Events & Programs

Día! 2020 - a virtual celebration

Desplácese hacia abajo para leer en Español...
Día! - Diversity in Action is how we celebrate  Día de los Niños/Día de los Libros - book joy with families. OPL was scheduled to present Día with these four fabulous performers. Please enjoy their online videos (click the highlighted links).

Alphabet Rockers is an Oakland based, Grammy-nominated hip-hop group that focuses on youth activism. 

Join their daily dance party, ROCK THE BLOCK! Free on Zoom and Facebook Live at 4PM PST, Monday-Friday. 
Register at

Asheba is a musical storyteller who specializes in calypso, the musical and folkloric oral tradition of Trinidad.

Watch 'No More Monkey from the 2005 Putumayo CD.

Mariela Herrera is a Bananas playgroup facilitator from Chile.  She is performing daily, on Facebook live at 10 am. 

Juan L. Sanchez is a singer/songwriter, educator and artistic director from Spain.


Please also enjoy some of our favorite stories/storytellers:

And in case you missed it, you can see some of your favorites OPL storytime presenters on YouTube. 


¡Día 2020! Una Celebración Virtual 

¡Día! - Diversidad en acción es cómo celebramos el Día de los Niños / Día de los Libros - alegría de libros con las familias. En celebración de Día OPL tenía previsto presentar a estos cuatro artistas fabulosos. Disfruta sus videos en línea (haz clic en los enlaces resaltados).  

Alphabet Rockers es un grupo de hip-hop basado en Oakland, nominado al Grammy, que se enfoca en el activismo juvenil. 

¡Únete a su fiesta de baile diaria, ROCK THE BLOCK! Gratis en Zoom y Facebook Live a las 4 p.m. PST, de lunes a viernes. 

Regístrate en  

Asheba es un narrador musical que se especializa en calipso, la tradición oral, musical y folclórica de Trinidad. 

Mira 'No More Monkey del CD Putumayo 2005. 

Mariela Herrera, Chilena es una facilitadora del grupo de juegos Bananas.  Ella se presenta diariamente, en Facebook en vivo a las 10 am. 

Juan L. Sánchez es un cantante / compositor, educador y director artístico de España. 

Disfruta también de algunos de nuestros cuentos y narradores favoritos: 


  • TeachingBooks.Net  tiene más de mil entrevista, en inglés, donde conoces a autores  Meet the Author Interviews 

  • Esperábamos verlo a Todd Parr en  Fairyland en el Festival Turn the Page Festival. 

Y en caso de que te los hayas perdido, puedes ver algunos de tus presentadores favoritos de OPL OPL storytime presenters en YouTube.  



Maker March 2020

Your Oakland Public Library empowers all people to explore, connect, and grow.

This March our adult programming focuses on Women's History, the Teens celebrate Maker Month and Children's Services highlights our build, make, play programs.

Explore our collection of craft books (745.5) 

Connect with others at these maker programs:

  • Wed March 4 Art Explorers 4pm @ Elmhurst

  • Fri March 6 Lego Mania 3:30pm @ Dimond
  • Wed March 11 Construction Zone 4pm @ Elmhurst
  • Thus March 12 Lego Mania 3pm @ Main Library Childrens' Room
  • Sun March 15 Mixed Media Workshop 1:30pm @ Main Library Childrens' Room
  • Wed March 18 Family STEAM Night 6pm @ Main Library Childrens' Room (reservations required 510-238-3615)
  • Fri March 20 Lego Club 3pm @ Lakeview
  • Sat March 21 Play Well TEKnologies 12pm @ Lakeview
  • Sat March 21 Shrinky Dinks 3pm @ Dimond
  • Wed March 25 Women's History Month Craft 3:30pm @ Dimond

Grow your skillset at these weekly programs:


  • 4pm @ West Oakland - Afterschool Art with MOCHA


  • 2:30pm @ Montclair -  Build.Make.Play.
  • 2:30pm @ Main Library Children's Room - Art with Alejandra & Friends
  • 3pm @  Eastmont - Crafternoon


  • 3:30pm @ Lakeview - All Knit


  • 11am @ Temescal - Kids Craft

Women's History Month

Girl Power Film Festival 2020Girl Power floral

Celebrate Women's History Month with a series of four films chronicling inspiring and trailblazing women!

  • 3/2 - What's Love Got to Do With It
    This autobiographical film is centered on the life of Tina Turner; her rise to fame and her fall from the idyllic American marriage.
  • 3/16 - Frida
    Salma Hayek stars as Mexican surrealist artist Frida Kahlo in this biopic, which chronicles her turbulent marriage to Diego Rivera, her political activism, and the severe pain she experienced following a bus accident.
  • 3/23 - On the Basis of Sex
    Future Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg launches her career fighting for gender equality by proving discrimination "on the basis of sex" is unconstitutional.
  • 3/30 - Harriet
    The incredible true story of Harriet Tubman, and her quest to lead hundreds of slaves to freedom on the Underground Railroad.

Mondays in March @ Eastmont Branch
Keywords: adults, films, movies, East Oakland


Women Bike Book ClubBook cover for the "the Mechanical Horse"

Let's explore the history of women in American cycling with Margaret Guroff's The Mechanical Horse: How the Bicycle Reshaped American LifeLearn how "women shed their cumbersome Victorian dresses—as well as their restricted gender roles—so they could ride. [...] Margaret Guroff demonstrates that the bicycle's story is really the story of a more mobile America—one in which physical mobility has opened wider horizons of thought and new opportunities for people in all avenues of life."

Thursday, 3/5 - 6pm-7:30pm @ Golden Gate Branch
Keywords: bikes, The Mechanical Horse, book club, Women Bike Book Club, North Oakland



Intro to Female Persian PoetsPersian Poetry

To celebrate Women's History Month, and to expand answer that was asked in our first session on Persian Poets, what about Persian female poets? In this session female poets, female feminist poets, modern feminism, and ancient Persia will be discussed.

Saturday, March 7 - 1pm-2:30pm @ Piedmont Avenue Branch 
Keywords: poetry, Persian, Persian poets, Persian authors, feminism, North Oakland, Piedmont

Button and Bookmark Making for Women's History MonthWomen's History Month graphic

Come make bookmarks and buttons featuring important and inspiring women. Use our artwork or create your own tribute to the important women in your life!

Saturday, March 7 - 1pm-4pm @ West Oakland Branch
Keywords: poetry, Persian, Persian poets, Persian authors, feminism, North Oakland, Piedmont

Black Women: Their Presence in the City of LightTomb of Josephine Baker

Journey with Oakland native Riki Stevenson, whose slide-illustrated presentation—Black Women: Their Presence in the City of Light—takes us across the landscapes of Paris, France. We explore places where African and African American females studied, created art, forged socio-political alliances, opened businesses, and at times made the famed City of Light their home. (This program is organized by Stevenson’s European-based company Black Paris Tours.)

Saturday, March 7 - 2pm-5pm @ African American Museum & Library at Oakland
Keywords: Black women, history, Black History, African American Women, African American history, culture, art, Paris, presentation, AAMLO

Women's History Trivia Nightvintage and outdated drawing of the female brain

Come test your trivia prowess and celebrate Women's History Month at a women's history-themed trivia night. Play solo or with a team. 6 people max per team. Eat snacks, learn, win prizes! Door at 5:30, trivia starts at 6pm. 

Tuesday, March 10 - 6pm-8pm @ Main Library
Keywords: trivia, women's history, games, adults, teens, Downtown Oakland, Lake Merritt



Meet Saadia Faruqi, author of the Yasmin! book series, & book giveawayBook cover for Yasmin! children

Come meet Saadia Faruqi, author of the popular Yasmin! series. Attendees will learn about the Yasmin! series in this fun, interactive presentation. Author, Saadia Faruqi, will also share her experiences growing up in Pakistan and talk about her journey as a writer. Pizza and refreshments will be served at 5:30. Presentation will begin at 6:00. FREE books will be signed and given away at the end of the presentation.  *Limited quantities of the books are available and are intended only for children in attendance at the program. One copy per child, please. First-come, first serve.  

Wednesday, March 11 - 5:30pm-7pm @ Main Library (Children's Room)
Keywords: children, kids, books, Pakistan, Yasmin!, food, free books, Children's books, family, Downtown Oakland, Lake Merritt



Shifting Culture Conversation Series: Race, Gender and Leadership with Shaana RahmanShifting Culture Conversation Series @ Main Library 

Shaana Rahman is a bicycle personal injury lawyer who runs her own firm, and is dedicated to tearing down barriers to women leading in business and succeeding in their careers. Hear Shaana's story and then join a guided discussion group on topics of race, gender, leadership in the workplace, and leadership in the bicycling movement. The Shifting Culture Conversation Series is presented in collaboration with Bike East Bay.  Bike East Bay promotes healthy, sustainable communities by making bicycling safe, fun and accessible.

Wednesday, March 11 - 6pm @ Main Library
Keywords: Shifting Culture, series, bikes, bicycles, business, professional, leadership, Bike East Bay, Downtown Oakland, Lake Merritt


Women and the Art of Meditationgraphic of dark head profile outline with a tree and roots within it

Learn how to rejuvenate yourself in our workshop, Women and the Art of Meditation. Part of AAMLO’s ongoing Festival of Knowledge, the session conducted by Josie Santiago focuses on “chair” yoga, relaxation techniques, aromatherapy, stress free music, and more.

Saturday, March 14 - 2pm-4pm @ African American Museum & Library at Oakland
Keywords: meditation, Festival of Knowledge, mindfulness, relaxation, health, adults, AAMLO, West Oakland, Downtown Oakland


The Girls in the Bandvintage black & white photograph of Black women with instruments

When the world told them they couldn't play, they did it anyway! They wiggled, they jiggled, they wore low cut gowns and short shorts, they kow-towed to the club owners and smiled at the customers…and they did it all, just to play the music they loved. THE GIRLS IN THE BAND tells the poignant, untold stories of female jazz and big band instrumentalists and their fascinating, groundbreaking journeys from the late 1920s to the present day. These incredibly talented women endured sexism, racism and diminished opportunities for decades, yet continue today to persevere, inspire and elevate their talents in a field that seldom welcomed them. This 2013 documentary is 88 minutes long. 

Tuesday, March 17 - 6pm-7:30pm @ Golden Gate Branch
Keywords: music, history, music history, women's history, Black history, African American history, arts, culture, jazz, documentary, North Oakland, Emeryville, South Berkeley

Shirley Chisolm: Unbought and Unbossed Film Screening

Recalling a watershed event in US politics, this Peabody Award-winning documentary takes an in-depth look at the 1972 presidential campaign of Shirley Chisholm, the first black woman elected to Congress and the first to seek nomination for the highest office in the land. Shunned by the political establishment and the media, this longtime champion of marginalized Americans asked for support from people of color, women, gays, and young people newly empowered to vote at the age of 18. Chisholm's bid for an equal place on the presidential dais generated strong, even racist opposition. Yet her challenge to the status quo and her message about exercising the right to vote struck many as progressive and positive. Official Selection at the Sundance International Film Festival and the SXSW Film Festival"A refreshing antidote to the opportunism and cynicism that rules the political roost inspiring tale of someone who made a difference." - James Greenberg, Hollywood Reporter

Tuesday, March 17 - 6pm-8pm @ Temescal Branch
Keywords: women's history, Black history, African American history, American politics, Black politicans, Women Politicians, documentary, North Oakland, Emeryville

Documentary Film Series: She's Beautiful When She's AngryFilm poster for "She's Beautiful When She's Angry"

Join us at the Dimond Branch for a series of documentary films on Wednesday evenings. Snacks will be provided and a brief discussion will follow each film. March's film is She's Beautiful When She's Angry, a documentary about the birth of the Women's Liberation Movement in the 1960's.

Wednesday, March 18 - 6pm-8pm @ Dimond Branch
Keywords: women's history, Women's Liberation Movement, 1960s, documentary, feminism, films, Dimond District, Fruitvale, East Oakland

In Praise of Our Mothers and GrandmothersBlack Female Project poster

Join AAMLO for a community discussion, In Praise of Our Mothers and Grandmothersorganized by BlackFemaleProjectThe discussion will include topics such as: kinship roles, mentorship, workplace dynamics, and community leadership. 

Saturday, March 21 - 2pm-4pm @ African American Museum & Library at Oakland
Keywords: Black Female Project, mothers, grandmothers, community, leadership, adults, AAMLO, West Oakland, Downtown Oakland


Women's History Month Film: A League of their OwnA League of their Own movie poster

Come celebrate Women's History month with us by watching the true story of two sisters who join the first female professional baseball league. Snacks will be provided but feel free to bring something to share!

Saturday, March 21 - 3pm @ Lakeview Branch
Keywords: movie, true stories, sports, baseball, women's baseball, film, women's history, Lake Merritt, Grand Lake






Lunch Hour with the DivasMaya Angelou receiving medal of honor from ex-President Obama

Take a break for Lunch Hour with the Divas. Selected documentary film screenings explore Black women in the arts and the struggle for freedom. 

  • Monday 3/23 & Tuesday 3/24 - Maya Angelou: And Still I Rise
  • Wednesday 3/25 & Thursday 3/26: Ida B. Wells: A Passion for Justice 

Monday, March 23 - Thursday, March 26  @ African American Museum & Library at Oakland
Keywords: movies, documentaries, Civil Rights, films, lunch time, AAMLO




Trailblazing Journalist Delilah Beasley & California's African American Historyblack & white portrait of Delilah Beasley

Join Liam O’Donoghue, host and producer of the East Bay Yesterday podcast, as he interviews writers Dana Johnson and Ana Cecilia Alvarez, authors of the new book, “Trailblazer : Delilah Beasley’s California.” Dana Johnson is a professor of English at the University of Southern California and author of the short story collection, "In the Not Quite Dark." Ana Cecilia Alvarez is a professor at California Institute of the Arts and serves as the Development and Communications Manager at Clockshop, a Los Angeles-based arts collective.

Tuesday, March 24 - 6pm-8pm @ Main Library
Keywords: Delilah Beasley, East Bay Yesterday, East Bay history, Black history, women's history, African American history,Dana Johnson, Ana Cecilia Alvarez, journalism


Women's History Month Craftdrawing of Mae Jemison, first black woman in space

Create your own refrigerator magnets featuring famous women from history! Best for ages 3 and up.

Wednesday, March 25 - 3:30pm @ Dimond Branch
Keywords: crafts, DIY, arts, creative, programs, Dimond, East Oakland, Fruitvale


Shifting Culture Conversation Series: Intersectional Issues in Biking With Childrentwo young children pose in front of a bike

Parents are uniquely focused on the next generation. A panel of parents will explore the intersectional issues faced by people biking with children or while pregnant. Then we'll engage in discussion that turns to these leaders for safer streets and more people-focused infrastructure. The Shifting Culture Conversation Series is presented in collaboration with Bike East Bay.  Bike East Bay promotes healthy, sustainable communities by making bicycling safe, fun and accessible.

Wednesday, March 25 - 6pm-8pm @ Main Library
Keywords: intersectional, bikes, cycling, bicycles, biking, children, pregnancy, motherhood, Bike East Bay, Downtown Oakland, Lake Merritt



Before I Was a Critic I Was a Human BeingBook cover for "Before I Was a Critic I was a Human Being"

Join us in March for our monthly book club featuring titles from Small Press Distribution. Pick up a free copy of our March book at the February Book Club meeting (2/26), or at the Main Library Reference desk starting on February 27 while supplies last. MARCH’S BOOK CLUB PICK: Before I Was a Critic I Was a Human Being by Amy Fung. Literary Nonfiction. Asian & Asian American Studies. Native American Studies. Women's Studies. BEFORE I WAS A CRITIC I WAS A HUMAN BEING is the debut collection of essays by Amy Fung. In it, Fung takes a closer examination at Canada's mythologies of multiculturalism, settler colonialism, and identity through the lens of a national art critic. Following the tangents of a foreign-born perspective and the complexities and complicities in participating in ongoing acts of colonial violence, the book as a whole takes the form of a very long land acknowledgment. Taken individually, each piece roots itself in the learning and unlearning process of a first-generation settler immigrant as she unfurls each region's sense of place and identity. 

Wednesday, March 25 - 5pm @ Main Library
Keywords: Amy Fung, Small Press Distribution, books, Asian studies, Native studies, women's studies, conversation, book club, Downtown Oakland, Lake Merritt



Berkeley Rep Talk: School Girls; Or, The African Mean Girlsstill image from School Girls; Or, The African Mean Girls play

By Jocelyn Bioh
Directed by Awoye Timpo
Main Season · Roda Theatre
March 19–May 3, 2020

“Modeling. That’s the plan after I graduate you know. Become the next Iman. College is cute, but I’m thinking about my future realistically.” Paulina, the reigning queen bee at Ghana’s most exclusive boarding school, has her sights set on the Miss Universe pageant and the glamorous life that’s sure to follow. But her plans and even her very reputation are shaken up when Ericka, a new student who’s strikingly beautiful and talented, captures the attention of the pageant recruiter—and Paulina’s hive-minded friends. Winner of the 2018 Lucille Lortel Award for Outstanding Play and the Outer Critics Circle John Gassner Award, School Girls; Or, The African Mean Girls Play is a biting comedy that tackles the universal issues of beauty and self-worth that face teenage girls across the globe.

Saturday, March 28 - 1pm-2pm @ Piedmont Avenue Branch
Keywords: Berkeley Rep, School Girls, plays, Ghana, African, Piedmont, Emeryville, North Oakland



Women's History Month Film: Queen of Katwe Queen of Katwe film poster

Come celebrate Women's History Month with us by watching the incredible true story of a Ugandan girl who sees her world rapidly change after being introduced to the game of chess in the Queen of Katwe. Snacks will be provided but feel free to bring something to share!

Saturday, March 28 - 3pm @ Lakeview Branch
Keywords: Queen of Katwe, true stories, chess, movies, films, Uganda, Lake Merritt, Grand Lake



Black History Read-In and Heritage Fest Events for Children and Families on February 4th at the Main Library

January is almost over, which means it's just about time for Black History Month. 

The Main Library is celebrating the achievements of Black Americans with a day-long Black History Month Read-In and Culture Fest for community members of all ages.

At the Oakland Public library, we strive to incorporate the work of people of African descent as part of our programming all year long, but appreciate the opportunity to highlight and celebrate Black history and culture as part of Black History Month.

Black History Month's origins date back to 1926, when Carter G. Woodson founded Negro History Week, a time set aside for studying the achievements and contributions of African-Americans. 

In 1990, the Black Caucus of the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE) established the African-American Read-In to encourage literacy during Black History Month.

Join us at 10:15 for a lively storytime that will feature songs, books, and rhymes that represent people from the African Diaspora. 

An example of a book that will be featured is This Jazz Man, by Karen Ehrhardt. 

Coffee, tea, and light snacks will be served. 

At 11:30, we'll host the Samba Samba Workshop, an interactive educational workshop led by James Henry, that uses music, rhythm, percussion instruments, and drums as tools for capturing the imagination of the participants. This program is suitable for all ages from children to adults. 

The full schedule of events can be found here.

If you miss the Samba Samba workshop at the Main Library on the 4th, he'll also be performing at four other branches throughout the system throughout February and once in March. For more information about his performances, check out the library's website or call 510-238-6844

Celebrate Black History Month at Your Library!

This Black History Month, Your Library is hosting a series of events to help you Explore, Connect, and Grow!

From storytime to crafts to historial lectures, we've got something for you and your loved ones. All our events are free and open to the public. 

Check out all our events. 

Questions? Contact us.


Saturday Children’s Story Hourcover for "Freedom on the Menu" book by Carole Boston Weatherford

Carole Boston Weatherford in Freedom on the Menu, recalls the bravery of four young African American students at North Carolina A&T College in Greensboro. They sat down at a “whites only” lunch counter on February 1, 1960 and requested to be served. Their bold action ignited a protest movement across the country to end racially segregated public eating facilities.

Saturday, February1 - 11am-12pm
African American Museum & Library at Oakland
Keywords: storytime, story hour, children, kids, parents, caregivers, civil rights, 1960s, segregation, AAMLO, American history, Black history, African American history, Black authors



30th Annual African American Poets & Their Poetry Celebrationpoet Phyllis Wheatly black & white illustration

Please join us for the 30th Annual Celebration of African American Poets and Their Poetry. This year's theme (in accordance with theme of the Association of the Study of African American Life and History) is 400 Years of African American History. We also want to include and highlight this year the contributions of American born Africans in California like Ms. Delilah Beasley, journalist and author of the essay Slavery in CaliforniaCommunity members of all ages are invited to participate by reading poetry, performing, dancing, or/and displaying works of art. If you're interested in being featured in this program, please call 510-238-7352. For those interested in the featured program please send work for consideration by 1/24/20 to the West Oakland Branch Library. There will be a rehearsal on 1/25/20 10am - 12pm. You can also sign up for the open mic at the program. We are also encouraging Poetry Celebration veterans and new participants to contribute to the 30th Anniversary Anthology. Deadline is February 1st. Light refreshments will be served.

Saturday, February 1 - 1pm-4pm @ West Oakland Branch
Keywords: African American poets, Black poets, African American history, Black history, BHM, American History, literature, poetry, all ages, art, culture, family, learning, West Oakland, open mic



Anti-Displacement and Art Workshop // Taller de Arte y Anti-Desplazamientoold map of Oakland, CA

What makes a neighborhood and how can we shape it? Join us for an afternoon of neighborhood history and zine making focused on anti-gentrification. Taught by local educator Ken Eby-Gomez. Free, ages 12 to 20. In collaboration with Self Help Graphics & Art and The California Endowment

Saturday, February 1 - 1pm-5pm @ César E. Chávez Branch
Keywords: Fruitvale, gentrification, Oakland history, crafts, teens, young adults, youth



African American Quest for the Right to Voteheadshot of Oscar C. Wright, retired Oakland educator

Learn about the African American Quest for the Right to Vote from the perspective of retired Oakland educator Oscar C. Wright. A nonagenarian, Wright also shares insights about the profound social changes resulting from the modern day Civil Rights Movement.

Saturday, February 1 - 2pm-4pm African American Museum & Library at Oakland
Keywords: AAMLO, Civil Rights Movement, American history, Black history, African American history, voting, social history, social movements




RJOY Elder CircleLakeview Branch of the Oakland Public Library near Lake Merritt, Oakland, CA

Elder circle is a weekly gathering for community members to share wisdom in a restorative space. Elder's Circles are an embodied experience that can feature anything from deep breathing and music to movement and the infusion of African Spirituality through ritual.

Mondays - 1pm-2pm Lakeview Branch
Keywords: elders, restorative justice, restorative practice, Lake Merritt, African Spirituality, seniors



House of Samba KidsSamba dance class for children featuring Master Percussionist James Henry

Master percussionist James Henry will delight all with his music. Join us for a fun-filled musical event.

Monday, February 3 - 1pm Eastmont Branch
Tuesday, February 4 - 11:30am @ Main Library
Thursday, February 13 - 10 am @ West Oakland Branch
Saturday, February 15 - 2pm @ César E. Chávez Branch
Keywords: East Oakland, Eastmont, Lake Merritt, Downtoan Oakland, West Oakland, Fruitvale, Samba, Samba Kids, percussion, culture, music, James Henry, kids, children, family, caregivers, caretakers



The African-American Multimedia Conference logoAfrican-American Multimedia Conference Presents: Self-Publishing Workshops

Join writer or organizer of the African-American Multimedia Conference Sumiko Saulson for a three-part series on self-publishing:

  1. Finishing Your Manuscript
  2. Preparing Book Interiors
  3. Exteriors, Covers and Ads

Monday, February 3, 10, 24 - 5pm-7pm Eastmont Branch
Keywords: East Oakland, Eastmont, Black authors, African American authors, writing, writers, self-publishing, workshop, adults, teens


Black History Read-In & Culture FestCalifa

Join OPL staff, community artists, and historians as we celebrate African American History Month with a day full of engaging, creative, multi-generational programming. All events are free and are wheechair accessible. Light refreshments will be served at 5pm. All events are free and open to the public! 

Tuesday, February 4 - 10:15am-7:30pm Main Library
Keywords: Lake Merritt, Downtown Oakland, culture, American history, Black History, African American history, art, history, family, kids, children, teens, adults, parents, caregivers, caretakers



African American Oakland, 1915-1965vintage black and white image of three Black men sitting in chairs

Oakland History Center librarian Dorothy Lazard will present a talk on the growth of Oakland’s African American community during a period of enormous change in the city. She will share stories of the political and cultural movers and shakers who helped establish Oakland as one of California’s most progressive cities. A slide show will accompany this presentation.

Wednesday, February 5 - 6pm-7:30pm Main Library
Keywords: Lake Merritt, Downtown Oakland, culture, American history, Black History, African American history, Oakland history, Oakland History Center





Documentary Film Series: Chisholm 72: Unbought and Unbossed Unbought and Unbossed

Join us at the Dimond Branch for a series of documentary films on Wednesday evenings. Snacks will be provided and a brief discussion will follow each film. February's film is Chisholm '72: Unbought & Unbossed, a documentary about Brooklyn Congresswoman Shirley Chisholm and her 1972 campaign for the the Democratic Party presidential nomination.

Wednesday, February 5 - 6pm-8pm Dimond Branch
Keywords: Dimond district, politics, Shirley Chisholm, films, documentaries, Fruitvale





Art Talk - Soul of a Nation: Art in the Age of Black Power 1963–1983painting by Barbara Jones-Hogu

This Art Talk brings the de Young museum's exhibit Soul of a Nation: Art in the Age of Black Power 1963–1983 to you! The internationally acclaimed exhibition, organized by Tate Modern, celebrates art made by Black artists during two pivotal decades when issues of race and identity dominated and defined both public and private discourse. The de Young’s exhibit includes a focus on Bay Area artists whose work promoted personal and cultural pride, collective solidarity and empowerment, and political and social activism. This multi-media presentation will delve into highlights of the show. You can visit the exhibit at the de Young for free on January 11 and February 8
Image: Barbara Jones-Hogu, "Unite" (detail), 1971. Screenprint. Estate of Barbara Jones-Hogu, Courtesy of Lusenhop Fine Art

Wednesday, February 5 - 6:30pm Rockridge Branch
Keywords: Rockridge, North Oakland, art, de Young, Black artists, art, culture, Bay Area history



Black Fright Flicksfilm poster for Blacula (1972)

African American actors, directors and screen writers have contributed to the American Horror Film genre for decades. This month join us as we enjoy some classics (and cult classics) of Black horror films from the 1970s to the 2000s. 

  • February 6th: Blacula, 1972 (Rated PG)
  • February 13th: Tales From The Hood, 1995
  • February 20: Bones, 2001
  • February 27th: Vampire in Brooklyn, 1995

Please note: All movies shown are rated R (except Blacula). You are welcome to bring your own snacks and refreshments.

Thursday, February 6, 13, 20, 27 - 3:30pm Eastmont Branch
Keywords: films, American horror, cult classics, Black horror films, Eastmont, East Oakland, older teens, adults, teens



Black Panther Party Legacy Event: Honoring the Women of the BPPBlack Panter Party logo (black panther on the prowl)

With guest speakers, film screening and a Black Panther Party History Exhibit. Sponsored by the West Oakland Library and It's About Time Archives. For more information call 916-455-0908. 

Saturday, February 8 - 2pm-4pm West Oakland Branch
Keywords: West Oakland, Black Panther Party, Black history, American history, film, conversation, women, Civil Rights, BPP




Who's Your Neighbor?: Creating Community at the Library, Family Drum Circle

Join us for the first program of a five part series called Who's Your Neighbor?: Creating Community at the Library. You'll learn a song, dance and drum rhythm during this afternoon drum circle led by Rosetta Saunders. Children 8 and older are welcome to join the circle. Rosetta Saunders, is a retired educator/historian having taught People of Colors history in the United States. She has studied West African and Afro-Cuban drumming for the past twenty years and is currently facilitating drum circles for health, healing and joy! This event is made possible by the Friends of the Oakland Public Library.

Saturday, February 8 - 2pm-3:30pm Dimond Branch
Keywords: music, drum circle, adults, teens, youth, African Diaspora, FOPL




Living the California Dream: African American Leisure Sites During the Jim Crow Era African American Leisure Sites During the Jim Crow Era

Join our Meet the Author session to journey with historian and heritage conservation consultant Alison R. Jefferson, Ph.D., in a Powerpoint presentation based on her new book, Living the California Dream: African American Leisure Sites during the Jim Crow Era. A question and answer period, book signing, and light refreshments follow the presentation.

Saturday, February 8 - 2pm-4pm African American Museum & Library at Oakland
Keywords: Meet the Author, Black authors, American history, Black History, African American history, Jim Crow, AAMLO, Downtown Oakland



Make A Quilt Square - Celebrate Black History Monthclip are of a quilt in progress

Celebrate Black History Month by making a quilt square.  Community members may each contribute to our 2020 Community Quilt - squares will be sown together and then hung in the library.  Supplies provided.  For all ages. 
West Oakland - The African American Quilt Guild is hosting its Annual Demonstration and Workshop. Supplies will be provided so that you can make your own quilt. For all levels and ages!
Melrose - Community members may each contribute to our 2020 Community Quilt - squares will be sown together and then hung in the library

Saturday, February 8 - 2pm-4pm Melrose Branch
Saturday, February 22 - 1pm-3pm @ West Oakland Branch
Keywords: Black history, quilting, East Oakland, West Oakland, quilts, crafts, art, culture, all ages, DIY, maker, sewing



Golden Gate After Hours: Celebrating African American Neighborhood Historyvintage image of Ruth and Eugeme Lasatemay

Join us for a unique Thursday evening ‘after-hours’ at the Golden Gate Library! Enjoy a special presentation celebrating the seminal work of Ruth and Eugene Lasartemay, one of the founding families of the East Bay Negro Historical Society (EBNHS). Did you know that the collections of this groundbreaking group were housed here at the Golden Gate Branch? These materials now live at AAMLO, where presenter, historian Susan Anderson, served as interim curator. Experience the Golden Gate Library Local Collection, a new place-based reference series, in specially designed reading chairs crafted from repurposed library furniture. Explore neighborhood stories in larger than life photo and text prints installed on library windows, hallways and even the elevator. Contribute your neighborhood memory to the project’s growing collection of community stories. Enjoy local music from the library's collection provided by Leo Mercer, organizer of  The MERCER BrotherhoodMeet your neighbors, learn about the community, and enjoy organic snacks by Phat Beets, North Oakland’s food justice organization. This special celebration is part of the library’s programming in honor of African American History month.

Thursday, February 13 - 6pm-7:30pm Golden Gate Branch
Keywords: Black history, African American history, North Oakland, Commons Archives, EBNHS, BHM, community





African American Read-In for FamiliesAfrican American Read-In logo

Come read books celebrating African American children and families as part of the National African American Read-In. Books will be on display for families to enjoy together, for ages 0-12. The National African American Read-In is the nation’s first and oldest event dedicated to diversity in literature. It was established in 1990 by the Black Caucus of the National Council of Teachers of English to make literacy a significant part of Black History Month. More than 6 million people around the world have participated in the Read-In!

Saturday, February 15 - 10am-4pm West Oakland Branch
Keywords: Black history, African American history, children, kids, parents, caregivers, caretakers, diverse literature, literacy



Storyteller Kirk WallerStoryteller Kirk Waller holding a banjo by a large tree

Join us for storyteller Kirk Waller, who will be telling both well-known and unknown stories. You’ll love his engaging and musical storytelling style. This is an event the whole family will enjoy. Local storyteller Kirk Waller is winner of the National Storytelling Network's JJ Reneaux Emerging Artist Award, and winner of Parent's Choice Gold for his CD, "But Why?" His stories are also found on Amazon's "Story Party.”

Saturday, February 15 - 2pm Elmhurst Branch
Keywords: storytelling, kids, children, East Oakland, family, caregivers, caretakers, music, stories




African American Multimedia Conference: Panels, Workshop, and AwardsAfrican American Multimedia Conference logo

The event will include workshops and panel discussions related to African American media arts inclusive of video, music, audio, gaming, animation, vblogging and podcasting. Mission Statement: To ensure that both individual artists and community arts organizations in the San Francisco Bay Area’s Black Community in Berkeley, Oakland, San Francisco, Vallejo and other cities are empowered with the tools they need to tell their stories, and that San Francisco Bay Area Black Voices not be silenced. To achieve this, we work to foster within our community the creation and exhibition of works, music, film, video, and digital arts conveying the African American personal and community experience. To encourage through training, consulting, and exhibition programs African American participation in multimedia: film/video, music/audio, and animation; create works in the media arts, and assist media artists with disabilities.

Saturday, February 15 - 2pm-5pm Melrose Branch
Keywords: Black creatives, African American arts, culture, workshops, panels, East Oakland, Melrose

Black History Cinema: Spider-man Into the Spider-Verse

Come to the Lakeview Library to watch Spiderman: Into the SpiderverseWe'll enjoy popcorn andscreenshot from the Spiderman Into the Spiderverse snacks.

Saturday, February 15 - 3pm-5pm Lakeview Branch
Keywords: kids, teens, children, Spiderman, movies, films, Lake Merritt





Negro League Baseball in the East BayTeam portrait of Berkeley-based California Eagles

The East Bay had a number of Negro League Baseball teams including the Oakland Larks and the Berkeley-based California Eagles. The Oakland History Center presents master storyteller Ben Tucker, a member of Stagebridge storytelling troupe, who will share exciting stories from the heyday of Negro League Baseball. Mr. Tucker will have copies of his sports memoir, A Good Run, on sale at this event.

Wednesday, February 19 - 6pm-7:30pm Main Library
Keywords: Oakland History Center, Oakland history, Negro League Baseball, Black history, sports, baseball, Berkeley, Ben Tucker, books, book talk, Black authors, BHM, sports history



Get Crafty with art inspired by Alma Thomas and Odili Donald Odita! Bright colorful circular art inspired by Alma Thomas and Odili Donald Odita

Join us for a crafty afternoon in the TeenZone!  We will be getting inspired by two African American artists and making our own art.  All materials provided.  For youth ages 12 to 18.

Thursday, February 20 - 3pm West Oakland Branch
Wednesday, February 26, 3pm @ Rockridge Branch
Keywords: crafts, art, DIY, teens, TeenZone, Black artists, African American artists, West Oakland, North Oakland, Rockridge



Black History Cinema: Harriet (2019) Film ScreeningFilm poster for Harriet

Come celebrate Black history month with us by watching the incredible true story of Harriet Tubman, and her quest to lead hundreds of slaves to freedom on the Underground Railroad. Snacks will be provided but feel free to bring something to share! Rated PG-13

Saturday, February 22 - 2:30pm Lakeview Branch
Keywords: Lake Merritt, films, movies, BHM, teens, adults, Harriet Tubman, Underground Railroad





We Keep Us Safe booktalk by author Zach Norris, executive director of the Ella Baker Center for Human RightsBook cover for Zach Norris' "We Keep Us Safe"

We Keep Us Safe booktalk by author Zach Norris, executive director of the Ella Baker Center for Human Rights. With introduction and discussion moderation by Rev. Celeste Frazier from East Bay Church of Religious Science A groundbreaking new vision for public safety that overturns more than 200 years of fear-based discrimination, othering, and punishment. As the effects of aggressive policing and mass incarceration harm historically marginalized communities and tear families apart, how do we define safety? In a time when the most powerful institutions in the United States are embracing the repressive and racist systems that keep many communities struggling and in fear, we need to reimagine what safety means. Community leader and lawyer Zach Norris lays out a radical way to shift the conversation about public safety away from fear and punishment and toward growth and support systems for our families and communities. In order to truly be safe, we are going to have to dismantle our mentality of Us vs. Them. By bridging the divides and building relationships with one another, we can dedicate ourselves to strategic, smart investments—meaning resources directed toward our stability and well-being, like healthcare and housing, education and living-wage jobs. This is where real safety begins. We Keep Us Safe is a blueprint of how to hold people accountable while still holding them in community. The result reinstates full humanity and agency for everyone who has been dehumanized and traumatized, so they can participate fully in life, in society, and in the fabric of our democracy.

Wednesday, February 26 - 6pm-8pm Temescal Branch
Keywords: Temescal, North Oakland, Ella Baker Center, Zach Norris, public safety, mass incarceration, community, book talk, Meet the Author




2020: Visions Toward Tomorrowvintage image of the African American Museum and Library at Oakland on 14th Street in Oakland, California

Join SAAMLO (Friends and Stewards of AAMLO) for 2020: Visions Toward Tomorrow. The evening—promoting the legacy of Black History 365 days a year—features spoken word artists, jazz musicians, community choirs, visual artists, and words of wisdom from Oakland’s community sages.

Saturday, February 29 - 5pm-8pm African American Museum & Library at Oakland
Keywords: Temescal, North Oakland, Ella Baker Center, Zach Norris, public safety, mass incarceration, community, book talk, Meet the Author

Winter Bingo 2019

It's that time of year again!  We invite children (recommended ages 0-12) to play Winter Bingo at OPL over the holiday break.

Visit your local library to pick up a Winter Bingo card, complete any 5 activities in a row and win a FREE Book.

You may return completed Winter Bingo cards to any Oakland Public Library between December 26, 2019 and January 18, 2020 to receive a free book of your choice.

If you would like to get started before your next visit to OPL you can print your own Winter Bingo card using the links below:

If you’re looking for kid-friendly activities over the school break, check out the OPL Kids Events calendarThe Elmhurst Branch is continuing  an annual tradition with cookie decorating, 3-5pm Friday, December 20, 2019. 

What traditions do you celebrate during the winter holidays?

Fall History Series

This season the Oakland History Room explores Oakland's neighborhoods and the political, economic, urban planning decisions that made the town we know today.

The Great Oakland Annexation of 1909

Wednesday, October 30, 6-7:30 PM @ Main Library

Did you know that the Fruitvale, Melrose, and Elmhurst neighborhoods were once considered Oakland’s suburbs? Join Oakland History Room librarian Dorothy Lazard as she presents a talk on the annexation campaign that doubled the size of our city.

The Controversy in the Way of the MacArthur Maze
Wednesday, November 13, 6-7:30 PM @ Main Library

The design and placement of the MacArthur Maze was Oakland’s most complex of highway projects. Local historian Stuart Swiedler will present a talk that will utilize rare aerial photographs, ground images, and documents to tell the story of the Maze project and the controversial impact it had on the California Industries and Orientation Center for the Blind.

 Previous Events:

Exploring the Laurel District
Wednesday, October 2, 6-7:30 PM @ Main Library

Local historian, editor and author Dennis Evanosky will share the history of his Oakland neighborhood, the Laurel District, from the arrival of the Ohlone to the early 20th century development of Laurel Grove Park and Key Route Heights. He will also discuss the arrival of the streetcars and the MacArthur Freeway that divided the neighborhood.

East Bay Yesterday Live: Exploring BART History with Michael C. Healy
Wednesday, October 9, 6-7:30 PM @ Main Library

East Bay Yesterday podcast host Liam O’Donoghue will interview Michael C. Healy, author of “BART: the dramatic history of the Bay Area Rapid Transit system” (Heyday Books) before a live audience. Healy served as the agency’s spokesman from 1972 until 2005. Expect to hear stories of epic political battles, scandals, a “phantom station,” and even a baby born on BART. 

Oakland's Redevelopment History in Pictures
Wednesday, October 16, 6-7:30 PM @ Main Library

The Oakland History Room recently acquired tens of thousands of photos from the now-defunct Oakland Redevelopment Agency. Audiovisual archivist Moriah Ulinskas will discuss the transformation of West Oakland and Downtown Oakland as it was photographed before and during the City's most aggressive period of redevelopment.


Cascada de Flores

Cascada de Flores transforms the nostalgic song and traditions of Mexico and its neighbors into simple and beautiful arrangements that allow space for both improvisation and pure expression.

Come celebrate Latinx Cultural Heritage with musical stories for children and their families:

  • Tuesday, September 24  -  Brookfield Branch @ 1:30pm
  • Saturday, September 28 - Golden Gate Branch @ 10:30am 
  • Saturday, September 28 -  Lakeview Branch @ 2:00pm 

The duo will also be peforming later this fall:

  • Wednesday, October 23 -  West Branch @ 10:00am 

OPL Fairyland Free Day - Tuesday, July 30th

OPL Children’s Fairyland library card holders are eligible to receive free entry to the story book theme park on Tuesday, July 30, 2019

Please NOTE: No adult is admitted without a child, and no child is admitted without an adult.

If you can't make it on Tuesday, July 30th and/or don't have the limited edition Fairyland Library Card, Fairyland passes are available via Discover & Go, and Kids' Summer Reading program finishers receive "BOOK BUCKS" which admit one child with one paying adult

Kenn Adams’ Adventure Theater! July 2019

Kenn Adams’ Adventure Theater! is a fast-paced, interactive, outrageously funny, theatrical experience for heroes of all ages! Created and performed by veteran improviser, this improvised play  casts attendees as the stars of the show. Audience members provide the sound effects, become the scenery, and suggest exciting plot twists.

  • Wednesday, July 10, 2019  1:30 PM at 81st Avenue Community Library
  • Wednesday, July 10, 2019  6:30 PM at Montclair Branch Library
  • Thursday, July 11, 2019  1:00 PM at Melrose Branch Library
  • Tuesday, July 16, 2019  1:30 PM at Brookfield Branch Library