Forum on the Road: From Scraper Bikes to Support Groups, Public Libraries in the Digital Age

52 min
at 9:00 AM
Children's librarian Mahasin Abuwi Aleem reads to children during story time at Oakland's Main Library.  (Photo: Andrew Stelzer/KQED)

The 81st Avenue branch of the Oakland Public Library serves as a joint library for two elementary schools and their surrounding East Oakland neighborhood. Depending on when you drop in, the branch also serves as a bike repair shop, a support group for fathers and a drop in center for legal advice. That range of services speaks to a theory posited by historian Wayne Wiegand: that libraries have always been as much about the places they're in and the communities serve, as the books they hold. In this special broadcast from the Oakland Public Library’s 81st Avenue branch in East Oakland, Forum discusses libraries in the age of big tech and online meetups. Tell us: What do you use your library for? How does your local library serve the particular needs of your community?


Wayne A. Wiegand, library historian; author, "Part of Our Lives: A People's History of the American Public Library" and "The Desegregation of Public Libraries in the Jim Crow South: Civil Rights and Local Activism"

Jamie Turbak, director, Oakland Public Library

Reginald "RB" Burnette Jr, library aide, Oakland Public Library; leader, Scraper Bike Team

Anthony Propernick, outreach and community engagement coordinator, Oakland Public Library