Bob Shurtleff, Friends of Lakeview Library:
- Lakeview Library is located by Lake Merritt, the heart of Oakland, in Eastside Park, across from Lakeview Elementary School.
- This small branch serves a mixed population. When I stopped by the other afternoon, there were about 40 people there, including a baby in the arms of his father and several people over 70 years old. So far this year, the library has circulated more than 57,000 items, which is about 5.3% of the total circulation for the Oakland Public Library.
- Last year there were 276 children’s programs, with 7152 people attending. We also had 94 teen programs, with 970 in attendance, and 43 adult programs, with 1074 attending.
- Lakeview has regular children’s storytimes, but it also participates in the Summer Reading Program, the MOCHA program of artists in the library and has featured many other programs for children, including yoga, reiki and tai chi.
- To the delight of our younger guests, we are visited many times during the year by PAWS to Read, which gives children an opportunity to read to peaceful dogs.
- There are many activities for adults: a writing group, a knitting group, a book club and classes and workshops on making art and writing. There are regular chess groups for adults and children.
- We have had many visits from local authors; novelists, mystery writers and poets read to our patrons.
- Our art gallery has exhibits from local artists, including painters, jewelers and quilt makers. In fact, we have had classes in jewelry making and painting during this past year.
- This summer there will be ESL classes at Lakeview branch.
The Lakeview Branch opened in its current location, at 550 El Embarcadero, in 1949. We celebrated its 60th birthday a couple of years ago. We hope to be here in 2019 for the 70th birthday as well.
Susan Sherrell, Oakland Author:
I am a local writer whose mystery GRACE is set in Oakland in the early seventies.
I have been greatly supported by the Oakland libraries as have so many other local authors and artists. However, the greatest impact that I have seen from the Oakland libraries concern our young people. I have been a school nurse at Fruitvale Elementary for the last four years. These students are primarily African American, Hispanic, children of immigrants and the working poor. The libraries teach them American culture and reach them through books they love. Their parents often don’t know about these books and cannot afford to buy them.
I can give you a few examples of the vibrant life that occurs at Lakeview:
I attended a poetry workshop given by Oakland poet Nina Serrano and Alameda poet laureate, Mary Rudge. People of all ages tasted, touched , smelled, and observed various fruits before writing poems about them. Though I was then unpublished, and anxious about sharing any poem I had composed, I noticed that everyone felt free to share what they had written – because of the culture of support and exploration promoted at this library.
Recently, I came to a workshop about Hundertwasser. The artist not only allowed us to paint in the Hundertwasser style, but also shared with us quotes about this amazing man’s ecological views on architecture – how buildings should reflect the landscape around them. I left seeing Oakland through new eyes.
As you might know from the content of my book, I attend every book reading I can by or about the Black Panthers. I went to one book reading by Steve McCutcheon where the audience was filled with teenagers through senior citizens. I noticed a distinguished older Asian gentleman – who turned out to be Richard Aoki, a Japanese American man who was one of the earliest members of the Black Panther party. A wonderful discussion broke out where former members of the party, including Richard, answered questions the young people posed about the best ways of providing Oakland with community service. This day became my model of the ideal book reading event, one I did my best to follow when my book GRACE was published.
Through the libraries we are creating our future Oakland citizens. Oakland libraries determine whether our upcoming generation will become doctors, dentists, teachers, and scientists – or if they will become marginalized people who need more resources than they can give back.
Calvin Dang, Lakeview library patron:
Dear City Council,
My name is Calvin Dang. I am eleven years old and I go to the fifth grade at Fruitvale Elementary. Please keep the libraries open!
My mother comes from Vietnam and she doesn’t speak English good. And I can’t teach her because I have to go to school with my little brother, Tommy Dang. And I don’t speak English good too. But when I go to the library and take books off the shelves then I learn English better. And I take out books about Pokemon, drawing, painting, and other things. So please don’t close the libraries because the libraries teach us English and other good things!