As a long-time supporter and enthusiastic lover of public libraries, I read Sheila Goldmacher’s What Has Become of the Public Library? with sadness, frustration and empathy.
I live in Emeryville, and the library closest to me is the Golden Gate branch of the Oakland library system, where I typically visit twice a month. Golden Gate is the diametric opposite of your main branch: our library is small, often crowded with kids and parents, and we have real live – and very friendly – librarians who check out our books.
I have been frequenting Golden Gate for more than 10 years, and I still get a warm feeling when I am about to go there for my twice-monthly visit. Even the building looks like the school and library buildings I remember from my Back-East childhood in the forties.
So Berkeley, if you’re tired and depressed about the tomb-like atmosphere of your public libraries (even your South branch has lost much of its charm since the renovation), come on down to Golden Gate! We’re happy to show you a real public library – just like in the old days.