You Down With OPL?

[readermail]To Pamie and Friends,

To all of you unknown to us, with your cybernames and love of books…you have all renewed our sagging faith in humanity. There you are, wherever you are, responding to our need for books, in an unbelievably generous way! People who haven’t smiled in months (especially our librarian who opens the mailers and our children’s librarians with their precious Captain Underpants!) are giddy thanks to you.

I gather from the little that I’ve read about your site and your public, you are writers and readers and passionate about language.

I wish that we could meet and thank all of you in person.

Sometimes the facts of war and our flawed system and the usual casualties of budget shortfalls (the poor, the homeless, the children, and our last real democratic institution, the public library) can take the life out of library people. You and the folks on your list have brought us back!

Thanks from a grateful library staff and the countless Oakland residents who’ll be enjoying your donated books.

Keep in touch. Perhaps when you publish your works of genius, Oakland Public Library will invite you to do public readings here!


Leslie Rodd
Administrative Librarian
Oakland Public Library[/readermail]

And this:

[readermail]I’m just writing to tell you that I think it is very cool of you, from so far away, to lobby folks to buy books for the Oakland Public Library…and so far, you know what…it’s working! Thanks again, and good luck. If you ever need some value-added librarianship, consider me at your service.

Steven Lavoie
Librarian II
Oakland History Room
Oakland Public Library[/readermail]

And this:

[readermail]Thank you so much for taking an interest in Oakland Public Library. You and your readers have actually made a real difference in our shortfall. It’s also very uplifting for us who work here to know all you supporters are out there looking out for us.

Tamar Kirschner
Children’s Services Librarian
Oakland Public Library[/readermail]

I was going to write an entry today about how people sitting behind me at X2 felt the need to explain what I was watching the entire two hours (not to mention shouting “Oh, shit!” every time someone hit someone else on the screen), but finding these letters in my inbox (along with all of the other new donations listed below) erased all of my lingering grumpy words. I’ll find stuff to complain about tomorrow. For now, check out our newest cool kids.

Thanks again, everybody, for being a part of this book drive. It’s pretty damn awesome, isn’t it?

Anna Carey helped out all the way from Ireland:

[readermail]Thanks for telling the world about the Oakland Library book drive. I just read about it this morning, while catching up on a week’s worth of online journals after a week away, and I sent them a copy of Shirley Hughes’s new book Annie Rose Is My Little Sister, because Shirley Hughes rocks and I hope lots of little American kids to discover her coolness. I dunno whether it’s the only donation they’ll get from Ireland, but I hope it won’t be the last, because I’ll spread the word over here.[/readermail]

Carl doesn’t like to be picked last for kickball:

[readermail]Hey Pamie,

I want to hang with the cool kids, sneaking smokes in the parking lot and drinking Zima out of Sprite bottles!

So I sent the Montclair branch “How to Survive the Loss of a Love” by Peter McWilliams, and “The Lovely Bones” by Alice Sebold.

And, since I have no coolkid website, could you link to Reading is Fundamental? After all, two dozen basketball players can’t be wrong!

This was a good thing of you to do – good luck!

PS – Can’t wait to finally understand Why Girls are Weird![/readermail]

The deliciously glittery Krystyn sprinkled… some books… which are much heavier, but…:

[readermail]That totally rules that people have donated so much. I just bought them:

The Carnivorous Carnival – Lemony Snicket
The Hostile Hospital – Lemony Snicket
The Unauthorized Autobiography of Lemony Snicket


And at this point I officially want to read a Lemony Snicket book.

Miranda wants in:

[readermail]OK, just because I want you to be proud of me too, I ordered All the Colors We Are: The Story of How We Get Our Skin Color. I worked at a preschool a year or so ago and the kids there really liked this book.[/readermail]

TC cares about your vagina:

[readermail]I bought for the Oakland Library:

Our Bodies, Ourselves by the Boston Women’s Health Book Collective
The Vagina Monologues by Eve Ensler[/readermail]

Cori bought something that will immediately be stolen from the Oakland Public Library, Montclair branch:

[readermail]Well, I got off my lazy bum (metaphorically speaking, at least), and ordered a copy of “The Art of X2” for the Montclair branch. Libraries rock, and so do you.[/readermail]

And I know you’re all, “What’s that link Cori sent us to? Is this a blog? Wha? WHO?” Well:

[readermail]The Bureau of Labor Statistics Producer Price Index page – that’s where I work. You know, in case any of your readers have been desperately seeking an alternative to the Consumer Price Index.[/readermail]

There’s your “Learn something new” for the day.

Rebekah feels the library love:

[readermail]Hi Pam!

I just donated The Da Vinci Code (because of the 67 reserves and 8 copies situation) and The King of Torts (because my own public library has helped me with my closeted Grisham love).

Dude, you rock.[/readermail]

I’m guessing she means I really do rock, and not in that Anne Heche way that we still say around here.

Amanda Lawrence did the math:

[readermail]I sent The Hostile Hospital (A Series of Unfortunate Events, Book 8) by Lemony Snicket and The Carnivorous Carnival (A Series of Unfortunate Events, Book 9) by Lemony Snicket because I recently discovered Lemony Snicket and think all kids should read these books. Then in order to get the free shipping I sent The Coldest Winter Ever by Sister Souljah because the price was perfect.

Now I’m going to go see if other libraries have wish lists!

Thanks for pointing me in the direction of a great cause.[/readermail]

And today when you look at the Amazon page for Why Girls Are Weird, under “people who bought this book also bought books from…” David Sedaris has been replaced by… Lemony Snicket. There’s an eight-year old who’s going to get the wrong book for Christmas, I tell you what.

Because of my mistaken gender biases, I submit here a correction from the incredibly understanding Jared:

[readermail]thanks for adding me to the list of donors! but, i’m actually a woman so it’s “her own bookdrive” hee hee. and i just preordered YOUR book to donate to the library as soon as it comes out. how’s THAT for brown nosing?

thanks again for getting the ball rolling and the inspiration in motion![/readermail]

Dude. I’ve even read her blog for like, months. What is wrong with me? I should be the one brown nosing after that mistake.

Sharon would like to teach the world to sing, but instead will teach them how to take care of their own damn selves without ever making an alimony payment:

[readermail]Just writing to let you know not only am I helping out Oakland Public Library, but I’m helping to teach the younger generations important life skills. Namely how to be rich (whaa?) and how to not use lawyers unless absolutely necessary. Courtesy of me, OPL will soon have “Rich Dad, Poor Dad: What the Rich Teach Their Kids About Money–That the Poor and Middle Class Do Not!” by Robert T. Kiyosaki, Sharon L. Lechter (Contributor) and “How to Do Your Own Divorce in California: Out-Of-Court Divorce, a Complete Kit (26th Edition)” by Ed Sherman.[/readermail]

Sharon is all about the empowering.

Shirked from Mary Anne Mohanraj’s journal entry (I see all! Like Santa!):

[readermail]I bought them Darwin’s Radio (mostly ’cause I know the author) and a Byron: Life and Legend (’cause Byron’s just so sexy), for the Piedmont branch. I used to go to that library, when I lived in Oakland — sometimes I would just hang out and read, sometimes I would take my laptop and write. It was nice to have someplace to go where I didn’t feel the obligation to buy a $3 cup of coffee in order to justify my table space — there were times when that would have been a financial hardship. Now that it’s no longer a hardship, it’s lovely to be able to give something back to the library — I felt a surprisingly intense feeling of satisfaction, buying them two books and including a little good-luck note. I hope library patrons enjoy them for years and years to come.[/readermail]

Thanks, Mary Anne!

JB is proud of all of you:

[readermail]Just writing to let you know that I love your site and to tell you that what you and all your readers are doing is great. I live in Canada (Hamilton to be precise), and you’ve inspired me to donate some books and money to my local library. I realize this doesn’t do the kids in Oakland much good, but they always say charity begins at home. I’m sure you’ve never been to Hamilton, but from what I hear about Oakland there are a few similarities.[/readermail]

I can’t even tell you how proud all of this makes me. You guys are helping out and making a difference.

Emily sent a list of her favorite things:

[readermail]I chose to get books from Amazon for the public library that I haven’t found in many libraries, yet were some of my favorites when I was a child:

The Last of the Really Great Whangdoodles,” Julie Andrews
The Phantom Tollbooth,” Jules Pfeiffer
I Love You,” Remy Charlip
Fortunately,” Remy Charlip
Mother Mother I Feel Sick: Send for the Doctor Quick Quick Quick,” Remy Charlip
Arm in Arm,” Remy Charlip

That last one in particular is responsible for the odd duck I am today. I grew up in the Bay Area, so it feels good to give something back.[/readermail]

The words “Mother, Mother I Feel Sick: Call The Doctor Quick, Quick, Quick” will always remind me of those twins on The Cosby Show when Rudy had her slumber party. It was the episode that introduced Peter. I love that episode. I love The Cosby Show. Don’t judge me. It was the one television show ever that my entire family watched together.

You made the news on the Oakland Public Library website. At first they called me “Pamela Ripon,” but I knew you Pamlea lovers would have had a field day, so I gently corrected them in an email.

Karen posted at The Usual Suspects:

[readermail]In case the feng shui doesn’t work out for the Montclair Branch patrons, I’ve sent them Trading Spaces Behind the Scenes so they can redo their rooms a la Hilde. (Also, it was the only item on the list that I’d read/seen/heard myself).[/readermail]

I just like that it was written by Meredith Brooks. I like imagining that we’ll never have to hear another song from that “Bitch” woman again because she now writes books for TLC.

Miglet gave, too:

[readermail]From the provided wish list, I ordered The Princess Diaries, so that it may instill in little Misty the false hope that, one day, she too will be revealed as a pretty, pretty princess, before the harsh craptasticness of reality sets in.[/readermail]

Go visit her link. She writes about Literacy Volunteers:

[readermail]I’ve been volunteering at my local affiliation since January and it’s been the most amazing experience. My student is a 48 year old man who could not read at all. When we got through the first lesson the look on his face was priceless. He couldn’t believe what he had just done.[/readermail]

Aw, y’all. Check this out. Hez writes:

[readermail]Pamie, thank you so much for writing about the plight of the Oakland Public Library system! I followed one of the links on your page to the Piedmont Avenue Library’s wishlist. The very first book on their list was “Why Girls Are Weird“! It was fate, I’m sure! I’ve pre-ordered a copy for them, and look forward to getting my hands on a copy myself![/readermail]

Oakland’s on to us, everybody. That’s nice of the library to give back to as well.

Katy (or is it Kayt?) helped out with:

[readermail]Hi Pamie, I donated two books to the library. They were John Hedgecoe’s Complete Guide to Black & White Photography: And Darkroom Techniques (Paperback) John Hedgecoe’s Guide to 35Mm Photography (Paperback).

thanks for being so great.[/readermail]

From Sharon:


I’ve been a long, long, longtime fan of your site. I think your entry on the Oakland libraries was awesome — and you don’t even live in Oakland! But I do (or close enough…), so how could I NOT send a book?

So I sent them “One Love, One Heart: A History of Reggae,” by James Haskins. Because, really…what kid doesn’t want to learn about Bob Marley? Kids love reggae! Or secretly, I just would have thought this was a cool book when I was a kid.

Also, I’m not sure if you know this or not, but the libraries aren’t the only things having a hard time in Oakland. They just made ridiculously drastic cuts to the public school funding, laying off a huge number of teachers and other employees. It’s a damn shame, because Oakland is one of the communities in this area that could use good, qualified teachers the most.


Love your site, love your writing, can’t wait to read your book. You rock.[/readermail]

Thanks, Sharon. Once you help out one place, you start to see all the other things that need to be done and then it can get overwhelming and depressing. It’s kind of why I don’t bother cleaning my bedroom anymore.

See everybody who has donated here. And if you can’t afford to help Oakland right now (because, man these times are hard, I know), then go and visit some of the sites of people who contributed. You just might find your new best friend or your favorite new journal. And won’t that make the people at happy?

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