Saturday, October 2, 2018



Golden Gate Branch Library

5606 San Pablo Avenue

Oakland CA

To celebrate the Golden Gate Library’s first 100 years, Commons Archive teamed up with the community for a homegrown block party!

Hundreds of neighbors, long-time and new, filled the street, enjoying live music, hands-on activities, and local food.  Many community organizations shared their good work:  PLACE for Sustainable Living, Emeryville Historical Society, Golden Gate Community Association, Siddha Yoga Ashram, Charles Porter Rec Center, the library’s own book-mobile and many more…take a look at the event’s video.

Free legacy food and neighborhood treats filled people’s souls and bellies.  Mark Lasartemay, grandson of the founders of the East Bay Negro Historical Society, grilled all afternoon.  Auntie Frances, a former Black Panther Party member, teamed up with Phat Beets, a food justice organization, to share boiled cornbread and collards. The Friends supported the event with delicious free gelato, lovingly crafted by Alex Nerguizian, whose food truck debuted this year.  He’s the son-in-law of one of the Friends and lives around the corner from the library.

Commons Archive worked with Kala Art Institute interns and St. Columba Church youth to collect neighbor stories and memories.  More than 100 community members wrote their visions for the library and neighborhood on hand-printed banners now installed in the library’s community room.  Some of the heartfelt messages:

In 5 years I want my neighborhood to…

Be inclusive: honoring the communities of the past and celebrating the awesome communities of the future

Be in right relationship with indigenous peoples of this land

Be full of people taking good care of each other

In 100 years I want my library to…

Provide more job opportunities for the youth

Be non-digital (I want books…in a building)

Provide a safe place to create, build community, and self realize

Continue to be our gateway to not only the world but the universe

Cathy, a long-time resident and activist, was the event emcee; she shared elders’ stories and introduced musical offerings. An indigenous blessing recognizing Ohlone land opened the event, and Council Member Kalb officially named the day in the library’s honor.  There was something for everyone -- a sing-along by the Emeryville Senior Center, line dancing, and youth jazz by the Genius Trio, led by a very talented 3rd-generation Golden Gate resident. The Friends of the Golden Gate Library house band performed with Sharon, a Golden Gate librarian since 2005, who sang original songs.