Vol 7 # 8   May 15, 2023

From Mickey Vo, Acting Manager

No registration required for PAL events


PAL is hosting a series of Master Gardener talks this summer! Every third Saturday, 11:00am - 12:00pm., from May through August, the Piedmont Ave. community can join us to learn about how to create their ideal gardening space. There will be a new topic every month:

Saturday, June 17th - Raised Beds and Container Gardening

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

Saturday, Aug 19th - Growing a Perennial Herb Garden


We also have a Gelli Prints Workshop coming up for our adult patrons! This will be on Saturday, June 3rd - 11:00am

Make a series of colorful art prints in this creative workshop! You'll be learning how to use a gel printing plate (an alternative to gelatin) and water-soluble inks to create a one-of-a-kind piece of artwork. Drop-ins welcome.

From Shani Boyd, Children’s Librarian 

We have a packed schedule as we head into summer!


Our upcoming Kid's programs are as follows:

Tuesdays at 10:15am - Toddler Storytime

Tuesdays at 11:45am - Toddler Stay & Play

Saturday, May 20th 2:30pm - Taiko Drumming

Saturday, May 27th, & Saturdays in June at 2pm - Kid's Build, Make, Play


During the summer, PAL has Wednesday evening performers every week at 6 pm for kids and families!

Wednesday, May 31st 6pm - Drag Queen Storytime

Wednesday, June 10th 6pm - Kids Go Mandarin Storytime

Wednesday, June 14th 6pm - Oakland Symphony Petting Zoo

Oakland Symphony musicians will introduce us to string and percussion instruments. Hands on exploration will be encouraged.

Each month we have a special craft for teens!


Saturday June 10th, 12pm, Teens: Learn Embossing

Working with artists from Cultural Aesthetic, a Rock Paper Scissors Collective program. Teens will get the opportunity, as part of our Teen Summer Program, to stamp and emboss raised imagery using heat to cure the embossing powder onto paper.

OPL Summer Reading Program begins May 27 and ends August 5. There are activities and prizes for all ages! 



Oakland Symphony

Petting Zoo


Saturday Morning at The Library

You know what happens at a library – you go there, check a book you want to read and go home, right? Not at Piedmont Avenue branch and not on May 13. That’s when Cleanup Day happened. People of all ages showed up to make the grounds of the adjacent CDC building, and potential home of our new library, look better after the leaf dumping winds of winter. They brought rakes, shovels, and other yard tools as well as muscles and determination to clean away the winter waste, dropped leaves and trash, and create a more welcoming surrounding for our library, this well used and useful neighborhood treasure.

The youngest of the crew was Miles, age 4, who came with his grandmother Joanna. Being closer to the ground was an advantage, and he was a big help with picking up trash, often seeing things adults missed. Susan was there, too. She lives close by the library and read about the event in the Friends of PAL Newsletter. Paul, another cleaner-upper, who lives on Glen Eden, brings his kids to the library and uses it a lot. He enjoys living so close and the hours are very convenient for him.

Not what you expect to see at a library on a Saturday morning, but a great demonstration of the importance Piedmont Avenue Library is to the community it serves

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

From the Friends of PAL Monthly Meeting


Tuesday May 16,

6:30pm to 7:30pm

At the library, 80 Echo Avenue (behind Piedmont Ave. Elementary School).

Get updates about upcoming library activities and what volunteers can do to support our branch library's programs and the campaign for a larger permanent building.

Fundraising for the Library’s Permanent Home

The Friends of Piedmont Avenue Library is designing the campaign that will raise funds needed to convert the use of the old CDC building to house the permanent home for our library. For inspiration, we are asking some of our past donors why they contributed.

This is what one anonymous donor said: When I get to heaven, I want to show them my library card, that will get me in…”  

Oakland’s Library Advisory Commission and

the Friends of the Oakland Public Library Invite You

to the first ever OPL Advocates 2023 Spring Mixer!

Join us on Sunday, May 21 from 1-3pm in the courtyard outside the Main Library (125 14th Street in Oakland). You can enter from Madison Street, between 13th and 14th.

At the event, you’ll hear from:

  • OPL Director Jamie Turbak for the Library State of the Union
  • 2022 Vice Youth Poet Laureate Kaylan Black
  • OPL Staff Sara DuBois and Kere Gonzales for a Summer Reading Program preview
  • The Bookmark Bookstore which is run by the Friends of the OPL and whose proceeds benefit the library.

You’ll also enjoy food and drinks and meet other library supporters and book and media enthusiasts. We hope you’ll join us!

RSVP today!

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. 

Tina Jo­nes Williams’

Dance or Get Out [2016] and Perfect Pitch: The Symphony that is South Berkeley [2017]

One of my greatest joys is book recommendations from friends, strangers, compañeros de letras, and fellow flaneurs. I love books and I also love hearing about books that have moved those I know and love. Sometimes those books sit on a shelf for quite a while; sometimes they demand my attention right away. A year ago, Cameron White loaned me Tina Jones Williams books. I glanced at them, scanned them, and then put them on the shelf. Last month, daunted by too many big volumes and more than a little pressed for time, I picked these books from Williams’ Julia Street Series and was delighted by them. They draw an evocative portrait about a neighborhood that borders the neighborhood I grew up in. Both neighborhoods were stocked by people, stores, schools, parks and homes of whom and of which I had more than passing knowledge.


Both neighborhoods had a significant, if not always preponderant, number of Black folk. “Red Lining” [the racial and religious exclusion, by covenants and real estate edicts and custom, of people of color and religious persuasions] was widespread in Berkeley and, indeed, throughout the country; a symptom of our many apartheid-like practices. But South Berkeley had a heady mix of African American culture, Asian American enclaves, and progressive working class whites. Williams’ books are writ in the form of novellas. They are delightful. They’re novels -or better said, novellas- full of wit, nostalgia, and loving elegies and celebrations of South Berkeley. She uses her keen powers of observation to portray the South Berkeley “symphony.” They are inter-generational, polyvocal, and describe South Berkeley from the southern Blacks “search of a warmer sun” to the triple scourges of the Vietnam War, drugs, and gentrification. Both books ring true and prove the Ken Kesey’s adage that “whether it happened or not it’s true.”


Williams’ books are, in my judgment, fictional memoirs and her writings are built on deep empathy and extensive historical research. Williams conjures up multiple generations by aphorisms, word play, wit, and great affection and respect for the subjects of her tales through the craft of memory and historical imagination. I have studied memoirs. Indeed, I am in the process of writing a memoir, but I’ve found that memoirs in the first person are more often than not exercises in self-promotion, apologia and vainglory. The good ones are brutally honest and well told and are built on people who have lived extraordinary lives and are aware of the complexity and fragility of memory. In general, fictional devices [multiple voices over time and space] work better than first-person accounts because they allow for multiple voices to summon up a shared past; after all, it is the work of many voices, many souls, and cultures over time that forges a community. This is the great accomplishment of Tina Jones Williams. For those who grew up in the East Bay and those who were the beneficiaries of communities like Williams describes [or want to know about such communities] I highly recommend these books.



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, 11:45am

5/16 - Friends of Piedmont Avenue Library Meeting, 6:30pm - 7:30pm

5/20 - Taiko Drumming, 2:30pm

5/27 - Kids Build, Make Play, 2pm

5/31 - Drag Queen Storytime, 6pm

6/10 - Teen: Learn Embossing, 12pm - 1pm

6/10 - Kids Go Mandarin Storytime, 6pm

6/14 - Oakland Symphony Petting Zoo, 6pm - 7pm

Our library is open 6 days a week

Sunday Closed

Monday: 10am – 5:30pm

Tuesday: 10am – 8pm

Wednesday: 10am – 8pm

 Thursday: 10pm – 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.

A direct and compelling headline