What’s News?

OUSD Libraries Gain a Cohort of Library Technicians


Friends of the Oakland Public School Libraries hosted the first OUSD/Diablo Valley College Library Technology Program graduation celebration on February 24, 2018 at Preservation Park. Fourteen graduates, District Personnel, DVC Instructor, Community Partners, and families enjoyed an afternoon of celebration for this tremendous accomplishment and benefit to OUSD students.

                     AMG Scholarship Recipient


FOPSL provides financial support to OUSD library staff that are pursuing their Teacher Librarian credential through our Ann Mayo Gallagher Scholarship Fund. In 2018, Deborah Gibbons was awarded a $1000 scholarship and received her Teacher Librarian credential. She works as a library and media teacher at Bella Vista Elementary.





OUSD School Board Passes Board Policy

for School Libraries

At the March 22, 2017 School Board meeting, board directors unanimously voted for Board Policy 6163.1 demonstrating the District’s intent to improve library services across OUSD. The policy calls for a district-wide board approved plan for insuring every student in OSUD has access to a professionally staffed quality school library. Click here to read the board policy.



Opening Library Doors

     On September 11, 2016, Skyline High School student Nadia Brooks presented a personal and passionate original poem at our annual fundraising event. Editorial Director of Gray Wolf Press, Ethan Nosowsky joined FOPSL for the second year and engaged San Francisco Chronicle columnist Vanessa Hua in a lively conversation where she shared life experiences -including her time spent in school libraries – that led to becoming a writer. We had an entertaining afternoon and raised over $6000 that will support our scholarship fund.

 Incredible Local Authors Help Support FOPSL

FOPSL’s Second Annual Fundraiser was a huge success and a lot of fun, thanks to the entertaining and inspiring stories of four local authors. Ethan Nosowsky, Editorial Director of Graywolf Press, led an engaging conversation with Mary Roach, Dashka Slater, Terris McMahan-Grimes and James Robinson, as they shared their writing experiences and the role of school libraries in their past. An enthusiastic group of “Friends” packed the Ginn Room at Preservation Park to enjoy refreshments, the panel of authors and to generously support our work. Opening and supporting Oakland Unified School District Libraries depends on our dedicated donors and community support. We extend our appreciation to everyone that participated in our fundraiser.

Click on each authors name to view their websites.

Local authors, Dashka Slater, James Robinson, Terris McMahan-Grimes and Mary Roach help support FOPSL and OUSD libraries.

Local authors, Dashka Slater, James Robinson, Terris McMahan-Grimes and Mary Roach help support FOPSL and OUSD libraries.


Ethan Nosowsky, Editorial Director of Graywolf Press led the conversation and entertained a large group of school library supporters at FOPSL’s Second Annual Fundraising Event.

FOPSL Recognized by California School Library Association


The California School Library Association (CSLA) formed in Oakland, California. The first meeting was held in the Oakland Auditorium on August 25, 1915. The meeting was held at the request of school librarians who felt that a state organization would further the interests of school library work in California. In attendance where the librarians from Oakland Technical High School, Oakland High School and Fremont High School. 

One hundred years later, these schools still exist, but the libraries are closed due to lack of staff and District funding. One hundred years later there is a need for 75 school libraries to support literacy, academic achievement and information technology, but in 1/3 of the schools (including all of the high schools) the library is closed. One hundred years later, Oakland school district has a new superintendent who has publically pronounced his belief that 21st century school libraries are essential to preparing our students for college, career and life. FOPSL is optimistic that every OUSD student will have access to a professionally staffed school library in the near future. FOPSL will continue our campaign to ensure this vital literacy and academic support system is in place for all students. 


Together we build a vision for the future of school libraries in Oakland

 Friends of the OaklandIMG_1502 Public School Libraries hosted a Community Dialogue and Luncheon on Libraries, Literacy & Technology on November 18, in the West Oakland Middle School library. The luncheon was an exciting opportunity to hear from Oakland educators and leaders, as they shared their perspective and ideas about the role of school libraries in today’s technological world.  Our special guests, including Dr. David Pearson and Dr. Marjorie (Susie) Goodin from the UC Berkeley Graduate School of Education provided a presentation, Literacy and the 21st Century Library that is now available on the website Seeds of Science-Roots of Reading (Click here to view the presentation).

The essential question provided to our panelists: Barbara Jeffus from the California Department of Education, and Library Teacher, Jenny Ettinger from Chabot Elementary School and Greg Klein, Director of Blended Learning at Rogers Family Foundation – What is the role of school libraries in this age of digital print, Internet and other technologies? – stimulated rich conversations about literacy, programs, student support, funding priorities, tools for learning, District systems, and equity.

The discussions that began in the Library at West Oakland Middle School continued at the OUSD School Board meeting Wednesday, November 20, with a powerful presentation on The State of OUSD Libraries. Click here to view the presentation to the OUSD School Board by District Librarian, Ann Gallagher and Associate Superintendent, Kyla Johnson-Trammell. IMG_5946

Participants interested in continuing the discussion joined a School Library Study Group that further examined the role of school libraries. On January 23, 2014, members of the community were invited on the Imagining a New Future for School Libraries Tour that visited three Oakland Unified District Libraries. This tour provided an overview of library services across the District and was the culminating event of the School Library Study Group. The findings of the group will inform FOPSL as we compile a list of recommendations and minimum standards for OUSD libraries.

Click here to view February 2, 2014 Community Voices article on Oakland Local website.

Hot off the press!! Click here to enjoy stories and photos in our FOPSL Fall 2013 Newsletter.

Quality, Equity and Access:
School Libraries Impact Literacy

In April 2013, Kari Hatch, Executive Director of FOPSL, took the Oakland Literacy Coalition on a pictorial tour through some of the OUSD elementary school libraries asking the audience to consider some essential questions.  As you view this presentation, it is important to note that she did not attempt to make a direct correlation between quality school libraries (or the lack of) and test scores, but did emphasize that the schools with the highest test scores ALSO had the benefit of a quality school library.

Click on the title here to view the presentation:

Quality, Equity and Access School Libraries Impact Literacy

Tremendous Support for OUSD Libraries from
The Kenneth Rainin Foundation

FOPSL is delighted to announce our receipt of a $20,000 grant from The Kenneth Rainin Foundation to support library renovations within the “Balanced Literacy Cohort.” The Balanced Literacy Cohort is an instructional pilot in six OUSD elementary schools, aimed at helping teachers incorporate the new Common Core State Standards, using a balanced approach to literacy in their daily instruction.  This grant will support modernization of each school’s library, with a focus on developing the collections for children ages 0-8,  bolstering theIMG_2687 resources for our youngest learners and preparing each library to become the “Literacy Hub” of the Full Service Community School.

The Kenneth Rainin Foundation is a private family foundation dedicated to enhancing quality of life by promoting equitable access to a baseline of literacy, enabling inspiration through the magic of the arts and providing opportunity for a healthy lifestyle for those with chronic disease.  The foundation focuses its efforts on the San Francisco Bay Area and specific medical issues and utilizes its networks, resources and commitment to socially responsible business practices to support innovation, collaboration and connection.

FOPSL extends our appreciation for this very generous support that will have a positive impact on literacy in OUSD.

In the News

Pamela Drake wrote the following article about the work Friends of the Oakland Public School Libraries is doing to restore and support school libraries.  FOPSL is just part of a growing effort, as many community organizations, volunteers, parents, principals, OUSD leadership and individuals across the country (not just Oakland) contribute time, money, and advocate for the restoration of this vital educational resource. Together we will succeed.

Click on the title to read the article published March 27, 2013 in the East Bay Express

  Nonprofit Fights For Oakland School Libraries

by Pamela Drake


                    The Time is Now 

Literature is displayed in celebration of African-American History Month in the beautiful library at Sankofa.

Literature is displayed in celebration of African-American History Month in the beautiful library at Sankofa.

The Common Core State Standards (CCSS) have arrived in OUSD, with full implementation scheduled for 2013/2014, escalating the need for quality school libraries.  The rigorous English Language Arts (ELA) standards are designed to “ensure students read increasingly complex works of literature, actively seek wide, deep and thoughtful engagement with high-quality literary and informational texts,” building knowledge, broadening experiences and world views (CCSS). The demand for resources, literature, informational texts across the curriculum, and information technology will be vast at every school.

Highly skilled professional library staff provides the expertise necessary to sustain this robust demand and the collaborative support required to teach these standards. As school libraries return to OUSD, FOPSL works closely with OUSD Library Services to seek the means to support staffing libraries with Professional Teacher Librarians. Learn more about the Common Core State Standards on the OUSD website or at http://www.corestandards.org/ELA-Literacy.

WOMS Awarded $5000 for New Library/Media Center 

Outdated plywood study carrels will be replaced with 10 modern computer stations in the media/library at WOMS.

Outdated plywood study carrels will be replaced with 10 modern computer stations in the media/library at WOMS.

Congratulations West Oakland Middle School! FOPSL and WOMS were successful in receiving the 2012 Toolbox for Education Grant from Lowes. This $5000 grant will purchase the supplies to build spaces for 18 computers in three distinct locations in the school library.  This addition will provide optimal access to multiple educational resources for students and teachers. FOPSL volunteers will lead the library renovation efforts, in partnership with OUSD leadership. Volunteers from Lowes, WOMS parents, community volunteers and members of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority will provide their time and effort to create a state of the art library and media center.

    “Friends” Arrive at Sobrante Park Elementary School

The average copyright in this library is 1987...over 25 years old.

The average copyright in the Sobrante Park  library is presently 1987…over 25 years old.

FOPSL will begin updating the library at Sobrante Park this month (April).  The present collection is sparce, outdated and a bit tattered.  Books acquired from the annual book drive at Redwood Day School, the East Bay Children’s Book Project and new books ordered using Measure G funds, will begin lining the shelves. Students at Sobrante will soon have access to popular fiction, current non-fiction, high interest picture books and books by award winning authors.





FOPSL Summer 2012 Newsletter

FOPSL Spring 2012 Newsletter


Joy Jacobs and Chip Rath accept award.

Friends of the Oakland Public School Libraries was honored to receive the 2011-2012 Volunteer Organization of the Year award from Oakland Unified School District.

%d bloggers like this: