While the Friends of the Rockridge Library support the branch's efforts on the inside and the outside of the library, other branches of the Oakland Public Library have Friends groups that do the same in their own creative ways. And every few months, all of the Friends groups, including the Friends of the Oakland Public Library (FOPL) along with Gerry Garzon, the Director of the Oakland Public Library, get together to share ideas, learn from each other, and support each other as we all work to make all of the branches and Central library stronger and better tied to the communities they serve.
This May, representatives from 10 branch Friends groups met at the West Oakland branch meeting room. Our organizers from FOPL select a different branch for each meeting, and sometimes we're even treated to a post-meeting tour!
The topics we discussed ranged from how to plan for and organize author events, social media tips, and a large group discussion about what each Friends group is up to right now. The representative who talked about author events provided so much useful information. A former librarian in Oakland, she knew the ins and outs of finding local authors and including local book stores in her events. The representative from the Oakland Library Advisory Committee really revved up the group with her easy steps for keeping content fresh on social media. She had a list of great ideas that kept everyone engaged and taking notes.
One fun bit she shared was how she's using an idea from the Rockridge Friends to fuel her social media engagement. The OPLAdvocates use the hashtag #FriendsPaid4That to highlight anything a Friends group funded. She acknowledged that she was inspired by our "Find What Friends Fund" posters you see when you walk in the door of the Rockridge Library. If you look around, you'll see little tags that say, "Friends funded this" near items the Friends purchased for the library with donations from the community. What a neat idea to take our in-buiding campaign to social media!
I always look forward to these meetings, and above all, it fills my heart with joy to know that the entire Oakland Public Library system is being supported by such a smart and inspiring group of volunteers. Yay Oakland!