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Heyday’s Celebration of Dorothy Lazard’s New Memoir

June 1, 2023 | 4:00 pm 6:00 pm

Calling all Bay Area history lovers, and especially members of the #DorothyLazardFanClub: Join Oakland historian and librarian extraordinaire Dorothy Lazard to celebrate the launch of her first book, What You Don’t Know Will Make a Whole New World: A Memoir.

This celebration will take place at publisher Heyday’s headquarters in West Berkeley. Meet the author, pick up a signed copy of her deeply engaging new book, and enjoy drinks and snacks.

About the Book

“What you don’t know will make a whole new world,” said Mam’Ella to her precocious granddaughter Dorothy Lazard in the summer of 1969. Though meant to humble her, these words only emboldened Lazard in her insatiable intellectual journey to understand her young self, her race-riven society, and the path that would lead her to become a community pillar and memory keeper. In this engrossing coming-of-age story, Lazard charts her journey from an orphanage in segregated St. Louis to her adopted hometown of Oakland. Seduced from a young age by the power of the written word, Lazard unearthed new worlds and dreamed-of futures in the sanctuary of the library stacks—the springboard to her own trajectory toward self-determination.

Lazard’s story, told vividly through her childhood and teenage eyes, connects her early readerly pursuits to her career as a celebrated public historian, taking us through the Summer of Love, the murder of Emmett Till, the flourishing of the Black Arts Movement, and beyond. As she writes with honesty about the challenges she faced in her youth—including the loss of both parents—Lazard’s memoir remains triumphant, animated by curiosity, careful reflection, and deep enthusiasm for life.

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About the Speaker

Dorothy Lazard

Dorothy Lazard

Dorothy Lazard was born in St. Louis and grew up in San Francisco and Oakland. A librarian for forty years, she joined the staff of the Oakland Public Library in 2000. From 2009 until her retirement in 2021, she was the head librarian of OPL’s Oakland History Center, where she encouraged people of all ages and backgrounds to explore local history. Lazard was the 2023 recipient of the Oscar Lewis Award in Western History from the Book Club of California. She lives in Oakland. Photo by Gene Dominique.


P.O. Box 9145Berkeley, CA 94709(510) 549-3564

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