Montclair Branch

Miriam Medow, Children’s Librarian
Montclair Branch library, the exterior of which looks just like a storybook Swiss chalet, is a brief walking distance from the Montclair Village business district, two Oakland Unified elementary schools, and the Montclair Recreation Center. It’s a bustling branch, with a steady stream of visitors who check out A LOT of library materials. Montclair’s picture book circulation alone comprises a full 1% of Oakland Public Library’s check-outs (that’s over 20,000 annual circulations!), and patrons rely heavily on our reserve system for convenient access to the books they want and need.

All day long, families visit the library to find books and media that support their children’s academic needs and recreational interests. And every weekday afternoon, the branch is flooded with kids seeking a safe place to work on homework, use computers, socialize with friends, read for pleasure, and otherwise spend their after-school hours. Local teachers regularly use our collections to supplement their limited classroom libraries.

Class visits, craft programs, and exciting performances are all part of the landscape at Montclair. Nearly 800 kids participated in our Summer Reading program last year, and weekly toddler and preschool storytimes combined garner crowds of 100+ people. Early learning toys, puzzles, and pop-up books housed in the children’s room have further established the Montclair library as a desirable destination for our youngest visitors.

In the face of this current budget crisis, our patrons have repeatedly shared how important the Montclair library is to their family’s weekly routine, and to their quality of life. Earlier today, a teen volunteer commented to me, “They can’t close down this library. I’ve been coming here since I was 3 years old.” Montclair is a beloved neighborhood library that creates real community and inspires this kind of lifelong learning. Thousands of Oakland hearts would break – and just as many families would suffer – if it were to close.

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6 Responses to Montclair Branch

  1. Kristie C. says:

    My children and I have been regular visitors to the Montclair library for almost 10 years. It is a wonderful, and very important, resource for our community that we would hate to see closed. Please do not close the Montclair library!

  2. Donna Schlanker says:

    I have a 6 year old son, since the time he was 1 we’ve been going to the Montclair Library every 2 to 3 weeks to check out books and for the Saturday morning story hour and sing along. We really need to find a way to save this library. It’s a great meeting place and library’s offer so much in terms of learning and growth. The library is packed every time I go in there, so it’s not like it’s not being used. I realize times are tough, but this should not be happening, everyone needs to give a little in order to save something that is very important to the community and our youth.

  3. Sloan White says:

    The Montclair library is a valuable resource for the community. It gives our children a place to learn the joy of reading which will enrich them the rest of their lives. It would be a great loss if it were to close.

  4. Meredith Endsley says:

    The existence of such a lovely library has always made Montclair special. We have lived here for over 30 years and during that time I have used the library monthly. It would be an incredible loss to the community to loose this asset. Police and fire officers need to step up and start paying for some more for their benefits as the rest of us do.


  5. Jessica Osegueda says:

    My family grew up in Montclair and my 3 older siblings and I went to Montclair library twice a week for years, sometimes more. My mom volunteered for story time and read books to kids. I adored that library and the Montclair Rec. Center around the corner. The library survived the firestorm of 1991 and should not be a victim of the current economy. Please do not close our library.

  6. Phil Lowenthal says:

    I have been a regular visitor to the Montclair Public Library for the past 5 years. This library is one that I greatly value and that I would hate to see closed. Please make every effort to prevent the closure of this critical resource in the community.

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