Vol 6 # 11 August 15, 2022
Notes from Our Librarians

From Remy Timbrook, Acting Manager, Piedmont Avenue Branch
We have two new permanent staff members: Alison Bowman, who comes to us from the Martin Luther King branch, and Alejandra Briseno, who was previously at the Main Library Children's Room. They are both Library Assistants, which means their job is to direct circulation services (borrowing, hold requests, new library cards, etc.), to make sure we have the necessary supplies and equipment, and to ensure that daily operations run smoothly. Piedmont Avenue is very happy to have them both aboard!

About 25 adults registered for the Adult Summer Reading program and submitted many reviews of their favorite books and movies of the summer. Raffle winners will be drawn and notified mid-August.
From Shani Boyd, Children's Librarian I
Summer passed by quickly this year and was very exciting! We had 118 active participants in Kids' Summer Reading here at the branch.

Storytime has been a consistent hit pulling large crowds with attendance up to numbers in the fifties! Toddler Storytime on Tuesday mornings at 10:15 am is outdoors, and that allows for the large numbers. However, when the weather or air quality takes a negative turn, we will move storytime indoors with a maximum crowd of 18 people. Then, seating will be on a first-come first-served basis.

Monthly Take and Make crafts have returned. Check the Children's Room table for the latest craft.

Be sure to follow Piedmont Ave Library @OPL_PiedmontAve on Twitter!
Ice Cream Craft
Bead Craft
Bubble Making
Google can bring you back 100,000 answers. A librarian can bring you back the right one.
—Neil Gaiman
Your Library At Work

Let’s say you and your friend are arguing. You try finding the answer online, but no luck, and you go to the library. None of the reference books there are helpful, so you go to the checkout desk – the one with people behind it, not the one that takes pictures of your card. The librarian asks if you need help, and you tell her/him your question.

 “Let me check,” she says. After a few minutes she asks you more about the topic and checks more online. That’s when she says, “Sorry, I’m not finding anything.” As you turn to leave, she continues, “but give me your contact information and I’ll do more research and get back to you. And put your question with it.”  Three days later you get a phone call with the information you wanted and suggestions of books you can check out or order from another branch on the subject.

Many questions are easier – the librarian answered it ten minutes ago for someone else– and librarians have a broader knowledge of available websites than most patrons, so that gives them an advantage.
Sometimes librarians are asked for book suggestions for their child or someone who is unable to come on their own. The monthly blog post on new fiction, found on the library website (oaklandlibrary.org) can be a great help in these quests. Also, the Kids’ Reads section on that site can be a good resource when you’re trying to help a child make a choice.

Any of the staff at Piedmont Avenue Library, now led by Remy Timbrook, will be able to help you with these kinds of tasks, so if you can’t find the book you need or an answer to your question, don’t hesitate to ask. They’re all friendly, knowledgeable, and helpful. Piedmont Avenue Library is fortunate to have them here.

By Ruby Long, a neighbor whose work has appeared in local and national publications.

The Monthly Update from Friends of PAL

The campaign for a permanent home for our branch library is focused on the long-vacant Child Development Center, at 86 Echo Avenue, next door to our current building. In 2022 the City of Oakland began discussion with the Oakland Unified School District (OUSD) about getting a long-term joint-occupancy lease, which would be allowable for this property under the state Education Code. While all the steps in this campaign are underway, the Oakland Public Library is expected to continue leasing the OUSD portable building that now houses the branch.

The Friends of the Piedmont Avenue Library will have a table at The John Street Jumble on Sunday, August 21st, from 9am to 1pm, at 4288 Montgomery St. Please stop by; we’ll have button making and free books for children. This is our opportunity to meet our neighbors and keep them up to date on our plans for a permanent home for our library.

The next meeting of Friends of PAL is Tuesday, August 16, 6:30pm, at the library. At our meeting in September, September 20th, we will be joined by a member of the Piedmont Avenue Elementary School PTA who will discuss the ways that our library can support the school.

The Fascinating Things People Leave Behind in Library Books

An OPL librarian, Sharon McKellar, collects ephemera discovered in returned and used books, from photos and recipes to love letters. She has started a "Found in a Library Book" project at OPL. Our Remy Timbrook is quoted in this engrossing article about what is found in library books in the Washington Post. https://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/2022/08/03/oakland-library-found-book-notes/
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. 
Leila Mottley’s Nightcrawling
Oakland has raised some wonderful writers. Some write about our city, for example, Jack London in his vibrant Martin Eden, Gertrude Stein in her dismissive throwaway lines, and Michael Chabon in his superficial screen treatment in Telegraph Avenue. Our town covers a lot of territory with many distinct neighborhoods: Upper Rockridge knows little about Ghosttown, Deep East is often unknown to Montclair. And vice-versa. Temescal and Jingletown and Chinatown, the Bottoms, Fruitvale all have different socio-economic demographics. Lurking behind this dynamic are the intertwined forces of gentrification, high rents, and homelessness. Too often not knowing each other means we can’t see each other.
Recently three young writers, born and raised in Oakland, have channeled the voices of people from some of our less celebrated neighborhoods. With little affectation or treacly sentiment, they celebrate and elegize parts of the Town often unseen and unheard. Tommy Orange (There, There, 2018), Melissa Valentine (The Name of All the Flowers (2020) and the most recent sensation, Leila Mottley (Nightcrawling, 2022), all, present new vantage points and new voices for avid readers. Mottley was named Oakland youth poet laureate at age 16, her premiere novel was selected for Oprah’s Book Club, has been longlisted for the Booker Prize 2022, and currently is in the top ten best-seller of the SF Chronicle. All this and she is twenty years old!
Kiara is the Nightcrawling’s protagonist. She’s 17 and in desperate straits. Her mom is absent, her dad is dead, her brother is lost in fantasies of living large as a rap star. Kiara is the provider for her brother and a young neighbor boy whose mom is a seldom-seen addled addict. They’re late on rent and have been served eviction papers. Try as Kiara may, she can’t find work in the legal job market and so she hits the streets. She’s tries to hustle up money for rent and food by walking the streets. She refuses to have a pimp and soon becomes bullied and coerced into sexually servicing OPD officers at private parties. She’s an unlikely hero but she indeed is a hero. And she falls in love to boot. No happy answers but a beautiful, often poetic, rendering of Kiara and those she loves.
Mottley’s novel was based on a 2015 scandal where Oakland cops violated and raped a minor and then covered it up. Nightcrawling is a sordid but never salacious tale, full of wonderful metaphors, lyrical turns of phrase, and compassionate portraits of our neighbors, neighbors we too often never see. Oakland has many seemingly intractable problems where power often is corrupt, where the schools are broke, where cold and heartless developers make luxury condominiums as many of our fellow citizens are forced to live in squalor, unsheltered and without access to meaningful work or human services. Fortunately, Oakland is also blessed with wonderful artists and writers who bear witness to our crazy, cruel, and beautiful city. And Leila Mottley has joined their ranks
For more on the actual case and a New York Times portrait of Leila Mottley:

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
Programs at the Library

Remember the fun we had when the Cowgirls from Cowgirl Creamery brought us cheese to taste? How about the time we discussed Stalin with an expert, or the days we learned about different Berkeley Rep plays? Well, programs like those will restart in person at the Piedmont Avenue branch this fall on a Tuesday or Wednesday evening when the library is open late. 

We are booking speakers from the Oakland community to address local flora & fauna, hobbies, writing, and emergency preparedness. 

Toddler Storytime continues on Tuesday mornings at 10:15 am. Please arrive early for a seat.
Circus of Smiles at the library
Our library is open six days per week!
Sunday Closed
Monday: 10am. – 5:30pm. 
Tuesday: 10am. – 8pm. 
Wednesday: 10am. – 8pm
. Thursday: 10am. – 5:30pm.
Friday: 12pm. – 5:30pm. 
Saturday: 10am. – 5:30pm.

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