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Where’s your Rockridge Librarian?

If you haven’t noticed, the Rockridge Library is currently closed while it receives a much-needed spiffing up. When it re-opens in early July (July 6th is the planned date), the building will sport new paint, electrical updates, and new carpet. We’re excited to see the “new” library come July, but in the interim, where are our cherished librarians?

Staff are working hard, spread out amongst the other 19 branches in the system. I caught up with a couple Rockridge librarians to find out where they’re working and what makes their temporary home special. Here’s what they said:

Emily Weak, Adult Services Librarian

Temporary home: 81st Avenue branch, East Oakland

“81st Avenue branch is our newest building at only five years old. The facility is pretty amazing! It is really designed for what people do in today's libraries, with plenty of space for reading and enjoying books, but also enough computers for everyone, plenty of outlets for plugging in electronic devices, lots of tables and carrels to do work or homework, and group study rooms. They even have a kitchen space where they provide free meals for hungry kids and teens, and coffee for grown-ups. We share a campus with two elementary schools, so there are lots of kids in this library! They have a lot of pride in their library. On my second day, a little boy asked me if I was new. When I told him I was, he said, "I hope you really enjoy it here." And I am enjoying it!”

Erica Siskind, Children’s Librarian

Temporary homes: Temescal Library (W), West Branch (Th), Main Library (T/F/Sa)

“Temescal is a classic example of Carnegie Library architecture: well-preserved, ornate, elegant, and quaint. It feels tiny, but they fit tons of books and DVDs on their shelves, so I'm sure you will find plenty of reading and viewing material. The basement is home to the Tool Lending Library, and if you've never been there, be sure to stop by. You can't imagine the variety of tools they have for you to use, and the staff are so helpful. It is the closest branch to Rockridge, so if you've got kids ages 2 to 5, you must try Michelle Waddy's story times, they're fabulous. You might run into Lisa Harter upstairs or downstairs, too!

West Oakland branch is the opposite of Temescal in architecture: no detail-work, with brick walls, wood paneling and wood beams built for function. The building houses a career center, and the computers in the library get a lot of use. The best time to come with children is between 10:00 and 11:30, when you are very likely to see a group story time. There’s plenty of parking, and if you bike, the streets are flat all around. If you are interested in Black History, this branch seems to have a strong collection with wide appeal. Susy (who used to be our Teen Services Librarian) is now the Branch Manager here, so come say hi!

The Main Library has the biggest collection, so if you are busy and you want to make sure you can find something relevant, current, and on-topic, this is the best one-stop place. One tip: make sure you bring change for parking. The number of choices and the size of the departments can be overwhelming, but the Children's Room is a great adventure. Climb up in the high window seats and get cozy in your own little space. This is where I started my career, so my favorite place is the secret stacks behind locked doors, where they house storage items, old magazines, and crunky old elevators. If you’ve read Jason Shiga's Bookhunter, it was clearly based on this library. The building isn’t far from Lake Merritt BART, and every Oakland resident should visit it at least once!”

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Check out to find locations and hours of all libraries in the system, and say hi to Emily, Erica, or another of our branch librarians if you see them!

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