One of sixteen branch libraries of the Oakland Public Library system, it became the first all-Spanish library in the Western states in September of 1966. It was first known as the Fruitvale Branch and it was located on 1457 Fruitvale Ave. It then changed its name to the Latin American Branch before moving to the transit village. In March 1997, it was renamed to honor the leader of the United Farm Worker's Movement, Cesar Estrada Chavez.
The library serves as a neighborhood library and a city-wide latino resource center. It offers tutoring services, open chess games, children's storytelling, ESL classes, youth events, and other community services to Oakland residents, and is headed by manager Pete Villasenor. The Chavez library was the first in the United States to start a Spanish literature collection, with 18,500 circulating Spanish items available. There's an excellent historical collection of Chicano Studies Collection housed in this branch.
The branch is equipped with sixteen (16) computers with Internet access for public use, and two (2) additional internet-only express stations.
One important aspect of the Cesar E. Chavez branch is its Seed Lending library, which is a free urban seed project working to increase wholesome food within the community. Available to everyone, there is no library card needed in order to participate. All the library asks is that gardeners allow some of the plants to go to seed and share the seeds for other using the Seed Lending library.
In December, 2013, the OPL launched Chinese Corner at the Cesar Chavez branch, a new collection with a variety of Chinese language learning tools, materials about China and materials in Chinese or bilingual (English/Chinese) of all formats (books, CDs, DVDs). The new collection, sponsored by China Hanban, a publisher of Chinese language teaching materials, offers Chinese language learning tools for all ages. Thinking of learning a new language? Or ready to polish your Chinese conversations? The Oakland Public Library has the right tools for you.
- Teen GameZone, Wednesdays, 3-5pm. For more info: 535-5620
- Computer Basics in Spanish/Clase de computadoras para principantes en espanol: Registracion requerida, llame al 535-5620. (Registration required). Sabados, 10-11:30 AM. (Saturdays)
- Art with MOCHA: Thursdays, 3-5PM. Kids (grades K-8) come to MOCHA's FREE, weekly art workshops. No sign-up necessary. Just show up and paint, draw, build, glue, sew, collage, and play with clay.
- Teen Gaming and Button Making: Play Rock Band, Black Ops II, and other video games. Make buttons, too! Wednesdays, 3PM.
- Chavez Teen Advisory: Help advise the library how to better serve teens. Snacks provided. Get community service credit for school. 3rd Saturday, 11:00 AM.
- Tight Knit Group: For adult and teen knitters of all levels. Bring your current project to show off and provide inspiration or bring an abandoned or difficult project for advice. 2nd and 4th Saturdays, 3:00-5:00 PM.
- Chess at Chavez: Instruction for beginners and a place for patrons of all ages and levels to play chess with each other. Saturdays, 11am to 1PM.
- Preschool Storytime: Bilingual Spanish/English. Wednesday, 10:30
- Toddler Storytime: Wednesdays, 11:10, followed by playtime
Yearly partnership with AARP to provide free tax services
Cesar E. Chavez Library
3301 East 12th Street, Oakland, California 94601
- Monday: Closed
- Tuesday: 12:30 p.m. - 8:00 p.m.
- Wednesday: 10:00 a.m. - 5:30 p.m.
- Thursday: 10:00 a.m. - 5:30 p.m.
- Friday: 12:00 p.m. - 5:30 p.m.
- Saturday: 10:00 a.m. - 5:30 p.m.
- Sunday: Closed
César E. Chávez Branch Library official website