancelled due to COVID-19, we’re still looking forward to June 19th, affectionately referred to as Juneteenth, a holiday within the African-American community that celebrates the end of slavery in the United States.

The Emancipation Proclamation (available digitally from our National Archives) was signed by President Abraham Lincoln and declared that as of January 1, 1863, all slaves in the states currently engaged in rebellion against the Union “shall be then, thenceforward, and forever free.”

However, it took a while to enact! Union Troops traveled throughout the South delivering the decree that all enslaved persons were now free. Many

Click here to read more