Writers in Richmond?

By Christine Volker

Richmond is actually a hotbed of writers. On Saturday, December 3 from 2 p.m.to 4 p.m., local author, Margaret Murray, will discuss her new novel, Spiral and how she approaches writing. This will take place in the Whittlesey Room, adjacent to the Main Library at 325 Civic Center Plaza. The free talk is sponsored by the Friends of the Richmond Public Library.

The Arts of Point Richmond (AOPR) recently established a writers group. Heli Perrett, Chair of the Point Writers Group, contributed the piece below on their activities and points out the strong connections between libraries and writers.

From Heli Perrett

Point Richmond is the home of the West Side Branch of the Richmond Public Library system, which plays an important role in community life. The neighborhood is also the home of an unbelievable number of writers and published authors.

This became clear a few months ago when a writers group was established under the auspices of the Arts of Point Richmond (AOPR). News of the group’s formation generated a surprisingly large response. Membership had to be capped at 20 since the group meets monthly in members’ homes to better permit open and informal discussion.

Most group members have published one or more books and are actively writing others. Their books include historical novels, mysteries, thrillers, science fiction, romances, memoirs, short-story collections, poetry collections, self-help and health books. Members also write plays and screenplays. This is not the usual type of writing critique group. Rather, it meets to discuss key issues in writing, publishing, and marketing of books. Participants share their own experience and learning with one another. The goal is “writer-helping-writer.”

Outside the monthly meeting context, the Point Writers Group is also planning some joint book publicity and marketing activities, and will help and encourage each other at book launches, lectures, and similar events.

The group is also currently exploring how it can best collaborate with the Richmond Public Library, perhaps to donate books for special “local author” displays, do book launches and signings at local libraries, and in other ways. Suggestions are welcome.

Upcoming Events

Friends of the Richmond Public Library Board Meeting: Friday, September 23 at 12 noon

Main Library’s Whittlesey Community Room, 325 Civic Center Plaza, Richmond, 94804 

As always, our board meetings are open to members.

Immigration Workshops: Monday, September 26 and Monday, October 3 from 5:00PM to 7:00 PM

Main Library Whittlesey Community Room, 325 Civic Center Plaza, Richmond, 94804

Have Immigration questions? This is an opportunity to speak to an attorney on a free and confidential basis. Sponsored by the Contra Costa County Bar Association.

Homework Help Program for Kids: Tuesdays and Wednesdays, August 30 to May 31, 2017 from 3:00 PM to 5:00 PM

Main Library Whittlesey Community Room, 325 Civic Center Plaza, Richmond, 94804

September 16 and future Fridays/Saturdays: STEAM Programs for Kids: Call 510-620-6557 Children’s Room for more information. 

Main Library Whittlesey Community Room, 325 Civic Center Plaza, Richmond, 94804

Volunteer Opportunities


Be a Homework Help Tutor for kids grades K-6. 8/30/16 to 5/31/17, from 3:00 PM to 5:00 PM. Adult volunteers can work from one to four hours per week.

Contact Susan White at: susan_white@ci.richmond.ca.us and


City Volunteer Forms available at:


MORE OPPORTUNITIES at Friends of the Richmond Public Library

We are seeking volunteers for book sorting. In addition, we welcome those with publicity, social media and technology talent. Email us at FriendsRPLCA@yahoo.com or call 510-620-6555 and leave a message

Summer is Almost Over

by Christine Volker

As many of you know, during summer, the library is busier than ever delivering programs, trying to reach kids and teens when they’re out of school and adults, as always.

The latest results from our elementary schools in Richmond on the California Assessment of Student Progress and Performance shows that on average, across schools, 47% of students are not meeting the English Language Arts/Literacy standard.   For our public high schools, outcomes are similar.

These underline how much more work we need to do to prepare our youth for better futures. Library programs are part of that.

Below is a sampling of the library’s programs this summer:

50 Story Times took place, with 1,631 children in attendance

In 17 sessions, the Reading Heroes program, aimed at improving children’s reading skills, served a total of 321 children. This was accomplished by volunteers contributing 192.5 hours.

250 kids participated in the Summer Reading Game, with drawing prizes by the Friends.

STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) workshops took place in August with a total of 63 kids who built circuits and towers with provided materials.

Additionally, 776 people enjoyed specialized children’s programs and other activities sponsored by the Friends of the Richmond Public Library.

For adults, a well-attended author talk by Mary Monroe, financial and legal seminars, along with Summer Reading Games for both adults and teens rounded out the offerings.

And, for kids of all ages, two distinguished professors, pictured below, led eager participants on Pokémon Go Safaris!

Sandra Stewart, Administrative Librarian, and Janelle Van Hook, Librarian