Vol 7 # 7   April 15, 2023

Notes from our librarians -

Shani Boyd, Children's Librarian

PAL Events, no registration required.

Toddler Storytime

Tuesdays at 10:15 am - 10:45 am

Songs, active rhymes, and stories. Especially for ages 18 months to 3 years.

Earth Day Gardening Craft

Saturday, April 22 at 2 pm - 3 pm

We are celebrating Earth Day! Join us for a gardening craft where kids will have a chance to decorate their own mini flower pot and grow edible flowers!

Baby Café

Saturday, April 29 & May 13 at 10:15 am - 12 pm

Our monthly Baby Café - join us for coffee, light snacks, and fun activities for babies and toddlers! Especially for ages 18 months to 4 years old.


Japanese Taiko Drumming with Kristy Aki Oshiro

Saturday, May 20, 2:30 pm – 3:15 pm

Come and learn about the Japanese art of taiko! Feel the thunderous sounds of the drums vibrating through your body as language, culture, and history combine into an exciting educational experience. You may even get a chance to play the drums yourself!

If you're a teen, be sure to check out the teen take-and-make crafts available in the teen area! We have a variety of crafts to choose from!


Friday Tech Services programming has concluded for the time being, however, keep your eyes out for adult take-and-make crafts available at the desk!

Drumming with Amber Hines


Fundraiser for Piedmont Avenue School

On Saturday, April 22, Piedmont Avenue Elementary School (PAES) will hold our second annual Walkathon Fundraiser! Students will walk laps around the school campus (and past the library!) to raise money for the music program, school supplies, field trips, and more.

At this event, volunteers help at checkpoints around the school (so kids don't accidentally cross any streets!), sell pizza, check kids in/out, and more. We’d love more volunteers, so if you're available, please sign up here: https://pta.paeschool.org/volunteer/walk-a-thon/.

-- Arthi Srinivasan, PTA President, Piedmont Avenue School

From the Friends of PAL -

The Friends of Piedmont Avenue Library periodically schedules clean-ups at the old Child Development Center on Echo (projected home of our new library), and a clean-up is coming! Please join us on Saturday, May 13 (this is a change of date) at the CDC, 86 Echo St. from 10 am to 12 pm. We will be giving the area some much-needed TLC after the rains and winds of the winter.

Please join us—children welcome—to rake leaves, fill bags with debris, sweep sidewalks, and pick up trash. What to bring: rakes, brooms, pruning shears, gloves, and enthusiasm. We have bags for leaves. Come join us and sweep away winter! 

Can Our Library Have a New Home at the CDC?

Volunteers Are Needed Now As We Work On That Question.


We are still awaiting news of the City's feasibility study on what kind of remodel/rehab/construction would be required to convert the former Child Development Center, located next door to our current library building, into a permanent home for our branch library.


Once we see the report of that study, we will have a very short time to give input to the project concept. More importantly, the City will have to have secured the necessary funding by 2024 (as described in our January HOOT) and if funding is not available, the building lease may be cancelled.


PAL is gathering friends and supporters to help with different parts of the work ahead of us. Volunteers are researching grants, improving our database of contact information for friends and donors, and holding our outreach events to inform people about the project and get attention focused on the CDC.


Please come to our meeting on Tuesday, April 18, 6:30 PM at the library (masks required) if you are interested or think you know someone else who might bring enthusiasm or experience to these tasks. Come to the meeting or get in touch with us at contact@friendsofpal.org

Free Comic Book Day at OPL on May 6!

Free Comic Book Day is a single day when participating comic book shops around the world give away comic books absolutely free to anyone who comes into their shops. It takes place, each year, on the first Saturday in May. Stop by any Oakland Public Library location on Saturday, May 6, during open hours, and pick up a free comic book. We'll have comics for kids, teens, and adults available while supplies last.


The Avid Reader by Louis Segal

I’ve been an avid reader since I could read. In high school I used to cut school to read in the Berkeley Public Library.  I’m writing this column to share some of the books I love. I hope, perhaps, you might grow to love a few of them. 

Liberation Day by George Saunders (2022)

As a young reader I liked short stories: Poe’s “Tell-Tale Heart,” London’s “To Build a Fire,” B. Traven’s “Assembly Line,” Faulkner’s “A Rose for Emily,” Steinbeck’s “Johnny Bear,” they all moved me. Later I widened my horizons, the endless posthumous stories of Roberto Bolaño, Gabriela Alemán’s Family Album, Borge’s  labrynthine tales, Phil Klay’s collection in Redeployment, Walter Mosley’s Awkward Black Man, Stephen King’s story “Premium Harmony.” Last month I read George Saunders’ Liberation Day, a new collection of his stories. I first learned about Saunders from his phantasmagoric Lincoln in the Bardo. Wow! What a weird and wonderful book, an imaginary purgatorial novel, disturbing, deeply empathetic and human, with ghosts seeking peace and grieving souls letting go. Saunders -in terms of his reach and empathy and insistence on granting the marginal and the desperate their full share of dignity- reminded me of Richard Price, Russell Banks, Javier Cercas, Claire Keegan, and Marilyn Robinson.


Saunders’ nine stories are sinuous, surreal puzzle-tales. Reading his stories is like getting on a bus with blindfold on. You can hear voices, conversations, sense thoughts, detect movements, but have no idea what was said before you got on the bus. Your sense of smell works, you can hear, but you can’t see. Slowly a conversation begins to make sense, slowly your vision is clarified, and you can discern the speakers’ bodies, gestures but the bodies are elastic, supple, bound, perhaps defying gravity, perhaps in cages. If you trust the narrator you’ll begin to understand distinct actors, words, actions, and a coherent story line. And I trust Saunders even if his stories emerge as sensorial puzzles. Only towards the end do they cohere, become clear, lucid, and revealing.


There are nine discrete stories in Liberation Day, with different staging, characters, resolutions. But the themes all involve power, submission, exploitation, resistance, and ultimately resilience, even redemption; occasionally vengeance served cold.  The stories are surreal and take place in warehouses, caves, mansions, theaters, dining rooms, and secret places. Voices emerge, conflict roils, alliances are made, liberatory actions occur, plots are hatched, and often the tales have graphic constructions like very clever animation artists [think Guillermo del Toro]. But they leave much to your own graphic imagination. Myth, enthusiasm, parables, wit, cold rage are there as well as joy and pleasure. They evoke Bob Dylan’s “It’s Alright Ma (I’m Only Bleeding)”:

You lose yourself, you reappear

You suddenly find you got nothing to fear

Alone you stand with nobody near

When a trembling distant voice, unclear

Startles your sleeping ears to hear

That somebody thinks they really found you


Saunders’ stories embody the voice of recognition which is to be found in great works of literature.


In the coming spring I will read more of his stories: Pastoralia (2000), and Tenth of December (2013), and A Swim in a Pond in the Rain (2022) in which Saunders dedicates the volume to his students in Syracuse. The Oprah Daily says A Swim in a Pond is a “worship song to writers and readers.”


For more: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u63hwoqOVVs

By Louis Segal. Louis was born in Oakland, raised his family in Oakland, dropped out of school in 1968, worked many jobs over the decades, dropped back into school in the 80s, got a Ph.D. in history, taught as an adjunct professor from 1993 to 2015. Retired but not withdrawn. 

What's Happening at the Library

Tuesdays - Toddler Storytime, 10:15 am - 10:45 am

4/18 - Friends of Piedmont Avenue Library Meeting, 6:30 pm - 7:30 pm

4/22 - Earth Day Gardening Craft, 2 pm - 3 pm

4/29 - Baby Cafe, 10:15 am - 12 pm

5/6 - Free Comic Book Day - 10 am - 5 pm

5/13 - Clean up at the CDC, 86 Echo, 10 am - 12 pm

5/13- Baby Cafe, 10:15 am - 12 pm

5/20 - Japanese Taiko Drumming, 2:30 pm - 3:15 pm

Our library is open 6 days a week

Sunday Closed

Monday: 10 am – 5:30 pm

Tuesday: 10 am – 8 pm

Wednesday: 10 am – pm

 Thursday: 10 am – 5:30 pm

Friday: 12 pm – 5:30 pm

Saturday: 10 am – 5:30 pm

The Friends of the Piedmont Avenue Library is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit. Our tax ID is 84-4203055.
All contributions are tax deductible.

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