Hoover Branch Feasibility Study Progress

Hello everyone. Welcome to a progress check-in with the Hoover Branch Feasibility Study team. Our published report for Task 3 recently highlights our visit to three Oakland Public Librarys and one OUSD library. With a SWOT analysis, we identified significant strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats among current services. Paired with community visions gathered from workshops and surveys, our team developed a framework for future library spaces. It brings us joy knowing that future library spaces were directed by the community voice, with a majority of survey respondents claiming to live or have lived in the project's service area.

Sign-Off – Task 4

Our next step is to expand options for several sites and program alternatives.

Hoover Branch Library Feasibility Study Report Overview

Greetings library fans! We’ve completed the community outreach and stakeholder engagement portion of the feasibility study for a new Hoover Branch Library and are super excited about all the great input we received from the workshops, street labs and surveys! Your voices, stories, and advocacy was essential in our efforts to transform the community into an even more vital and livable place for all residents. The following is a draft report of our findings!
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Hoover Branch Library Report

This report is an on-going cumulative assessment for the Hoover Branch Library Feasibility Study coordinated by the City of Oakland, Department of Public Works, the Oakland Public Library (OPL), and a multi-disciplinary team.

The goal of this project is to envision, plan and design alternative funding strategies for a future branch library in the Hoover catchment area as identified in the OPL Master Facilities Plan, 2006. The feasibility study aims to present to institutions, grant-funders and other stakeholders a pathway to Bringing A Library Back to the Clawson, Hoover, McClymonds, Longfellow, Mosswood and Pill Hill communities of Oakland, California.


To ensure the project is grounded in community participation, the Advisory Committee is comprised of members representing the City of Oakland, Oakland Public Library, the Friends of the Hoover Durant Public Library, and other community members.


A comprehensive approach was taken to gather a wide cross section of input, including community workshops, a storytelling workshop, Street Labs, online and paper surveys.


The Hoover Branch Library study area includes area codes 94607, 94608, 94609, and 94612. Population, Education, and Income levels have shifted significantly over the past decade.


There are many zoning changes that have occurred over the years affecting the Hoover neighborhoods. That history still characterizes the geographic landscape, land use, and social experience of residents.


As of 2023, several amenities have been lost, including the last library branch in 1981.


In general, the smaller branches are “punching above their weight”, offering a significant number of programs despite size - making the recommended size for Hoover an open question.


For this study, we learned from what other cities and cultures around the world have done and how they have approached the design of a Hoover community library.


Community visioning workshops have been conducted. The team will focus on an analysis of three existing facilities - 81st Avenue, César Chávez, and Rockridge branch libraries.

Text reads: "Hooray for the kids!!"
Text reads: "Hooray for the kids!!"
participants stand in front of a projector screen

Thanks to our families that joined us on Saturday, September 30th for a youth design workshop. It’s always wonderful to hear the ideas of young people who have no idea what “isn’t” possible or what “can’t” happen. Our workshop presenter, Jeremiah Tolbert of Tolbert Design Architects, is a specialist in working with kids and design, and engaged the young people in a number of exercises where the elements of a “library of the future” were solicited. Jeremiah and his associate Betsy also did an AI iPad exercise where the kids were able to create a conceptual sketch and have the program generate a rendering of their ideas using artificial intelligence. Because the kids are so familiar with technology, they took to it immediately and created some really creative designs for the interior and exterior of a new library facility.

The youth participants saw a series of images of libraries from around the world and were able to say what they liked and didn’t like. They were attracted to library designs that looked comfortable and colorful with lots of activities.

Towards the end of the workshop we got a surprise visit from Alternier Cook, President of Friends of the Hoover Durant Public Library. She thanked the families for their participation and brought free books for the kids, so we want to thank her as well!

Hoover Video Trailer
Hoover Video Trailer
Image of Lionel Wilson, Jr.

We love hearing straight from the stakeholders about what it means to plan the vision of the new Hoover Branch Library! One of our favorites is Lionel Wilson, Jr. Lionel Wilson is the son of Lionel J. Wilson - Alameda County's first African-American judge, and later, the first African-American mayor of Oakland serving three terms from 1977 until 1991.

It’s always a pleasure talking with Lionel and hearing stories about all of the amazing things he’s accomplished. His family goes waaayyy back in the neighborhood and has some incredible stories to tell. We had Lionel sit with the team from the San Francisco Urban Film Festival to share his thoughts about the library and what it means to him. In the video, he shares his aspirations for Hoover youth and dreams of a new Hoover branch library.

Lionel Wilson, Jr. Quote
Lionel Wilson, Jr. Quote
Alternier Baker Cook

Alternier Baker Cook is the Chair of Friends of Hoover Durant Public Library and a graduate of McClymonds High School, class of 1958. She holds a Masters Degree in Social Work from California State University, Long Beach. Mother of two sons, and grandmother to two grandchildren, she is the current Chair of the Friends of the Hoover Durant Public Library.

You can find Alternier at almost every event including workshops, community events, meetings, and any other place she can find an audience to support the Hoover Branch Library. Her dedication is why this effort to bring a new facility to the neighborhood will be successful!

In the video trailer she shares her aspirations for our youth and dreams of a new Hoover branch library.

"I grew up in the Hoover Neighborhood and I remember the North Oakland Library as a fun place to go. I knew that there would be something interesting going on and I could visit with my friends. We could also stay there as long as we wish."
"I grew up in the Hoover Neighborhood and I remember the North Oakland Library as a fun place to go. I knew that there would be something interesting going on and I could visit with my friends. We could also stay there as long as we wish."
Hoover Town Nights
Hoover Town Nights
Hoover Street Lab at Town Nights!!
Hoover Street Lab at Town Nights!!

We had a lot of fun and got some great input from the neighbors at the latest StreetLab as part of the final Hoover Town Nights event! In addition to learning more about what people want to experience at the new Hoover Branch Library through our visual survey of ideas, and our where your people from? map exercise, we also launched our Oakland Hip Hop Hopscotch game, which was a total blast!! From the youngest to the oldest visitor, everyone was attracted to the hopscotch court that featured Oakland images and an Oakland hip hop quiz with a chance to win a custom t-shirt featuring images of the Oakland Super Heroes Mural Project. The mural was designed and created by Art Esteem, a local nonprofit, in partnership with students from McClymonds High School. The mural depicts Ja’Khi, princess of knowledge, who influences the people in her life to achieve the impossible, and Josiah, the messenger of fate, who works with Ja’Khi to change the lives of people around the world. DJ Justice is a DJ who spins and hosts block parties in West Oakland as a way to unite all people and ignite fires of change.

Thanks to all our friends and neighbors!
Thanks to all our friends and neighbors!
Workshop Participant

Thank you to Annette Miller of the Hoover Resident Action Council for providing space for the blinkLAB team to interact with the Hoover community at the Hoover Town Nights closing night celebration. While only scheduled to be at two community events, Annette provided the additional tables and chairs so that blinkLAB’s Founding Principal, June A. Grant, could attend three additional events for the community to add their voice to the Interactive survey that was launched at the 16th Annual Juneteenth Celebration & Street Festival coordinated by Barbara Howard of B-H Brilliant Minds. These public touch points are only possible through the coordinated efforts of our ‘on the ground’ local members.


On June, 3rd, we held our first community engagement event for the Hoover Branch Library Feasibility study and everyone involved had a great time sharing and ideating what the new facility could be and how it could really serve the neighborhood. An important part of the process was an overview of other community organizing efforts which resulted in a library. It's important to note that it wasn't the product we were studying, it was the process. In these other locations, dedicated community members, like those in the Hoover neighborhood organized, and through persistence and determination, were able to achieve their goal of manifesting a facility that reflected their thoughts and dreams. With your help, we can do that too!
Please sign up for updates, share the information, and join us at the next event!

The Community Engagement Team

Street Lab survey participant

The community engagement efforts are being conducted by a multidisciplinary team with specific skills in design, outreach, storytelling media, youth and other hard-to-reach populations. Working with the project lead, blinkLAB!architecture, RBA Creative is leading the community engagement efforts based on decades of service in West Oakland and across the city for decades. The community engagement team is supported by media, storytelling and youth specialists that will help us paint a picture of what the new Hoover Branch Library can be. Our goal is to help complete the task that the Friends of the Hoover Durant Library started back in 2013 to bring a new branch library neighborhood.

The possibilities of how this new branch library can serve the community are endless, which is why we are asking for your assistance in shaping the vision. We are taking a blank page, blue sky approach to our outreach and engagement efforts, which is why we're counting on your support and participation.

Please sign up for updates on the project and visit us at one of our community events, which will include community workshops, street labs, and other events. You can also contact the team directly at info@rbacreative.com to see how you can get involved.

  • blinkLAB!architecture
    • blinkLAB!architecture is a research-based architecture and urban design practice focusing on spatial transformation through design, urban advocacy, and technology exploration. Serving as lead designer and manager of the Hoover Branch Library feasibility study, blinkLAB! Uses an open and collaborative approach to bridge economics, architectural form, urban design, industrial design, furniture, and fabrication. blinkLAB!’s founder, June Grant, has worked for years with the community to bring this Hoover Branch Library project to fruition and is uniquely qualified for the task.

  • RBA Creative
    • RBA Creative is a communications and public affairs firm based in the Laurel District of Oakland. The founders, Randolph and Erica Belle, both have a background in the arts and believe that in addition to life in the digital realm, we need to foster authentic human connection through face-to-face interaction, creativity, and self-expression.

  • SF Urban Film Fest
    • The SF Urban Film Fest (SFUFF) gathers a diverse, engaged audience and uses the power of storytelling to spark discussion and civic engagement around urban issues— asking what it means to live together and create just and equitable cities. SFUFF will be leading the storytelling activities for the project, gathering and building a narrative around what this new library means to the community, and how it can truly serve the residents.

  • Jeremiah Tolbert
    • Jeremiah I. Tolbert II, LEED AP, AIA is the founding principal of Tolbert Design Architects, which has developed a national reputation for the design of a range of major public and private buildings. He is a graduate of UC Berkeley and is the past President of the American Institute of Architects East Bay Chapter. Jeremiah teaches for the AIA, promotes education on vital design topics, and supports outreach for current and aspiring architects. He will be conducting youth engagement activities for the project.

  • Place It!
    • Place It! is a design- and participation-based urban planning practice founded by urban planner and artist James Rojas. At its core, Place It! engages people in urban planning, transportation, design, landscape, and neighborhood change through their hands and senses so that they can be creative and expansive in their thinking and offer up real solutions to the challenges facing our cities and neighborhoods.

Literacy and Educational Attainment

Street Lab Book Giveaway
Street Lab Book Giveaway

Literacy and educational attainment levels vary across the study target neighborhoods which include Hoover Durant, McClymonds, Longfellow and Clawson. We believe a new state-of-the-art library facility will have a tremendous positive impact on the success stories we are able to tell of individuals who have improved possibilities through library programming. This new facility has the opportunity to collaborate with local schools and educational institutions, and create partnerships with community organizations focused on literacy, education, youth and adult development.

A new branch library will also have a great impact on the broader community by providing resources and support services as requested by the community members themselves. These services could include homework help and tutoring programs, career development and job search assistance, multilingual resources, and other services for diverse communities.

Hoover Community Engagement Goals
Hoover Community Engagement Goals
Past News
Past News


Noel ferguson

Did you know that the first African American mayor of the City of Oakland, Lionel Wilson, came from your community, along with the first African American Librarian for the City of Oakland? The Hoover Branch Library should be much more than a place for books. We see the library as a place where future leaders get their starts and join with other community leaders to make a difference in our great city and the world.

Lloyd Noel Ferguson was a famous chemist born right here in the Hoover Neighborhood! Lloyd was destined for success from an early age. As a child, he had a backyard laboratory in which he developed a moth repellent, a silverware cleanser, and a lemonade powder. He graduated from Oakland Tech in 1934 then went on to UC Berkeley where he was the first African American to earn a Ph.D. in chemistry!

Lloyd is also the father of Lisa Ferguson who is the first African American attorney to serve as a director for the California Supreme Court.


The first major step towards the return of a dedicated branch library to this historic residential community. The Feasibility study will be a community-inclusive process, will document your vision and create an enduring plan that respects cultural legacy, while scribing a pathway towards new futures.

Can you believe the Hoover neighborhood once had two library branches! One was called the North Oakland Branch Library located at 3424 San Pablo Avenue near Hoover Middle School, which opened in 1888, and another called the Telegrove Branch housed in a small storefront at 34th and Grove (MLK, Jr.) Streets, opened in 1930. Our last branch library for the neighborhood disappeared in 1971 leaving many in the community longing for a new branch ever since!


Join us for the Hoover Branch Library Storytelling Workshop; the first in a series of public events in support of a new cultural and educational facility in the community. Sharing your stories and experiences will inspire and shape the design of the future branch library.

The 3-hour workshop has two highly interactive segments. In the first, participants will become familiar with the four main components of a story— Story, Audience, Message and Style (SAMS). Keith Battle from BAVC Media will lead the discussion and together we will analyze a few short videos on the impact and importance of branch libraries using the SAMS rubric. In the second half, participants will join small break-out groups led by a professional local filmmaker and generate unique storylines or simple storyboards using the SAMS rubric about what a new branch library means to you and your community. Lunch will be served. SIGN UP NOW- SPACE IS LIMITED!!

Girl with toddler reading

“In 2013, NCPC Beat 6X residences decided to “bring our library back”. Today, Friends of Hoover Durant Public Library is a vital community resource, along with our volunteer members, are committed to Bringing our Library Back!!”

— Alternier Baker Cook, Chair FoHDPL


The new Hoover Branch Library was imagined as a place for stories, for community, for documenting history, and imagining the future. The new branch will ensure a balance of library space and service needs for area residents. From our initial outreach and community engagement efforts, we heard that residents want:

  • A destination to convene a wide range of residents
  • A space which provides access to information and materials throughout the system-at-large
  • A place that sparks neighborhood revitalization and defines the community as a source of pride
  • A resource that transforms hopelessness to empowerment and vision

In terms of the physical attributes of the facility, community members would like:

  • A 12,000+ square feet building with a range of community-serving uses
  • A multi-functional space with classrooms, a kitchen, special event areas, and the most current technological amenities
  • A location convenient to area residents, i.e. parking, public transportation, pedestrian and bicycle access

Community Engagement

The storytelling workshop will be the first public engagement, but that’s just the beginning of a robust and comprehensive community engagement process, with input from young and old Oaklanders from the neighborhood to build an inclusive vision of an incredible community learning resource center! We want to hear from you to learn how the new Hoover Branch can best support the educational and social needs of Hoover and serve as a shining example of how the residents, the library system and the city of Oakland can work collaboratively to develop this vital asset.

Sign up to receive updates and stay tuned for more information on how you can participate to have your voice heard!

We need your voice!
We need your voice!