Tag Archives: Berkeley Public Library

Opinionator

Op-ed: The public and library employees are being ignored by the Berkeley Board of Library Trustees

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In the home stretch of researching my latest book, I found myself consulting a 1969 issue of an anthropology publication archived in the Main Branch of the Berkeley Public Library, discovering what the people I had been writing about — the Juwasi (or San) of the Kalahari Desert — really looked like. Before leaving the library, I browsed the reference room. I came upon an atlas of women travelers of the 19th century. Whoopee, I thought. Research done, proofs corrected, I’ll … Continue reading »

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The It List: Five things to do in Berkeley this weekend

mark morris
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MARK MORRIS MAKES MAGIC Berkeley is blessed to have the Mark Morris Dance Group perform annually at Zellerbach Hall as part of Cal Performances. The group is in residence this weekend and will be performing what the New York Times says “is his luminous masterpiece L’Allegro, il Penseroso ed il Moderato, set to the Handel oratorio of the same name.” Morris’s epic returns to Cal Performances for the fifth time since it premiered in 1988. The production includes a cast of 24 dancers and the Philharmonia Baroque Orchestra and Chorus. “I find no end to the intricacies of Mr. Morris’s construction and the meanings that continually pour from them. It fills the soul with wonder; it fascinates the mind with suggestion” (The New York Times). The performances are Friday and Saturday, March 11 and 12 at 8:00 p.m. and Sunday, March 13 at 3:00 p.m. Tickets start at $40.Continue reading »

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The It List: Five things to do in Berkeley this weekend

Ubuntu Theater Group
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UBUNTU THEATER PROJECT Oakland’s Ubuntu Theater Project is coming to Berkeley with the third show in its inaugural season, the Pulitzer Prize-winning I Am My Own Wife by Doug Wright. The play opens on Saturday March 5 in a cozy, historic Berkeley home whose original ballroom has been converted into a theater space. The contemporary classic is based on Wright’s fascination with Charlotte von Mahlsdorf, a transgender person who survived Nazi Germany and Stasi surveillance in East Berlin. Von Mahlsdorf’s story is a celebration of courage, resilience and of self-preserving compromises. The play speaks to the complexity of survival when one’s most intimate home — the body — is the source of persecution. Ubuntu’s co-artistic director William Hodgson plays all 40 characters in the play. The play runs through March 20 at Haba Na Haba House, 1936 Thousand Oaks Blvd, Berkeley  94707. For tickets ($15-35 online; pay-what-you-can at the door) and information, call 510-646 1126 or visit www.ubuntutheaterproject.com. … Continue reading »

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The It List: Five things to do in Berkeley this weekend

Byron
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BERKELEY BLACK HISTORY MONTH CELEBRATION Berkeley’s third annual Black History Month Celebration takes place Sunday, Feb. 28, 2-5 p.m. at the Ed Roberts Campus. The theme this year is “History Makers” and throughout the day people and events important to Berkeley’s history will be acknowledged and celebrated. The program includes a workshop at 2 p.m., “Violence in the Black Community: Cause and Strategy,” facilitated by Cal State East Bay sociology professor Benjamin Browser; and a panel presentation with Black Lives Matter members Barbara Ann White, Spencer Pritchard and Marcel Jones, discussing the rationale for the organization, operating principals, and the group’s work and activities. There is also a premiere showing of Fair Legislation: The Byron Rumford Story, a documentary about the second African-American assemblyman elected to the California State Legislature. A reception and Q&A with producers and cast members will follow the 3:30pm screening. There’s live music by Soul Progression; gospel mime group Double Portion of Praise; and six-year old singing sensation De’Or — as well as  RJ Reed’s “Black Inventions Display”, created to teach children about the contributions of black American inventors. Berkeley Black History Month Celebration, Sunday Feb. 28, 2-5 p.m. Doors open at 1:30pm. Admission is free and open to the public. Ed Roberts Campus, 3075 Adeline St. (opposite Ashby BART).
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The It List: Five things to do in Berkeley this weekend

Hand2M1
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SHOTGUN’S BLAST FESTIVAL Berkeley’s Shotgun Players have launched a new festival, BLAST, with the goal of “exploding the limits of possibility in theater.” The intention is for BLAST to be an annual celebration of difference — a month-long festival of new ideas and visions. “BLAST aims to explode the boundaries of the stage with performances by local and national theater artists. We think life is dynamic, changing, ephemeral, strange, and beautiful. Theater should be too,” says the theater. On Saturday and Sunday you can see My Mind is Like an Open Meadow, by Portland’s Hand2Mouth ensemble. A mixture of lighting, pre-recorded voice, music, dance and scenery, the piece is based on one year’s worth of recordings Erin Leddy made of her fascinating grandmother, actress Sarah Braveman (watch the trailer). BLAST runs through March 6 at the Ashby Stage, 1901 Ashby Ave. Free parking in the Ashby BART parking. Tickets: $15 advance/$20 door. Blast Pack tickets available for multiple performances. See full program at Shotgun Players’ website. … Continue reading »

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Authors’ Dinner raises funds for Berkeley Public Library

BPLF 2016 Authors Dinner.  Photo: Richard Friedman
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On Saturday night, the Berkeley Public Library Foundation hosted its 14th annual Authors’ Dinner, a fundraiser which this year will help remodel parts of the Central Library, especially for the use of teenagers.

Hundreds of guests mingled with 32 local authors who were honored at the event, which is always one of Berkeley’s most popular social occasions. Attendees proudly recite their library card numbers and bid for silent auction items to raise money for their favorite local public institution.

Read more stories and op-eds on the Berkeley Public Library.

The honorary chair was Frances Dinkelspiel, co-founder of Berkeleyside, whose bestselling book, Tangled Vines: Greed, Murder, Obsession and an Arsonist in the Vineyards of California, was published in 2015. … Continue reading »

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The It List: Five things to do in Berkeley this weekend

Berkeley Half Marathon organizers are expecting 10,000 runners to participate this year. Photo: berkeleyhalf.com
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BERKELEY HALF MARATHON The third annual Berkeley Half Marathon is closed in terms of signing up to participate, but that doesn’t mean you can’t take part by cheering on the runners. It takes place Sunday, Nov. 22, and features new race options, challenges and post-race festivities that are open to the public. In addition to the 13.1-mile half marathon, runners there is a half marathon relay (two participants), 10K race or 5K race. A Finish Line Festival that is open to the public will be held following the race at Civic Center Plaza, featuring a Lagunitas beer garden and various local food vendors. And there’s a free bike valet service. The half marathon course starts and ends at Civic Center Park, taking racers through the UC Berkeley campus, the Gourmet Ghetto, Telegraph Avenue and along the scenic Bay Trail. Funds raised through the Berkeley Half Marathon helped the Berkeley Public Schools Fund reach its record $1million fundraising goal last year. For more details, visit bit.ly/berkeleyhalf. … Continue reading »

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Library to hire former Albany city manager for top job

Berkeley Public Library. Photo: Nancy Rubin
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The Berkeley Board of Library Trustees plans to hire Beth Pollard, an administrator with deep roots in the East Bay, as the new interim library director. The decision will be confirmed at a meeting today.

Pollard served as Berkeley’s interim deputy city manager from Sept. 2014 to February of this year. Prior to that, she was the city manager of Albany for 12 years, as well as the interim library director for the San Anselmo library.

The board chose Pollard because it believes she brings great administrative and personal skills to the job and will be able to mend the rift caused by the current collections management policy and the departure of former Library Director Jeff Scott.

“What we need at this time is a great administrator who can bring people together,” said Julie Holcomb, who serves on the BOLT board. “Her personal skills, her management skills, will serve the library extremely well at this time.” … Continue reading »

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The It List: Five things to do in Berkeley this weekend

DJ Dave
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NOT YOUR USUAL LIBRARY EVENT The Berkeley Public Library Foundation is holding a “spirited after-hours event” on Saturday, Oct. 10. Tall Tales & Local Ales will feature David “DJ Dave” Wittman, of “Whole Foods Parking Lot” fame (if you haven’t seen it, drop everything and watch now). Wittman will be joined by an all-star cast of storytellers, including Kay DeMartini, Scott Sanders, Saida Acevedo, Rachman Blake, Robin Claire and Berkeley High senior Lena Sibony. Musicians from the BHS music programs will perform. Local cider and beer is provided by Crooked City Cider, Hoi Polloi, Sierra Nevada, Triple Rock and Calicraft, plus home-made ginger ale, lemonade and hearty finger foods. 14-years-old and older welcome. The evening benefits “It’s Time for Central,” high-impact renovations at the Central Library, including a new space for teens, renovation of the reference room, expanded space for art installations, improved interior lighting and more. Berkeleyside Nosh is a sponsor of Tall Tales & Local Ales. Tickets are $50 for the first two, and $35 for additional tickets available online. Saturday, Oct. 10, 7-10 p.m., Berkeley Central Library, 2090 Kittredge St.  … Continue reading »

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Bedbugs found in Berkeley library; North Branch closed

North Branch Library
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The North Branch of the Berkeley Public Library was shuttered Friday morning after officials discovered bedbugs in three different areas of the branch.

Bedbug-sniffing dogs identified the possible presence of bedbugs in the downstairs men’s restroom, underneath the desks of the public computer area, and in a chair in the reading room. No books or library materials appear to be infected, according to a press release from the library administration. … Continue reading »

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Number of books weeded from library system under dispute

The Board of Library Trustees officially appointed Sarah Dentan, far left, as acting interim library director on Sept. 10. Photo: Frances Dinkelspiel
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The new acting interim director of the Berkeley Public Library pledged Wednesday night to reinstate some of the input and authority that librarians and staff lost under former Director Jeff Scott — but one of her staff members also suggested that the total number of items weeded out under Scott’s authority may have been closer to 19,000 rather than the 39,000 widely reported.

At a Berkeley Board of Library Trustees meeting, Sarah Dentan presented a report about the collections management process – a report that Scott was scheduled to present until he abruptly resigned on Aug. 31.

Dentan characterized the weeding process as more considered and thoughtful than has been portrayed by a group of former and current librarians. They have led a series of protests in the past few months to bring attention to what they saw as “draconian” book weeding. Along with City Councilman Kriss Worthington, they also raised questions about Scott’s truthfulness. For many weeks, Scott insisted that only 2,200 books had been weeded. However, after Worthington visited Scott in his office in mid-July and, with a few keystrokes, pulled up a list that showed that 39,000 books had been weeded, Scott acknowledged that the higher number was accurate. His change of tune made many, including members of BOLT, lose confidence in him. … Continue reading »

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The It List: Five things to do in Berkeley this weekend

East Bay writer and urban farmer Novella Carpenter will be at the Claremont branch of the Berkeley library today at 4 p.m.
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NOVELLA CARPENTER AT THE LIBRARY Today, Friday, local writer, urban farmer, educator and activist Novella Carpenter will take part in a free author chat at the Claremont branch of the Berkeley Public Library. The talk coincides with the paperback release of Carpenter’s memoir, Gone Feral: Tracking My Dad Through the Wild. Claremont Branch Library, 2940 Benvenue Ave., 4-5 p.m. Call 510-981-6280 for more information or visit the library’s website.  … Continue reading »

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Breaking: Jeff Scott resigns as Berkeley library director

Jeff Scott
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The Berkeley Public Library announced Monday that Jeff Scott has officially resigned from his position as director of library services. The move comes just 10 months after Scott took the position, in November 2014. The resignation is effective Sept. 8.  

Scott’s abrupt departure comes in the wake of a controversy over the weeding of books at Berkeley’s central library, which has put the library director on the defensive over the past few weeks. Criticism centered on his management style and his perceived honesty.

“It is with a heavy heart that I tender my resignation as the Director of Library Services of the Berkeley Public Library. I have enjoyed my work here at the library and I am proud of what we have been able to accomplish,” Scott said in a prepared statement.

The Library Board of Trustees will initiate a search to fill Scott’s position, according to the statement, released by Abigail Franklin, chair of the board, shortly after 2 p.m. Monday. In the interim, Sarah Dentan, acting deputy director, will serve as acting director.

Read more about the controversial weeding at Berkeley’s central library.

“I have appreciated the enthusiasm for library services that Jeff has brought to Berkeley and wish him well,” Franklin said. … Continue reading »

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