MCL Blogs

"Come with me and you'll be in a world of pure imagination." -- W. Wonka

 Multnomah County Library Golden Ticket

First graders of Multnomah County, welcome to the library! 

If you attend a school in the Portland Public, Corbett, Parkrose, Reynolds, David Douglas, Gresham-Barlow or Centennial School Districts, you and your family should receive a Golden Ticket at your school's fall conference, directly from your teacher.

Learning to read is a very exciting time, and Multnomah County Library can help you on your way to becoming a stronger reader. Bring your Golden Ticket to any Multnomah County Library location to choose a free book to keep and learn about all about what the library has just for you! Parents of first graders, fill out the information on the back of the ticket and you will be entered into a drawing for a family smartphone. The library has a lot to offer you too.

If your first  grader goes to a  public school in one of the districts listed above and didn't get a Golden Ticket at fall conferences, be sure to ask your teacher or principal.

Golden Tickets can be redeemed for a free book until January 4, 2016. You can come in any time to experience the magic of Multnomah County Library!

Made possible by gifts to The Library Foundation, a local nonprofit dedicated to our library's leadership, innovation and reach through private support.

Did you know that the process of photosynthesis helps us to survive?  Here’s a basic description to get you started understanding how this works.  Watch the video, take the follow-up test, and then try the karaoke song.

If you’d like to be sure you’ve mastered the basic concepts of photosynthesis, this site tests you frequently as you work your way through the information, and won’t allow you to progress until you’ve passed each test.

Let’s move on to more detailed information, including the “recipe” for photosynthesis and a description of the “teeny tiny pigment pancakes”.

With your knowledge of the basics about photosynthesis,  you can understand even more clearly how important plants are to life on earth.  Watch this thought-provoking vimeo and think about the impact of plants on our world.

Bring on the music!  It’s time to celebrate the amazing process of photosynthesis!  You may find that one or two of the following selections will help you to remember the facts about photosynthesis.  This song has a catchy tune, and will have you singing, “Every plant can do this fundamental process, and we can call this photosynthesis.”  Join in on this rap music video, or try this song from "They Might Be Giants".

Want to know more about photosynthesis?  Contact a librarian through your computer or at your local library.

Need to do a science fair project and want to make sure it's a cool one?  Something dramatic?  Or something really gross?  Or something involving cooking delicious foods?  A chemistry project might the one for you!

Or maybe your class is chemistry focused and you HAVE to do a chemistry project---fear not, this is the right place for you, too.

Get some ideas by checking out Science Buddies: Chemistry Science Fair Project Ideas.  You can select Beginner, Intermediate or Advanced and then start exploring your otpions!  You should be able to find good projects for students in 5th grade and higher.

Another great resource is the library database Today's Science.  If you are outside the library, you will need to log in with your library card number and pin number to make this work.  Once you have logged in click on the Resources drop-down menu to find Science Fair guide.  This information will probably work best for high school students.

Need more help?  Checkout the booklist below for more options.  Or contact a librarian for suggestions!

 

 

Born in Seattle, Washington, James Marshall Hendrix is regarded as one of the greatest musicians in the history of rock music. According to Rolling Stone Jimi was more than just the best guitarist of all time--he was also a major cultural icon of the 1960s. The guitarist, who was also a singer and songwriter, taught himself how to play as as teenager. He started making a name for himself in the music industry as a pick up guitarist during the early 1960s. Jimi first achieved fame in the U.K., and then in America following his performance at the Montery Pop Festival in 1967. His untimely death in 1970 left a hole in the rock and roll scene, but his legend lives on forever. Since today is his birthday, take a minute to learn more about Jimi Hendrix and his unique music style. 

  jimi hendrix At the official Jimi Hendrix site and at Biography.com you can read about Jimi, hear his music, and watch video clips.

Jimi was the guitar master, but how does a guitar work? Learn more about the physics of playing guitar in this TED-Ed video:

Ready to rock out some more with Jimi? Just ask a librarian!

 

Multnomah County Library's Lucky Day service includes books for kids, teens and adults.  Lucky Day copies are available for spontaneous use and are not subject to hold queues.  Nobody can place holds on these items; it's first come, first served.  That means you might not have to wait at all for the most popular new titles!  You never know what you might find at your neighborhood library - it just might be your Lucky Day!

Finding and securing affordable rental housing is a challenge. There are a number of reasons for this, from a low vacancy rate of only 3% to the steady gentrification of Portland neighborhoods since 2000.   While the exact rate of increase is variable depending on neighborhood and data collected, an October 2015 State of Housing in Portland (pdf) report found that “average rents across the city have increased between 8-9%, or roughly $100 per month, since this time last year.” On October 7, 2015 the Portland City Council declared a housing emergency with Mayor Hales agreeing that renters need protection. The hope is that the declaration and subsequent actions taken will help with both increasing affordable housing (defined as no more than 30% of one’s income) and also begin to address the rising number of people experiencing homelessness in our community. Immediate Portland City Council measures require landlords to give more notice to tenants before rent increases and no-cause evictions.

Colorful icon of a house

What do you do if you find yourself looking for rental housing in this tight environment? What happens if you find a no-cause eviction notice taped to your door? What can you do to keep good relations with your landlord and ensure you are retaining your tenant rights?

The rental housing market in the Portland metro area is the tightest it has been in many years and is currently one of the hardest in which to find affordable housing in the country.  It is tough out there!  You are not alone, however.  There are many resources and organizations that can help and your library can help connect you to these resources.

Where do I look for housing?

There are many places online that you can do a general search for housing. They include but are not limited to:

Be aware of possible scams and do not send payment in advance to secure housing.  Be skeptical of any listing that looks too good to be true.

You can also search for housing and housing assistance specifically for people and families on limited incomes using these resources:

The lists are long and the process is overwhelming.  Where can I get more help?

  • 211info is a great place to start for a directory of community renter resources including deposit/fee assistance, eviction prevention, housing search assistance, neighbor and landlord mediation, renters rights, and renting classes.

  • Oregon CAT - Community Alliance of Tenants is a tenant membership organization that declared a Renter State of Emergency in September 2015 to address rent increases and no-cause evictions. In addition to a Renters’ Rights Hotline (503) 288-0130, they have many valuable resources including information on how to find and keep affordable housing, how to research a prospective landlord, as well as a Landlord-Tenant Law Booklet.

For help staying in your current home look to:

Contact your library for assistance getting connected to the right housing resource.  We are happy to help!

Whether you love algebra or not, I've had more students ask me, "What's the point? How will I ever use this in real life?" I even asked my own 8th grade math teacher this. I didn't get any satisfying answer back then, but luckily, you have some great algebra resources online to explain real world applications for the math you are learning. 

 Maybe you thought real life uses of algebra would be boring, but Get the Math shows you how a hip-hop team uses it in music  production. More interested in video games? Algebra is used all the time in video game production. Or do you want to learn how  you can create the perfect basketball free throw shot using algebra? Visit Get the Math for these and other videos about fashion and special effects. Or watch a video about the impossible soccer free kick that explains mathematically why Brazil's Robert Carlos' now famous 35 meter free kick in 1997 made the goal. 

So now that I've answered the 'why' question, where can you begin learning about algebra and pre-algebra? I'm a fan of learning through play, so check out Math Playground, pre-algebra math games online to learn math while having fun. In addition to games, Kids Math TV also offers math lessons and worksheets by both grade level and math topic, so go explore! 

Readers, writers and book lovers!  Mark your calendars for two of Portland's biggest book events:  Wordstock book festival and Portland Arts & Lectures author series which made its debut with author Jane Smiley, and welcomes Anthony Doerr in November.

But let's face it –- Portland's literary landscape is a field of dreams. Search the events calendar for the library’s author talks, book discussions and conversations featuring local writers. If you're a self-published writer yourself and would like library patrons to be able to read your work, check out the Library Writers Project. And check out the Mercury's book page for author events.

City of Readers: The Book Lover's Guide to Portland by Gabriel H. Boehmer, a third-generation Oregonian, is a bible for Stumptown bibliophiles, bringing together bookstores, libraries, landmarks, authors, events and titles in one volume. Published quarterly, the free Portland Book Review newspaper is available at bookstores, libraries, and retail locations around metro Portland.

If you’re an aspiring author and want to meet fellow writers, Willamette Writers meetings showcase Oregon authors from mix of professions. The Attic Institute offers readings, workshops and a Poets Studio. Write Around Portland runs free writing workshops for adults and youth; participants share their writing with the public at free community readings. DIY folks should check out the extraordinary IPRC -– Independent Publishing Resource Center -– where you can create and publish your own artwork and writing.

Retail outlets selling newly legal marijuana are enjoying brisk business.  Anyone over 21 can buy and use marijuana for recreational purposes, a loosening of the previous Oregon law that allowed marijuana as a treatment for certain medical conditions.  Of course, federally marijuana remains a schedule 1 controlled substance, the same class as heroin, meth, and cocaine, with potentially the same penalties for growing, possessing, and selling.  So consuming your sticky icky could still be tricky.  But as more states pass laws legalizing pot (currently four with legal retail marijuana and nineteen with medical marijuana) the federal laws may change.Kitschy image of man with a marijuana joint captioned "Marijuana!  At least it's not crack!" by  Juha Ristolainen on flickr

So if adults can, does that mean they should? The next challenge is examining the health effects of marijuana and communicating that to the public in a convincing way.  In September, 2015, on the eve of full retail sales, the Multnomah County Health Department released a report on public health and marijuana.  The ten-page report offers data on how many and what age people use marijuana right now, confirmed and potential effects of marijuana on adults and youth, and recommendations for further research and policy directions.   The extensive reference section will also offer you plenty of sources to consult for your debate or persuasive argument paper.

Also take a look at Librarian Cathy’s October 2014 blog post on the pros and cons of legalizing marijuana and Librarian Joanna’s June, 2015 post on deciphering the nitty gritty of Measure 91.

In the 19th century, land west of the the Mississippi was often referred to as “The Wild West”. The less regulated structure and society of the American frontier enticed those with a sense of adventure,  including many with a disregard for the law. The outrageous, illegal and often lethal acts of a colorful cast of outlaws is largely glorified today. Trying to separate fact from myth can be a challenge.

Learn a little about the real identities and actions of a few of these outlaws.

Billy the Kid was a teen outlaw who reportedly - and inaccurately- killed more than 20 people before being fatally shot at twenty-one.

Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid were part of a gang called The Wild Bunch. They organized a legendary train robbery.   

Doc Holliday  formerly a dentist, moved West hoping to cure his tuberculosis. A gunman and gambler, he is also credited for saving Wyatt Earp's life.

Confederate soldier turned outlaw, Jesse James was shot by Robert Ford, a member of his own gang who wanted the $10,000 bounty.  A photo that reportedly shows the two of them has recently emerged, though it has yet to be authenticated.  Even through photography, the truth of history escapes us!

Belle Starr, known as the “Bandit Queen”, outlived several outlaw husbands and partners she collaborated with before being fatally shot herself. Her murder remains unsolved.

Want to learn about an outlaw not featured here? Just ask a librarian!

National Novel Writing MonthNaNoWriMo is nearly upon us: the season when hundreds of thousands of writers worldwide dig into their work and draft a novel in just thirty days. Camaraderie, wailing and gnashing of teeth, and a lot of frenzied and productive writing will ensue! We are excited to be hosting several events at several library locations. Meanwhile, the Library Writers Project is on - we are awaiting your finished book! So clearly, the time has come - this November will be the NaNoWriMo when you write the novel. Here are some resources to inspire and assist you (and some to distract you, too).

Cover image for A Simplified Map of the Real World by Stevan AllredWant to spend some (fictional) time in a rural community on the margins of Portland?

A Simplified Map of the Real World, by Stevan Allred, is set in and around the fictional town of Renata, Oregon. Renata is a stand-in for Estacada, an Oregon city 25 miles southeast of Portland. (You can read a 2013 article from the Estacada News about the book.) The city’s website (the website of Estacada, that is) bears the motto “Where we are close to everything... but away from it all!” and Allred’s book does a good job describing this combination of urban conveniences and rural remoteness. The community of Renata has its own history, its own self-sufficiency, but residents still drive into Portland when they want a fancy steak dinner on Saturday night.

The book is a collection of linked short stories which jump from generation to generation and character to character. After reading about the community of Rentata from so many perspectives, you are left with a very strong sense of the place, as well as a more even-handed view of its residents. A character who comes off as a real jack-ass in one story might be the hero of the next. Novels are often touted for exploring the complexities of being human, and it is a neat trick that Allred has pulled off the same feat with a slim collection of short stories.

I particularly enjoyed this book because I grew up in another rural community outside of Portland, not that far from Estacada. Reading the book felt a little bit like going home.

If you’d like some recommendations for more books that capture the sense of a particular place (whether Portland, Oregon, or elsewhere!) get in touch with me or one of the other My Librarians and we’ll put together a reading list just for you.

A Cheerful Volunteer

Volunteer Allan Karsk

by Donna Childs

Allan Karsk is the sort of smiling, good-humored fellow whose presence makes one feel happier. He was born, raised, and went to college in Nebraska before moving to Portland as a young man. He worked as a medical technician in Nebraska and continued that path here, at the Red Cross, where he worked until he retired.

That’s where the library comes in. As a library patron, Allan often thought what a pleasant place his Hollywood Library might be to volunteer. When the current hold system, which shares books and media among all 19 branches, was inaugurated, he realized that volunteers could help process all those holds. He now comes to Hollywood twice a week to do his part to keep the holds working well.

On Tuesdays, Allan searches for books requested by other libraries, enters the information, and labels them for the receiving branch. On Fridays, he processes books received from other branches, shelving them by patron name or number. In addition to feeling useful by helping to keep the hold system functioning smoothly, Allan likes finding out about unfamiliar books as he processes them. And, as a piano player, he has found some interesting music; he has even bought some at the library’s Title Wave Used Bookstore. Most importantly, though, he values the interaction with Hollywood library staff and the many interesting conversations he has had over the years.  

While Hollywood was being renovated, Allan volunteered at two other neighborhood libraries: Belmont and Gregory Heights.  While he found it interesting and useful to see how other branches work, he’s happy to be back in his home library at Hollywood.

 


 

A Few Facts About Allan 

 

Home library: Hollywood Library
 
Currently reading: The Fifth Heart by Dan Simmons
 
A book that made you laugh: Anything by Carl Hiassen
 
Favorite section of the library: Fiction
 
E-reader or paper? Paper
 
Favorite place to read: In my recliner at home
 
Thanks for reading the MCL Volunteer Spotlight. Stay tuned for our next edition coming soon! See last month's Volunteer Spotlight.

Multnomah County Library's Lucky Day service includes books for kids, teens and adults.  Lucky Day copies are available for spontaneous use and are not subject to hold queues.  Nobody can place holds on these items; it's first come, first served.  That means you might not have to wait at all for the most popular new titles!  You never know what you might find at your neighborhood library - it just might be your Lucky Day!

Looking for rental housing and apartments can be frustrating, but Craigslist is a great place to get started. Craigslist is like an online bulletin board. You can use it to find a home to rent or buy.

Getting Started
  1. Go to http://www.craigslist.org/about/sites.

  2. Find your city or state (Craigslist serves the whole world!)

Choose Portland for Portland and the Portland metro area (Beaverton, Gresham, Troutdale, etcetera.)

 

Housing/Apartments on Craigslist

Many rental properties are listed on Craigslist. You can view listings in a list, with pictures, or on a map.

 

  1. In the housing column, choose the option you want. If you are looking for a house or apartment to rent, choose apts/housing.

  2. Type a keyword or keywords into the search box.

    • This could be a feature of the neighborhood you want to live in. For example, if you want to live near public transportation, you could enter the keyword bus.

    • A keyword could also be a feature of the dwelling you are seeking. For example, the keyword light might help you find apartments or houses that let in lots of light.

  • A keyword can also help you find a particular neighborhood, for example: Kenton.

 

  1. Limit the search by price, size, and number of bathrooms and bedrooms on the left side.

  2. Limit the search by using the checkboxes on the left side to find listings that are cat or dog friendly, that

  3. have wheelchair access, and more.

  4. Click housing type to specify what kind of house or apartment you are looking for.

  5. Click parking and laundry if you want to choose these features.

 

The top of the screen gives you options for viewing the results.

 

 
 
Thumb shows you small images, gallery shows you larger images, and map shows you locations. The map option might be really important when you’re searching for a place to live.

Map view

When you use the map view, you can click the bubbles to zoom in and get more information.

 

When you find a listing you would like to pursue, read the entire listing carefully. You may need to click a show contact info link to see the phone number for the listing.

 

Avoid scams: be skeptical of any listing that looks too good to be true. Do not send money or other forms of payment in advance to secure a home. Do not give personal information to anyone whose identity you cannot verify.


Find more information on avoiding scams at Craigslist: http://www.craigslist.org/about/scams.

Need more help?


Craigslist help: https://www.craigslist.org/about/help/

Try this tutorial: http://www.gcflearnfree.org/searchresults?q=craigslist

The library also offers a class called Using Craigslist. To see if that class is available now, you can search for it in the search box, or check here

 
 

A Leisurely breakfast on a work day? Ha!

I stay up late. Whether the reason is  getting stuck in a page turning book, “just one more” episode, or an inconvenient burst of restlessness, there’s not much time between a last hit of the snooze button and leaving for work.

However, there are the rare mornings with coffee in a ceramic mug, breakfast comes a bowl without a lid, and a there's a few moments to spare. The Iphone beckons out of habitual use, but screens await all day at work. Taking advantage of these precious minutes requires a good book.

What would you read if you had ten minutes? Personally, I like things that are entertaining, short, and easy to put down.  That precludes anything with chapters, literary writing, and page turning books that kept me up the previous night. The following are a few of my favorites for such occaisions.

5 very good reasons to punch a dolphin in the mouth

 

 

Matthew Inman, aka the creator of The Oatmeal offers a collection of hilarious cartoons that demonstrate how caffeine works and answers the question that's been keeping you up late "How would a T-rex do at comedy?" Ranging from the everyday to the absurd, these cartoons are a great start to the day.

 

 

cook everything cover

 

 

You may be eating breakfast, but what's for dinner?

 

 

Calvin and hobbes cover

 

 

 

A boy and his stuffed tiger make breakfast grrrrrrrreatttt!!! Wait, wrong tiger...

 

 

 

 

 

 

Next time there’s a choice between “ten more minutes” and the breakfast table there’s no guarantee what will win.  However, I’ll always have something waiting to read and enjoy if it does.


 

Multnomah County Library's Lucky Day service includes books for kids, teens and adults.  Lucky Day copies are available for spontaneous use and are not subject to hold queues.  Nobody can place holds on these items; it's first come, first served.  That means you might not have to wait at all for the most popular new titles!  You never know what you might find at your neighborhood library - it just might be your Lucky Day!

For many children and teens, it is difficult to find books with multi-dimensional characters and  compelling stories that reflect their lived experience. Censorship is not the only barrier preventing people from reading certain books. There is a more insidious process -- when writings don’t get published at all due to reluctance to publish books about people from cultures and situations out of the mainstream.

There is a current national campaign, We Need Diverse Books, to promote diversity in publishing for children and teens. One of our librarians, Alicia, got the opportunity to see W.N.D.B. founding members speak earlier this summer. People of different races, cultures, gender identities, sexual orientations, religions, mental and physical challenges exist in our society. Studies have shown that there are relatively few books being published that reflect this diversity of potential readers.

Three debut young adult novels Gabi, A Girl in Pieces, Under A Painted Sky, and Far From You are great examples of books that reflect this diversity of potential readers.  These books have nothing in common except for having well developed heroines with riveting narratives.

In Gabi, A Girl in Pieces, Isabel Quintero produced a powerful coming of age story about a likable, young, smart, resilient Latina, facing various challenges in her life. She finds courage and humor from her friends, family and creative writing. She has problems ranging from her father’s meth addiction and  body image concerns. Read other coming of age stories that are touching, realistic, and hopeful with characters who are from diverse cultures and circumstances.

In Under A Painted Sky, Stacey Lee created an historical adventure story about two girls, one African American and one Chinese American, who escape harrowing circumstances in the pre-Civil War West. They disguise themselves as boys and runaway to freedom and the California Gold Rush. Here are some other wonderful books with historical adventures of teens on the run plus a few books to give historical background behind some of these stories.

In Far From You, Tess Sharpe tells a story of mystery and endurance of a bisexual, disabled teen girl recovering from trauma and substance abuse. Check out these books featuring diverse teens dealing with some dark events.

As part of Banned Book Week (September 27-October 3), Multnomah County Library is hosting a panel discussion featuring the authors of the above books,  Isabel Quintero, Stacey Lee, and Tess Sharpe. The conversation will be moderated by local professor and author, Swati Avasthi. We are calling this event Censorship by Omission: The Diversity Deficit.

Please mark your calendars and join us for Censorship by Omission at Midland Library (805 SE 122nd Ave, Portland, OR 97233) on Saturday, October 3rd, at 2-3:30 PM.

 

With its long stretch of coastline, and interest in green technology, Oregon has long been considered a prime location for ocean-generated alternative energy.  Though the largest of the planned projects in Oregon has been abandoned, other projects around the world, like a ginormous wave energy station in Australia, are going ahead.

So how do we harness the energy of the ocean?  Good question.  We capture the power of the tides, of course.  Tidal power has a lot going for it.  It's non-polluting, reliable, and predictable.  It can be captured in several different ways.  Tidal turbines, which work like wind turbines (except underwater), are one of the most promising tools.

One of the trickiest things about tidal power is finding a suitable location to capture it.  If only there were more places like Canada's Bay of Fundy, home of the largest tidal range in the world.

Want more information?  Ask a librarian.

 

Celebrate your freedom to read on Saturday, Oct. 3, 2015 from 2:00 to 3:30 at Midland Library by attending Censorship by Omission: The Diversity Deficit.  Moderated by author Swati Avasthi , three amazing local teen authors Stacey LeeIsabel Quintero, and Tess Sharpe will discuss why books with characters and stories outside the dominant culture are often the most challenged and least published.  They'll talk about getting published, why diverse books matter, and their current books. 

Made possible by The National Endowment for the Humanities Fund of The Library Foundation.

 

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