Our Oakland : Eastside Stories

Our Oakland : Eastside Stories is a public art and civic engagement project for the new 81st Avenue Library in East Oakland, California. The 3-part project integrates architectural artwork, web media, and community-building components into a comprehensive, multi-faceted whole. The project is framed around the concept of interconnectedness and renewal, which is symbolized by the iconic image of linked ripples.

Architectural artwork includes a 65 foot span of art glass in the main reading room, and an interactive kiosk. The visual designs amplify the ripples motif to create an immersive built environment. Web media includes a participatory web portal Our Oakland for community stories about East Oakland told by the people of East Oakland, to provide an alternative to stereotyped media portrayals of the under-served community. An extensive community-building program online and on the ground develops partnerships and leverages resources, as well as generates website content.

Our Oakland helps establish the 81st as a leading edge model for community-focused libraries, where patrons can participate in making meaning through their stories as well as access information, combining new media technology and human-centered engagement to promote community identity and pride of place.

Spring 2011