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Commons Archive: Golden Gate Library Local Collection

Oakland, California 2018

In 2018, Commons Archive published The Golden Gate Library Local Collection, an initial set of eight titles, forming the first neighborhood-based reference collection in the Oakland Public Library. This limited-edition artist book series contains photos, handwritten neighbor stories, journals, interview transcripts and scrapbooks—public knowledge that had been relegated to neighbors’ attics and basements.

The collection is a portal into this part of North Oakland neighborhood histories as well as a connection to the archives at the Oakland History Center and the African American Museum and Library at Oakland. Well-used oak library chairs have been repurposed to create a dedicated space to house and read the Local Collection. Accompanying the local collection, these bookmarks with neighbor quotes and line drawings were made in collaboration with the African American Museum & Library.

The Local Collection has been shared with neighbors during two celebrations, both included local musicians, neighbor panel conversations and special presentations by Susan D Anderson, author, curator, and historian with a focus on California’s African American history.