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Oakland Library Stays Open Late to Fight Weekend Homicides

 

An East Oakland library will stay open late in August as part of the city's campaign to provide youth with safe alternative places to spend their weekend nights.

The 81st Avenue East Oakland Community Library has joined city officials and the Oakland Unified School District for their "Late Night Live!" initiative, which aims to provide city youth with a safe haven on Friday and Saturday evenings.

The program came about in April after the Oakland Unified School District police Chief Pete Sarna presented data to city department heads showing most student-related homicides and shootings occurred late on Friday and Saturday nights.

In response, the city and school district leaders, along with community groups and sponsors, established Late Night Live!, which will give students in East and West Oakland places to go and offer programs that include athletics, cooking classes, digital arts classes and a talent search, according to the mayor's office.

In one late night program, budding musicians will be able to participate in an eight-week talent search hosted by Grammy in the Schools and Youth Movement Records. Students will learn about the music industry as they compete in the talent search. The winner of the contest will perform at the 2011 Art & Soul Oakland festival on August 21 and 22.

The East Oakland branch library, located at 1021 81st Ave., has joined the youth safety initiative and will remain open until 10 p.m. on Friday and Saturday nights, as opposed to its normal closing time of 5:30 p.m., library officials said.

The extended hours will be in effect through August 27, except for August 13, when the library will be closed due to citywide budget cuts.

 

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