Town Hall Meetings Scheduled at the Berkeley Public Library

Contact: Suzanne Olawski
Deputy Director of Library Services
Berkeley Public Library

Town Hall Meetings Scheduled at the Berkeley Public Library
Have a voice in shaping the Library’s three-year strategic direction

Berkeley, CA. June 18, 2014—The Berkeley Public Library is conducting a series of town hall meetings throughout the City as part of an extensive outreach and planning process aimed at making the library as valuable as possible to all City residents. All community members are invited to attend a 90-minute meeting and help chart a course for the future of the Library. Light refreshments will be served.

The Library invites you to share your ideas on how it can better serve the community at one of the following meetings:

Tuesday, July 15, 20146:30-8:00 pmCentral Library2090 Kittredge Street  Berkeley, CA 94704
Tuesday, July 15, 2014 6:30-8:00 pmNorth Branch1170 The AlamedaBerkeley, CA 94702
Wednesday, July 16, 20146:30-8:00 pmWest Branch1125 University AveBerkeley, CA 94702
Thursday, July 17, 20146:30-8:00 pmSouth Branch 1901 Russell StreetBerkeley, CA 94703
Saturday, July 19, 201412:30-2:00 pmClaremont Branch2940 Benvenue AveBerkeley, CA 94705

For more information, call 510-981-6195 or go to http://www.berkeleypubliclibrary.org/about/planning

Wheelchair accessible. For questions, to request a sign language interpreter or other accommodations for this event, please call (510) 981-6195 (voice) or (510) 548-1240 (TTY); at least five working days will help ensure availability. Please refrain from wearing scented products to public programs. Visit the library’s website.



Paws to Read! Berkeley Public Library’s Summer Reading Game starts Soon

Contact: Erica Dean Glenn
Senior Librarian, Children’s Department
Berkeley Public Library

Paws to Read! Berkeley Public Library’s Summer Reading Game starts Soon

Berkeley, June 10, 2014 —“Summer Slide” is a decline in kids’ reading ability over the summer and is a factor in the academic achievement gap. Studies show that kids who read during the summer beat this “slide” and may actually see their reading skills improve. The Berkeley Public Library’s Summer Reading Game, Paws to Read, combines books, library events, and prizes to encourage young people ages 0 to 13 to read this summer.

The game, which runs from June 13 to August 16, 2014, asks young people to choose whether to keep track of the number of books or pages read, or time spent reading. Children who read ten books, 1000 pages, or for ten hours, and who visit the library three times, are considered “finishers.” Finishers get a coupon for a free scoop of ice cream from Fenton’s Creamery and a choice of prizes including books, bookstore gift certificates, or bowling, ferry ride or museum passes. Call 510-981-6223 for more information.

This year we are excited to open Paws to Read to everyone from babies to 13 year olds. Parents and caregivers count books, pages or time reading with their young children, and visit the library three times. Their kids have their choice of prizes to take home. This supports adults reading to babies, toddlers, and preschoolers, which is critical to literacy development. It also encourages young families to develop the library habit.
Paws to Read theme lends itself to a wide range of animal-centered programming:

Keeping up the animal theme, the library is collecting donations of pet food and toys for the Berkeley Humane Society at all library locations until August 16, 2014.

The Summer Reading Game would not be possible without the generous sponsorship of The Friends of the Berkeley Public Library. Other community sponsors include Fenton’s Creamery, Bay Area Discovery Museum, Pegasus Books, Albany Bowl, the Ecology Center and the San Francisco Bay Ferry.


Berkeley Public Library Offers Literacy Tutor Training

Contact: Linda Sakamoto-Jahnke
Library Literacy Coordinator, Berkeley READS
Berkeley Public Library
510 981-6299

Berkeley Public Library Offers Literacy Tutor Training

Berkeley, June 9, 2014 – This summer, share your love of reading by volunteering to tutor someone else. Join our team as a volunteer adult literacy tutor with Berkeley Public Library’s Berkeley READS. Berkeley READS is our adult and family literacy program. Our next tutor orientation is Thursday, June 19, 2014; from 6:45-7:45pm., followed by tutor training on Saturday June 21, 2014 from 10 am-4 pm. Attendance is required for both days. Both events will take place at the West Branch Library on 1125 University Avenue. For more information about this training, call 510 981-6299.

What does it take to be a volunteer tutor? Volunteers are patient, flexible and want to make a difference in their community. Tutors work one-on-one with adult learners, improving basic reading and writing skills and supporting learners in achieving their learning goals. Volunteer tutors must:

  • have a high school diploma or GED.
  • complete our free tutor orientation and training.  commit to at least six months of volunteering.
  • be available to tutor twice a week for one or two hour sessions.
  • stay connected with Berkeley READS by participating in phone calls and planning meetings.

We provide free literacy services for eligible adults over the age of 16.


  • One-on-one tutoring: Learners are matched with tutors for weekly tutoring sessions. Free instructional materials are provided.
  • Drop-in sessions: Open sessions are available for learners on our wait list and for those who want additional assistance.
  • Computer Lab: Learners access tools in our computer lab at West Branch or at Central with tutor support. Small group tutoring: Learners support each other on focused projects.
  • Family literacy: Volunteers visit local organizations, providing story visits and free books to children. We provide special programs for children and caregivers to strengthen literacy skills.
  • Special programs: Learners strengthen literacy skills while visiting museums, cooking, and learning about the environment.

The Berkeley READS Office is located at 1125 University Avenue in the West Branch Library, Berkeley, CA 94702. For more information about Berkeley READS call 510 981-6299 or Email us at libraryberkeleyreads@cityofberkeley.info. The Berkeley READS office is open: Monday through Wednesday, 10 am-6 pm; Thursday, 12-8 pm; and Friday, 10 am-6 pm. Hours for Computer Lab/Drop-in tutoring at West Branch are Monday through Wednesday and Friday at 10 am-5 pm; Thursday, 12-8 pm and Computer Lab/Drop-in tutoring at the Central Library are Tuesday, 11 am-5 pm. For more information about the Berkeley Public Library go to www.berkeleypubliclibrary.org.


Berkeley Public Library’s Branch-Out Celebration is a Great Success

Contact: Donna Corbeil
Director of Library Services
Berkeley Public Library

Berkeley Public Library’s Branch-Out Celebration is a Great Success

Berkeley, June 9, 2014—Berkeley Public Library’s big Branch Out celebration in April brought in the crowds, both old friends and some who had never been to the Library. Just five years after a landslide ‘Yes’ on bond Measure FF and an innovative Neighborhood Libraries Campaign partnership, Berkeley Library visitors flocked to these libraries of the future.

The Berkeley Public Library celebrated by inviting the public to a month-long, system-wide librarywarming. The Branch Out Celebration encouraged people to experience each of the new and improved Berkeley Public Library branches and to expand their own horizons via an array of FREE events and activities. This was the first time the library planned events around a theme and did targeted marketing to the public at this level, a month long and at all locations.

The Library did not do it alone. The Friends of the Berkeley Public Library and the Berkeley Public Library Foundation are already ardent supporters of the Library. A $10,000 grant in support of Branch Out from the Friends of the Berkeley Public Library provided funding to hire performers and speakers and supply refreshments. The Berkeley Public Library Foundation provided logistical as well as financial support, including the coordination of planning by Foundation staff, hiring and funding a non-profit communications consultant and funding media outreach and advertising.

Media Sponsors were Berkeleyside, East Bay Express, 510 Families, KALX radio station, The Daily California and the Berkeley Times. The Library appreciates and thanks the sponsors who helped spread the word about Branch Out. These partnerships worked very well and brought in patrons that have not used the library regularly or at all.

The Library hosted 180 events that attracted over 5,800 attendees. These ranged from storytimes and visits by noted children’s authors to several concerts and classes in 3-D printing. Especially popular with the community were the five after-hours events, one at each Library location. These brought in close to a thousand people. Total, the Library had over 111,500 visitors to all locations. Fifteen hundred new library cards were issued and over 300,800 library items were checked out or in—not counting eBooks. It was a busy month.

“Virtually,” the library received 1400 new Facebook “Likes” and there were over 3,000 online visitors to the Branch Out page created specifically for this celebration. Special posters, some in Spanish and in English, 6000 Branch out brochures and bookmarks were created and distributed throughout the area. The Library went outside its walls and showed up at the Berkeley Bay Festival, Off the Grid, Cal Day, Ashby Flea Market and the Berkeley City Preparedness Fair.

A survey taken from event evaluation forms showed that fifteen percent were first-time visitors to any Berkley Public Library. For twenty-one percent it was their first visit to that particular location and thirty-one percent had attended their first Library event. People learned about Branch Out events in a variety of ways: family and friends, local blogs, Library Staff, the Branch Out booklet, the Library website, email notices, posters in local businesses, Facebook, and flyers in the library.

Public comments from the surveys include:

  •     “Love the new South Branch Library; my kids love it and it’s great for my family.
  •     “Thanks! This was the most fun-filled April ever!”
  •     “It was awesome! So cool to see great music after hours and for free! Thank you!”
  •     “You guys rule!”
  •     “The Library should definitely have another barn dance!”
  •     “So awesome; this isn’t my grandma’s library!”

The Library staff worked very hard on this celebration. They are happy with the results. A few comment from staff:

  •  “I learned that the Library is willing to try a fresh approach to programs.”
  • “Staff really enjoyed showing off our branch to new patrons, we made many new cards this month! Our team really rallied around the effort, and   had a great time.”
  • “I think much of the success…was because staff were excited about it and enjoyed it themselves.”

“The staff and I feel that the month long celebration helped us get the message out that we are open! With the completion of the West Branch Library and an expansion of open hours in December it was essential we spread the word. Timing our celebration with National Library week was no accident. We wanted people to think of the Berkeley Public Library when they heard libraries mentioned – and I think it worked,” said Library Director, Donna Corbeil.

Staff is already planning events and promotion around several themes for the upcoming year. For information about upcoming events, please check out our website.


The Chopin/Jazz Connection at Berkeley Public Library

Contact: Debbie Carton
Art & Music Librarian
Berkeley Public Library


The Chopin/Jazz Connection at Berkeley Public Library

Berkeley, June 9, 2014—Berkeley Public Library welcomes local pianist and composer William Beatty for a concert/demonstration of The Chopin/Jazz Connection on Thursday, June 19 at 12:00 pm at the Central Library, 2090 Kittredge (at Shattuck) in the 5th floor Art & Music Department. To learn more about this event call 510-981-6236
Beatty will perform Chopin etudes, and discuss and demonstrate how Chopin’s unique composition style relates to and influences jazz. He will also perform his original compositions. This free event is sponsored by the Friends of the Berkeley Library.

Born in Berkeley, California, Beatty grew up in a musical family, listening to his father and older brother John playing piano. Beatty began playing on his own and shortly thereafter, John taught him one of their father's songs. By the age of nine, he began composing his own pieces for piano. Since then he has continued on his musical journey, studying and playing a wide variety of music, from classical piano repertoire to blues, R&B, gospel, and jazz.

The Central Library is located at 2090 Kittredge Avenue and is open Monday, noon - 8 pm; Tuesday, 10 am - 8 pm; Wednesday through Saturday, 10 am - 6 pm; and Sunday from 1 pm - 5 pm.

Wheelchair accessible. For questions, to request a sign language interpreter or other accommodations for this event, please call (510) 981-6195 (voice) or (510) 548-1240 (TTY); at least five working days will help ensure availability. Please refrain from wearing scented products to public programs. Visit the Library’s website.

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Jazz Pianist Erica Oba @Claremont Branch Library

Contact: Shani Leonards
Claremont Branch Supervisor
Berkeley Public Library


Berkeley, June 3, 2014—Usher in the longest days of the year with an auditory banquet at the Berkeley Public Library! Jazz Pianist Erika Oba will perform at the Claremont Branch Library at 2940 Benvenue on June 19, 2014 at 12:00 p.m.

This lively program of original music is appropriate for music lovers of all ages. Ms. Oba has several events happening at high-profile jazz venues in the East Bay later in the summer, but you can mark the Solstice and hear her first with us. This free program is sponsored by the Friends of the Berkeley Public Library. For more information about this program, call 510-981-6280.

Erika Oba is a composer, performer and educator who was born and raised in the SF Bay Area. She studied at Oberlin College and Conservatory where she received her BM in Jazz Piano Performance and BA in Environmental Studies. Oba has been active in a variety of settings including big bands, indie rock bands, funk bands, original jazz groups, and theater companies.

The Claremont Branch is located at 2940 Benvenue and Ashby, Berkeley CA 94705, and is open: Monday, 10:00 am-6:00 pm; Tuesday and Wednesday, 10:00 am-8:00 pm; Thursday, 12 noon -8:00 pm; and Friday and Saturday, 10:00 am-6:00 pm.

Wheelchair accessible. For questions, to request a sign language interpreter or other accommodations for this event, please call (510) 981-6195 (voice) or (510) 548-1240 (TTY); at least five working days will help ensure availability. Please refrain from wearing scented products to public programs. Visit the library’s website.