Blogs

The Parker Inheritance book jacket
When I was a kid, I remember spending a lot of time outside playing kick-the-can and hanging out at the public pool, but when I wasn’t getting a tan, I was inside enjoying the stack of books I had checked out from my local library.  I had no idea that reading my Trixie Beldens and Nancy Drews over the summer was helping me to not fall behind in school the next year. I was just happy to be solving mysteries alongside my favorite teen dete
The Whydah book jacket
ctives.

This spring, I read a ton of great new(ish) books for youth in anticipation of summer reading questions.  From Baby Monkey, Private Eye and Dude! to The Parker Inheritance and The Whydah, here’s what I, and other youth librarians, have enjoyed and want to share with you.  Happy reading and don’t forget to play Multnomah County Library’s Summer Reading game!


2018 great summer reads for grades K and 1
2018 great summer reads for grades 2 and 3
2018 great summer reads for grades 4 and 5
2018 great summer reads for grades 6, 7 and 8

If you would like further suggestions, please check out our My Librarian service!

 

 

Josh R, selections and acquisitions clerk
For Josh, helping library patrons is all about getting the materials they want into their hands in the shortest amount of time. As a part of the selections and acquisitions team, he’s been a part of several changes that are impacting how the library purchases and distributes materials. 

"Today, libraries are competing with Amazon and other entities. Our patrons want the newest materials and quickly. We have to adapt."

A few years ago, the library’s Collections and Technical Services Team re-designed their workflow to help meet the demand. Materials used to sit in the receiving building for 4-6 weeks after they were purchased. Each part of the process — unboxing, sorting, cataloging — taking too much time. Thanks to a new workflow, patrons now get materials in three days or less.

"We’re constantly changing our work and changing the way we think about our work. It’s an exciting time to be at the library. We are re-examining what it means to build a collection in the age of modern libraries."

Josh has a passion for literacy and working with people. While attending a technical high school in Portland, he lost interest in his automotive major but found his way into the school library, where he became a teaching assistant. Directly after high school, he joined Multnomah County Library as a page (now called Access Services Assistant), checking in books and shelving holds.

He wanted to get to know more about each neighborhood, so he began subbing at different library branches, meeting the community and staff at each location. With a curiosity to know more about the technical work of the library, he transitioned from working at a branch to his behind-the-scenes position on the Technical Services team.

Day-to-day, Josh diligently focuses on being a good steward of the library’s resources and helping manage the collections budget. He orders materials from book and media vendors, ensuring the library is getting the items needed, at a good price, and when possible, having them pre-processed so they can get into the hands of library patrons as quick as possible. He is constantly evaluating any changes in how collections budgets are spent and determining whether there are collections that needs attention. He also provides internal customer service, buying materials for the library’s youth and adult outreach programs, such as Books 2U, Summer Reading, and the Every Child Initiative.

"I enjoy feeling connected to the library, even though I don’t interact with the public as much as I did working in a branch. I’m proud that our library works hard to deliver the materials that patrons ask for. We respond directly to people and let them know if their suggested items were purchased, and if they were, how to place a hold on the item. Every time our library makes a change to improve our system for the better of our patrons, it’s gratifying. I know we’re making a difference."

Kids enjoying the summer lunch program at Gresham Library
Multnomah County Library will offer free lunches for youth 18 and under this summer at Gresham, Midland, and Rockwood libraries.  Youth are not required to have a library card to receive the free lunch.

The lunches are available Monday through Friday during the following times:

Gresham: Monday - Friday, 12:30 pm – 1:30 pm (June 18 through August 17)
Midland: Monday, Tuesday and Friday, 11 am – 11:30 am (June 18 through August 24)
Rockwood: Monday - Friday, 12 pm – 1 pm (June 25 through August 10)

The summer lunch program is made possible through partnerships with Department of County Human Services (DCHS), Partners for a Hunger Free Oregon, Gresham Barlow School District, Reynolds School District, and the David Douglas School District.

Multnomah County Library offers many free summer activities for children and teens, including the Summer Reading program. For more information, visit the event calendar or call 503.988.5123.

On car trips, my husband and I used to pretend that there was a noise-proof window between the front seat and the back. One of us would hit an imaginary button on the dashboard, and-- in our minds-- the window would close, so we couldn’t hear our little darlings squabbling and shrieking in the back seat at all-- except that sadly, we could still hear them, due to the unfortunate imaginary nature of the window.

I wish that we’d discovered audiobooks for the car ages ago! A whole lot of library users have apparently wised up to their usefulness in the past few years;  I've been asked frequently lately for audiobook suggestions for family car trips. So I’ve made some lists of great audiobooks that can be enjoyed by listeners of various ages, one in CD format and one in downloadable. You might also consider consulting two excellent lists a  colleague of mine made: this list of classics on audio and this one for very young listeners.

It’s amazing how much kids will settle down when they’re involved in a story. I tried to find audiobooks that would be interesting and involving for the adults in the car, as well. So go ahead-- plan a summer getaway. Just don’t forget the audiobooks.

Or the barf bags. (But that’s another story.)

New for 2018!

High school readers can register and track reading online over the summer. You can, like last year, do more and different things than just read. Check out How to Play for ideas. If you choose any of the creation challenges from the How to Play section of the site, you can share your stuff for a chance to win $100 collage gift certificate

Need challenge cards? Stop by any library starting June 15 to get yours! Just keep track of the hours you read until you get your cards, then transfer them to the first challenge card.This year's Summer Reading program is June 15 - August 31.

Are you heading to the NW Pride Festival this weekend? If so, stop by the Library table on Sunday June 17th at the Multnomah County Booth. We'll be signing people up for library cards, checking out some of our favorite LGBT+ books and giving out prizes! Can't make it to the festival? Celebrate Pride from anywhere by reading a great LGBT+ book! Check out the lists below for inspiration or ask a librarian for a personalized pick.

Net neutrality discussion

Multnomah County Library is joining Oregon elected officials, community organizations, business leaders and students in voicing resounding support for the call to restore net neutrality.

In late 2017, the Federal Communications Commission voted to repeal the law that restricts internet providers’ ability to speed up or slow down access to certain content or products. The rollback is set to go into effect June 11.

“Staying connected in today’s world shouldn’t be reserved for those who can afford access. Too many people are on the wrong side of the digital divide, being shut out of jobs, services, health information and vital connections with family and friends,” said Multnomah County Director of Libraries Vailey Oehlke.

On Friday, May 25, the Multnomah County Library Hillsdale branch in Portland, Ore. hosted a discussion led by Oregon Senator Ron Wyden and Congresswoman Suzanne Bonamici about the urgent need to recognize net neutrality as a key equity issue that will have lasting impacts for everyone.

“In the 21st Century, an open and fair internet isn’t a privilege – it’s a necessity,” said Congresswoman Suzanne Bonamici. “We must stop the Federal Communications Commission from rolling back important Net Neutrality protections. . .I urge everyone who cares about protecting fair and open access to information to make their voices heard.”

The U.S. Senate voted on May 16 to reinstate net neutrality rules but now the issue moves to the House. Congresswoman Bonamici is joining in the fight to force a vote on the legislation.

High school students are also weighing in. One student noted that net neutrality joins gun control as one of the top issues high schoolers are discussing today. Julia Young, a senior and student body president at Wilson High School in Portland, Ore. added:

“As I go into college, I will be studying Applied Biology in Global Resource Systems, which involves sustainability and environmental innovation. It is absolutely crucial that my classmates and I have access to transparent environmental data, and if internet providers are able to choose what information I can access quickly without extreme costs, then my academic career and later work experience will be compromised.”

Complementing the effort to protect net neutrality, Multnomah County District 1 Commissioner Sharon Meieran highlighted an effort to expand broadband in Multnomah County. “Access to reliable high-speed internet is needed for basic equity and inclusion. Kids and families need internet access to file a job application or complete required school homework. That's why the Multnomah County Board of Commissioners just approved funding to study the feasibility of providing publicly owned high-speed internet services at cost to our community.”

Multnomah County Library, Oregon’s largest provider of free internet sessions, is also a member of the Digital Inclusion Network, a regional group of organizational partners committed to reducing barriers to digital access and getting devices into the hands of those who need them most.

“Libraries have a role at the forefront of the discussion about net neutrality and digital equity,” said Oehlke. “We can give patrons free access to internet in our libraries, but to truly make change, we need to ensure everyone in our community can connect and participate in our digital world from anywhere.

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

 

June 9, 2018, The Trial, by Franz Kafka

Hollywood Library Classics Pageturners,

Third Sundays, 2-4 pm

 

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

 

July 11, 2018, Native Son, by Richard Wright

 

More than 700 adult library patrons are homebound due to age, illness or disability. Because they can’t visit the library, we bring the library to them. Adults who are homebound may have their materials mailed to them or delivered by library staff. Another program called Words on Wheels pairs a patron with a volunteer who takes time to visit when delivering materials. All three services are free.

Many home delivery patrons have no access to a computer. More than a third of these patrons call us to ask about what to read next. We ensure they always have books they haven’t read before.

“It is amazingly helpful to get suggestions and choices that energize my thinking and make the world more alive,” said one books-by-mail patron who responded to a recent survey. “A wonderful program that encourages and stimulates my mind so that I feel alive and young at 93!”

Van delivery patron with staff

A patron on our van delivery route echoed this: “You saved me from a lonely, narrow life. You bring the world to my door with helpful, cheerful people who are always on time and never miss a delivery. “

Reading, said another patron, keeps me alive.

A recent survey of Words on Wheels patrons shows that the program reduces isolation.

“Arthritis has made me homebound for several years. It is profoundly isolating. The social contact with someone who loves to read as much as I do helps! When arthritis made it impossible for me to carry 30 books home on Trimet, Words on Wheels saved my life!” 

Said another: “I look forward to my volunteer’s visits. Not only does that mean a supply of books tailored to my interests, it means I have a visit from this lovely woman who brightens my day. I very seldom leave my home, so visitors are quite welcome. We have lots to discuss — all those books I read.”

Patron and volunteer talking

The numbers of aging and disabled older adults in our community is expected to grow significantly in the next 15 years, according to Multnomah County's Aging, Disability and Veteran Services Division. In fact, the number of aging baby boomers will soon surpass those of all other segments of the population. An estimated 30 percent will become disabled at some point.

The library’s outreach services ensure that patrons who are homebound can still connect.

Two library staff prepare outreach materials

“Your service is a double blessing to all of us who are disabled. It opens up a giant window on the world,” said one patron.

Another patron, homebound due to a debilitating illness, said, “Thanks so much for a service I never anticipated needing. I am homebound. I thought at my age — 69 —  I would not read again, study our past and learn once more. You have given me hope again. I love you all.”

To refer an adult for free home delivery, call Library Outreach Services at 503.988.5404 or email us (lib.adult.outreach@multco.us).

 

In March 2018, a scrap yard fire in Northeast Portland destroyed homes, forced some community members to stay indoors and forced others to evacuate the area due to the smoke and air

quality. Concerns and questions over the lingering effects are still on the minds of some community members. The Multnomah County Health Department has compiled a list of community questions with responses provided by government agencies.

The document is comprehensive and covers questions regarding next steps, air quality, health, soil and water, emergency response and clean up.

Anyone who is a resident of Multnomah County, and that is in need of health care can seek care at county clinics, including people with a low income and who have no health insurance. Medical, dental, and mental health care is available at low or no cost, and interpretation services are always free. Residents should call 503-988-5558 for appointments.

To stay up to date on Multnomah County emergencies, the county advises that residents sign up for PublicAlerts. The service sends landline phone, mobile phone, text, and email alerts in English, Spanish, Vietnamese, Chinese, Russian, Somali, Romanian, Ukrainian, Japanese, Arabic, and Laotian.

“I want to provide for my community.”

by Sarah Binns

If you're worried about the future of the world, think about this month’s Volunteer Spotlight, Lizette Sayavedra Herrera. A senior at Reynolds High School, Lizette is a driven activist who educates and champions her community. This may be the first time you’ve heard her name, but it won’t be the last.

Lizette started as a search assistant at Troutdale: “At first I thought it’d be fun and I could get out of the house.” She pauses and her voice fills with delight: “It turns out I’ve thoroughly enjoyed it.” Her volunteerism soon expanded as she became an assistant for La hora de aprender (The Learning Hour), an educational program for Spanish-speaking children. “I organize things, I read to the kids.” Another pause. “I blow up the balloons. The kids love the balloons.”

The program is close to Lizette’s heart, as she is a Mexican immigrant who came to the U.S. at age six. “When I moved here I didn’t have a lot of Spanish-speaking people around me.” She loves La hora de aprender because she can participate in Latino culture and because she gives kids the Spanish-speaking community she didn’t have.

Lizette is also a force for students of color at Reynolds, serving as co-president of the Latino Student Union and a member of the Black Student Union. “It’s a way for me to learn and grow. I’m Latina but I have a lighter complexion, which comes with privilege….” She addresses the complexities of racial identity and the need for awareness in communities of color: “You have to know when to step in and when to step back. Learning people’s stories, it’s what I have a passion for.”

Lizette will marry activism with academics when she attends Wellesley College this fall, pursuing biomedical engineering or pre-law. “My grandmother has diabetes. She takes up to ten medicines a day. If I can take her pills down from ten to five, that’s significant. Plus, groundbreaking medicines often aren’t available to people of color due to price gouging.” Lizette’s interest in law stems from the over-representation of Latinos and people of color in the U.S. prison system: “A lot of times people of color don’t have access to attorneys or the same legal opportunities.”

Bound for the east coast in the fall, Lizette is excited about Wellesley’s all-female campus: “I know I’ll learn from being surrounded by other women.” She’ll continue to be an advocate for communities of color. “I want to provide for my community,” she concludes. Look out world, Lizette Sayavedra Herrera is coming for you—and she is going to change it.  


A few facts about Lizette

Home library:  Troutdale

Currently reading:  The New Jim Crow by Michelle Alexander and The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood

Favorite book from childhood:  The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle

Most influential book:  Esperanza Rising by Pam Muñoz Ryan

Book that made you cry:  Esperanza Rising

Favorite browsing section: Young adult nonfiction

E-reader or paper?  Paper!

Favorite place to read: "My bed."

Thanks for reading the MCL Volunteer Spotlight. Stay tuned for our next edition coming soon! Read last month's Volunteer Spotlight.

 

 

On choosing a summer read

When I say vacation or beach read, you probably have some books immediately come to mind. Not all readers think of the same type of book though. My husband sees it as an opportunity to read the long books he doesn’t have time for usually. His vacation books lean toward meaty nonfiction and fiction that makes you think. I want escape. I also want to read books written for adults since as a youth librarian I’m usually reading books for kids and teens. While I want to read Evicted (my husband's last beach read), I eye my stack of mysteries, fantasy, and stories about women (both light and more introspective).

Gimme some Terry Pratchett, Alan Bradley, Carl Hiaasen, Ann Patchett. I want to catch up on mystery series, be an armchair traveler, laugh about life’s absurdities, and read a bestselling author I’ve missed. Some teen books sneak on to my vacation reading pile. A Sarah Dessen novel is the definition of beach read and I needed the devoted time of my last vacation to devour Thunderhead, second in an enthralling series by Neal Shusterman.

So many books, so little vacation time. What do you plan to read this summer?

Birthdays, graduations, weddings -- all memorable life events that we plan for and celebrate. But when you think about it, isn't dying the biggest, most dramatic event in a person's life? And yet we spend little time preparing for it. Recently I've been inspired by Kate Bowler's podcast, Everything Happens, which is by turns hilarious, dark, heart-rending and sweet. Her companion book, Everything Happens for a Reason got a big thumbs up from Bill Gates in his annual summer reading recommendations.

Kate's diagnosis of stage IV cancer sent her into heavy contemplation mode, and luckily she decided to share her insights. Tip #1 - never say "everything happens for a reason." Tip #2: spread joy, as Bowler did when she posted this Bhangra tribute to the Winnipeg Jets on her twitter feed. Tip #3: check out the attached list for more thoughts on space between life and death.

Winnipeg Vs. Everybody - The Bhangra Remix

Has the recent Netflix documentary "Wild Wild Country" piqued your interest on the history of the Rajneesh movement? Are you curious about how it was reported on at the time, before the internet and up-to-the-minute news feed updates?

Your friendly neighborhood library can help you learn more. Your library card grants you access to the Historical Oregonian, where you can read the headlines and the articles on the Rajneesh movement that riveted Oregonians at the time. Did you know that the Rajneesh movement published their own newspaper? Central Library has copies of these newspapers available for the community to look at. 

From tailored booklists to one-on-one appointments  to help you delve deeper on this or any other subject, your library is here to help guide you on your research path.

Do you have a zine you want to share with the world? The library is a great place to do that! We have a zine collection available for checkout at five of our locations: Albina, Belmont, Central, Hollywood and North Portland. The focus of the collection is to provide a showcase for local authors that produce zines on popular topics of interest to our community.

We generally limit our purchases to distros like Antiquated Future, Microcosm, Mend My Dress Press, Portland Button Works and Powells Books. We also purchase zines at the annual Portland Zine Symposium.

You can submit a sample of your zine by dropping it off or mailing it to the following locations (please include your name and contact info.)

Multnomah County Library Belmont Branch
Attn: Lori Moore
1038 SE Cesar E Chavez Blvd.
Portland, OR 97214

Or

Multnomah County Library Central
Attn: Karen Eichler
801 SW 10th Ave
Portland, OR 97205

Contact us for more information.

Finally -- a reason to celebrate insomnia.

WPC 56
BBC shows set in different eras can be so spot-on. They've produced some brilliant series that completely capture the milieu of a particular time period and do it whilst telling a really interesting story. I enjoy watching Downton Abbey for the beautiful frocks but the story of how the world of the upper class was changing after the turn of the century is the more important tale to observe. And yes, I love the fashions of the 40s and 50s so I’ll watch a lot of shows just for the look of those times, but give me a series that explores the changing roles of women and men, and I’ll binge-watch the entire thing in a couple of days.

WPC 56 is one of those shows. It’s set in the 1950s, in the West Midlands police force. Gina Dawson is the first female police officer to serve in her home town police station. At her first meeting with the chief inspector, he sternly says to her, “Never forget that your sole responsibility is to support the men so that they can get on with the job of real policing.” Unbelievable. But then again, so believable. In just a few episodes, we see how such tough issues as rape, mental illness, and race relations played out in a small town in 1950s England. Even though I wish I had a few of their party dresses, I’m glad I’m living in 2018. 

Here's a list of some of my other favorite British series that bring to life other times and places. 

 

Multnomah County Library’s new mobile sewing lab is on the move! Funded through the library’s staff innovation program Curiosity Kick!, the program is piloting a series of Somali sewing classes at Capitol Hill and Gregory Heights libraries. 

Sewing instructor

The Library Sewing Project began as an idea proposed by Capitol Hill Library Assistant Suad M., Central Library Assistant Lisa T., and Capitol Hill Library Administrator Patti V., after the team heard from the Somali community a desire to find free neighborhood sewing classes. The proposal was selected by staff to receive a $10,000 Curiosity Kick grant in 2017.  

The team purchased ten sewing machines, a bin of sewing supplies, and a cart to transport the equipment and supplies throughout the library system. They also identified Somali speaking sewing instructors who could teach the four new beginning sewing programs.

When the new series of classes launched in March at Capitol Hill, all classes were filled to capacity with eight students each. The demand and interest for the sewing classes remains high.

“This program not only responded to community requests, it created a space for women who usually don't feel safe or comfortable using public institutions due to language barriers. By providing an instructor that shares the same language and culture, we reduced that barrier, and got over 100% attendance, 100% of the time,” said Suad.

Violeta
Violeta still remembers the first time she saw the library as more than books: 

"Growing up on the Mexican border, the one public library in town was the size of an average living room. Then we moved to Texas and my mom took us down to our new library. I couldn’t believe everything it had. It was a big space! They had blocks to play with, Disney movies to check out, and best of all, everything was free."

Today, as a bilingual (Spanish) youth librarian for Troutdale Library, Violeta helps connect East County youth to the library world she fell in love with from an early age. She especially enjoys the connection she’s made with teen patrons.

"Working with teens is underrated. I can show them my goofiest self, and they really open up. We want to make the library a desirable and inclusive space for everyone. It can be a place of acceptance for them as they go from seeing the world as black and white to seeing the ‘grays’ in life."

With Violeta’s leadership, Troutdale is reviving its Teen Council, an opportunity for teens from the neighborhood to develop leadership skills and get involved. The Teen Council meets bimonthly and develops programs for other youth to get involved in the library.

This May, Troutdale will host a special three-part event for teens and youth, Live in a Better World and Give Back, which will be an opportunity for attendees to craft and make tote bags that will be donated to women and children at the Rose Haven day shelter.

In addition to her role as youth librarian, Violeta worked for the past nine months as a regional librarian in East County, supporting Gresham, Troutdale, Rockwood and Fairview libraries. In her role, she spent time reaching out to organizations and listening to what East County neighborhoods want from their library; coordinating resource lists for patrons, such as where in East County houseless patrons can get basic services; and leading training opportunities for other youth librarians.

As Violeta reached out to neighborhood organizations, she recognized an increasing need for the library to be out telling the community all it can offers — for free — that goes beyond books.

"Some people think of us as another government organization, but we are so dedicated to helping people get the information they need, connecting them to resources and most importantly, protecting their privacy," said Violeta.

As a librarian dedicated to serving East County, Violeta’s commitment and passion for helping people in her community, and connecting them to the library, remains at the center of her work.

"I’ve always felt at home in the library. I want to help ensure others feel that way too."

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