MCL Blogs

A librarian from several decades ago
Libraries can make us nostalgic. They evoke memories of childhood, new discoveries and finding just the right book for that sunny spot. 

But all things change. 

Yes, our libraries are still home to about two million books and other items, but today, libraries are so much more than buildings with books inside. 

In Multnomah County, our libraries are:

  • The largest provider of free, high speed internet access in Oregon with about 2.5 million computer and wi-fi sessions every year
  • A place for free summer lunches for young people who might not have adequate nourishment when school is not in session
  • A platform for emerging authors and musicians to gain greater exposure
  • Gathering spaces with resources that reflect the diversity of our community
  • Safe and welcoming space for teenagers to study and hang out
  • A common space for civic life and a place to explore differing ideas and points of view

While library staff and services are constantly evolving to keep up with changing times, our buildings have not. They simply don’t have enough space, enough seating, enough outlets or enough places for groups to gather, 

We’re hard at work creating a vision for modern library spaces in Multnomah County. Join us as we explore ways to bring all people in Multnomah County modern and adequate library spaces that they need and deserve. Learn more at multcolib.org/planning/

Exterior of St Johns Library
Andrew Carnegie was many things: an immigrant, an industrialist and philanthropist. Among his greatest legacies was the widespread establishment and expansion of the free public library. In 47 U.S. states, in Canada and abroad, Carnegie helped create about 3,000 libraries, many of which are still in existence today.

In Multnomah County, St. Johns and North Portland libraries, with their stately red brick exteriors — both original Carnegie libraries — are remnants of that legacy. Inside St. Johns Library, the passage of a century has a different impact. 

St. Johns Library is typical of the small libraries we find across Multnomah County. One hundred years ago, the main function of those buildings was to house books. 

Today, libraries are spaces for people, programs and hands-on learning — and yes, books. Some programs, like children’s storytime, are so popular, people are regularly turned away. Other times, the library is forced to hold programs amidst the book stacks, making them inaccessible to others. 

With more than 5,400 storytimes in our libraries and more than 110,000 young people participating in summer reading each year, our community’s children feel the space pinch every day. And some of our most popular new programs, like the makerspace (a science and technology space just for teenagers) at Rockwood Library, are only offered in one location because we don’t have enough space in other library buildings.

Crowd at reptile show at St Johns Library
In our region and across the country, other libraries are greeting the future with open arms, with spaces for children to read, explore and play. Imagine if children at our libraries could have not only space for storytime, but perhaps a dress-up closet, structures to climb on, learning gardens, functioning kitchens or science and technology learning.

Imagine if more of our library buildings could offer space to sit and learn together, for workshops, or private rooms for a Skype job interview. 

We’re hard at work creating a vision for modern library spaces in Multnomah County. Join us as we explore ways to bring all people in Multnomah County modern and adequate library spaces that they need and deserve. Learn more at multcolib.org/planning/
 

Listening to the Readers

by Donna Childs, MCL volunteer

The Read to the Dogs program is one of many ways the Multnomah County Library promotes reading. Dog-and-person teams are available at several neighborhood libraries to soothe and encourage hesitant young readers.

At Hollywood Library, dog Archi and his partner, Emily Rogers, devote one and a half hours twice a month to listening to kids read. Does Archi understand the books? Probably not, even though kids often choose books about dogs, and Emily said he has a huge vocabulary. But he does understand his connection with the kids who pet, hug, and cuddle with him.  

A certified therapy dog, Archi took six six-week classes: regular puppy and then therapy training. Archi was certified by Pet Partners, a nonprofit organization that pairs people with therapy animals to help people with differing needs in a variety of situations. Archi must be recertified every two years. While most dogs pass the tests and earn certification by age three or four, Archi passed at thirteen months! 

Children sign up for 20-minute sessions, reading to and petting the dog, which often helps to calm the child’s anxiety. Archi and Emily are one of three teams at Hollywood Library. The sessions take place in a quiet, glass-walled room for child, dog, and owner. Parents remaining in the library can easily see their children. Occasionally a sibling comes too, and once a girl came in who was a good reader, but afraid of dogs. She ended up hugging Archi! Whole families have participated over the years as each child begins to read.   

In addition to Read to the Dogs, Archi and Emily have volunteered at such places as the Tigard Public LibraryPortland Children’s Museum, Portland State University during finals week, and with adults adapting to a new computer system.  

Emily pointed out that although their 36 weeks of training was focused on Archi, she had to learn to communicate with, guide, and redirect him when necessary. Emily works full-time in philanthropy and is not an expert in teaching reading, but she is so committed she attended a four-hour training with a reading specialist. Emily and Archi clearly take their responsibilities to young readers seriously, to everyone’s benefit.

 


A few facts about Emily

Home library: Hollywood

Currently reading: Good Omens by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman

Most influential book: The Harry Potter books!

Favorite section to browse: Historical fiction  

Favorite book from childhood: The Dragons are Singing Tonight by Jack Prelutsky

Book that made you laugh or cry: Uncle Shelby’s ABZ Book by Shel Silverstein

Guilty pleasure: Outlander by Diana Gabaldon

Favorite place to read: My balcony

E-reader or paper: Paper book!!!

 

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

Library Clerk Sandi
When Bilingual Clerk Sandi Plesha first observed groups of Latina women coming to the library and quietly observing while their children read books in English, she thought of her own experience. 

“I know how isolating it can be when you’re in a new place and can’t speak the language,“ says Sandi. “I am an immigrant and have empathy for that experience. Like many of the patrons that I serve, I’ve had to jump many hurdles.”

A native Ecuadorian, Sandi worked as a teacher before moving to the United States after meeting her husband. 

“When I first moved here, I didn’t understand English. I was afraid to ask questions. When you feel like you can’t talk to others to get the information you need, it’s hard to connect. You become isolated.” 

Wanting to help the Latina women feel at home in the library, Sandi asked if they wanted to converse in Spanish; when they smiled, she began talking about what brought them to the library. Sandi asked if they wanted to come back to the library and meet as a group while their children read and play and was encouraged by their enthusiastic reaction. 

Sandi created a program at Gresham Library called La Placita (“the little plaza”). The group is held in Spanish and is aimed at helping Latina women come together, discuss their interests, learn new skills and build community. 

“Having the program in Spanish was critical not only to removing the feeling of isolation, but was also a way to help participants feel part of the community and welcome to use community resources,” she says.

Sandi, whose love of reading was cultivated by her father from an early age, creates lesson plans and selects books in Spanish to help spark discussion. She designed the program to accommodate multiple interests. 

“The women are really driving this program! When I meet with them, and we pick the books, we study. It’s not just a book club. The readings are a point to start a discussion, a window to connecting with each other.” 

The class is structured so participants can also bring their kids and a section of the room, along with another staff member, is focused on the children’s learning and play. 

“For some, La Placita is like dipping their toes into the ocean of the library and then once they get comfortable, they keep coming back, exploring and finding more,” says Sandi.

During one program, they used a Gabriel García Márquez book to discuss what it means to be a beautiful woman; during others, they’ve exchanged recipes and brought in guest teachers to learn about online privacy. After several classes, participants are feeling more at home at the library, and many are now checking out their own books.

After receiving participant requests, Gresham Library is updating the youth and adult Spanish collections, re-organizing materials and adding new signage to improve access.

“It’s the little things we do that can make a big difference. When you give to the community, the community gives back to you.”

In addition to running La Placita and helping library patrons with various information and account needs, Sandi enjoys improving the Spanish collection and utilizing her creativity to create engaging library displays. A lifelong learner, she is also teaching herself to speak Russian! 

La Placita is on a temporary break. To see other programming at Gresham Library, please visit multcolib.org/events.

Kids enjoying the summer lunch program at Gresham Library
Thư Viện Quận Multnomah sẽ cung cấp bữa trưa miễn phí cho thanh thiếu niên từ 18 tuổi trở xuống vào mùa hè này tại các thư viện Gresham, Midland và Rockwood.  Các bạn thanh thiếu niên không bắt buộc phải có thẻ thư viện để được ăn trưa miễn phí.

Các bữa ăn trưa được cung cấp từ Thứ Hai đến Thứ Sáu trong các thời gian sau:

Gresham: Từ 12:30–1:30 chiều (17 tháng 6 đến 16 tháng 8)
Midland: Từ 12 giờ –1 giờ chiều (17 tháng 6 đến 27 tháng 8)
Rockwood: Từ 12 giờ –1 giờ chiều (24 tháng 6 đến 9 tháng 8)

Chương trình bữa trưa mùa hè miễn phí được thực hiện nhờ quan hệ đối tác với Học Khu Gresham Barlow, Học Khu Reynolds và bộ phận Bữa Ăn Cho Trẻ Em của Meals on Wheels.

Thư Viện Quận Multnomah tổ chức nhiều hoạt động miễn phí trong mùa hè dành cho trẻ em và thanh thiếu niên, trong đó có Chương trình Đọc Sách Mùa Hè. Để biết thêm thông tin, hãy truy cập lịch sự kiện hoặc gọi tới số 503.988.5123.
 

Kids enjoying the summer lunch program at Gresham Library
La Biblioteca del Condado de Multnomah ofrecerá almuerzos gratuitos para menores de 18 años este verano en las bibliotecas de Gresham, Midland y Rockwood.  No se requiere que tengan una tarjeta de la biblioteca para obtener el almuerzo gratis.

Los almuerzos están disponibles de lunes a viernes en los siguientes horarios:

Gresham: 12:30 – 1:30 p. m. (del 17 de junio al 16 de agosto)
Midland: 12 – 1 p. m. (del 17 de junio al 27 de agosto)
Rockwood: 12 – 1 p. m. (del 24 de junio al 9 de agosto)

El programa de almuerzos de verano ha sido posible gracias a asociaciones con el distrito escolar de Gresham Barlow, el distrito escolar de Reynolds y Meals 4 Kids división de Meals on Wheels.

La Biblioteca del Condado de Multnomah ofrece muchas actividades gratuitas de verano para niños y adolescentes, incluido el programa de Lectura de Verano. Para obtener más información, consulte el calendario de eventos o llame al 503.988.5123.

Kids enjoying the summer lunch program at Gresham Library
摩特诺玛县图书馆将于今年夏季在Gresham、Midland和Rockwood图书馆为18岁及以下青少年提供免费午餐。 青少年无需凭借图书证即可获赠免费午餐。

提供午餐时间为星期一至星期五,时间如下:

Gresham:下午12:30-下午1:30(6月17日至8月16日)
Midland:下午12点至下午1点(6月17日至8月27日)
Rockwood:下午12点至下午1点(6月24日至8月9日)

夏季午餐计划是通过与Gresham Barlow学区、Reynolds学区和上门送餐服务(Meals on Wheels)的儿童餐(Meals 4 Kids)部门合作实现的。

摩特诺玛县图书馆为儿童和青少年提供诸多免费夏季活动,包括 暑期阅读计划。有关更多信息,请访问事件日历或致电503.988.5123。

Kids enjoying the summer lunch program at Gresham Library
Если вам 18 лет или меньше, этим летом библиотека округа Малтнома предлагает вам бесплатные обеды в библиотеках Грешам, Мидленд и Роквуд.  Чтобы получить бесплатный обед, не обязательно иметь с собой библиотечную карточку.

Обеды проводятся с понедельника по пятницу в следующее время:

Библиотека Грешам: 12:30–13:30 (с 17 июня по 16 августа)
Библиотека Мидленд: 12:00–13:00 (с 17 июня по 27 августа)
Библиотека Роквуд: 12:00–13:00 (с 24 июня по 9 августа)

Программа летних обедов проводится в рамках сотрудничества со школьными округами Грешам-Барлоу и Рейнолдз, а также подразделением Meals 4 Kids организации Meals on Wheels.

Библиотека округа Малтнома организует множество различных бесплатных летних мероприятий для детей и подростков, в том числе программу «Летние чтения». Дополнительную информацию см. в календаре мероприятий или получите по телефону 503.988.5123.

High schoolers, you can just read for an hour to mark off each spot on your Summer Reading challenge cards or on the mobile site. But there are a lot of cool other things you can do, too! Remember, you can play online or on a paper gameboard (available free from any library), but not both. 

Beyond reading

Do any of these to fill in a space on your challenge card or mark a day’s reading on the mobile site.

  • Stream or download music or a movie from the library with the hoopla app (library card and password required)
  • Check out a magazine from the library on your phone, tablet or computer (library card and password required)
  • Attend a free summer concert and listen to live music
  • Read to a young child and talk about the story, helping get them ready for reading (and it can count on their gameboard for Summer Reading, too!)
  • Teach tech to an adult--show an aunt how to Snapchat, Grandpa how to use Facebook, Mom or Dad how to stream music or listen a podcast
  • Learn or practice a language through Mango Connect languages on the library’s site (library card and password required)
  • Download an audiobook or an ebook from Libby

Movie making at Rockwood Makerspace
Do, make, share—win!

Share your creation for a chance to win $100 collage certificate. Examples:

How do I submit a creation?

  • Email it (or a link to it) to SummerReading@multcolib.org or
  • Post on social media with the hashtag #MultCoLibTeen
  • Bring it to your neighborhood library and ask staff to send it in to the Summer Reading office (make sure you include your name and contact info)
  • Postal mail to Multnomah County Library, Attn: Summer Reading, 216 NE Knott St, Portland, OR 97212 (make sure you include your name and contact info)
  • You’ll be entered into the drawings for prizes. If you need help, ask at your local library.

Need challenge cards? Stop by any library between now and August 31 to get yours! Just keep track of the days you read about an hour and challenges you complete, then transfer them to the gameboard.

“I can’t stress enough the importance of this program.”

by Sarah Binns, MCL volunteer

Volunteer Kasha Tindall Webster

“There’s a theme I’ve seen with people,” Kasha Tindall Webster explains. “There are a lot of experienced people who need to get on their [career] path—doesn’t matter if you’re starting or starting over. There’s a difference between working and working toward something,” she says. Kasha knows this difference well, as a volunteer for MCL’s resume community outreach program at Belmont Library.

“I just show up and help people with resumes,” Kasha laughs. But it’s clear that Kasha masters the art of reading a person’s career aspirations. “I want to help maximize someone’s hourly wage,” she says. “Sometimes what a person is doing and what they want to be doing are totally different things.” Kasha refers to a woman who came to tidy her resume to submit to local grocery stores: “I noticed she had lots of biochemistry coursework experience, so I asked, ‘What about working in a lab instead?’” It’s highlighting the parts of people they can’t see themselves that makes Kasha so effective; she sometimes receives grateful emails from patrons once they get a job. She demurs at the suggestion that she has an obvious gift: “I can’t stress enough the importance of this program. I’m just figuring out how to get the program to make more significant impact.” 

Kasha was born in Hawaii but grew up in Syracuse, New York. Originally a biology major (“I thought you had to struggle,” she laughs) at SUNY Oswego, she switched to an English major, shaping a career dominated by communications and learning how to read people. She currently works as an HR consultant. In even the briefest conversations, “People tell you everything about themselves,” she says with a knowing smile. 

Six years ago, Kasha and her husband moved to Portland, a place she calls “ripe with opportunity to find yourself.” Her praise for the library is boundless: “Could they be nicer, these people who work around books and people? They give of themselves every day, and sometimes these are introverted people, but when they’re asked a question they open like a flower. I’m grateful that this system is in place and that I have the opportunity to work for it.”

Kasha offers two great resume tips: “First, explain or dictate to your phone your skills, what you like to do, and so on. Now play it back and write it down. Next, list out what you actually do as you do it, and keep that list active.” Whether you’re starting, starting over, or want a resume tune up, Kasha’s advice will be a step in the right path!


A few facts about Kasha

Home library: Belmont

Currently reading: SHRM BoCK System Preparatory Exam materials (it’s an HR certification). 

Most influential book: The Martian Chronicles by Ray Bradbury. “It’s amazing how Mars was the vehicle for these very human stories.”

Favorite section to browse: Nonfiction.  

Favorite book from childhood: The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams and Momotarō, or Peach Boy, a Japanese fairytale: “It was my first baby book.” 

Book that made you laugh or cry: Erma Bombeck, If Life Is a Bowl of Cherries, What Am I Doing in the Pits?

Guilty pleasure: “I love to reread. I have a whole library of rereads for when I’m super stressed or having a hard time. Or the Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child books.”

Favorite place to read: “In bed!”

E-reader or paper: Paper.

 

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

On the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall riots, Multnomah County Library is proud to once again participate in Portland’s own Pride Festival! This is one of the largest Pride celebrations on the West Coast, and we are so excited to connect with you. Stop by our

Library staff and friends at Pride
table in Section R next to the Morrison Bridge to sign up for our Summer Reading Program (we have a game for adults, too!), check out a book and win a fabulous library prize!  We hope to see you there.

If you can’t make it (or even if you can), celebrate with a great LGBTQ read from one of the wonderful booklists below.

Kids enjoying the summer lunch program at Gresham Library
La Biblioteca del Condado de Multnomah ofrecerá almuerzos gratuitos para menores de 18 años este verano en las bibliotecas de Gresham, Midland y Rockwood.  No se requiere que tengan una tarjeta de la biblioteca para obtener el almuerzo gratis.

Los almuerzos están disponibles de lunes a viernes en los siguientes horarios:

Gresham: 12:30 – 1:30 p. m. (del 17 de junio al 16 de agosto)
Midland: 12 – 1 p. m. (del 17 de junio al 27 de agosto)
Rockwood: 12 – 1 p. m. (del 24 de junio al 9 de agosto)

El programa de almuerzos de verano ha sido posible gracias a asociaciones con el distrito escolar de Gresham Barlow, el distrito escolar de Reynolds y Meals 4 Kids división de Meals on Wheels.
La Biblioteca del Condado de Multnomah ofrece muchas actividades gratuitas de verano para niños y adolescentes, incluido el programa de Lectura de Verano. Para obtener más información, consulte el calendario de eventos o llame al 503.988.5123.

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: 12:30–1:30 pm (June 17 through August 16)
Midland: 12–1 pm (June 17 through August 27)
Rockwood: 12–1 pm (June 24 through August 9)

The summer lunch program is made possible through partnerships with Gresham Barlow School District, Reynolds School District, and the Meals 4 Kids division of Meals on Wheels.

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.

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 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 8, 2019, Civilization and Its Discontents, by Sigmund Freud

 

September 14, 2019, Selected Poetry, by John Donne. (This is a different edition than we will be reading.)

 

October 12, 2019The Red Badge of Courage, by Stephen Crane

 

November 9, 2019To the Finland Station,by Edmund Wilson

 

December 14,  2019, Three Sisters and The Cherry Orchard in Anton Chekhov's Selected Plays, by Anton Chekhov

 

January 11, 2020, Sentimental Education, by Gustave Flaubert

 

February 8, 2020, The Death of the Heart, by Elizabeth Bowen

 

March 14, 2020, The Rime of the Ancient Mariner, by Samuel Coleridge

 

April 11, 2020, : The Misanthrope, by Jean Molière

 

May 9, 2020, Mansfield Park, by Jane Austen

 

June 13, 2020, The Rubaiyat of Omar Kayyam

Hollywood Library Classics Pageturners,

Third Sundays, 2-4 pm

 

June 16, 2019The Golden Notebook, by Doris Lessing

 

September 15, 2019Persuasion, by Jane Austen

 

October 20, 2019The Twelve Caesars, by Suetonius. (This is a different translation than we will be reading.)

 

November 17, 2019 Jude the Obscure, by Thomas Hardy

 

December 15, 2019The Log From the Sea of Cortez, by John Steinbeck

 

January 19, 2020The Oresteia, by Aeschylus

 

February 16, 2020The Moon and Sixpence, by W. Somerset Maugham

 

March 15, 2020Cry the Beloved Country, by Alan Paton

 

April 19, 2020Selected Stories of Anton Chekov

 

May 17, 2020, Meditations, by Marcus Aurelius. (This is a different translation than we will be reading.)

 

June 21, 2020Man and Superman, by George Bernard Shaw

 

Capitol Hill Library Quarterly Classics

Second Wednesdays, 1:30 pm, October 2018, January, April & July 2019

 

July 10, 2019, My Ántonia, by Willa Cather

Drawing of Lady Justice in front of an American flag.
Life is full of law questions. Whether you are researching laws or looking for legal help, we can suggest some excellent resources to help you out.

First, a caveat: It is against state law for library staff members to engage in any conduct that might constitute the unauthorized practice of law; we may not interpret statutes, cases or regulations, perform legal research, recommend or assist in the preparation of forms, or advise patrons regarding their legal rights.

The following is not a comprehensive list, but it will help you get started. If you have questions or need research suggestions, contact us anytime!


Free & reduced-cost legal help:

 
The OSB Lawyer Referral Service can refer you to a lawyer who may be able to assist you with your legal matter.
 
A statewide non-profit organization that provides access to legal help for people to protect their livelihoods, their health, and their families.
 
An OSB program to help moderate-income Oregonians find affordable legal assistance.
 
A nonprofit law firm that offers sliding-scale legal services.

Legal advocacy and assistance for:

Artists
Consumers
Crime victims
Families
Immigrants and refugees
Inmates
Latinx community
LGBT+ community
Military service members and their dependents
Native American community
People with disabilities
Renters
Russian community
Seniors
Teens
Veterans
Workers

Legal research and forms:

 
General legal information on a variety of topics, provided as a public service by Oregon's lawyers. 
 
Free legal information for low-income Oregonians.
 
Links to resources for users who want to learn more about the law and courts or want to represent themselves in a legal matter.
 
Provides legal reference assistance and more six days a week; you can access various legal forms and complete NOLO legal reference books on common legal topics online, 24/7, through their website. The Washington County Law Library is also open to the public and has many great resources online and in person.
 
Promoting justice by providing all Oregonians with access to legal information and legal research assistance.
 
Forms, court records, and information about going to court.
 
Free online access to court calendars and basic case information for the Oregon circuit courts and the Oregon Tax Court.
 
A legal research tool that lets you search sources of law from Oregon, the U.S. Government and many other western states. 
 
Provides online access to briefs and opinions of the Oregon Supreme and Appellate Courts, legal research guides, and in-person and virtual legal reference services.
 
Contains legal forms and documents specific to Oregon. Access with your library card number.
 
Information and forms from the federal Judiciary.
 
Includes legislative information and a Guide to Law Online.
 
Learn about your rights as a person living in the United States of America.
 
Find out how to file a complaint or appeal a decision related to health information privacy, civil rights, Medicare, and more.

Elleona Budd, Library Assistant
“The library is a place where anyone can foster creative ideas,” says Elleona Budd, a Black Cultural Library Advocate and Library Assistant at Central Library.

Elleona, who identifies as non-binary, has been learning various parts of library work — everything from helping regular patrons at the St. Johns Library find titles, to leading outreach work in the Black community — for the past three years.

Elleona joined the library as an access services assistant after graduating from Lincoln High School in downtown Portland. As a student, they gravitated toward history and language courses, including learning Spanish, Korean, Mandarin and Arabic. Elleona’s rigorous academic curriculum continues, as they pursue a degree at Portland State University in International Relations and Conflict Resolution, with a minor in Chinese.

“When I first started my job at the library, I hadn’t been back in eight years! I had so many fines from my youth and had been worried I wouldn’t be able to use anything so I avoided it. I happily learned that the library had waived all youth fines and started a new policy so that no youth would accrue fines going forward.”

Today, Elleona, who says they originally loved the idea of working at a library because of a love for books and working with people, now appreciates it because they have an opportunity to help people feel welcome and to connect patrons with library services and resources

“One experience that was very meaningful for me was connecting with a patron who had recently been incarcerated,” said Elleona. “The library was one of her first stops. She wanted help finding career resources, and I was able to listen and talk with her, but also recommend materials in addition to other services the library offers. She told me the experience was so positive and had helped her feel welcome to come back.”

Now, as a Black Cultural Library Advocate, Elleona is joining other staff from around the library to identify ways to improve collections and services for the Black community. Sometimes, that means creating library displays featuring poetry by queer and trans people of color. Other times, it means organizing large-scale events to provide opportunities for discussion about topics such as the African diaspora.

“I want to help start conversations. I want everyone to walk into a library and think ‘this is a place for me.’” says Elleona.

Elleona’s recommended reading:

The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

Clean Room by Gail Simone

My Sister, the Serial Killer by Oyinkan Braithwaite

At home at Rockwood Library
Volunteer Ethan Wood

by Donna Childs,  MCL volunteer

Smart, busy, an enthusiastic learner, Ethan is a charming young man—an independent learner with an infectious love of learning and a commitment to encouraging others. He is currently a high school junior and looking ahead to college. Although he lives in Damascus, he travels to Rockwood Library to volunteer. Despite the commute, it is clearly the place for him: Ethan loves science, technology, and making things, and Rockwood is the only area library with a makerspace. Ethan came to Rockwood as a Summer Reading volunteer six years ago, before the makerspace was created. After Summer Reading, he moved on to helping students with homework and assisting patrons with the library’s computers. He recalls that one especially gratifying experience was helping a patron find an apartment online.

When the makerspace opened, Ethan was recruited by Rockwood’s “awesome staff” to volunteer there. He learned CAD (Computer Aided Design) and how to use the equipment and has been an avid makerspace volunteer since.

The makerspace is a collaborative learning environment for students in grades 6-12 to learn real-life technology and engineering skills. Librarians and volunteers like Ethan offer workshops and guide students in the use of innovative technology tools like laser cutters and 3D printers. The goal is for students to become comfortable with technology and to learn by experimenting, while honing problem-solving and critical thinking skills.

Ethan loves experimenting and making things, and he strongly believes in the importance for kids of learning technology: “they will need it later.” Among his potential college majors are mechanical and electronics engineering, though he also loves astronomy and the space program.

As a high school junior, Ethan is enrolled in the Summit Learning Charter School’s Early College Program, through which he can take both high school and community college classes and earn college credit, with Summit paying his tuition. In addition to taking high school and college courses and volunteering at Rockwood, Ethan is a Boy Scout, working to become an Eagle Scout, and a member of Summit’s Robotics club; he also takes guitar lessons and serves as a communications assistant—doing newsletters and social media—for the East Metro Youth Advisory Council whose mission is to encourage STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts, and math). The Council meets at Rockwood Library.


A few facts about Ethan

Home library:  Rockwood

Currently reading:  He is not currently reading a book, but enjoys science fiction.

Most influential book:  He could not think of a specific book that has influenced him however, one of his favorite books is Psion Beta by Jacob Gowans.

Favorite book from childhood:  "I love all the Harry Potter books."

Book that made you cry:  Where the Redfern Grows by Wilson Rawls is a tear-jerker.

Favorite browsing section: Fiction and science nonfiction

E-reader or paper?  Paper book

Favorite place to read: "My room, because it is quiet and comfortable."

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

From Albina to Kenton to Troutdale, each of our 19 neighborhood libraries has a social story to help prepare for a visit. A social story uses photos and simple text to show children on the autism spectrum what to expect and how to behave in unfamiliar social settings. Knowing what to expect can help children with autism cope but the stories can be helpful for others too. Maybe you’re new to Multnomah County and unfamiliar with our libraries. Maybe you haven’t visited a library for a while and want to bring your child, but don’t know what your neighborhood library is like. Perhaps you’re a teacher helping your class prepare for their first visit to a library. Whoever you are, Multnomah County Library social stories walk you through the door, share what you can find in different areas, introduce the storytime presenters, and show where you can get a library card and check out materials.

social story page showing the Sensory Accommodation Kit available at each library
You can find your neighborhood library's story on the website by going to "Locations," clicking on the location from the list of libraries and looking for "My Library social story." The stories are pdfs on the website and ready for printing.

Also for children on the autism spectrum, our libraries each have a Sensory Accommodation Kit with tools to use during your visit to help with noise and distractions, and to help calm. Preschool Sensory Storytimes at the Fairview-Columbia, Hollywood and Woodstock libraries are especially welcoming storytimes for children on the spectrum and families who are looking for a smaller, more adaptive library experience.

Katie Grindeland is the author of The Gifts We Keep, a selection from The Library Writers Project, which highlights local self-published authors. In an innovative partnership, Ooligan Press worked with the library to publish this novel about an Oregon family struggling with past tragedy while caring for a Native Alaskan girl with sorrows of her own.

Reading with friends? Start the conversation with this book summary and discussion guide.

Why did you want to tell this particular story?

I have always been a very character-driven writer, so I was excited at the prospect of diving into first-person emotional exploration with a somewhat diverse group of people. It was really important to me to try and give voice to their internal experience since we don’t always have a platform for that in our put-together grown-up lives. Big feelings, authenticity, connection, these were pillars for me. Not just as words on a page, but as an open-handed gesture to the reader’s experience as well. If someone reads this story and feels emotionally seen or included, I would consider that my biggest success.

Who or what inspires you, writing wise? Who inspires you in your life?

I am always inspired by those really good writers who make you stop in your tracks, by virtue of how purely they can weave a phrase or present an idea. The kind where I have to put the book down to stare at nothing and just think for a few minutes. Yann Martel and Marilynne Robinson and Jonathan Safran Foer and Barbara Kingsolver. But I also really love the writer who just wants to borrow your ear for a minute to tell a cool story they know. Lynda Barry and Stephen King and Cheryl Strayed and Diane Ackerman. These and so many more. Outside of writing, hard workers inspire me. Nose-to-the-grindstoners inspire me. Bad-at-something-but-trying-it-anyway inspires me. I find a lot of bravery in authenticity. And kindness. Kind-hearted people are secret super heroes and they don’t even know it. That inspires me.

Can you recommend a book you've recently enjoyed?

All The Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr. It undid me, in all the best ways. Beautiful, meaningful, incandescent. I read much of this by headlamp on a solo camping trip near The Dalles, listening to trains run by in the dark, simply because I couldn’t put it down. I also love “S”, by Doug Dorst and J.J. Abrams. It's a novel within a novel, filled with miscellanies that fall out of the book into your lap if you aren’t careful, postcards, notes, photos -- all of which may or may not be clues to unraveling the story. Plus, if you’re anything like me, it will have you spouting about the Ship of Theseus paradox to friends and family, whose reception may be lukewarm in comparison to your enthusiasm for the idea!

Haciendo la diferencia un 'Día' a la vez

Ana Morillo, MCL Staff, with Día volunteers Claudia Ramirez-Cisneros and Francisca Ixtepán
Por Sarah Binns, voluntaria de MCL 

El sábado 20 de abril, la Biblioteca Midland celebrará su evento anual del Día de los Niños y Día de los Libros con libros, comida, presentaciones artísticas y manualidades para los niños y las personas jóvenes de corazón. El Día de los Niños, una celebración tradicionalmente realizada el 30 de abril en muchos países latinoamericanos, en general fue introducido a los Estados Unidos a finales de los años 90 por la autora y defensora de la alfabetización bilingüe Pat Mora. Las bibliotecas de todo el país adoptaron el programa después de ser patrocinado por la Asociación de Servicios de Bibliotecas para Niños. Este año, el evento de la Biblioteca Midland ha sido organizado casi exclusivamente por dos usuarias y voluntarias apasionadas de la biblioteca que tienen una experiencia personal con esta tradición: Claudia Ramírez-Cisneros y Francisca Ixtepán. Tanto Claudia como Francisca crecieron en México celebrando el Día de los Niños. “Era algo especial, nuestros padres nos daban regalos”, dice Francisca. Sin embargo, la vida no siempre ha estado llena de regalos para Claudia y Francisca, quienes ahora viven con sus familias en Portland.

“Mi mamá y mi hermano se vinieron aquí primero”, explica Claudia. “Yo tenía solamente 11 años de edad cuando se fueron. No teníamos teléfonos, entonces mi mamá enviaba cartas diciendo lo mucho que me extrañaba”. Claudia participaba como voluntaria enseñando a los niños en su iglesia para “ayudarme a sobrellevar la soledad” sin su familia. Esto despertó un interés permanente por ayudar a otros, lo cual Claudia se trajo con ella cuando se reunió con su familia en Portland a la edad de 15 años.

Francisca se mudó a Portland cuando ya era una persona adulta y la transición a un nuevo país y cultura fue muy desafiante para ella. “Algunas veces, cuando la gente no me entendía, me daba por vencida”, dice Francisca. “Muchas mujeres en nuestra comunidad se apartan porque tienen miedo. Es necesario que como inmigrantes aprendamos a hablar el inglés y aboguemos por nuestros hijos en la escuela o hablemos con la gente en las tiendas cuando no podamos encontrar personas que nos ayuden”. Francisca recibió ayuda del amable personal bilingüe de la biblioteca durante una clase realizada como parte de un evento de difusión comunitaria de la biblioteca. Inspirada por su jefe, a quien ella considera su amigo, y por la necesidad de ayudar a su hijo que estaba siendo acosado en la escuela, Francisca decidió regresar a la escuela para estudiar, aprender el inglés y seguir una carrera.

Francisca y Claudia se conocieron en el Colegio Comunitario Mt. Hood y desde entonces se convirtieron en voluntarias muy activas en la biblioteca y en la comunidad latina de Portland.  Ana Ruiz Morillo, coordinadora de difusión en español de la biblioteca, compartió: “En los últimos cinco años, Francisca ha sido voluntaria en las celebraciones del Día de los Niños y Día de los Libros de MLC. El año pasado, ella invitó a Claudia para trabajar juntas y más tarde ambas aceptaron el desafío de planificar y realizar el evento de “Autor Latino de 2018” con el autor de libros para niños René Colato Laínez en la Biblioteca Midland. Estas dedicadas voluntarias trabajaron muchas horas para planificar, promover y realizar este evento porque, a final de cuentas, todo lo que querían era expresar su apreciación por toda la orientación que recibieron del personal de la biblioteca”.

Nuevamente este año, Claudia y Francisca han dedicado meses para planificar el Día de los Niños y Día de los Libros de la Biblioteca Midland, la cual será una celebración bilingüe multifacética de la cultura latina. Vamos a tener decoraciones inspiradas en Coco, la película galardonada por la Academia con el tema del Día de los Muertos, y también presentaciones de danza como la “Danza de los Viejitos”, un baile tradicional del estado mexicano de Michoacán. Y, gracias al apoyo de The Library Foundation, cada niño asistiendo al evento recibirá un libro gratuito.

La planificación de Claudia y Francisca asombra al personal de la biblioteca por su habilidad para movilizar a la comunidad y crear un intercambio cultural tan vibrante. “Nosotros estamos aprendiendo del liderazgo de Claudia y Francisca”, dice Morillo. “Estamos mejorando en las cosas que hacemos debido a sus contribuciones”. 

Esperamos verlos a ustedes el 20 de abril en la Biblioteca Midland. Ya sea que traigan a sus niños o a su propio niño interior, tengan la seguridad de que pasarán un tiempo maravilloso gracias a Claudia y Francisca. 

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