AB&I has been a Friend of the Library located about 1,100 feet from the facility on 81st Avenue in Oakland, California since it opened in 2011.  This branch opened on the site of the ACORN Woodland and EnCompass Academy elementary schools after years of collaboration between the City of Oakland, the State of California, and the Oakland Unified School District and serves as a joint public/school library. Visitors have access to over 30,000 publications in English and Spanish, 20 computers with internet access and Microsoft Office 2007, a scanner, a large community meeting room and two small study rooms.

This summer, volunteers from AB&I helped children register for the library’s summer school program that ran from June 10 through August 5. Moms, grandmas, caretakers and dads with young children of all ages and ethnic backgrounds registered their children for the program. The theme for this year’s program was Explore, Connect & Grow. The program was designed not only for children that already knew how to read, but also for pre-readers and even one for teenagers. The only requirement was that they read a minimum of 15 minutes a day.  After registering, participants were given a program and every day that they read they placed a sticker on the program on that date.  After 20 days of reading, they received a set of coupons and a free book of their choice – English or Spanish.  After the first 20 days, every 10 days that they read their name was entered in a special grand prize drawing. 

The program also included free lunch for children and teens as well as special events such as Gerald Joseph (magic tricks), family fort building (forts were built using cardboard and blankets) movie time, open studio building using blocks, legos or Keva planks, reading to Estella the dog, etc.

AB&I team members had a great time helping out with this year’s registration and were glad to have an opportunity to reach out to their neighbors and make new friends in the community where they live and work.