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The Story Bus

In 2007, staff at the West Oakland Library created a new program to increase the number of children using the library. With funding from a State and Federal transportation grant, the library engaged charter buses to bring classrooms of young children and their teachers from underserved neighborhood schools to visit the library regularly, every 5-6 weeks. 

At the library, the classes enjoyed a special storytime with books, songs, and rhymes. Then they browsed and checked out books to take back to their classroom, to be returned at their next visit.

This successful and popular program ran from 2007 - 2020, when the grant was spent out and closed. 

In March 2022, the Oakland Public Library (OPL) resumed this powerful and beloved program with funding from individual donors, private foundations, and the Friends of the Oakland Public Library. They also gave it a new name: the Story Bus.

By providing transportation, OPL's Story Bus program is creating new generations of library users in West Oakland. In 2023-24, the program serves 409 students (ages 2-6) in 24 classes with regular library visits during the school year.


For more information, contact Sara DuBois, OPL Grants Coordinator: (510) 238-5672 /

OPL and the Friends are honored to share that the entire cost of the Story Bus service for the 2024-25 school year will be paid by a generous gift from Robert C. Toll, in memory of his wife and long-time Friend of the Oakland Public Library, Judith (Judy) Toll. Judy was the librarian and directed plays at San Leandro High School for more than 20 years. From 2001-2020, Judy volunteered at the Friends’ Bookmark Bookstore, and she served on the Board of Directors for 14 years. The library and the Friends are grateful for Judy’s service and for this kind gift in her memory.


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