Summer Reading Program

OPL Fairyland Free Day - Tuesday, July 30th

OPL Children’s Fairyland library card holders are eligible to receive free entry to the story book theme park on Tuesday, July 30, 2019

Please NOTE: No adult is admitted without a child, and no child is admitted without an adult.

If you can't make it on Tuesday, July 30th and/or don't have the limited edition Fairyland Library Card, Fairyland passes are available via Discover & Go, and Kids' Summer Reading program finishers receive "BOOK BUCKS" which admit one child with one paying adult

Kenn Adams’ Adventure Theater! July 2019

Kenn Adams’ Adventure Theater! is a fast-paced, interactive, outrageously funny, theatrical experience for heroes of all ages! Created and performed by veteran improviser, this improvised play  casts attendees as the stars of the show. Audience members provide the sound effects, become the scenery, and suggest exciting plot twists.

  • Wednesday, July 10, 2019  1:30 PM at 81st Avenue Community Library
  • Wednesday, July 10, 2019  6:30 PM at Montclair Branch Library
  • Thursday, July 11, 2019  1:00 PM at Melrose Branch Library
  • Tuesday, July 16, 2019  1:30 PM at Brookfield Branch Library

Soul Soup with Amber Hines Summer 2019

Soul Soup with Amber Hines presents a family-style music ritual with live drum accompaniment that inspires you to sing, dance and play! Utilizing traditional and contemporary music, games and story. 

  • Tuesday, June 18, 2019  Rockridge Branch Library  at 10:30 AM
  • Thursday, June 27, 2019  Temescal Branch Library at 10:30 AM
  • Monday, July 08, 2019  Eastmont Branch Library at 1:00 PM
  • Monday, July 08, 2019  Main Library Children's Room at 10:30 AM
  • Saturday, July 13, 2019  Golden Gate Branch Library at 10:30 AM
  • Saturday, August 03, 2019  Elmhurst Branch Library 3:00 PM

Magical Moonshine Summer 2019

Magical Moonshine will be offer several different puppet shows at the branches. Come and enjoy classic stories brought to life through puppets.

  • Tuesday, June 11, 2019  6:30 PM at Rockridge  Branch Library
  • Saturday, June 15, 2019  10:30 AM at Main Library Children's Room
  • Thursday, June 20, 2019  10:30 AM at Asian Branch Library
  • Tuesday, July 09, 2019  1:30 PM at Brookfield  Branch Library
  • Tuesday, July 23, 2019  7:00 PM at Dimond  Branch Library
  • Wednesday, July 24, 2019  1:30 PM at 81st Avenue Community Library
  • Thursday, July 25, 2019  11:00 AM at Temescal  Branch Library

Magic Nathaniel Summer 2019

Magical Nathaniel presents a high energy show loaded of audience interaction! Each kid will leave the show will a big smile on their face and the feeling that they had an important part to play in the show. Special magic activity books provided!

  • Saturday, June 8, 2019, 2:00 PM  at Chavez Branch Library                                                         
  • Tuesday, June 18, 2019, 7:00 PM  at Dimond Branch Library
  • Thursday, June 27, 2019, 1:00 PM at Melrose Branch Library
  • Monday, July 15, 2019,  10:30 AM at  Main Library Children's Room
  • Tuesday, July 16, 2019,  11:00 AM at ML King Branch Library
  • Tuesday, July 16, 2019 ,  6:30 PM at  Rockridge Branch Library                                                                  


Workshop - For those interested in learning a little magic? Join us for this magic workshop and learn the basics and a few card tricks.

  • Tuesday, July 02, 2019,  4:00 PM  at  Elmhurst Branch Library
  • Thursday, July 18, 2019,  3:00 PM at  Piedmont Avenue Branch Library

Mike the Magician Summer 2019

 Mike Della Penna creates wonder and laughter with family magic performances that are equal parts playful and astonishing.

  • Saturday, June 08, 2019   10:30 AM at Golden Gate Branch Library
  • Wednesday, June 12, 2019  6:30 PM at Montclair Branch Library
  • Monday, June 24, 2019  10:30 AM at Main Library Children's Room
  • Tuesday, June 25, 2019   1:30 PM at Brookfield Branch Library
  • Tuesday, June 25, 2019   6:30 PM at Rockridge Branch Library
  • Tuesday, June 25, 2019  4:00PM at Elmhurst Branch Library
  • Thursday, June 27, 2019  10:30 AM at Asian Branch Library
  • Saturday, June 29, 2019  11:00 AM at Lakeview Branch Library
  • Wednesday, July 10, 2019   10:00 AM at West Oakland Branch Library
  • Thursday, July 11, 2019  11:00 AM at Temescal Branch Library
  • Monday, July 15, 2019  1:00 PM atEastmont Branch Library

Are you ready for #OPLSummer?

Everyone can register for the OPL Summer Program at or at any branch of the Oakland Public Library starting Friday, May 24.

The 2019 Summer Program runs from June 1 – August 3, with an end of summer party for families at the Oakland Museum on Sunday, August 4th. 

Friday, May 24 is also the first day library users can receive a special edition Children’s Fairyland library card. Fairyland Library card holders will receive free entry to the story book theme park on Tuesday, July 30. Please note: No adult is admitted without a child, and no child is admitted without an adult.

As a reminder, discount/free entry to bay area musuems and attractions is avialable wtih your library card with Discover & Go!

Mount Diablo Beekeepers Association Summer 2019

MDBA is an organization dedicated to promoting beekeeping and educating the public about the vital role of honey and bees in the environment. Learn about bees, hives and get a taste of sweet honey.

  • Saturday, June 1, 2019, 10:30 AM at Main Library Children's Room
  • Thursday, June 13, 2019, 3:00 PM at Piedmont Avenue Branch Library
  • Tuesday, July 9, 2019, 4:00PM Elmhurst Branch Library
  • Wednesday, July 31, 2019, 1:30 PM  81st Avenue Branch Library

Q&A: Patrons Ask; Librarians Answer. How do you know if a person is cheating on the Summer Reading Challenge?

Q: How do you know if a person is just cheating by filling in all the stickers but not reading?A volunteer (unnamed) looking sneaky with her reading log.

A: We don’t know!

Of the approximately 500 kids who have signed up for the Summer Reading Challenge at my branch library, only 3 have had the audacity to ask this question.

However, at the beginning of June, when I visited classrooms at a number of Oakland Public Schools (all the children's librarians do this every May & June) to tell kids about the Summer Reading Program, another dozen kids asked the same question. At every school, there is always at least one person, usually in 3rd, 4th, or 5th grade, who asks me, "What if someone cheats and fills in all the stickers without reading anything at all?"

So I've answered this question a LOT. Here is what I say:

Bookshelves at Oakland LibraryWe use the honor system, which means we trust you to read a little every day (we count days; not time, not books). We are confident that it's more fun to read something than it is to lie about it and then skulk around feeling like a cheater. 

However, if you are one of the people who can't find anything you want to read for 15 (or even 5) minutes a day, you need to come talk to me!  We have over 30,000 kids books at my branch alone, and it's my job to find the 1 book you really, really, really want to read this summer. (Maybe that is why we call it the Summer Reading Challenge!)

Everyone needs help finding the right book sometimes. If you haven't yet found the book that makes you want to read, it's could be because you haven't yet asked your librarian for help. Come talk to me, and I will do everything I can to find the best book - the greatest book - the most fantastic book for you! 

You know what else? This is your summer vacation! We want you to be able to relax, rejuvenate, and enjoy yourself. You get to pick whatever you want to read, so the 15 minutes a day should be 15 minutes that please you. If you hate fiction, pick up some non-fiction. If you had a bad experience with a fantasy that all your friends loved, try some science fiction, or a mystery. If you are sick and tired of comic books, read some history - or vice-versa!

If we can't find a book that looks like fun for you to read, then probably what we need to do is find a book that looks like fun to hear read aloud. (I wish we had 20 copies of The True Meaning of Smekday - a patron recommended it to me and it's the best.) It's my opinion that kids who don't like to read should sit back, close their eyes, and listen to a wonderful story reader. Usually, it's your mom or dad, a grandparent, or a sibling. If they are all busy, then there are professional story readers who make recorded books that you can listen to on CDs or as downloadable audiobooks.

I'm not worried about you cheating, but it will break my heart if I missed the chance to help you find a good book.

If your librarian never seems to be available when you come to the library (waiting in line is SO hard for kids), try our new online service called Book Me! to ask for help finding a book, or call your local branch library to find the best time to ask for personalized help.

As always, if you have a comment, leave it below, and if you have a question you'd like us to answer online, click the button below.

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Q&A: Patrons ask; librarians answer: What counts for Summer Reading?

Q. What counts for the Summer Reading Challenge? My kids are 3, 6, and 11 years old. What's expected of them in this game?

A. So, your three kids signed up for the Summer Reading Game, got their reading logs & stickers, picked out some stuff to read, and now you all want to know what really counts, right? Here's what matters about summer reading:

  1. Daily habit    Iron-on badge for the Summer Reading Program

  2. Personal choice   

  3. Any level

  4. Reading OR listening

  5. Library visits

To get the most out of the Summer Reading Program, and to see the beneficial effects in terms of school success and building a lifelong reading habit, these are the five elements that young readers and their families will see reinforced as they are reading over the summer.

Drawing of a calendar to symbolize the Daily Habit of readingDaily habit: Kids get prizes for how many DAYS they read this summer! 10 days = a whole batch of coupons for things to do and eat in & around Oakland. It doesn’t have to be 10 days in a row, but that makes it a fun challenge! 20 days = a free prize book, an iron-on badge, and a raffle ticket. Each additional 10 days is rewarded with an additional raffle ticket. Babies get a sippy cup with the library logo instead of the badge.

Photo of a clock to symbolize ANY amount of time is sufficientIMPORTANT NOTE: Kids put a sticker on the calendar date for any amount of reading they do. We’re aiming for 15 minutes or more, but if that seems like a struggle for your reader, come talk to us! Your Children’s Librarian will find something that is captivating enough that the 15 minutes will fly by! 

Drawing of a heart to symbolize Personal Choice in readingPersonal choice: Yes, read whatever you want! There are no required titles, no leveled lists, no judgment of your choices. Participants may write the titles on their reading logs; that’s just for fun. Everyone can choose whatever pleases them; something new or an old favorite; short or long; fiction or non-fiction; books or magazines or comics; fantasy, mystery, sports, action, adventure, magic, realistic, historical; humor; poetry; biography – anything! 

Any leDrawing of foothills & mountains to symbolize that Any Level reading is greatvel: During the school year, teachers are expecting your kids to read books that range from Just Right to Challenging. In the summer, Vacation reading is good enough! Some readers like to challenge themselves with complex plots and advanced vocabulary & grammar, but some need to relax, recover, and re-kindle their joy in stories or characters. Predictable reading goes quickly and is easy to understand, and therefore builds fluency and comprehension while at the same time feels relaxing and enjoyable. Just right books are best – but focus on the content and delight; if it’s not fun, it won’t be a daily habit.

Drawing of headphones to symbolize that Listening OR Reading are both okayReading OR listening: For this game, kids can read on their own, listen as someone reads aloud to them, or read aloud to someone else. All of it counts! Listening to a recorded book also counts. Hearing a book read aloud helps kids learn vocabulary, improves pronunciation, and increases comprehension, all of which builds fluency. This is true even for kids who already know how to read. Take turns, and treat each other to good read!

Guess what? Adults who sign up for the Adult Summer Reading program get points for reading aloud to a child, so grown-ups can get prizes, too! Not only that, older kids & teens (ages 12 to 18) can get prizes, too!  The Teen Summer Passport program has great ideas for teens, one of which is reading aloud to younger children. 

Drawing of The Library Symbol that shows you where to find the library

Library visits: Most kids come in at least 2 times over the summer – to sign up, and to pick up prizes. However, we love it when kids come in every week to pick out more books to read & movies to watch, or to attend one of our many special programs. When people come to the library often, they get familiar with where things are found and how to get things done, they make friends with our staff, and they learn how to ask for help. We want every young person in Oakland to feel like he or she belongs here. Your taxes (and donations to our Friends groups) pay for the library and our programs – make sure your kids take advantage of it!

So…the Summer Reading Program is a friendly challenge, meant to encourage the habits that will give your child lifelong rewards. I want to tell you more about how important recreational reading is to school success, but there’s a line of children asking for help to find a good book right now…I've got to run. See you soon!