Jun 11 2011

New Group Organizes to Oppose Oakland Library Closures

Oakland Public LibraryOakland citizens supporting library services and librarians have organized to protest the proposed closing of 15 libraries and the planned reduction of hours at the remaining 4 libraries. Their organization, Save Oakland Library is gathering signatures on a petition that states, “We, the undersigned, protest any proposal to close or reduce services at any Oakland library.”  On Friday, June 3 they dressed in black and held a funeral march in downtown Oakland, symbolically mourning the threatened death of Oakland’s libraries.  On Saturday, June 11 the group plans to demonstrate in front of the Cesar Chavez Branch Library and then march through Fruitvale Plaza waving signs. Save Oakland Library was organized in response to Mayor Quan’s budget Scenario A (see related articles) scheduled to be discussed by Oakland’s City Council on Tuesday, June 21.

The Piedmont Avenue Branch Library is one of the libraries the new organization seeks to save.  However, the library’s leased location is scheduled to be vacated. In order for the efforts of Save Oakland Library to be successful, the City of Oakland would have to renew the lease on the 41st Street library building beyond October 31, as well as restore funding.

Save Oakland Library has organized and called for library supporters to join the following protest events:

  • Tuesday, June 21, 5:30 pm – City Council budget meeting. Apply for a speaker card to tell Council how you feel about potential library closures.

The Mayor’s fiscal year 2011-13 Proposed Budget has three scenarios. Scenario A is the “All Cuts Budget” and is the one that fundamentally affects the Library and its services.

Under Scenario A, the following services will be cut:

  • 13 branch libraries are scheduled to close: Asian, Brookfield, Chavez, Eastmont, Elmhurst, Golden Gate, Lakeview, Martin Luther King, Melrose, Montclair, Piedmont Avenue, Temescal, West Oakland
  • The Tool Lending Library and the African-American Museum and Library at Oakland (AAMLO) will close, as well
  • 4 remaining libraries – Main, Rockridge, Dimond, and 81st Avenue – would only be open 3 days a week
  • Main Library will close its Children’s Room, Teen Zone, and Oakland History Room
  • Second Start Adult Literacy will close
  • Limited funding for new books, DVDs or other materials purchased
  • Discontinuation of electronic services like downloadable books and databases

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One Response to “New Group Organizes to Oppose Oakland Library Closures”

  1. With reductions in library services next year at both Piedmont Middle School and Piedmont High School, the closure of our public libraries will have an even bigger impact. (For example, the PMS library assistant is retiring and will not be replaced, jeopardizing both lunch and afterschool access for middle schoolers.) My sons are both avid readers, and my 7th grader checks out books from both the Piedmont Ave branch of the Oakland library, and from the PMS library, on a regular basis. I know we are not the only readers in Piedmont! Please write letters, make calls, and join the protests. Help keep our libraries open!

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