Almost ten years ago, my third graders and I wrote letters to the Oakland City Council about how important it was to keep the libraries open. The plan was to close a bunch of branches - I can't remember how many - and they were all in the poorer sections of Oakland. I've mentioned before that the city is quite segregated and the kids are aware of this. I showed them on the map where the closing branches were and a child pointed out "but those are all the ones near us." We also looked at where the branches remaining open were and someone pointed out that they were near the white people with money. It was true. We had an interesting discussion during which they asked me why people who have money to buy books needed libraries more than them "But we got no books at my house!" They wrote some passionate letters to the mayor and city council and the libraries stayed open. I think they may have believed that our class saved the local library.
Apparently, this is happening again. There are 17 library branches in Oakland. Oakland is broke. There are now three options, ranging from closing THIRTEEN of the branches (that's 76% of the branches. CLOSED) to a parcel tax that will keep them running, mostly. Of course, the branches that will close will be in the - you guessed it - poor areas. The ones without books.
Please HELP. Please. Here are some ideas on how to help.
These kids need books.
Four years ago: Former Students
Five years ago: We Have a Contract!!