The majority of Oakland’s libraries are in danger of having their doors shut, as Mayor Jean Quan tackles with budget proposals to handle the city’s $58 million deficit.
One of them is the African American Museum And Library, which is home to rare books, papers and memorabilia documenting black life in the Bay Area since California was still part of Mexico.
AAMLO is unique among Oakland’s 18 branches because it has a dual role of archive and museum. Consequently, it has a different mission and quieter profile than the others.
It is also a research library that serves scholars, researchers, journalists from around the world, as well as local individuals trying to trace their family tree. In addition, it hosts events such as a talk Wednesday by Isabel Wilkerson, author of the novel “The Warmth of Other Sons” about the migration of African-Americans from the South to cities like Oakland during World War II.
Supporters will find out whether the libraries will survive this round of cuts as they have repeatedly in the past on June 21, when the budget is due for adoption.