Community Spotlight: Nnekay FitzClarke of Libros Libres

Free. Books.


It’s just that simple. The goal of Libros Libres is to spread literature through Oakland. There is nothing like having your favorite book rest on a shelf, ready to be revisited, loaned out, or passed on. Within the covers of a book are moments of emotion, adventure, even life changing concepts and all you need to do is just turn the page.

When we were contacted by Oaklandish to collaborate we couldn’t have been happier. Not only do we regularly sport their merchandise, but we too share a devotion to our city of Oakland. Oaklandish created a community through its block parties, concerts, and incredible First Friday events. I don’t know about you, but when I see the familiar roots of the Oaklandish tree on a bumper sticker I feel a sense of pride. Libros Libres aims to support the Oakland community as Oaklandish has been doing for years, making this partnership is an honor.

Oakland is a city for the arts with a thriving culture of the written word. Authors such as; Amy Tan, Jack London, and Gertrude Stein have walked our streets and contributed to the beautiful cultural fabric of the Town. Oakland, like many other cities has both an incredible literary community and those who have limited access to books. Due to budget cuts we’ve watched great programs like the Oakland Public Library’s Bookmobile end, closing off entire communities to fabulous library services.  While Oakland has a thriving local bookstore community many of our residents simply cannot afford to purchase for themselves or for their children. It is Libros Libres’ mission to bridge these two communities. By accepting donations of books that would otherwise sit on shelves we deliver them into the hands of folks who might just find that book they will cherish for life.

We recently had an event at Latham Square in downtown Oakland. It was a bright sunny day, with streams and streams of people taking a moment out of their day to come check out our shelves of donated books. Pretty much every walk of life was represented everyone with a giant smile on their face, and it felt good. This unity is what is at the heart of Oakland, Libros Libres is our love letter to this incredible place we call home.

Please come out and join Libros Libres at the Oaklandish Pop Up Shop in Jack London Square (472 Water St.), this Sunday, December 15th, from 12pm to 4 pm. In addition to a large variety of free books, Libros Libres will be offering gift wrapping for these books, a DIY book-making workshop, and a special ‘tell your story’ typewriter station. Hope to see you there!