Oakland zombies protest to keep libraries open and brains big and tasty

Image from http://www.facebook.com/saveopl

"We're here, we're dead, and we don't want our books unread!”

That was the mantra chanted by more than 50 undead librarians and library supporters as they walked down Telegraph Avenue in Oakland last Saturday dressed in white makeup and fake blood.

Under Scenario A of Mayor Jean Quan's budget proposal to end Oakland's $58 million deficit,14 of 18 Oakland libraries would close as of July 1st. According to the Zombie Crawl to Save Oakland Library Facebook group, “Zombies need brains. Libraries feed brains. Zombies support the Oakland public library.” They say they wouldn’t mind if the city’s Tool Lending Library closed because it “puts excellent zombie-killing tools such as drills, chainsaws, and large heavy shovels to the public.”

“Every zombie knows that enriched brains make for a more satisfying meal, so that's why we're here,” said Oakland resident Ben Krompak. “Brains will taste bland and uninteresting if the libraries close, and that's not what we need, especially during these difficult times.”

“Braaaaiiiiiiiiiins. Blllleeeeeh. Braaaaaaaaaaaains. Blerrggghhhh. Brains,” the marchers droned. They carried signs reading, “Have a heart so that zombies can have brains!” and “Closing the libraries is the end of the world!”

According to library volunteer Michele Grim – “Spelled liked the grim reaper,” she noted – this event is important because it draws attention. Kristin Snelling, a member of the Save Oakland Libraries Coalition, agrees that not many people know the libraries could close. “It’s against policy for librarians to tell anyone the libraries may close during their shift, so not many people who use the libraries know about this,” she said. “That’s the sickening part. They'll be walking along on their way to the library, they'll get there, and there won't be a library there. So they'll just be like, 'Wait! What? I could have done something about this.'”

Mindy Stone, who stopped when she saw the zombies walking, asked what was happening. When she learned that 14 libraries may close, she said, “They never ask anything of the rich people. Why don't the police in Oakland contribute to their pension plans?” A zombie cried out, “Eat the brains of the rich! Then take their money!”

According to Snelling, the dead libraries will not be brought back to life as bloody, moaning zombie libraries. She says, “The librarians aren't just trying to save their jobs – they're trying to save a really important community entity that once taken away, you can't get it back.”

The zombie crawl ended, and zombies separated to wander into Murmurama Art Galleries just a block away. They were left with this message from their zombie leader: “If someone asks about the blood, tell them to help save the libraries before you devour them.”