Saving Oakland libraries


When I went to Oakland's Art Murmur a couple weeks ago, a funeral procession organized to call attention to the possible loss of Oakland public libraries wound its way through the streets.

It wasn't the only creative mobilization launched in Oakland in response to the possible closure of 14 branch libraries, including the Tool Lending Library, African-American Museum and Library at Oakland, and Second Start Adult Literacy program, to make up for steep revenue shortfalls. Under the painful budget scenario to be discussed by Oakland City Council at its June 21 meeting, just four library branches would stay open, with services just three days a week.

On June 20, a coalition called Save Oakland Libraries organized a 14-hour read-in, featuring local authors reading out loud in front of Oakland City Hall to vocalize support for keeping the libraries open.

Meanwhile, this is what happened last week when anti-capitalist protesters associated with Bay of Rage took to the streets as a "book block" to protest library closures:

While anarchist bookworms tangle with the cops on the streets, the Coalition to Save Oakland Libraries is asking people to send "polite" letters to the Oakland Police Officers Association to "ask them to make their Fair Share contribution to their retirement to keep the libraries open." Oakland City Hall will likely be packed tonight.

Video by David Martinez.