Vol 7 # 9   June 15, 2023

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

Here are the events we have for June and early July:


Tuesdays at 10:15 am - Toddler Storytime

Tuesdays at 10:45 am - Toddler Stay & Play

Saturday, June 17th at 2 pm - Washi Bracelets

Wednesday, June 21st at 6 pm - Circus: Coventry & Kaluza

Juggling, acrobatics, music, comedy, and an amazing number of hula hoops!

Saturday, June 24th at 2 pm - Ice Exploration

Wednesday, June 28th at 6 pm - East Bay Vivarium

Join us as experts from the East Bay Vivarium share some of their scaly friends and teach us about the fascinating world of reptiles, amphibians, and bugs.

Saturday, July 1st at 2 pm - Obstacle Course

Saturday, July 8th at 2 pm - Marble Run

Wednesday, July 12th at 6 pm - Magician: Perry Yan

Amazing magic, laugh-out-loud comedy, and storytelling


Saturday, July 1st at 12 pm

 Fashion & Hip Hop

You'll learn about the connection between hip hop, design, and fashion and get a chance to try your hand at designing a hip hop inspired pair of shoes or tshirt.


Master Gardener Talks

Saturday, June 17th at 11 am - Raised Beds and Container Gardening

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

2023 Adult Summer Reading & Fun

Review books, movies, or log activities for a chance to win prizes! https://oakland.beanstack.org/reader365

No registration required for PAL events


Master Gardener Talks

Gelli Prints Workshop

Drag Queen Storytime

Campaign for a Permanent Home Enters Next Phase with a

 Feasibility Study

The Friends of PAL is excited that the City's Library and Public Works Departments are in the process of selecting a consultant to do the feasibility study on making the CDC building at 80 Echo Ave. into a new home for our branch library.

The Departments are working on how to get the feasibility study done in time to meet the deadline of November 1, 2024 for submitting a Conceptual Design to Oakland Unified School District.

We expect that Friends of PAL will be part of the study’s process for public input. Tess Kavanagh, coordinator of Capital Improvement Projects in Public Works, expects to begin outreach to all key stakeholders beginning in July or August. Watch for updates as we learn more details about the schedule and process for the study.

The feasibility study is funded by the City of Oakland in the current budget, but the repairs or improvements will require funds from other sources in addition to the City's budget for Capital Improvement Projects.

The next Friends meeting (Tuesday June 20th at the library, 6:30 pm) will discuss what this could mean for library supporters and how to help with our efforts at outreach and fundraising.

Read more about the campaign and CDC building at friendsofpal.org/campaign/

Friends of PAL Book and Bake sale

Saturday, June 17th, 11 am to 1 pm

Key Route Plaza, 41st and Piedmont Avenue

Enjoy homemade goodies while searching for that perfect "read"

If you'd like to donate either baked goods or books,

contact the Friends of PAL at 510-655-1723

Free Children’s Book Day at the Bookmark

Starting June 11th, on the second Sunday of every month, kids age 12 and under can take home a children’s book of their choice for free from the collection at the FOPL Bookmark Bookstore, 721 Washington Street. The hope is to encourage kids – and their accompanying parents or guardians – to stop by the store and find something new to read. The store has recently extended its weekend hours, so families can stop by between 10:30am – 5:30pm.

Oakland Youth Poet Laureate Announced by Oakland Public Library


Nairobi Barnes18 years old,has been named the 2023 Oakland Youth Poet Laureate, winning a $5,000 college scholarship generously funded by the Friends of the Oakland Public Library.  Barnes, a 2022 graduate of Oakland Military Institute, will represent the Oakland community in the media and in public appearances through poetry.


Barnes defines herself as a poet, artist, and activist. She has created educational videos and, as a student journalist, press releases about topics including voting rights, discrimination against Black women, and Black hair and how it defines her culture. As a woman who leads with her heart, she says, her words have never steered her wrong. With every new journey she embarks on, a poem follows.


Performance by 2023 Oakland Youth Poet Laureate, Nairobi Barnes 


Censorship and Public Libraries

As noted on their website, the American Library Association's Office for Intellectual Freedom "documented 1,269 demands to censor library books and resources in 2022, the highest number of attempted book bans since ALA began compiling data about censorship in libraries more than 20 years ago. The unparalleled number of reported book challenges in 2022 nearly doubles the 729 book challenges reported in 2021. Censors targeted a record 2,571 unique titles in 2022, a 38% increase from the 1,858 unique titles targeted for censorship in 2021. Of those titles, the vast majority were written by or about members of the LGBTQIA+ community or by and about Black people, Indigenous people, and people of color." For more information on this subject, visit their website at https://www.ala.org/advocacy/bbooks. What's your opinion? We want to hear from you. Send your comments to the Friends of PAL at https://www.friendsofpal.org/contact/.

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. 

Dorothy Lazard’s

What You Don’t Know Will Make a Whole New World [2023]


Dorothy Lazard’s memoir is a wonder. She paints a portrait of her extended family heading from Missouri west to California in the late sixties, all seen through the eyes of her eight year-old self. She evokes her childhood fears, frustration, hopes, despair, and her growing sense of selfhood with candor and honesty of a bright child. And then Lazard moves seamlessly from what she felt in the 1960s and 1970s and gives - from the perspective of her life full of thinking, reading, engaging, writing- sage historical and cultural context about the forces that influenced the girl she once was.


She writes with precision and granular particularity about place and time, about neighborhoods and their streets, about family travails and joys, about religion and faith and skepticism, about schools and libraries that helped shape her abiding love of words, reading and writing, and about her big sister who brought the excitement of radical politics and Black cultural expression that shaped this Black girl to become a woman who would be a cherished librarian in the Oakland Public Library and head librarian of the Oakland History Center.  Lazard’s writing is unpretentious, but nuanced and profound. Her sentences are gorgeous. The descriptions of schools she attended, the homes she lived in, the neighborhoods in both the Haight and the Western Addition in San Francisco and then to Deep East and then West Oakland and the streets she navigated, are a marvel.


Although I am over a decade older than Lazard - I, too walked on many of the streets in the Haight and lived in the Western Addition and worked and wandered through many neighborhoods in Deep East and West Oakland. I’ve lived in Oakland for five decades and I worked at the main Post Office on 7th Street and at Holmes Book Company downtown. I worked at a GI coffee house on 7th and Castro, at Christy metal in Emeryville. I was a custodian in the OUSD for 8 years and came to know from Cole and Clawson to Highland Elementary, from Fremont High, to the Hintil Kuu Ca CDC up towards the ‘new’ Merritt JC on the hill to Montera and Westlake Junior Highs. So, I know enough of many of the neighborhoods to testify to Lazard’s powers of description.


Lazard’s love of books and words and writing, of libraries that provide for children of all ages who ache to know more, for those who find shelter from the storm in a library, places where one can lose oneself, or find oneself, in the world of books. Finally, I’m in awe of local histories and the well turned memoir.  I know how hard it is to write a good memoir and Lazard, with no self-promotion or sentimental confection, without polemics, has written a really good memoir.  Anybody who’s lived through the sixties and seventies and loves the Bay or is interested in local history or the art of the memoir, should check out this fine book.


For more:


The public readings:  



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

6/17 - Raised Beds and Container Gardening, 11 am

6/17 - Friends of Pal Book & Bake Sale, Key Route Plaza 11 am - 1 pm

6/17 - Washi Bracelets, 2 pm

6/20 - Friends of Piedmont Avenue Library Meeting, 6:30 pm - 7:30 pm

6/21 - Circus: Coventry & Kaluza, 6 pm

6/24 - Ice Exploration, 2 pm

6/28 - East Bay Vivarium, 6 pm

7/1 - Fashion & Hip Hop Design, 12 pm

7/1 - Obstacle Course, 2 pm

7/8 - Marble Run, 2 pm

7/12 - Magician: Perry Yan, 6 pm

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

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