Come Outside The MLK, Jr. Branch

By Celia Davis, Branch Manager

The Martin Luther King, Jr. Branch has a new video on the Oakland Public Library’s YouTube channel that highlights outdoor programming at the King branch. It was created by local videographer Ivy Chen.

Through participation in the Healthy Havenscourt Collaborative, the branch partnered with Civic Design Studio to create an outdoor art display space and demonstration garden.

Tommy Wong of Civic Design Studio

For the outdoor art display space, Civic Design Studio installed art frames, a space for the community to share its art creations. The first display is “Transformative Heroes” created by Lions Creek Crossing youth. Through a six-month art therapy program, youth identified their powers to help them solve personal, family or community problems. Each piece features the youth’s identified power and a poem.


An individual art piece at MLK, Jr. Branch.

A book, The Transformative Heroes, documents the project and is available for checkout. In the future, youth can paint on reusable large aluminum composite boards. There is a new art piece on the fence designed by Castlemont High School students.


The demonstration garden project began with a Keep Oakland Beautiful grant and expanded with a Healthy Havenscourt grant. A Civic Design Studio staff built two large wooden planters for the library. Volunteers helped shovel soil into the planters.


Volunteers dig the MLK Branch on Soil Day March 17

Subsequently a native plant-use expert helped identify and source vegetable and pollinator plants. A girl scout is helping with planting and creating signs for the garden. The branch now has numerous gardening tools, with the plan to develop youth programming. To foster youth involvement in the garden, a plexiglass art project is planned for the planters. The library also has a new seed lending library.


The last piece is the bike shed. With a state grant, the library will expand the bike programming space at King Branch, with Oakland Original Scraper Bike Team involvement.


Reginald Burnette Jr (RB), Bicyclist & Pedestrian Advisory Commission District 6, at the MLK, Jr. Branch Bike Shed.

The MLK, Jr. Branch has been established for about 100 years and is located at 6833 International Blvd., Oakland. The collection contains materials in Spanish and Vietnamese languages. The library also has a growing collection of compact discs, videos, and DVDs. A developing special collection on Martin Luther King Jr. features books, videos, audiotapes and DVDs. The branch also houses a Black History collection, which contains adult fiction, non-fiction and biographies written by or about people of African descent.


Come visit us!