You meet interesting people at the library
by Donna Childs
We know that libraries are full of stories, but they aren’t all between the book covers. The staff and volunteers may have stories too. Take Pat Daggett who enters holds data at the Sellwood Library every Tuesday. Who would know that she and her husband lived in Saudi Arabia for four years? A transportation expert, he helped the Saudis set up a bus system, while she did office work for the US Army Corps of Engineers. After returning to the US with a new understanding of the region, they answered an ad to host Middle Eastern students. That led to ten years of serving as second parents to students from Saudi Arabia, Libya, the United Arab Emirates, and Qatar. Not only do the young people keep in touch after returning home, one called when a new student was arriving. He asked to speak to the new fellow to ensure that they’d be ok. In addition to forming close friendships with their charges, they saw this venture as an “opportunity to create tolerance.”
In addition to the Corps of Engineers, Pat has worked for such diverse organizations as Reed College, AT&T, a congressman in Washington DC, attorneys in Ohio and Delaware, and the Oregon State Legislature. She also spent 19 years working in many capacities at the American Tinnitus Association, where she became an expert in hearing issues.
With a BA in Library Science, Pat was also an elementary school librarian for two years. As a member of the University Club’s Library Committee, she helps choose books for the club’s library and organize an annual dinner featuring a local writer as guest speaker. Thus, it seemed natural for Pat to volunteer at Sellwood when she retired. At first, she canvassed the library searching for holds, but now foot problems have necessitated a more sedentary task: processing data on holds coming from and going to other County libraries. Like many volunteers who work with holds, she relishes the chance to discover new books, and she enjoys Sellwood’s intimate atmosphere where she can get to know staff and patrons.
Home library: Sellwood
Currently reading: Dinner with Edward by Isabel Vincent
Favorite book from childhood: The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
Favorite section of the library: Historical fiction and geography
E-reader or paper book? paper
Favorite reading guilty pleasure: before/during chores
Favorite place to read: in a patch of sun
Irie Page is about to turn 14. Instead of, say, a birthday sleepover, she has planned a gift for her community, a free event featuring Mike Domitrz, the founder of the Date Safe Project and a consent educator for kids, teens and adults. The funny, interactive presentation that he gives to teens and adults is called "Can I Kiss You?", which is also the title of his book. It focuses on how to have healthy, safe relationships and how to both avoid sexual assault and avoid sexually assaulting someone else. Her family raised money online to pay Domitrz's speaking fee, and after the story was covered on the local news, they got all the funding they needed. The event will take place at 7 p.m. on Thursday, November 9th in the Lincoln Recital Hall at Portland State University. PSU has waived the rental fees in support of Irie’s event.
I first met this remarkable young woman at the reference desk at my library when she was just a little kid signing up for our Read to the Dogs program. We book lovers who work at the library always notice the passionate readers, the ones who leave with huge stacks of books they’re obviously eager to dive into, and that was Irie. When she was old enough, I suggested that she volunteer for our Summer Reading program, giving out prizes to kids for reading, and she brought huge enthusiasm to this as well. When she told me last summer about the event she was planning, we decided to put together a book display. Irie chose all the books herself. If you can’t get in to see the display, here’s the list.
“After I saw Malala speak, I was inspired to do something for my community,” Irie told me. She originally wanted actress and feminist Emma Watson. "That's not going to happen," her mom told her, and then suggested Domitrz. When Irie happened upon a book here at the library about philanthropy parties, her idea took off.
“I’ve always seen things in the world and thought, ‘That’s messed up. I want to change that,” said Irie. Like Malala, the Pakistani advocate for girls’ rights to education, she decided she could make a difference. She chose to start here, in her own city.
***EDITED to update Irie's story. This event was a huge success. There was so much community interest that Portland State University gave them a bigger theater in which to hold it, and it was still standing room only, with more than 500 in attendance. I took my middle school-age son and we both found it interesting and inspiring. I was delighted last week when I ran into Irie in the library and she told me she's one of two state honorees for the Prudential Spirit of Community Award. This is a very big deal! She's won $1000, a silver medallion, and a trip to Washington, D.C. At a ceremony in D.C., five national honorees will be chosen from among the state award winners. The staff at my library, who has known Irie for so long, is rooting for her to win the national award, which comes with even more honors and with cash awards for her and for the charity of her choice. We're so proud of her.
If I mention Peter and Fudge, I’m guessing there are 10-year-olds, 16-year-olds, 30- and 50-year-olds who will know these brothers. They probably also know that you can’t get freckles by drinking a nasty tasting potion. Many may remember the cruelty of classmates in Blubber. And they’ll probably know exactly who wrote Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing, Freckle Juice, and Blubber--Judy Blume of course!
She happens to be celebrating her 80th birthday on February 12 and I've been reminded of how much I loved her books growing up. I commiserated with older sibling Peter living with his irrepressible little brother Fudge. I went along with Margaret as she dealt with friendships and puberty in Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret. We were checked for scoliosis at school and I thought of Deenie, the brace she wore and how much she wanted to be a regular teenager.
Judy Blume’s habit of writing real life and real characters continues in her adult novels. She wrote Summer Sisters for adults, but there are no doubt also teen readers for this book about friendship and choices. She later used an event from her own teenage years to explore loss, love and secrets as friends, families and strangers find their lives changed In the Unlikely Event.
Judy Blume is one of the most consistently challenged authors with books like Forever and Then Again, Maybe I Won’t. She hasn’t shied away from divorce, puberty, bullying, sex. It’s likely her honest and realistic writing is the reason for her fans across generations.
I’m glad she’s been part of my reading life. Thank you for your books and happy birthday, Judy Blume!
Every year I make a bunch of New Year's resolutions and this year is no different. I've decided to ditch the annual "floss daily" one and add something more captivating (and hopefully more achievable). The most fun resolutions I make are all about reading and in 2018, I plan to read more non-fiction for kids and teens. My nerdy librarian side has decided that I will take one "Dewey century" per month (which leaves me two months to read something else!) and explore books that provide inspiration for careers and vocations within each range. I'm not talking about books like the super useful, but not super stimulating, Occupational Outlook Handbook, but books about interesting people doing interesting things. I randomly came across a book about Maya Lin recently, so decided to start with architects and artists, thus books from the 700-799 Dewey range were on my nightstand in January. I loved Maya Lin: Thinking Wtih Her Hands, a small, perfectly packaged book about Lin and some of her most famous projects like the Vietnam Veterans' Memorial in Washington, D.C. I knew exactly nothing about another architect, I.M. Pei, until I read I.M. Pei: Architect of Time, Place and Purpose. What a fascinating guy! Beyond these two books, I read a number of picture book biographies for younger budding architects and artists. You can find the list here. So if you know some kids who love their L-squares, mechanical pencils and paint brushes, hand them a few of these books and see where they go!
P.S. I'd love to hear about YOUR reading resolutions for 2018!
Slavery to Civil Rights
Chúc Mừng Năm Mới!
Chúc quý vị Năm Mới An Khang Thịnh Vượng. Năm nay, thư viện sẽ có quầy hàng ở Hội chợ Tết tại Holiday Inn. Chúng tôi sẽ có sách và phim cho mượn, các tài liệu về những chương trình phục vụ của thư viện, và quà tặng miễn phí. Mời quý vị đến tham dự và vui Tết với chúng tôi.
Chủ Nhật, Ngày 18 Tháng 2 Năm 2018
Giờ: 12:00 PM – 4:00 PM
Địa điểm: 8439 NE Columbia Blvd, Portland OR 97220
When I learned of Ursula Le Guin’s passing, my world stopped spinning for a time. I reflected on her influence with a mixture of gratitude, admiration and awe. Ursula’s contributions to libraries, reading, literacy and to our community are immeasurable. She was tenacious, principled and gracious beyond words.
I first read The Left Hand of Darkness as a graduate student in library school, enthusiastically exploring my early feminist righteousness. Ursula Le Guin was a beacon to me then. I would have never imagined that, decades later, I would pass a lovely Portland winter’s afternoon in her home sipping tea, chatting about her life, career, ebooks, politics and her love of Multnomah County Library.
And, oh how Ursula put her library love into action! She was a deep and genuine friend to Multnomah County Library. She offered a list of her favorite works. She was a singular voice in support of issues that matter. She served on the Multnomah County Library Advisory Board in the 1990s, and she shaped how our library addressed issues that are important today. She leaves an impressive body of work, and she remains one of our library’s most popular authors.
For decades, Ursula Le Guin offered Multnomah County Library her unwavering support. She spoke, wrote and acted in support of library funding at every turn. She celebrated our milestones (even writing a poem celebrating Central Library’s reopening in 1997). She took on pivotal issues and daunting opponents: advocating for the rights of authors and artists; affordable library access to ebooks; and the importance of a person’s fundamental and constitutionally protected right to read, think, and pursue knowledge without scrutiny or constraint.
In her 1997 remarks about Central Library, she said, “A library is a focal point, a sacred place to a community; and its sacredness is its accessibility, its publicness. It’s everybody’s place.”
Of the many wonderful memories I have as director of Multnomah County Library, that gray afternoon with Ursula Le Guin is one of my most treasured. I will be forever grateful to have encountered her. May we honor her legacy by embodying who she was and what she stood for, in our own lives and communities.
For those of us who love classic literature, Multnomah County Library is a great resource. There are ongoing Classics Pageturners book discussion groups at Hillsdale Library and Hollywood Library, plus a Quarterly Classics group at Capitol Hill Library. Copies of the books will be available two months in advance of the discussions. Please call the branch to confirm. Following that are a series of lists of Western and non-Western literature from every era.
Here are the Classics book group schedules:
Hillsdale Library Classics Pageturners,
Second Saturdays, 3-5 pm
February 10, 2017, Cousin Bette, by Honore de Balzac
March 10, 2018, The Persians, by Aeschylus
April 14, 2018, The Prince, by Niccolo Machiavelli
May 12, 2018, The Early History of Rome, books I-V, by Livy
June 9, 2018, The Trial, by Franz Kafka
Hollywood Library Classics Pageturners,
Third Sundays, 2-4 pm
February 18, 2018, The Narrow Road to the Deep North, by Matsuo Basho
March 18, 2018, The Idiot, by Fyodor Dostoyevsky
April 15, 2018, The Consolation of Philosophy, by Boethius
May 20, 2018, The Analects, by Confucius. (This is a different edition and translation than the group will read)
June 17, 2018, The Mill on the Floss, by George Eliot. (This is a different edition than the group will read)
Capitol Hill Library Quarterly Classics
Second Wednesdays, 1:30 pm, October 2017, January, April & July 2018
January 10, 2018, Razor's Edge, by Somerset Maugham
April 11, 2018, The Golden Notebook, by Doris Lessing
July 11, 2018, Native Son, by Richard Wright
On January 22, 2018, Ursula K. Le Guin left us. To mitigate our sorrow, she left behind poetry, novels, essays and stories, as well as a legacy of speaking out about things that matter: books, reading, and of course, libraries. In this guest post from 2015, she rankled against choosing favorites, and then gave some thoughtful and surprising recommendations. She will be missed.
I have lived in Portland for 56 years now, raising kids, writing books, and reading books. I never would have got through those 56 years without the Multnomah County Library.
“Favorites” -- A favorite book? Impossible! Seven favorite books? Impossible! I have too many favorite books. A lot of them are a lot of other people’s favorites too, so they don’t need to be mentioned. But I’ve just been rereading one that has pretty much slipped outof sight, and I want to remind people of it, because it’s a terrific novel: Thomas Berger’s Little Big Man. It came out in 1964, won the Western Heritage Award, and got a nice movie based on it. But it’s way, way better than the movie. Little Big Man is a highly improbable story told so well that you believe it.
For one thing, you want to believe it. And also you can trust it, because the true parts of it are true. The history (and ethnology) is real. There’s no whitewashing the racism and greed that have always threatened the American dream of freedom. You get the story of what really happened at the battle of the Little Big Horn, not all that Custer hype. You get an entirely new view of Wyatt Earp, Calamity Jane, and several other celebrities, too.
Like Mark Twain, Berger has a pitch-perfect ear for how Americans talk – and think. And like Mark Twain he can ruthlessly indict human stupidity and bigotry while never losing his temper, and being really, really funny. Old Lodge Skins is my hero. I love this book. I wish every high-school kid in America could read it. And then (like me) read it again twenty or forty or sixty years later...
As for nonfiction, I have to mention Rebecca Skloot’s The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, which brings together scientific and medical research (and hypocrisy), the biography of an almost invisibly elusive black woman, the exposure of an act of exploitation, racism and social injustice, and the writer’s own deeply respectful involvement with the people from whom she won this absorbing, troubling, wonderfully told story.
How about a favorite piece of music? Can I have two, please? OK! One is the short opera Galileo Galilei by Philip Glass, performed here in Portland two years ago (a recording of that performance is available now from Orange Mountain). The stage set was all magical circles and spirals and pendulums, lights moving through shadows, illuminating the story that spirals back in time from the dark end of Galileo’s life to a radiant, joyful beginning. Set, words, and music, it was and is completely beautiful.
And for a change of pace. . . how about Hoyt Axton singing “Five Hundred Miles.” (Find it on the CD Greenback Dollar: Live at the Troubadour). There are several versions of it on YouTube. I like the one where the visual is just a b/w video of a train that comes and goes by and is gone.
For more great recommendations, customized just for you, try My Librarian.
Multnomah County Library is here to help with tax season. All library locations can access state and federal tax forms and instruction booklets online as they become available. Library staff members are happy to help print what you need. Printing costs 10 cents per page; two-sided printing is available.
Federal Hard Copy Forms
This year, libraries will have the Form 1040, 1040A, 1040EZ and some acompanying instruction booklets. All locations will have reference copies of the 1040 Instructions and Publication 17: Your Federal Income Tax. We can't promise when forms and booklets will be available, or that we won’t run out, but you can always download and print federal tax items from the IRS Forms & Publications page. You can also direct questions to the IRS offices in Oregon. Of special note, neither the 1099 and 1096 forms nor any of the W series (W-2, W-4, etc.) are available for download. Many office supply stores have the 1099 forms or you can contact the IRS directly to have those mailed to you.
State Hard Copy Forms
Public libraries are no longer a distribution center for state tax forms and booklets. If you need Oregon forms or booklets, you can come into the library to print them or do it yourself from the Oregon Department of Revenue page. If you want forms mailed to you, then you can contact the Oregon Department of Revenue via:
- Phone: 800-356-4222
- Clicking on "Order Paper Forms" on the Forms and Publication Library page
- Visit a regional Department of Revenue office
You can stop by the library for assistance printing out tax forms for other states, or you can go to the Federation of Tax Administrators State Tax Forms & Filing Options, which provides links to tax forms for each state.
“I’ve always been a computer person.”
by Sarah Binns
Dennis Pham is one of those people who does it all: “I go to school full time, work part time, then volunteer,” he says. For the past three years that volunteer time has been spent at Midland Library, where he started to earn volunteer hours for school: “Then I met the staff and it just felt right. I’ve kept at it ever since,” he says. Dennis was first a technohost and is now a Computer Lab Assistant. “That’s more my style,” he says of his new position, “overseeing all of it!”
A Woodstock native, Dennis now lives near Pleasant Valley with his family. Having “always been a computer person,” he’s studying for his bachelor’s degree in mechanical or chemical engineering at PSU. He’s also a production operator at Siltronics, a semiconductor manufacturer. Seeing how the machines work and knowing colleagues who’ve been with the company forty or fifty years inspires him: “One day that’s gonna be me!” he laughs.
While he sometimes works as many as 70 hours a week, Dennis says that’s just fine and the job helps him pay for school. It’s a wonder he still finds time to volunteer, but he doesn’t want to give it up, especially since he likes working with computers. “Computers are better than shelving! As a branch assistant there’s lots of the same thing over and over again—with computers it’s a different question every day.”
Midland’s computer lab operates simultaneously and in the same room as the library’s drop in tutoring for adults. Lisa Regimbal, Adult Literacy Coordinator, notes that there is significant crossover between basic computer literacy and literacy. Though Dennis doesn’t volunteer with the adult literacy program, Lisa thinks he is an outstanding partner and is always willing to help with room set-up and computer issues.
Dennis also sings the praises of the library staff. “I like working with Lisa,” he says. “I think Lisa is amazing for getting that program started there, I look up to her.” He adds he wants to give a “shoutout to Darrel, Jessie, Maureen, Alán,” and the rest of the staff “for making my days awesome. They’re a really good crew, especially the branch assistants,” he says with a beaming smile. Given his commitment and enthusiasm for Midland, it’s easy to see how Dennis keeps coming back—and why the staff call him “an outstanding volunteer” right back!
A few facts about Dennis
Home library: Midland
Currently reading: “Not reading anything right now, just studying.” He does read lots of articles for school and work.
Favorite book from childhood: The Time Machine by H.G. Wells. “He was my favorite author at the time.”
Most influential book: War of the Worlds by H.G. Wells. “It stuck with me. It made me think anything can happen!”
Favorite browsing section: Sci-fi and then WWII historical. “I also like to brush up on nonfiction.”
Book that made him laugh or cry: Overlord, a Japanese series, made him laugh. But, he says, “I’ve laughed at a lot of books.”
Favorite place to read: “Mostly I just read on my bed after 8pm. I’m a night reader.”
Thanks for reading the MCL Volunteer Spotlight. Stay tuned for our next edition coming soon! Read last month's Volunteer Spotlight.
Can’t remember when your divorce was final? Need a copy of your birth certificate? Trying to remember when your parents got married? Looking for your grandmother’s death certificate? These are all examples of vital records: documents related to a person’s birth, marriage, divorce and death. If you’re looking for any of these, the library is here to help!
There are a few things to keep in mind when searching for vital records at Multnomah County Library:
- Public libraries don’t keep archives of public records. You can request copies of birth, marriage, divorce and death certificates from the Oregon Center for Health Statistics.
- The library does have indexes you can use to verify vital records information in Oregon. However, these indexes don't cover all time periods -- and the most recent year is 2008.
- The library has a wealth of genealogical resources including useful blogs on topics such as finding obituaries and researching house history.
- Many historical vital records are available from the Oregon State Archives.
- Library staff are always happy to assist you in your vital records search. Please call us at 503.988.5123 or email a librarian anytime.
Getting copies of vital records
Most vital records in Oregon are available through the Oregon Center for Health Statistics. Because there are restrictions on who has access to these records, you will need to provide a significant amount of information about yourself and/or the subject of the vital record. Also keep in mind that the Center for Health Statistics charges fees for vital records. The more research they have to do, the higher the fees.
In order to ensure you receive the correct record, expedite your order, and potentially save yourself some money, you can consult the Oregon Vital Records Indexes available at the library. These indexes provide the name(s) of the individual(s), the county in which the event occurred, the date, and the record number. You can use these indexes yourself at the Central Library or contact the library and have a staff person search for you. Should you need vital records for states other than Oregon, check the Centers for Disease Control's list Where to Write for Vital Records for every U.S. state and territory.
The state of Oregon began recording births in 1903 but there is no statewide index to birth records. If you need your own or an immediate family member’s birth certificate contact the Oregon Center for Health Statistics.
For genealogists, birth certificates more than 100 years old can be accessed by anyone. If you need local birth records, you can use the Ledger Index to City of Portland Births which is focused on the years 1881-1917 within the city of Portland. Keep in mind, however, that the city was much smaller then than it is now.
If you need to verify marriage information, Multnomah County Library has the Oregon Marriage Index (1906-1924, 1946-2008). This index is organized by the name of either the groom or bride and is also available through Ancestry Library Edition (accessible only in the library). To get a copy of your own or an immediate family member’s marriage certificate, contact the Oregon Center for Health Statistics.
For genealogists, anyone can request a marriage certificate more than 50 years old. In Oregon, counties issue marriage licenses, so to find records that are not included in the Oregon Marriage Index you can check the Oregon Historical County Records Guide.
If you need to verify divorce information, Multnomah County Library has the Oregon Divorce Index (1946-2008). Online, Ancestry Library Edition (accessible only in the library) also has Oregon Divorce Records, 1961-1985. If you need a copy of your own or an immediate family member’s divorce certificate, contact the Oregon Center for Health Statistics. If you need the full court record and divorce decree, you will need to contact the issuing court, usually the county circuit court. To help, Multnomah County Archives & Records Management has prepared a handy guide to obtaining divorce records and decrees.
For genealogists, anyone can request a divorce certificate more than 50 years old. If you’re looking for the court records, some counties have all of their circuit court records but others turned over their older documents to the Oregon State Archives.
If you need to verify death information, Multnomah County Library has the Oregon Death Index (1903-2008). This index is also available through Ancestry Library Edition (accessible only in the library). If you need a copy of an immediate family member’s death certificate, contact the Oregon Center for Health Statistics.
For genealogists, anyone can request a death certificate more than 50 years old. You can also search for local deaths before 1903 using the Ledger Index to City of Portland Deaths (1881-1917).
If you still have questions about vital records or other genealogical research questions call or email a librarian to get personalized help. If you’d rather have face-to-face assistance, ask the librarian on duty the next time you visit the library. We're always happy to help!
Looking to learn more about issues of equity, social justice, and activism? Teaching Tolerance offers lots of free online articles and curriculum. The Southern Poverty Law Center monitors hate groups, and has good information about them. Social Justice in Action: 100 Key Websites and Organizations lists lots of websites that have specific social justice focuses, like civil rights, housing, disability, heath rights and more. And The Best Teacher Resource Sites for Social Justice shares a lot of websites that are useful for students, educators and classroom activities.
by Donna Childs
It is not surprising for library volunteers to be book lovers; in fact, it might almost seem a requirement. But Anne Pearson takes volunteering with books to a new level: she not only volunteers at the Hollywood Library, she has also served on the Board of the Friends of the Library—as Chair two years—and she works at a local children’s bookstore.
According to the staff at Hollywood, Anne brightens everyone’s day when she comes in to volunteer. She is “an efficient, reliable, hard-working volunteer [who] is also so nice and fun and always has great reading recommendations and delicious restaurant reviews and recipes to share.” Furthermore, she’s a good sport who is willing to do whatever needs doing, though her primary task is searching paging lists and pulling holds every Friday morning. Anne’s motivation for volunteering at Hollywood is a desire to help the library that has brought her much pleasure, as well as finding new books to read and recommend. And as a lover of cooking, she shares recipes as enthusiastically as she does book recommendations.
A former member of the Friends of the Library Board, Anne served as Chair in 2006-07 and 2007-08. Much of her work involved advocating for passage of a levy to continue library services, and meeting with various groups to discuss the need for the levy. Her work on the Board reinforced Anne’s belief that those of us in Multnomah County are “lucky to have such an amazing library system.”
Always an advocate for reading, Anne works two days a week at A Children’s Place (Portland’s oldest independent children’s bookstore), where she is in charge of choosing and buying books for the “Good Reads for Moms and Dads” section of the store, which includes books for moms and dads as individuals, not only as parents. Anne has clearly found a place—whether in the bookstore, on the Friends Board, or at the Hollywood Library—where her love of books benefits her and those around her.
Home library: Hollywood
Currently reading: I just finished A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles—LOVED it!
Most influencial book: Les Miserables by Victor Hugo
Favorite book from childhood: Half-Magic by Edward Eager
A book that has made you laugh or cry: The Heart’s Invisible Furies by John Boyne
Favorite section of the library: Lucky Day
E-reader or paper book: Paper, although I love the convenience of e-books for travel
Favorite reading guilty pleasure: Janet Evanovich’s Stephanie Plum series—howlingly funny!
Favorite place to read: Any place cozy!
Thanks for reading the MCL Volunteer Spotlight. Stay tuned for our next edition coming soon! Read last month's Volunteer Spotlight.
I love mysteries any time of year, but I especially enjoy them at the holidays when I usually have a little extra time off and can get cozy under a throw on the couch. Every December I try to read at least one mystery with a holiday or winter setting, but I missed out in 2016. I've made up for it this year by reading three in the last week. Sadly, my hold on Anne Perry's latest Christmas novel probably won't arrive until January, but fortunately there were many other newish titles to read including a book of short stories by P.D. James. Two of the stories in The Mistletoe Murder feature her famous detective, Adam Dalgliesh. The other two stories are up to her usual excellent standard as well. I love being totally surprised by an ending, and James delivers!
While I generally prefer police procedurals, I’m willing to give cozy mysteries a try during December. You can’t get any cozier than Bitter Poison by Margaret Mayhew, what with its English village, a retired colonel, and a Christmas party that ends in death. If you, too, would like a good Christmas mystery, treat yourself to one on these lists.