Amy Martin, former interim Children’s Librarian:
I’ve worked in a lot of libraries, and I have difficulty imagining another as loved by the community as Chávez. The building offers a warm, inviting atmosphere in a community rich in Latino culture. Chávez has the largest Spanish-language collection of any Oakland library, and also has Latino and Chicano interest collections in English and Spanish. Nearly all staff speak Spanish as well as English.
Chávez patrons love the friendliness of branch staff, under the leadership of manager Pete Villaseñor. Family programs like storytimes, performer Chiquy Boom, folkloric dance groups, and family yoga are always packed with smiling faces.
Chávez is instrumental in providing referrals to local services such as the Spanish Speaking Citizens Foundation, La Clínica de la Raza, and the Native American Health Center. Chávez is a site for Lawyers in the Library and tax assistance in Spanish. The Spanish-speaking community of Oakland would lose a critical resource if the Chávez library were to close.
From SF Gate:
“‘I think if everyone unites, then the City Council will probably listen to us and keep the libraries open,’ said Angel Yanez, 16, who spoke at a May council meeting. He spends time at the Cesar Chavez branch every day, but said that he won’t move to a new branch if his favored one closes. ‘It’s the only library that I feel safe at because it’s close to my home,’ he said.”
“‘I can’t imagine Oakland without its libraries,’ Villaseñor said. ‘For a lot of people, this is a real sacred place.’”