Yes on Measure D!

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With library advocates from across the city, the night the City Council voted to place Measure D on the ballot. A great night, many years in the making!

On June 5, Oakland voters will have the opportunity to expand library hours and improve job quality for Oakland's librarians, by voting yes on Measure D. I am supporting this ballot measure (and serving on the committee) because Oakland families and youth depend on libraries, just like my family did when I was a kid.

One of the ways that the city balanced the budget during the recession was to cut library hours, get rid of the Bookmobile and to reduce the number of library staff with full time jobs and benefits. What this means is that now, the library is only open one evening per week, and only 5 days/week everywhere except the Main branch.

This means less time for Baby Bounce for kids (see photo below), less time for community groups to meet, less time for Lawyers in the Library, Free Tax Prep, and less time for other cool things like kids reading to certified therapy dogs. It means kids don't have the same access to literacy materials and help with homework assignments that I did as a kid, and fewer safe spaces to hang out after school and during the summer.

It also means that as the cost of living has increased in our city, we are having a harder time retaining library staff because OPL is not offering the same benefits and job security as other library systems in the East Bay. We have to do better to provide good jobs, so that our dedicated staff can afford to live in Oakland.

Oakland is an amazing city in so many ways, but a world class city needs world class services. It's why I ran for School Board and why I am serving on the Yes on Measure D committee - our youth and families need and deserve world class libraries. I hope you will join me in supporting Measure D.

You can support Measure D by voting yes on June 5, and by contributing online here to help us get the word out to Oakland voters, to buy lawn signs and pay campaign staff.

Yes on Measure D for Oakland libraries!

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Helen Bloch is the Childrens' Librarian at the Main Branch downtown. This photo is from a packed Baby Bounce, on a recent rainy Monday.

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