How can you hold a family book discussion that will work for grandparents, parents and kids alike? Take a look at this list of suggested titles in ebook or downloadable audio. Some, like Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz's An Indigenous People's History of the United States come in both adult, and young reader editions. Others, like Kafka's Metamorphosis and Angie Sage's Maximillian Fly share similar themes, so you can talk about the book you've read and pose general questions for everyone to discuss. Are you going to give it a try? Send us a note to tell us how it worked, or make suggestions for titles that have worked for your family.
The library may be closed and people are staying home, but it doesn't mean parents are alone in trying to keep their children feeling safe and keeping anxiety at bay. There are several resources to help parents navigate talking with their children about the coronavirus, school closures, and no playdates. The Child Mind Institute, a national nonprofit whose focus includes children and families struggling with mental health, has suggestions to help.
- Don’t avoid talking about the coronavirus since most children will already have heard something about it.
- Share developmentally appropriate information and take your cue from your child. What does your child know, what questions do they have, how are they feeling.
- If you're anxious, it's not the right time to talk with your child. What can you do to alleviate your own worries?
- Be reassuring.
- Routine is important.
- Keep talking.
Visit Talking to Kids about the Coronavirus for more in depth suggestions as well as their Supporting Families during COVID-19 page with other tips such as how to make home feel safe and how to avoid passing anxiety on to your kids. Information is also available in Spanish.
Here are other resources to help you talk with your child.
Coronavirus: A book for children by Elizabeth Jenner, Kate Wilson and Nia Roberts, illustrated by Axel Scheffler and with Professor Graham Medley, Professor of Infectious Disease Modelling, serving as consultant. The book is aimed at elementary school children.
Talking to Children about the Coronavirus: A Parent Resource. From the National Association of School Psychologists; available in multiple languages
Coronavirus video from BrainPOP. An entertaining, basic explanation of COVID-19 and needed precautions for elementary age children and young teens.
Comic from NPR. Basic information for youth in a graphic format that can be read in the Blog or downloaded and folded into a zine.
COVID-19 Time Capsule. Created by artist Natalie Long to help families with children during this time. Children can record how they're spending this time as well as how they are feeling.
Oregon YouthLine. Teens helping teens. Resources on their website as well as open daily from 4p-10p via text, chat, or call.
Coronavirus Social Story. Little Puddins Blog has a nice, English language "Coronavirus Social Story."
Multnomah County Library has digital resources for you and your child. Below are stories about worrying and resources about practicing mindfulness that may help during this time. For more, check out our E-books and more page.
While the doors are closed to our physical buildings, the library is still here for you. We are communicating with publishers and digital platforms to increase your access to online resources and content however we can.
On March 17, Macmillan Publishers announced it is ending its library e-book embargo. Multnomah County Library (MCL) joins the American Library Association and other libraries in welcoming this decision. Equitable service to our community is critical, especially during these times.
Effective immediately, MCL will resume purchasing Macmillan e-book titles. The library is also purchasing additional copies of other titles to help reduce your wait time for e-books and audiobooks.
Thank you to everyone who expressed their support of MCL’s previous decision to boycott Macmillan. It is because of your support, and collective action from libraries around the country, that we can continue to provide #ebooksforall.
Login with your library card and get free access to thousands of digital titles. If you don’t have a library card, you can sign up for OverDrive access with your mobile phone number.
by Sarah Binns, MCL volunteer
By the time Title Wave volunteer Diane Hogan and I finish our meeting we’ve talked about everything: From politics to cats, from the #metoo movement to how societal gender roles have changed over the past fifty years. I feel like I’ve barely scratched the surface of the very interesting life of another one of Multnomah County Library’s fantastic volunteers.
Born in Tulsa, Oklahoma, Diane and her family moved to Corvallis when she was a pre-teen. She later attended Oregon State University, graduating “with a degree that no longer exists: secretarial studies.” She also got a bachelor’s degree in graphic design at PSU, but long before computer programs were the design method. “I’m not sure I could do it now,” she laughs.
Diane worked for a time as a civil service secretary with organizations like civil defense and the Worker’s Compensation Board. After marrying, she and her husband moved to Portland’s Alberta Street area in the early 1980s. Adventure arrived when her husband got a six month contract to teach in the Czech Republic. Diane laughed remembering their communal living arrangements there, especially being woken late at night by drunken people wandering the halls. She ended up teaching English to students, too: “Their teenagers are a lot more mature than ours!” she recalls.
Diane started working at Title Wave in 1998, first organizing books in the back room and then becoming a cashier. She says she most appreciates “the great atmosphere and good coworkers. And you know,” she adds, “most volunteers, when they leave for the day, they take a book home.” Besides her time at Title Wave, Diane also volunteers at the cattery at the Oregon Humane Society three days a week and enjoys going out to eat with friends in her Alberta neighborhood. As we parted ways we exchanged cat photos (naturally) and I realized the next time I need a book I might bypass my library—and head to Title Wave to talk to Diane instead!
A few facts about Diane
Home library: Thanks to the wealth of books at Title Wave, “I haven’t been to the library in years!”
Currently reading: Underland: A Deep Time Journey by Robert Macfarlane. “It’s all about caves!”
Most influential book: A twenty-volume encyclopedia set called The Book of Knowledge that originally belonged to her grandfather. “It had everything from French lessons to handwriting lessons…”
Favorite book from childhood: Mr. Bear Squash-You-All-Flat by Morrell Gipson. “A few years ago I bought a brand new edition.”
Favorite place to read: On the couch or on her exercise bike.
E-reader or paper: “I don’t read e-books!”
Some of these websites include images which are in the public domain (public domain = nobody owns the copyright). Others include images where the creator is giving up some of their copyright protection and allowing you to use their photos and artwork. However, the creator or website may have usage rules: for example, they might require you to tell people where the image came from and who made it. Before you copy or use any image, it’s a good idea to check for usage or licensing rules.
ImageQuest - https://multcolib.org/resource/imagequest: ImageQuest is a library resource created by the Encyclopædia Britannica. It has millions of images that you can use for non-commercial purposes. The collection includes photos and clip art, and it allows you to sort results by shape (horizontal or vertical rectangle, or square). Information about creator and rights is provided for each image.
Smithsonian Open Access - https://www.si.edu/openaccess/: The Smithsonian has created this site to provide access to millions of images from their museums, libraries, archives and the National Zoo. Every image is Creative Commons Zero (CC0), meaning that the Smithsonian has waived all of their rights under copyright. There is also a Smithsonian Learning Lab with information about the Open Access collection and ideas for how to use it.
Pixabay - https://pixabay.com/en/: Pixabay offers over 1.7 million royalty free stock photos and videos.
Are websites not your thing? Do you prefer books? The library has many books of illustrations and prints you can use, on all sorts of topics. To find them, just do a subject search in the library catalog for “clip art.” You’ll find books with images of Victorian women’s fashion, birds, children’s book illustrations, fairies and much more. At the end of this post is a book list showing examples of the types of clip art books that the library owns.
If you have trouble finding the images that you want, or if you have more questions about any of this, ask us for help! We’ll be happy to talk more about it.
Images included in this post:
- Photo of a camera, by Rodrigo Senna from Brasília, DF, Brasil (Flickr) [CC-BY-2.0], https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Photography.jpg
- Creative Commons logo, https://creativecommons.org/
- Children reading a wireless newspaper, https://www.flickr.com/photos/nationaalarchief/4193509648/
- Photo of a flower, https://morguefile.com/p/196907
Gaby Delgado ama a los niños. Todo en su vida refleja ese amor, inclusive su servicio durante los últimos tres años como asistente del programa con la Coordinadora de la Biblioteca Delia Palomeque Morales en el programa Listos para el Kínder (“Listos”). Listos es un programa para niños de habla hispana de tres a cinco años y sus padres. Las sesiones se llevan a cabo completamente en español, y los maestros enfatizan las habilidades de aprendizaje temprano, como la alfabetización y matemáticas tempranas, la autorregulación y las habilidades interpersonales. Se anima a los padres a que observen cómo sus hijos aprenden mejor y cómo generar confianza y conexiones con sus hijos a medida que crecen. Las familias de Listos con frecuencia se convierten en usuarios de la biblioteca.
Gaby fue maestra en Perú durante veinticinco años, donde trabajó con padres y niños pequeños, y realizó intervenciones tempranas con bebés. También enseñaba cómo dar masaje a bebés para ayudar a los padres a conectarse más profundamente con sus bebés.
Con su esposo y su hija Ximena, que ahora está en el último año de la escuela secundaria, Gaby fue a la Biblioteca de Gresham una vez a la semana para usar el Internet y hacer conexiones. Cuando vio un volante en la biblioteca sobre el programa Listos, pensó: "Esto es para mí".
Sobre su trabajo, Gaby dice: “Delia es excelente, es un ángel. En el programa Listos, trabajamos directamente con niños de 3 a 5 años, primero juntos y después los niños tienen su propio tiempo. Trabajamos en temas cosas como las letras, formas, colores, números y animamos interacciones positivas entre padres e hijos. Puedo aconsejar a los padres sobre cómo conectarse con sus hijos. Muchas familias son inmigrantes nuevos, quienes sólo hablan español y enfrentan muchos desafíos. Adoro trabajar con ellos”.
Gaby se crió en una familia en donde la lectura es valorada, pero las bibliotecas no eran iguales a como son aquí en Estados Unidos. Explica Gaby, “Las bibliotecas en Perú son muy diferentes; son académicas, silenciosas y solo se puede retirar en préstamo uno o dos libros. Estar en la biblioteca aquí es como estar en casa con la familia de uno”.
Toda la familia de Gaby participa en la biblioteca. Ximena es voluntaria en el program de Lectura de Verano, y el esposo de Gaby ha tomado clases de inglés en la biblioteca y gracias a eso ahora trabaja para Hacienda CDC.
Actualmente Gaby está volviendo a leer libros sobre masaje para bebés, preparándose para hacer algunos talleres sobre masajes y apego. Cuando le pregunté cuál fue su libro favorito de la infancia, Gaby dijo El Principito de Antoine Saint-Exupery. También disfruta de la poesía y los textos de Gabriel García-Márquez. Pero lo más importante para ella es el poema que dijo de memoria mientras estábamos sentadas en la biblioteca, porque refleja su propia experiencia y su profundo amor por los niños. El poema es “Tristitia” del gran poeta peruano de principios del siglo XX, Abraham Valdolemar. Las palabras la acompañaron durante toda su infancia y la ayudaron a cambiar su propia historia.
by Jane Salisbury, MCL volunteer
Gaby Delgado loves children. Everything in her life reflects that love, including her service for the past three years as a program assistant with Library Coordinator Delia Palomeque Morales in the Listos para el Kinder (“Listos”) program. Listos is a youth services program for Spanish-speaking children aged three to five and their parents. Sessions are conducted entirely in Spanish, and teachers emphasize early learning skills, such as pre literacy, early math, self-regulation, and interpersonal skills. Parents are encouraged to observe how their children learn best and how to build confidence and connection with their children as they grow. Listos families frequently become library users.
Gaby was a teacher in Peru for twenty-five years, working with parents and young children, and doing early intervention with babies. She has also taught baby massage to help parents connect deeply with their babies.
When Gaby and her family came to the United States from Peru four years ago, the first thing they did together was go to the library. With her husband and daughter Ximena, who is now a senior in high school, she came every week to the Gresham Library to use the internet and make connections. When she saw a flyer at the library about the Listos program, she thought, “That is for me.”
Of her work, Gaby said, “Delia is excellent, an angel. In the Listos program, we work directly with children ages 3-5, first together, and then the children have their own time. I set up, we work on things like letters, shapes, colors, numbers, and promote positive interactions between parents and children. I can advise parents on how to connect with their children. Many families are new immigrants who only speak Spanish and have many challenges. I love working with them.”
Gaby grew up in a family where reading was highly valued, but libraries were not the same as they are in the United States. Gaby explained, “Libraries in Peru are very different— they are academic, silent, and you can only borrow one or two books. Being in the library here is like being at home with your own family.”
Gaby’s whole family is involved at the library. Ximena is a Summer Reading volunteer, and Gaby’s husband has taken English classes at the library and now works for Hacienda CDC, as a result.
Gaby is currently re-reading books on baby massage, getting ready to do some workshops on massage and attachment. When I asked her about a favorite book from childhood, Gaby mentioned El Principito, (in English, The Little Prince, by Antoine Saint-Exupery). She is also fond of poetry and the writings of Gabriel Garcia-Marquez. But most important for her is the poem she recited by heart as we sat together in the library, because it mirrors her own experience and her deep love of children. The poem is “Tristitia” by the great early 20th century Peruvian poet Abraham Valdolemar. The words stayed with her throughout her childhood and helped her change her own story.
I’m excited to share Multnomah County Library’s 2018 Equity and Inclusion Report. This report highlights the notable progress the library has made during calendar year 2018 toward its equity and inclusion goals.
This report includes:
- Updates from library groups focused on bringing culturally-informed library services and support to Black communities and non-English speaking communities;
- Highlights of projects and programming that connect and support families, youth and teens;
- Spotlights on the library’s work to bring library services outside library walls;
- Expanded efforts to train and support library staff on equity and inclusion;
- And so much more!
We know we have a long way to go, but we are committed to ensuring that this library system represents and serves everyone in our community.
If you have comments or questions about this report, please contact us.
Equity and Inclusion Manager
Multnomah County Library
Here are some questions to consider when reading Tommy Orange's There There.
1. The prologue provides a historical overview of how Native populations were systematically stripped of their identity, rights, land, etc. by colonialist forces in America. How does the prologue set the tone for the reader? Discuss the use of the Indian head as iconography. How does this relate to the erasure of Native identity in American culture?
2. "Getting us to cities was supposed to be the final, necessary step in our assimilation, absorption, erasure, the completion of a five-hundred-year-old genocidal campaign. But the city made us new, and we made it ours."
Discuss the development of the “Urban Indian” identity and ownership of that label. How does it relate to the push for assimilation by the United States government? How do the characters navigate this modern form of identity alongside their ancestral roots?
3. Consider the following statement from page 9: “We stayed because the city sounds like a war, and you can’t leave a war once you’ve been, you can only keep it at bay.” In what ways does the historical precedent for violent removal of Native populations filter into the modern era? How does violence—both internal and external—appear throughout the narrative? How has violent removal of Native populations contributed to contemporary white privilege?
4. On page 7, Orange states: “We’ve been defined by everyone else and continue to be slandered despite easy-to-look-up-on-the-internet facts about the realities of our histories and current state as a people.” Discuss this statement in relation to how Native populations have been defined in popular culture. How do the characters resist the simplification and flattening of their cultural identity? Relate the idea of preserving cultural identity to Dene Oxendene’s storytelling mission.
5. The occupation of Alcatraz is often romanticized in history, but for many, the reality was very stressful and traumatic. Describe the resettlement efforts at Alcatraz. What were the goals for inhabiting this land? What vision did Opal and Jacquie’s mother have for her family in moving to Alcatraz? What were the realities they experienced? For background, take a look at the video "We Hold the Rock" about the occupation of Alcatraz.
6. On page 58, Opal’s mother tells her that she needs to honor her people “by living right, by telling our stories. [That] the world was made of stories, nothing else, and stories about stories.” How does this emphasis on storytelling function throughout There There? Consider the relationship between storytelling and power. How does storytelling allow for diverse narratives to emerge? What is the relationship between storytelling and historical memory?
7. On page 77, Edwin Black asserts, “The problem with Indigenous art in general is that it’s stuck in the past.” How does the tension between modernity and tradition emerge throughout the narrative? Which characters seek to find a balance between honoring the past and looking toward the future? When is the attempt to do so successful?
8. How is the city of Oakland characterized in the novel? How does the city’s gentrification affect the novel’s characters and their attitudes toward home and stability?
9. Discuss the Interlude that occurs on pages 134–41. What is the importance of this section? How does it provide key contextual information for the Big Oakland PowWow that occurs at the end of the novel? What is the author trying to say about historical violence, mass shootings and America's relationship with firearms in general?
10. Examine the use of unchecked technology. i.e. 3D printing guns, drones, internet addiction, social media, etc. How does this tie into urban Native identity? How does this tie into larger societal issues?
Bonus Questions: What was the most surprising element of the novel to you? What was its moment of greatest impact?
“I want to stay as fit as I can for as long as I can.”
by Sarah Binns, MCL Volunteer
June Fleming practically bounces into our meeting and gives me a batch of delicious carrots grown in her garden. The gesture says a lot about June: she is a woman with a generous heart who passionately loves movement, the outdoors, and the natural world. “I grew up in beautiful places and was always outside,” June says. “This was before kids sat in front of devices, you know,” she says with a laugh.
At the age of 84, June may be one of Multnomah County Library’s oldest volunteers; but with her enthusiasm for activity and commitment to service, no one could ever call her “old.” For 24 years, June has read to senior citizens through Visiting Voices, an outreach program that no longer recruits volunteers. Since 1998, she reads weekly to residents of Parkview Christian Retirement Community. “I get so much from the people I read to,” June says. “This is a bright spot in my week.” June is the last remaining volunteer in the program, which will end when June stops her visits—not that she’s planning on that any time soon: “I want to stay as fit as I can for as long as I can!” she says, determined.
June’s life began on Monterey Bay, California, where her parents were business partners in an ice creamery/cafe. Avid readers, they often read aloud to June. This gave her a lifelong love of reading that she now shares with Parkview community residents. Other adventures in June’s life include being a field hand on her son’s farm, a six-week snow camping trip almost the length of Oregon, and having books published on wilderness route finding and backpacking foods. She also taught backpacking and snow camping classes for 30 years.
In her 50s June met her beloved partner, Bob, when he took her snow camping class. Bob shared her passion for reading and encouraged June to get involved with Visiting Voices. “In 20 years together we read 146 books out loud to each other,” she says. Though Bob has passed away, June continues to read—and to hike as much as possible. “I want to die in my hiking boots,” she says, “but at the end of the trail so no one has to haul me out!” This is not a morbid thought for June, but rather an intention: “I’m not sad at all about being 84. I’m lucky to have made it this far!” May we all have as much passion and dedication at every age as June does now!
A few facts about June
Home library: Hollywood
Currently reading: The Oregon Trail: A New American Journey by Rinker Buck.
Most influential book: Being Mortal by Atul Gawande. “I bought it! I don’t usually buy books.”
Favorite section to browse: “I start with the blue DVDs, so Nova, PBS, and OPB specials.”
Favorite book from childhood: Robert Louis Stevenson’s A Child’s Garden of Verses. “One of the first things my husband did when he met me was give me his copy of the same book.”
Book that made you laugh or cry: Dersu Uzala by Vladimir Arsenyev, a Russian hunting and environmental memoir later made into a film.
Guilty pleasure: “Ice cream!”
E-reader or paper: Paper. “I don’t even have a device.”
Thanks for reading the MCL Volunteer Spotlight. Stay tuned for our next edition coming soon! Read last month's Volunteer Spotlight.
Driven by a desire to serve his community, Martin entered a police cadet program through the Gresham Police Department, prior to joining Multnomah County. He also worked for the Transportation Security Administration (TSA). That job helped him learn to talk to many different people every day and to understand complex security procedures.
Martin first worked at library branches while working as a facility security officer (FSO) with the Multnomah County Sheriff’s Department. He welcomed the library’s approach to safety and security and decided to join the library officially as a safety officer at Rockwood Library. Having grown up in the Rockwood community, Martin already felt a close tie to the neighborhood.
In 2016, Multnomah County Library added safety officers at some locations. Martin and the other safety officers are library staff, not police officers or security guards. They help patrons use the library successfully and apply the library rules. They also connect people with outside services and resources. Some safety officers also assist with shelving and other tasks.
With the Rockwood makerspace only a few years old, Rockwood Library has worked hard to find new and better ways to serve youth. Martin sees his position no differently.
Martin’s approach to safety and security includes finding ways to help patrons use the library without being punitive.
“I enjoy building relationships with patrons so when they come in the library and see me, they have a positive experience, rather than thinking they’re going to be followed around. I want everyone to feel welcome.”
Martin works to build relationships with the youth and adult patrons who use the library. Rockwood library is bustling after school, with many teens making use of Multnomah County’s only free makerspace. While the small library can get busy, Martin’s compassionate approach has helped decrease incidents, particularly among youth.
“For some, the library is a place of safety from other outside pressures or difficult personal situations,” says Martin. “Whatever their reason for being here, I want to help them use and stay at the library, which sometimes means needing to communicate the library’s expectations for conduct in the library.”
Having experienced some of the same challenges as the youth patrons at Rockwood Library, Martin knows firsthand what his life would have been like without a caring adult in it. He sees his position as a way to pay it forward to the community.
“The best ability is your availability,” says Martin.
People notice Martin’s contributions to the library. As one patron commented,
“. . .Martin is such a great and exceptional asset to "our family library" here at Rockwood. It is great to see someone that is always smiling and he just makes our trips to the library an all-around general excellent experience. Not to mention that he is very, very helpful... Thank you for hiring such an individual as him.”
A Resourceful Potential Librarian
by Donna Childs, MCL volunteer
After completing an undergraduate program, Jason enrolled in the Masters in Library Information Science (MLIS) program at the University of British Columbia, with the goal of pursuing a career as a librarian. Such positions are hard to come by. As Jason searches for permanent library employment, they found a variety of “library-adjacent jobs,” sorting, cataloguing, organizing, and digitizing information, while also volunteering at the Hollywood Library.
Since May of 2016, Jason has volunteered at Hollywood Library, checking in, scanning, and shelving holds on Saturdays. Hollywood librarians comment on Jason’s “good humor and adaptability” and an “eagle eye” that allows them to notice details and fix them. With luck, Jason’s resourcefulness, computer prowess, attention to detail, diligence in pursuing opportunities, and experience corralling information will lead to a permanent library job.
Virtually all of the jobs Jason has undertaken—before and after getting an MLIS degree—center on making information more accessible:
- An internship digitizing the 30,000+ items in the William Stafford collection at Lewis and Clark College, where they earned a Bachelor of Arts degree
- An internship at the California State Library sorting through uncatalogued boxes of random historical information, ranging from junk to formerly top-secret memos from Boeing and McDonnell Douglas executives
- Cataloging materials in the Donald E. Long Juvenile Detention Home library in Portland
- Staffing tables at various events, including one at which they met the featured speaker, Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor
- Working with records in diverse places such as the office of John Deere and the Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office
Now, Jason works as a Document Management Specialist at The Standard, digitizing, sorting, and organizing the information on insurance claims.
A Few Facts About Jason
Home library: Hillsdale
Currently reading: The Fifth Season by N.K. Jemisin
Favorite book from childhood: Dinotopia by James Gurney
Favorite section of the library: Fantasy/Science Fiction
E-reader or paper book? paper
Favorite reading guilty pleasure: binging hundreds of chapters of Chinese webnovels
Favorite place to read: anywhere with blankets and tea
Thanks for reading the MCL Volunteer Spotlight. Stay tuned for our next edition coming soon! Read last month's Volunteer Spotlight.
Multnomah County Library has created new Buckets of Books on science topics that align with the Next Generation Science Standards.
These tubs contain up to 30 books on a topic, plus a teacher's guide. To request a bucket, click on a Bucket of Books link below. Then click the Place Hold button and follow the instructions on the screen.
If the buckets are all checked out, you can click on a booklist link below and put books on hold individually. The booklists have similar titles to those in the bucket.
To find a complete list of all the library’s Buckets of Books, visit our Bucket of Books and Booklists website.
These books are made possible by gifts to The Library Foundation, a local nonprofit dedicated to enhancing our library's leadership, innovation and reach through private support.
In September, I shared the news that Macmillan Publishers was planning to impose a restriction that would block people from borrowing new Macmillan e-books from libraries. This new policy took effect November 1. It is designed to do one thing: make Macmillan more money by creating barriers for people to use library resources.
Nearly 16,000 fellow Oregonians agree and showed their support by signing the American Library Association’s #eBooksForAll petition. Multnomah County Chair Deborah Kafoury has also spoken out against the new restrictions.
Beginning today, Multnomah County Library (MCL) will no longer purchase new Macmillan e-books.
This is not a decision we take lightly. It means that the library has chosen to side against one specific company, something I would prefer to avoid. Our decision also means that some library patrons won’t be able to access popular authors in their preferred format and I regret that fact.
The alternative is to be the proverbial frog in a pot of water that keeps getting warmer. Libraries and taxpayers have shouldered the burdens of licensing instead of owning content, paying many times the retail price of e-books, and time-limited licenses that expire and require continual repurchasing of materials we’ve already bought.
When you can only buy something from one source and the terms of that purchase become this unreasonable, it’s time to say “no more.” In 2019, MCL has purchased nearly $120,000 in e-books from Macmillan.
We will continue to buy Macmillan titles in print and audiobook formats. We will retain the Macmillan e-books the library has already purchased. We will continue to offer the same top notch customer service. We will help readers discover new authors and alternate formats. We will continue our advocacy for e-books for all.
Thank you for your support and patronage of your public library.
Director of Libraries
Multnomah County Library
Former president, Public Library Association
Which e-books are affected?
All e-book titles published by Macmillan or by any of the publishers that Macmillan owns. These titles will still appear in our catalog in other formats, but will not be available in e-book format.
What will happen to Macmillan e-books that Multnomah County Library already has in the catalog?
Macmillan e-books already in our collection will remain. You can continue to place hold requests and check them out as usual.
If you have a Macmillan e-book checked out right now, it will not be affected.
Does this purchase suspension include Macmillan books in all formats?
No. This decision only affects Macmillan e-books. We will continue to purchase print and audiobook versions of Macmillan titles.
If I submit a purchase request for a new Macmillan e-book, will it automatically be rejected?
Yes. We will not be purchasing any Macmillan e-books. Library staff will process and consider purchase suggestions for all other Macmillan formats as usual.
I don’t know much about Macmillan. What books do they publish?
Macmillan is one of the “Big Five” book publishers in the world, along with Hachette Book Group, HarperCollins, Penguin Random House, and Simon & Schuster. They publish a wide variety of fiction, nonfiction, and other genres from hundreds of different authors.
One popular author they represent is Nora Roberts, whose popular fiction series, Chronicles of The One, consistently makes bestseller lists across the country. The upcoming third installment of the series, The Rise of Magicks, releases Tuesday, Nov 26.
Multnomah County Library will buy copies in all formats of The Rise of Magicks except the e-book version. We have also assembled a list of other titles that readers of the Chronicles of One fans might enjoy.
How long will this suspension last?
We don’t have an end date right now. Should Macmillan cancel its embargo, we will immediately lift the suspension.
I want Macmillan to stop their embargo, or at least offer better terms to libraries. What can I do?
You can let Macmillan know how you feel by signing the #ebooksForAll petition at www.ebooksforall.org, by emailing Macmillan directly at firstname.lastname@example.org or by using the #ebooksForAll hashtag to spread the word on social media and lead other readers to the petition.
How many of the books the library buys come from Macmillan?
There are 7,147 Macmillan e-book titles in our collection currently out of 109,984 e-books (6.5% of our collection). They account for 8.2% of e-book checkouts (vs. 37% for Penguin Random House, which is the biggest by a wide margin)
Why don’t you at least take the single e-book Macmillan is offering so I have some chance of getting it from the library?
We believe everyone deserves equal access to books and information. In our view, Macmillan’s policy means that only those who can and will pay for access deserve it. That’s why we believe this is the next step we must take.
Additionally, your chances of getting access to that single copy in the first two months are slim. We have hundreds of patrons who place holds on the most popular new e-books. Everyone can hold or check out an e-book for up to 24 days, which is nearly a month. By the time you move to the top of the queue, odds are, it will have been several months already.
We understand that this is frustrating. We know this decision won’t please everyone, but we firmly believe that this suspension is the best way we can support e-book readers and ensure that libraries have equal access to digital materials.
What other publishers does Macmillan own?
Adult / Young Adult
- Farrar, Straus & Giroux
- North Point Press
- Hill and Wang
- Faber and Faber Inc.
- First Second
- Henry Holt
- Metropolitan Books
- Times Books
- Holt Paperbacks
- St Martin’s Press
- All Points Books
- Castle Point Books
- St. Martin’s Press Paperbacks
- Let’s Go
- Thomas Dunne Books
- Truman Talley Books
- Flatiron Books
- Macmillan Collector’s Library
- Celadon Books
- Graywolf Press
- Farrar, Straus & Giroux for Young Readers
- Feiwel & Friends
- Henry Holt Books for Young Readers
- Odd Dot
- Priddy Books
- Roaring Brook Press
- Square Fish
- Tor Children’s
Each year the Portland Book Festival, presented by the Bank of America, brings thousands of readers to the Southwest Park Blocks for a day-long celebration of all things reading. Needless to say, we're big fans.
To call attention to any one author inevitably leaves out a stellar line-up - who doesn't want to see Malcolm Gladwell and Rainbow Rowell? But there's so many quality events to choose from, so here are top picks.
Would it be too self-centered to say that we're so looking forward to seeing our library moderators in action? Elleona Budd, Natasha Forrester Campbell, Lanel Jackson, Ebonee Bell, Eduardo Arizaga and Alicia Tate will be moderating talks on everything from science comics to dark magic in fantasy.
We're looking forward to hearing from Saeed Jones about his new memoir, How We Fight for Our Lives. David Treuer's Heartbeat of Wounded Knee has made it to the top of many of our reading lists. Mira Jacobs's graphic memoir Good Talk, about interracial families made it to the top of many library staff lists. And we'd like to hear how cartoonist and animator Graham Annable expresses his love for slots and hockey, when he isn't writing. Romance readers among us have been eagerly awaiting more from Jasmine Guillory, “the queen of contemporary romance” (OprahMag.com). Our teen librarians have long been fans of Gabby Rivera's Juliet Takes a Breath. We're looking forward to the pop-up events, among them Theodore Van Alst reading from his linked short stories, Sacred Smokes.
And that doesn't even take into account Friday night's Lit Crawl -- the Poetry Karaoke looks especially intriguing.
Take a look at the festival event site and go hang out with book lovers all day long. It's the best time, and we hope to see you there.
by Sarah Binns, MCL volunteer
Madi Beck is living the dream of a true Pacific Northwesterner: reading and working with books, investing in the outdoors, and restoring a 14-foot camper to live in.
“My goal is to live in it within a year,” she says of the 1975 trailer she’s been gutting and working on during her spare time. Madi just graduated from high school, so it would be understandable if this intensive hobby was the only way she spent her summer. Instead, she spent five weeks volunteering to build trails in the Idaho wilderness with Northwest Youth Corps, an outdoor conservation program. This was her second summer with the organization, and it seems it has given her a purpose:
“I’m really passionate about being outside,” she says. Regarding next steps, she says, “The future is cloudy,” but she’s biding her time until an upcoming forestry job starts in summer 2020. She is also interested in AmeriCorps.
Her path to her work at the St. John’s library is a little clearer. “I love reading,” Madi says, “I’ve been reading since I was little. My mom is a reader and she got me into it.”
A few years ago Madi started volunteering every Friday as a paging list assistant, pulling holds for patrons at other libraries, to see if she was interested in a library science career. While that has taken a backseat to her conservation work, she still appreciates the library. “I love the people who work there,” she says. “They’re so kind and generous. I also love being around books.” She laughs. “The sad thing is I can’t check out the books I see” from the paging list, she says, since these are all sent as holds to patrons at other libraries.
When she’s not volunteering she works at Target, reads, or returns to the “water-damaged and moldy” trailer she hopes to call home one day. “I’d love to be mobile,” she says, “I want to travel the US and visit all the national parks.” Whether in a trailer or on the trail, I’m sure we’ll see Madi in the great outdoors in the future—probably with a book!
A few facts about Madi
Home library: St Johns
Currently reading: Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman
Most influential book: The Chaos Walking trilogy by Patrick Ness
Favorite section to browse: “Definitely the fiction or sci-fi section.”
Favorite book from childhood: “Too many to choose from! My favorite childhood series were Harry Potter, Eragon, and Percy Jackson!”
Book that made you laugh or cry: “Where the Red Fern Grows can make me cry even thinking about it.”
Guilty pleasure: “Maybe reading teen fiction that’s way below my reading level, just to feel nostalgic.”
Favorite place to read: My bed.
E-reader or paper: “Paper for sure, but because I live on a boat I really appreciate an e-reader.”
Thanks for reading the MCL Volunteer Spotlight. Stay tuned for our next edition coming soon! Read last month's Volunteer Spotlight.
Dear library patrons and community members,
Multnomah County Library (MCL) works hard to serve you. We are committed to meeting the changing needs of our community by providing free and open access to the resources, programs, technology and spaces that people want and need. But we are facing a daunting new challenge: large publishers are imposing new restrictions that limit libraries’ ability to offer users new digital content.
Beginning November 1, 2019, Macmillan publishers, one of the country’s “big five” publishers, is imposing an eight-week embargo on new e-books. This embargo means that for the first eight weeks after a book is released, libraries will only be able to purchase a single copy of new Macmillan e-books. This restriction applies whether a library serves a community of a thousand people or a million people.
The impact of this embargo and the other severe restrictions being placed by publishers on public libraries across the country will hurt readers near and far. Multnomah County Library is the sixth top-circulating library in the country for digital content. Under these new restrictions, the wait for many Macmillan e-book titles will skyrocket to four months or more.
What’s more, libraries are forced to license this content and cannot own it. A licensing model increases costs and limits how many times patrons can check out a book before the library must re-license. Many people also aren’t aware that e-book costs to libraries are often FOUR TIMES the price of a retail copy. With these limitations in place, we estimate that MCL will soon spend at least 25 percent of its e-book budget ($307,000) on re-licensing items already in the collection. These excessive costs will prevent the library from buying a broader range of titles or buying more copies of popular titles in order to reduce wait times.
On top of this, Amazon—which owns audio and e-platforms Audible and Kindle—is an unapologetic charging bull within the publishing industry, as it exclusively signs digital and audio rights for authors like Dean Koontz and Mindy Kaling and refuses to license those titles to libraries.
Macmillan has said that libraries undercut publishers’ profits by allowing readers free access to materials that they would otherwise purchase. Macmillan is presenting this as a zero-sum game—that every circulation of a library book is a lost sale for the publisher and author. That reductivist argument is disingenuous and capricious, and it shuts out those with the fewest resources. Not everyone can afford to use Amazon as an alternative to their public library.
The result of these unfair practices by publishers puts not only libraries and readers in a challenging position, but also authors, who should not be forced to choose between making a living and supporting the mission of a library to make information free and open to all. Public libraries provide free marketing and massive exposure to authors and publishers at more than 16,500 locations in communities across the United States and online. In fact, there are more public libraries in the United States than there are McDonald’s or Starbucks locations.
Multnomah County Library has a long history of supporting authors. Every day, patrons come into our libraries or browse the online catalog to find new titles to enjoy. We offer readers advisory services like My Librarian where library staff help readers find new books and authors. At 19 libraries, MCL hosts storytimes, author readings and other programs that expose people to books, resources and authors that they may not have discovered otherwise. Our Library Writers Project offers an opportunity for local authors to have their work added to the library’s e-book collection. As an integral part of the literacy ecosystem, public libraries encourage reading from the earliest ages, and support it over a lifetime by introducing people to content as their interests, needs and technologies change.
These harsh and unfair restrictions on public libraries are a troubling trend that we must stop. Please join me, readers and libraries across the country in opposing Macmillan’s new e-book embargo.
Sign the petition at ebooksforall.org to tell Macmillan that access to e-books should not be delayed or denied.
Thank you for supporting your public library.
Director of Libraries
Multnomah County Library
Former president, Public Library Association
Talk Time Host
by Donna Childs, MCL volunteer
Talk Time is a library program for people from around the world to practice English conversation. For 11 years, Daniel Friedman has hosted such Monday afternoon conversations at Central Library. What keeps him coming back all these years? According to Daniel, it’s the people he has met, and their patience, warmth, and generosity with each other, and their inspiring optimism and courage. Talk Time has helped Daniel shed his own stereotypes and taught him more about the world. Most importantly, he believes this is a way to effect small changes and to feel more hopeful; though, he admits to understandable fury at the cruel treatment many immigrants currently receive in the United States.
According to Daniel, Talk Time attracts people with a wide range of conversational abilities, from those not literate in their native languages to PhDs with good English skills: “a day laborer from Guatemala to a post-doc from Iraq.” Some participants have attended language schools and want to supplement their grammar and vocabulary lessons with conversation, such as one attendee, a bus driver from Budapest, Hungary, who attends Talk Time when he visits Portland every couple years.
Daniel sees his chief objective as encouraging everyone to speak. Sometimes the program begins with a theme or a conversation-starting question; other times, attendees talk about themselves. He uses a computer and an overhead projector to search a new word or place that arises in conversation and share it with everyone. Daniel also projects vocabulary words and then emails the list to participants. The number of attendees at the 90-minute sessions has ranged from about seven to more than 20. There are two hosts each program, so the group divides in half when needed, to allow everyone to talk.
Although Daniel began volunteering with digital literacy classes for older adults and tutoring at the library, Talk Time is a natural fit for him. A retired professor of psychology, he is comfortable leading conversations, and he has long been interested in the immigrant experience. In fact, he made an award-winning film about four teens from India in Atlanta, which has been used in many college classrooms. In these times of such difficulty for many immigrants, it is encouraging to know that those who attend Talk Time sessions find support in Daniel and his fellow hosts. For more information about the library's Talk Time program, please visit multcolib.org/events/talk-time.
A few facts about Daniel
Home library: Central
Currently reading: Uncivil Agreement: How Politics Became Our Identity by Lilliana Mason
Most influential book: Practical Ethics by Peter Singer
Favorite book from childhood: Mad Magazine
A book that made you laugh or cry: Where’d You Go, Bernadette by Maria Semple.
Favorite section of the library: Social Science
E-reader or paper book? My Huawei Mediapad X2 tablet: a nine-ounce branch library in my backpack!
Favorite reading guilty pleasure: American Splendor by Harvey Pekar
Favorite place to read: On a bench in Jamison Square park
Multnomah County Library operates on a set of pillars and priorities based on input from the community it serves. This library system is accountable to its taxpayers and patrons, offering programs, services and resources that reflect this community’s values.
The public library is based on the ideal that our collective resources and knowledge should be freely accessible and open to everyone. This library strives to live up to that ideal by lifting up people and communities that have been historically excluded, marginalized and discriminated against.
In representing the diversity of our community, this library will offer materials and viewpoints some people may find offensive. When outside voices seek to shame or pressure Multnomah County Library into conforming to standards other than those in our own community, we will not be cowed.
Multnomah County Library will continue to offer materials, services and programs that acknowledge and celebrate the value of the LGBTQ+ community, immigrants and refugees, people who speak a language other than English, Black and African American people, Native and indigenous people, and all others who have been systematically oppressed. We will evolve and expand that work over time as our community’s values dictate.