Vol 7 # 1 October 15, 2022

Notes from our librarians

Remy Timbrook, Acting Manager

 I encourage library patrons to share their reading recommendations with me and with their community by submitting a brief written review. We have cards available upon request and would display a book with its recommendation until it's checked out.

Our first in-person program for adults!

Master Gardener: Plants that Attract Butterflies and Hummingbirds

Wednesday, November 9th, 6:00 PM - 7:30 PM

Learn how to attract beautiful and beneficial pollinators to your home garden. A Master Gardener will explain the basics of butterfly and hummingbird habitats and suggest local plants -- from sunflower to sage to sneezeweed -- that you can use in your backyard microclimate. This small in-person event is perfect for hobby gardeners, whether experienced or just starting out. Please bring your questions -- and a friend! The Alameda County Master Gardener Program trains volunteers to help people learn about gardening. Find out more at acmg.ucanr.edu

Shani Boyd, Children’s Librarian

Families, be sure to browse our seasonal book displays and take home a craft! As always, Storytime at Piedmont is outdoors Tuesdays at 10:15 am. But when the weather takes a turn, we host indoor Storytime with limited seating.

Join us for A Dia de los Muertos Craft

Tuesday October 25, 12:00 PM - 1:00 PM 

Sugar skulls are usually made with cane sugar and used to decorate altars to honor ancestors during Día de los Muertos. We will be using skulls make with Model Magic ® and decorating them with color, glitter, and more. Please join us

Follow Piedmont Ave Library @OPL_PiedmontAve on Twitter!

How to Move a Library

It has been exactly ten years since our branch library was evicted from the building at 40th and Piedmont Avenue. When that happened, Oakland Public Library found, and rented from the Oakland Unified School District, a portable building behind the Piedmont Avenue Elementary School, on Echo Street, while we worked to find and fund a permanent home.

The Friends of PAL worried that the portable on the school yard was out of the way and no one would find it. If people didn’t know where it was, the number of people using the library would plummet. So, we organized a very visible and colorful “move” as part of the Piedmont Avenue Halloween parade to publicize our new location. Jenera Burton, our librarian then, led a large group, many dressed as book characters, pushing wheelbarrows of books. At the front were marchers carrying a large banner and leading the way to our new temporary home. 

From the Friends of Pal

The next meeting of Friends of PAL is Tuesday October 19th, 6:30pm, at the library, 80 Echo Ave. Please join us;

all are welcome.


The Piedmont Avenue Halloween Parade and celebration is Saturday, 10/29, from 11am through the afternoon. Trick-or-treat at the Friends of the Piedmont Avenue Library table at Key Route Plaza (41st and Piedmont Avenue), which will feature free books, candy (of course), and a chance to make your own button! We will be telling our neighbors about our library and asking their support.

Clean UP at the CDC! Please join us for a clean-up at the old Child Development Center on Echo, next to the Piedmont Avenue Library, 10am-noon on Saturday, November 5th.  hosted by the Friends of the Piedmont Avenue Library. Come rake leaves, pick up trash and clean up the CDC outside space. The Friends will provide the bags; you bring rakes, brooms, clippers, pruning shears, gloves, and a friend! Come for an hour or stay the whole time. Children welcome: there will be sidewalk chalk for drawing. Hope to see you there! 

The Friends’ Campaign for a Permanent Home for Our Branch Library

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 Oakland Public Library (FOPL) endorse Measure U

Nestled on the City of Oakland’s hefty Nov. 8 General Election ballot is a potential $15 million in funding for Oakland Public Library. We're voting YES!

Measure U, an $850 million bond measure, includes $15 million of “Facility Preservation and Improvement” funds for Oakland Public Library. The bulk of the funds are earmarked for Affordable Housing ($350 million) and Transportation ($290 million).

To learn more, read the full ballot resolution, donate, volunteer, or request yard signs, please go to https://www.sayyesoakland.org/.

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. 

The Awkward Black Man: Stories [2020] by Walter Mosley

I first noticed Walter Mosley in the Carl Franklin film adaption of his 1990 Devil in a Blue Dress. It was [and is] a great film that portrays a returned GI, Easy Rawlins, and his old homeboy from Houston’s Fifth Ward, Mouse, in post-WWII Los Angeles. They become enmeshed in a neo-noir murder mystery. Easy is commissioned, against his better nature, to become a private detective. Franklin’s and Mosley’s writing and directorship reveals LA with sociological and cultural acuity, its racism, its burgeoning Black community, and corrupt politicians, police, and sordid gangsters. Rawlins is the reluctant hero in this genre-breaking novel and movie. Rawlins became the prototype for the highly successful Easy Rawlins’ murder mystery series. But Mosley is far more than a genre writer. He’s written wide-ranging novels, essays on many topics, science fiction, and books on the art of writing.

Mosley also writes short stories, the most recent collection being The Awkward Black Man [2020]. I saw it on display at the Piedmont Avenue Branch of the Oakland Public Library. It is composed of seventeen recent stories from the deeply comic to the deeply tragic, from science fiction to the picaresque. I took the book out and even though I had a lot of writing and reading tasks to do over the last couple of weeks I was totally drawn into Mosley’s sage, compassionate and brilliant storytelling. “Pet Fly,” reminded me of Gogol. “Almost Alyce” is an absurd and touching story of lost and found love. “Leading From the Affair” is comic but with mordant insight. “Otis” is an unexpected, against-the-grain love story, homophiliac and full of longing and sweet memory, tragedies, and ultimately a discovery of newfound fictive kin. “Showdown on the Hudson” is an urban western as two southern cowboys, one Black and the other white, have a shoot-out along the Hudson to the delight of some and the revulsion of others. “Breath” is Kafkaesque and “Reply to a Dead Man” is a witty and ultimately heroic tale of a Black man who, after decades of dead-end jobs, finds his ideal job. “Sins of Dreams” is a story that traces, from 2015 to 3042, a method for the transmigration of souls.

Mosley’s stories are light, bright, and full of men, Black men, who don’t fit in, often have marital problems, and yet, despite odds, end up doing the right thing. Courage, perseverance, compassion are their tools, and the writer portrays their lives, different in each story, with wit and love. Not surprisingly he received his fourth NAACP Image Award for Outstanding Literary Work in 2021 for The Awkward Black Man. He is an important writer and like many writers he shows us, in a variety of incarnations, the unexpected qualities and insights in the Black experience in the United States.

I commend Mosley fans to read these stories. I commend first time readers of Mosley to read this fine book.

For links with Mosley talking about his craft and The Awkward Black Man check out these two interviews:



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

Every Tuesday at 10:15am Toddler Storytime at the library

10/18 at 6:30 - 7:30pm Friends of Pal Meeting at the library

10/25 at Noon - 1pm  Dia de los Muertos Craft at the library

10/29 at 11am   Halloween Celebration Key Route Plaza

11/5 at 10am - noon  Fall Clean-Up at the CDC property 

11/9 at 6 - 7:30pm  Master Gardener: Plants that Attract Butterflies and                                            Hummingbirds at the library                                   

12/3 at 5:30pm  Tree Lighting Key Route Plaza

Check the Friends of PAL website www.friendsofpal.org for details

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.