Troubled East Oakland Neighborhood Welcomes Massive New Library

OAKLAND (KCBS) – A new library is set to open in Oakland this week in a fragile east Oakland neighborhood, where nearly 40 percent of the residents are functionally illiterate. This new community library at 81st Avenue is described as a beacon of hope in East Oakland.

KCBS’ Margie Shafer Reports:

“It’s the largest branch in the City of Oakland, it’s 21,000 square feet,” said Associate Director of the Oakland Public Library Gerry Garzon. “It’s a shared use facility, meaning the library will be used both by the public and EnCompass Academy and Acorn Woodland School.

“The school has its own entrance, meaning they can even come in when we’re not there and use any of the resources, which is good because our branches are only open Tuesdays through Saturdays, and they’ll be able to come in on Mondays. There’s a classroom and a computer lab in there too.”

Library Director Carmen Martinez said that the shared use meant cost savings.

“The state was looking at partnerships, and if you formed one with a school you would get priority,” said Martinez. “So we partnered with OUSD.”

On Wednesday, donors will get a preview of the library, which has been years in the making, and it will open to the public on Saturday.

(© 2011 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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