OAKLAND -- The Bookmark Bookstore, a shop run by Friends of the Oakland Public Library in Old Oakland, is celebrating its 20th anniversary this week.

The event, spearheaded by volunteer Brook Vanderford, began Monday and will offer various promotions, including a 20percent discount on all books, a reduced membership price ($20), and a Nov. 10 kid's day.

The party will culminate on the evening of Nov. 14 at Cosecha restaurant in Swan's Market. All FOPL members are invited to the event, which will feature a panel of local authors and Periscope Cellars wine. Up to 90 people can reserve a place at the party, and Vanderford hopes that the weeklong celebration will raise awareness about the shop and FOPL's work.

The fact that The Bookmark looks like any other used book store is another reminder not to judge a book by its cover. The shop is staffed almost entirely by volunteers, and all proceeds are invested back into the Oakland public library system. To date, the store at 21 Washington St. has raised $1.5 million from book sales and yearly memberships.

Vanderford recalled that at first she didn't realize the shop was a nonprofit. And now after volunteering for almost four years, she said the people and the bookstore have become an integral part of her life in Oakland.


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"This place has been a godsend to me -- it's like a family," she said. "I feel like I have 20 grandmothers now." Over the years, FOPL has helped fund many library projects and renovations in Oakland. Most recently, the organization supported the establishment of the new 81st Avenue branch in East Oakland, which opened in January 2011 and serves the public as well as Acorn Woodland and EnCompass Academy elementary schools.

FYI
For more information about the 20th anniversary celebrations and The Bookmark Bookstore, visit the official website at http://fopl.org/bookmarkbookstore.