Vol 7 # 10   July 15, 2023

From Mickey Vo, Acting Manager and Shani Boyd, Children's Librarian

Here are the events we have for July and August

No registration required for PAL events


Tuesdays at 10:15 am -

Toddler Storytime

Tuesdays at 10:45 am -

Toddler Stay & Play

program ends Tuesday August 1st

Saturday, July 15th at 2 pm - Bunny Hop Craft

Wednesday, July 19th at 6 pm - Insect Discovery Lab

Learn about the extraordinarily diverse world of insects and arthropods.

Saturday, July 22nd at 2 pm - Bubble Craft

Saturday, July 26th at 2:30 pm - Little Explorers Petting Zoo

Visit the cute & cuddly animals, an event for the whole family.

Saturday, July 29th at 2 pm - STEM Program with the American Society of Civil Engineers

Saturday, August 19th at 2 pm - Pom Pom Jewelry Craft

Saturday, August 26that 2 pm - Fish Bowl Painting Craft


Saturday, July 22nd at 2 pm - Henna

Learn about the ancient art of henna at the library this summer and get your own Henna tattoo with artist Rachel Palacios.

also on July 22nd

Saturday, July 22nd at 2 pm - Make Tiny Art

Come in and make a mini masterpiece for our virtual tiny art show, featuring tiny paintings by teens all around Oakland!


Master Gardener Talks

Saturday, July 15th at 11 am - Mid-Summer Gardening and Garden Management 

Saturday, August 19th at 11 am - Growing a Perennial Herb Garden

Coventry & Kaluza

Oakland Symphony Petting Zoo

Ice Cream Social

Join us for OPL end of Summer Celebration

Saturday August 5th at 11 am at the Peralta Hacienda Historical Park.

 2465 34th Ave.

There will be crafts, storytime, and fun for Kids, Teens, and Adults!

  • 11 am-1 pm Try-It Truck 
  • Engineering lab on wheels
  • 12 pm Storytime
  • Presented by Children's Librarians
  • 1 pm Afro-Peruvian Dance
  • With  Cunamacué
  • 2 pm Belly Dance Performance
  • Lesson & Performance with Nicole Maria
  • 2-3 pm Soccer Fun
  • Hosted by Oakland Roots

Plus, pop-up poetry from the Oakland Youth Poet Laureate

Brownies from Friends’ Book & Bake Sale

Our Book & Bake Sale

on June 17th was a great success. We introduced our library (PAL) to new

neighbors and were encouraged by library users to continue our work for a

permanent home. Our next Book & Bake Sale will be September 9th at Key Route Plaza.

One of the incredible baked goods

for sale was Olive Oil Brownies made by Helen. She said they meet her personal goal to avoid dietary

cholesterol at all costs, so no

butter. There were so many requests for the recipe she agreed to share it.

Olive Oil Brownies


8X8 baking dish lined with parchment.

wire whisk

large bowl

food processor for sifting


 1 cup granulated sugar

3/4 cup all-purpose flour

2/3 cup cocoa powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup dark chocolate chips

2 large eggs

1/2 cup light-tasting olive oil

2 tablespoons water

1/2 teaspoon vanilla


Heat the oven to 325 degrees. Put the first 4 ingredients in the food processor and process until lumpless and well mixed. No food processor? Use the whisk and a bowl to “sift” the dry ingredients together until lumpless.

Remove processor basket from machine and stir in the chocolate chips.

In the large bowl, whisk the eggs well, add olive oil and whisk until well combined. Whisk in the water (Why? To replace the water in the butter that you’re NOT using ) and vanilla


Pour dry ingredients from processor basket into the large bowl and stir gently but thoroughly. Pour and scrape the batter into the parchment lined pan.


Bake maybe 40 minutes, until a gentle finger touch springs back or a toothpick inserted has only a few crumbs on it. Removing a bit early is better than leaving the brownies in too long. Gooey in the middle should be okay since they firm up as they cool.


Cool Completely, preferably overnight, before slicing. Run a knife around the sides, then cut. store at room temperature for up to 3 days, or freeze.


Bring treats to the Book and Bake Sale for the Library! Brownies are easier than cookies :)

Friends meeting, Tuesday July 18th at the library, 6:30 pm

On the agenda is an 86 Echo feasibility update, review of the fall calendar, and the new FOPAL speaker series.

There will be no General Meeting in August, but we'll be at John Street Jumble (8/19) making buttons, selling books and telling everyone about our library.

In September we will have the first of a series of Author Talks at our General Meeting (9/19) and a Book and Bake Sale (9/9) at Key Route Plaza.

Read more about the Friends at friendsofpal.org

Come to a Flash Mob event at the

Piedmont Avenue Branch Library.

Sunday, 7/16th, 11 am to noon

Just one hour to get rid of the 5-foot-high grass and foxtails by the ramp.

This will be Fast! And Fun! The weeds pull out easily.  Bring Gloves! We have bags.

See you there!

The Giggling Owl --

What did the frog say when he landed on a book?

Reddit! Reddit! Reddit! 

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. 

Brendan Behan’s Confessions of an Irish Rebel [1965]


As readers of this column might know, I’m an aficionado of the memoir. I first read Brendan Behan’s Borstal Boy in the early seventies after I spent a few weeks in the Santa Rita County Jail. As an IRA sympathizer and a revolutionary novitiate, I was knocked out by Behan’s account of his three years of incarceration as a young IRA member in an English borstal, an English “juvie.”  For similar reasons I was then reading the works of Jean Genet, Eldridge Cleaver, R.C. Laing, all bad boys who were smart and did not respect false authority to any degree. As the precocious sage says, “to live outside the law you must be honest.” As an old man, I think that aphorism is only half true. At any rate, late this spring I was strolling with my grandson in south Berkeley and I found in a free library Behan’s posthumously published 1965 memoir Confessions.


I thoroughly enjoyed the book. He’s witty. He’s a clown, a tramp, a singer, an IRA gunman, a thief and robber, a liar, a truthteller; he’s self-deprecating, a brawler, a lover, a raging drunk, a confessor, a daytime atheist who wants a priest to be with him for his last rites, a gentle sensitive man, a man with a taste for violence and certainly violent rhetoric; an Irish patriot; a man of many contradictions, a brave man and a self-confessed coward, a clever and brilliant man, both infinitely creative and deeply self-destructive. We’ve seen that kind before. He’s a walking contradiction, a good man and when he’s “bad” his bad, more often than not, is in pursuit of a greater good. At times his tall tales, even if they’re improbable, have a ring of truth to them and sometimes that ringing means, whether it happened or not, there are truths to be found within. He was a charmer and liar and even when lying he admits his mendacity. I guess you could call him a fabulist. And he’s full of grand stories of Dubliners, of Ireland and France and England. He knows and describes artists and writers, painters and sculptors, playwrights, famous and infamous men and women, chiselers and crooks, thieves, and posers and mensches abound in his confessions.


There are times when I was repelled by him. In terms of sexual violation, he seems antediluvian. His lack of filial obligation is stunning, his cruelty to his parents boggles the mind. And towards the end of the memoir, you can see that that drink is killing him. And so, it did. Caveat lector, caveat bibens. But if you like Irish wit, the Irish people, the working man and woman, the celebratory [his singing and recitation were legendary], the insurrectionary, the elegant turn of phrase, the tall tale and charming bluster and tender sentiments, this is a fine book. The crude and the cruel, the scorn and disdain are trumped by his prose and his love of our humanity writ large.





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

Tuesdays - Toddler Stay & Play, 11:45 am (program ends 8/1)

7/15 - Mid-Summer Gardening and Garden Management, 11 am

7/15 - Bunny Hop Craft, 2 pm

7/16 - Flash Mob Weeding at the library, 11 am

7/18 - Friends of Pal meeting, 6:30 pm

7/19 - Insect Discovery Lab, 6 pm

7/22 - Bubble Craft & Teen Henna & Tiny Art Program, 2 pm

7/26 - Little Explorers Petting Zoo, 2:30 pm

7/29 - Stem Program with American Society of Civil Engineers, 2 pm

8/5 - OPL Summer Party at Peralta Hacienda, 2465 24th Ave., 11 am

8/19 - Growing a Perennial Herb Garden, 11 am

8/19 - John Street Jumble, Montgomery & John, 10 am

8/19 - Pom Pom Jewelry Craft, 2 pm

8/26 - Fish Bowl Painting Craft, 2 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 – 8 pm

 Thursday: 10 pm – 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.

A direct and compelling headline