Fall 2019

Golden Gate Branch Library

5606 San Pablo Avenue

Oakland CA

The Golden Gate Library Local Collection is a portal into this neighborhood's histories as well as a connection to the archives at the Oakland History Room and the  African American Museum and Library at Oakland (AAMLO). These archives, though in downtown Oakland, are not as easily accessible to Golden Gate neighbors. Well-used oak library chairs have been repurposed to create a dedicated space to house and read the Local Collection. As part of the book launch celebration, the chairs formed a convivial outdoor reading lounge. These reading chairs now sit throughout the Golden Gate Library.

We are now able to return to the community much of the material that neighbors have shared with Commons Archive over the years. The Local Collection's eight titles present materials, once stuck in boxes, stored in basements and locked in filing cabinets, in a form that's easy for the neighborhood library to manage. Over the past 18 months, we’ve been reformatting typed and handwritten journals, xeroxed reports, as well as flyers, photos and other printed ephemera to fit within the book's structure. We designed the book covers as condensed timelines of people and places in the neighborhood. Detailed photo keys allow people to further explore layers of change.

“It’s just good to know your neighbor, period.” Accompanying the local collection, these bookmarks are a collaboration between the African American Museum & Library at Oakland (AAMLO) and the Golden Gate Library. Line drawings of each library created  by talented Oakland Public Library staff member Rad Sanza are featured on one side of the bookmark. Quotes from current Golden Gate neighbors and founding members of the AAMLO link the libraries. The bookmark's other side explains the intertwined lineage of the East Bay Negro Historical Society and AAMLO with the Golden Gate Library. These information-rich bookmarks are available at the Golden Gate Library, AAMLO, and the Oakland Public Library’s Oakland History Room. Until now, this connection has been relatively invisible.


A Renovator’s History, Seth Melchert
A resident’s personal account of rebuilding his house and connecting with neighbors in the 1980s

Blacks in Oakland: 1852–1987, Donald Hausler
A well-researched compendium about the parallel African American communities in Oakland

Community Profile: Golden Gate Neighborhood, Professor Edward Blakely & Students
UC Berkeley’s urban planning students' research into the Golden Gate community (1993)

Golden Gate Conversations, Sue Mark
Oral histories of longtime and new neighbors (2015)

Golden Gate Neighborhood Conditions, Professors Neema Kudva, David Driskell & Students
UC Berkeley’s urban planning students’ research into the Golden Gate community (2001)

Golden Gate Walking Tour, Donald Hausler
Photos and research of the neighborhood’s business district

I Must Not Forget, Eugene Lasartemay
The handwritten life story of one of the East Bay Negro Historical Society's founders

On Becoming A Historic Resident, Brock Winstead
A relative new neighbor’s social and archaeological excavation of his home