So everyone is talking about the potential library closures… you can read all about it
- here: Library supporters pack Council budget meeting (A Better Oakland)
- here: At packed budget meeting, a debate over the fate of libraries, city services (Oakland North)
- here: Montclair Library, At Risk? (Today in Montclair)
- or here: Protecting Oakland’s Libraries (Bookmark Bookstore)
And lots of great points are being made… about the need for these neighborhood resources, providing accessibility to books and the internet for all residents regardless of income, providing social gathering spots and places of refuge from the neighborhood violence in some parts of Oakland, providing a suite of services and resources that once were offered by public schools but now have been cut from there as well. The list goes on and on, and these are all incredibly important points.
But what I don’t hear anyone talking about is the Temescal TOOL Lending Library.
I have to admit that this is my most frequently visited branch/service of the entire Oakland Public Library system. They know me by name, and I know most of theirs as I see them nearly weekly.
I’ve always liked fixing/building/making things. I was a born DIY’er before the term DIY even existed. You can see this was either instilled early (by my grandfather – pipe in mouth), or perhaps just came naturally, by this photo of my first home building project (I think I was 6).
For those who don’t know, and I’m always amazed when I meet folks who don’t, this is an incredible resource exclusively dedicated to Oakland residents. Modeled after the tool lending library in Berkeley, they house thousands of tools that can be “rented” FREE of charge for short periods of time. Everything you need to tend to your home and garden (carpentry & woodworking, concrete & masonry, electrical, floor & wall, garden & digging, ladders/dollies/handtrucks/wheelbarrows, mechanical & power, plumbing, etc.) plus books and how-to videos.
I think I’ve checked out tools in nearly every one of those categories from the early days in 2000 (this was when renovating my loft in West Oakland, photo left) to more recent projects on the home here in Dimond (photo right).
This arm of the Temescal Branch library was launched in January of 2000 (thanks to seed money from a Community Development Block Grant). It was an outgrowth of a small “Home Resources Collection” established at this branch after the Oakland Hills Firestorm of 1991 to help residents with rebuilding and repairs following the disaster.
And it just makes sense. In a dense urban environment where homes are frequently smallish apartments or “cottage” houses (read small!), who’s got the space to store all the things you need to care for your home? And more importantly, who wants to shell out the cash (tools are expensive!) for something you may use once or twice a year??
I LOVE the Temescal Tool Lending Library! Please help save it.
According to the budget proposals currently being considered, the following library branches and resources would be slated for closure:
Asian, Brookfield, Cesar Chavez, Eastmont, Elmhurst, Golden Gate, Lakeview, Martin Luther King, Melrose, Montclair, Piedmont, Temescal, West Oakland, AAMLO, and the Tool Lending Library.
Is this not crazy?!? Especially after residents voted in 2003 for continued support of our libraries (Measure Q).
Here are five things you can do to help (from Save Oakland Libraries):
- Tell your friends and neighbors about the devastating funding cuts to libraries – Ask 10 of your friends to call or write the Mayor and City Council. Like the Save Oakland Library page on Facebook.
- Share your library experiences with city officials – Make sure that Oakland’s mayor, city manager, and city council know what libraries mean to you and your community.
- Attend Oakland City Council meetings – We need a big turnout. Bring signs supporting libraries. Bring children who love libraries. Request to speak. Speaker cards can be requested online one week in advance at the Office of the City Clerk page. Next meetings 6/7 and 6/21 at 5:30pm
- Organize – Gather petition signatures and distribute fliers – These activities must happen outside the library locations–near branches or at community events. Fill our volunteer form and help save your library. Check our volunteer page for an activity near you. Download instructions on how to petition (PDF). Download the petition (PDF).
- Contact newspapers, radio stations, TV stations and local blogs – Call the media and ask if they are covering the proposed Oakland library closings. When you read related news coverage, write a letter to the editor with thanks and a message about why Oakland’s public libraries are needed