Today I took advantage of Oakland's great library system for the first time. I've always loved books, but I usually just frequent the many bookstores in Oakland and Berkeley. I still haven't checked out any books from the Oakland Public Library, but I borrowed a belt sander for our kitchen renovation from the tool-lending library, and got some more info on the Williams Dairy milk bottle I found a while back (I'll post more on that later).
The Williams Dairy bottle I started with by emailing the library asking if they knew anything. They responded with some basic facts, and told me the Oakland Tribune had a run a feature on it back in 1974 when the dairy closed, and that I could look it up electronically from any branch for free. So armed with that info, I went to the Temescal branch (the Montclair branch is closed until July for mold abatement), and found the article in a few minutes.
The tool library at Temescal is an amazing resource. They've got a ton of tools (a mostly complete list is available on the website), and they're free to borrow for Oakland residents. There are hefty late fees, but you've got 3 days to use things, and free is a darn good price. I suggest calling ahead to make sure they've got the tool you need available, and you'll need 2 forms of ID (i.e., drivers license and utility bill) the first time you check something out.
After borrowing the belt sander and researching the milk bottle, I got some Peet's coffee beans, a Mythic paint swatch from Scout (and ogled over the decor), then headed over to the Ace Ellis hardware to get some sanding belts. Ellis hardware is a funky place, because 99% of what they stock is behind the counters. You ask for it, they go get it -- pretty much the exact opposite of Home Depot. Then it was on to Trader Joe's in Rockridge. I finished out my trip-linking frenzy with a quick stop at Safeway, the bank, and Petco at Broadway and Pleasant Valley. According to Becks over at Living in the O, that Safeway has big changes planned, and the Longs is closing. It is a handy place, so I hope it gets replaced with something useful.