MCL Blogs

The default blog for all Library Blog Posts.

Ebola virions through an electron microscope.The word is enough to freeze your possibly hemorrhaging blood, isn’t it? Or make you glad you (or someone you know) aren’t in West Africa. My first thought when learning of the two U.S. citizens recently transported here for medical care was ‘I’m glad I’m not on that plane.’ But unlike SARS or the flu, the Ebola virus can’t be transmitted through the air; the only way to catch it is “through direct contact with the blood or bodily fluids of an infected symptomatic person or through exposure to objects (such as needles) that have been contaminated with infected secretions” (Q&A on Ebola from the Centers for Disease Control, which has much more information about the current outbreak on its website).

[Edited to add 11/28/14:] Multnomah County's Health Department has a page with resources and links providing information a little closer to home).

Comforting for those of us in the first world, but not much use to those on the front lines, who won’t even seek medical attention because the hospital is where people go to die.

If you’re in the mood for some not-so-light reading, here are some suggestions.

Woodstock Library (6008 SE 49th Ave.) will resume normal operating hours on Tuesday, August 5. The library was closed July 31 - August 4 to repair water damage from a plumbing failure.

Patron holds were suspended during the closure and are now available for pick up at the library. If you have questions about your account, including overdue items and fines, please call Account Services 24 hours a day at 503.988.5342. To speak to a staff member, choose option 2 during Central Library's operating hours.

good luck cover


Three things you should know about Bartholomew Neil:

-His mother just died

-He’s not very good at being alone

-Coping with the above requires Richard Gere


It cannot be claimed that Lewis and Clark “discovered” the plants and wildlife they encountered on their journey; only the native people along their route can justify such a claim. However, Expedition members were the first to describe them for Euro-Americans. Most naturalists agree Lewis and Clark recorded about 220 species of plants; 140 of them new to scientists. They also identified 122 animals, 50 birds and 31 varieties of fish. Many of the original specimens were lost due to a variety of circumstances. 57 species of animals were from east of the Continental Divide and 65 west. The biological studies of the Corps of Discovery were considered by Thomas Jefferson to be of major scientific importance. Many species are illustrated in their original journal pages. 

Image of Western Meadowlark

If you want to visit 226 of the original plant specimens, they are in the Lewis and Clark Herbarium at the Academy of Natural Sciences in Philadelphia.  To learn about the fish species they encountered, you can plan a Lewis and Clark era fishing expedition using this trip booklet from the Undaunted Anglers. There are many online resources about the mammals, birds, reptiles and amphibians recorded by the Expedition that include photos, skeletons, and reference to the exact journal entry. There is an especially complete collection at The National Museum of Natural History. The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service and the National Geographic Society also compiled thorough lists of the wildlife encountered by the expedition.

This is my favorite animal story from the journals…I keep chuckling over Lewis’ ridiculous confidence. However funny this story sounds to us today, we should remember that the incredible data gathered by Lewis and Clark was a scientific sensation in the 1800's.


We have specific health needs at each stage of our lives. Websites aimed at new parents won’t give you the health information you need as you’re getting ready to retire! As a senior, where can you find quality health information online?

MedlinePlus is full of high quality health information. Try the About Your Health box in the middle of the home screen. Click the Seniors tab for links to health information related to arthritis, exercise for seniors, Medicare, and more.MedlinePlus

NIH Senior Health is another great resource. This site is aimed at people over fifty. You can easily increase the text size and screen contrast to help if you have vision problems.

NIH Senior Health contains health topics, like complementary health approaches. It also has categories, such as healthy aging and memory and mental health.

The site also contains a collection of videos. For example: Surviving Cancer or Participating in Clinical Trials.

The Administration on Aging links a many resources in one place. The site lets you search for resources and information locally. The ElderCare Locator helps you find information in your area on a specific topic, like Alzheimer's, long-term care, or transportation services.   

Locally, the Senior Health Insurance Benefit Assistance Program (SHIBA) helps with any kind of question about Medicare and Medicare benefits. You can call for individual counseling about coverage, eligibility, comparing plans and choosing a Medicare prescription drug plan.


On July 19, 1984, about 65 years after women were granted the right to vote, Congresswoman Geraldine Ferraro became the first woman to be nominated by a major party to run for Vice President of the United States.  It was just my second opportunity to vote for president, and what I remember most about her speech was the faces of the women listening to her. This was historic, we (women) had arrived and we were not looking back! She lost, of course, in a landslide. It took another 24 years for it to happen again: Alaska Governor Sarah Palin ran for Vice President, and – while she garnered over 20-million more votes than Ferraro – she lost too.  In 2008, Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton won more presidential primaries than any woman before her, but ended up on the losing side as well. Many political observers and pundits believe she will run for president again in 2016. Or maybe there’s someone else. Fourth time’s the charm?

Ferraro, Palin and Clinton are not the only women who have sought the office of president or vice president. Oregon’s own suffragist, Abigail Scott Duniway, was nominated by the Equal Rights Party in 1884, but she declined to run. In an earlier version of the Equal Rights Party, suffragist, journalist, and “free love” advocate Victoria Woodhull was the first woman ever to run for president in 1872. There was also the 1940 candidacy of the comedienne Gracie Allen, who ran for the Surprise Party. She earned about 42,000 votes; of the 32 women who ran for the office in the next 72 years, her vote total comes in sixth.

Let’s remember a few other women, whose candidacies we can take a little more seriously. There’s Shirley Chisholm, the first African American woman elected to Congress, who ran in 1972; Margaret Chase Smith, the first woman to serve in both the House and Senate, who ran in 1964; Winona LaDuke, a Native American activist, who was Ralph Nader’s Green Party running mate in 1996 and 2000 (in the latter election, she earned nearly 3,000,000 votes); and Cindy Sheehan, who protested the Iraq War following the death of her son, and ran as Roseanne Barr’s vice president for the Peace and Freedom Party in 2012. Then there’s the most recent woman to seek the nomination from a major party, Representative Michele Bachmann, who unsuccessfully ran for president in 2012.

Dig deep into the lives of women who have sought the presidency in these books.

Do you have a giant photo that you need to cut down to size? Maybe you have a photo with lots of extra stuff on the borders that you’d like to cut out. Or, perhaps you’ve got a tiny little photo that you’d like to make bigger. In any of these situations, you there are a number of free online tools to help. Here are two.


PicMonkey is free, but if you want to, you can pay for a subscription that will give you access to more features and no ads.


  1. Go to

  2. Click Edit a Photo

  3. Upload a photo from your computer or flash drive, or choose a photo from your Dropbox, Flikr or Facebook account.

  4. Default option is Basic Edits


  1. Click Resize

  2. Either enter the pixel size you want to use, or check the Use percentages box to shrink or enlarge your photo.

  3. Check the Keep proportions box to avoid stretching your photo.

     Be sure to click when you’re done.


  1. Click Crop

  2. Choose an option from the drop-down menu. No fixed proportions will allow you to change the shape of the photo. Other options will let you easily make the shape what you want.

  3. Change the size of the photo here, or crop it first and then resize.

  4. Drag the grid for more control.

Be sure to click when you’re done.



  1. Click Save at the top of the screen. 

  1. Choose a file name.

    1. Choose

      1. Roger: Poor quality, small file size

      2. Pierce: Good quality, medium file size

      3. Sean: Great quality, large file size

    2.  the quality image you want:

    3. Click Save to my computer or use the arrow to choose to save to Dropbox.



    Google also offers a few ways to resize your image, using Gmail or Picasa, both of which are free, but require a Google account. Picasa also allows you to crop your image.




    rook book cover


    Ever wake up and feel... different?

    Myfanwy (pronounced like "Tiffany" with an "M") Thomas knows the feeling.  Waking in the rain with black eyes and bruises, she has no memory. Is this the plot of the best Lifetime movie you've never seen starring former Saved by the Bell starlet, Lark Voorhies?  Sadly, no. However, thanks to a recommendation via twitter during a reading rut it’s the main character in Daniel O'Malley's The Rook , one of the most fun and engaging books I’ve read in the past six months.


    Armed with an envelope of instructions, Myfanwy learns three things about her former self:

    1. Someone is trying to kill her.   

    2. Things are not always what they seem

    3. She works for a secret organization dealing with the supernatural

    Part thriller, mystery, and Ghostbusters, The Rook is an addictive adventure.  The more Myfawny delves into her former self, the more complicated life becomes as she exposes corruption and herself to the person who’d love to see her dead. Myfany's fate is in her hands.  If she wants to live, she better make some quick decisions .

    Floods, earthquakes, snow, volcanoes, and landslides! Trying to think of and prepare for every possible catastrophe that might occur in the Pacific Northwest can be daunting!

    Thankfully there are many resources available from your Multnomah County Library and other government agencies to help you plan for any situation. Karen T. and Catherine M., both parents and library staff put some of these resources to the test, using them to prepare themselves and their families for some of the most likely disasters.Urban Search and Rescue - FEMA/David Fine/2011

    Karen’s family makes a plan and adjusts to the realities of getting everyone on board

    Karen, using online federal resources from and,  introduces the project of making a family disaster plan and the need of assembling an emergency supplies kit to her family. She finds that it is a challenge to get the entire family to buy into the importance of being prepared. They have other priorities.

    She doesn’t let that stop her, after letting her family stew on the project for a bit she breaks it down into manageable parts and recruits family members to take ownership of some of these tasks. She uses a new ploy, Mother’s Day, to get action. Whatever it takes to get everyone involved, reason or guilt, at least the family now has a plan!

    With the new plan in hand Karen gathers everyone to look at it and make minor changes (one of the emergency meeting spots was to be on top of a huge in-ground water storage tank...which seemed a bit too precarious in the event of an earthquake).

    A real-life mini-emergency takes place, Portland issues a boil water notice and the grocery stores quickly run low on bottled water. This underscores the need to plan ahead and store enough clean water for the whole family (don’t forget pets!). Karen learns how to properly disinfect drinking water from the EPA emergency disinfection instructions. Do you know how much water you really need to get through a short term emergency?

    For her own assignment, Karen makes a  home emergency kit and a few mini-survival-kits to keep in easily accessible spots like backpacks, gloveboxes, and winter jacket pockets.  As the final part of her work Karen spreads the word so that co-workers, extended family, friends and neighbors are equally prepared, thus maximizing the potential for positive outcomes no matter what happens. Karen lives the motto, “Be prepared, stay informed, make a kit, and get involved.”

    Answering Questions about Family Preparedness, FEMA/Marvin Nauman, May 2006, New Orleans LA

    Catherine’s Three Levels of Preparation at Work

    Catherine’s family has emergency supplies both at home and in the car.  However she usually takes public transportation to work.  In the event of a major natural disaster and transportation disruption she could easily find herself stranded away from home.  She needs to plan for a safe hike home or to shelter in place at work if necessary.  To do this she has three levels of preparation: everyday carry, get home bag, and overnight necessities.

    The Everyday Carry

    The everyday carry is just what it sounds like, basic items to have on your person at all times. Catherine travels light but packs a bottle of water, a snack, a small first aid kit, a dust mask, a small flashlight, cell phone, an emergency information/contact list, and a book to pass the time.  She, like most librarians, also wears sensible shoes (ones she could easily hike home in).  Her son also has a few items in the bottom of his school bag to make up a basic everyday carry for children. What does your everyday carry look like?

    The Get Home Bag and Overnight Necessities

    The next level of preparedness is the get home bag, a small backpack of necessary supplies to keep at work for an unanticipated hike home.  Multnomah County has a helpful Get a Kit page that has some ideas. Since Catherine takes the bus her get home bag includes a second bottle of water, a poncho, some pocket change, an extra pair of socks, and a second set of keys.  She keeps her get home bag in a secure place at work where she can easily grab it and “get home.” She also has a predetermined meeting place if crossing the Willamette River is impossible due to seismic bridge damage or severe traffic issues.  This pre-planning will get the family back in contact with each other ASAP after an emergency.  You can also look at ideas for a get home bag or workplace plans from How would you get home to your family?

    There may be a situation where it is unsafe or impossible to hike home so Catherine has a few overnight necessities at work.  In addition to the everyday carry and the get home bag she also has enough bottled water for 48 hours, nonperishable snacks, a few toiletries, a small blanket, a change of clothes, and an extra phone charger stored in a work locker. She shares with her coworkers so they can also make a plan.  What would you need if you were stuck at work overnight?

    Each family’s disaster readiness plan is going to be different based on what events you prepare for, the everyday situations you and your family find yourselves in and the special needs and makeup of your family.  Karen and Catherine teamed up to encourage each other to meet their family goals.

    These online government resources were most helpful:, Multnomah County Office of Emergency Management, and the Portland Bureau of Emergency Management. You can access all of the online resources in this list: Multcolib Research Picks: Disaster Preparedness Online Resources.  Additionally, there are some great preparedness books geared especially toward parents: Multcolib Research Picks: Disaster Preparedness Books for the Whole Family.

    Canine Recovery Team, FEMA/Marty Bahamonde, April 2014, Snohomish County, WA

    Stay Informed

    Most librarians would agree that, “knowledge is power.” This holds true in times of disaster. Be aware of what the most likely events may be, know ahead of time where your family will meet up, and sign up to be notified through the CENS Public Alerts Emergency System by voice or text in the case of a local emergency.

    If you would like more information about preparedness resources do not hesitate to contact a librarian. You are also welcome to share your own disaster preparedness planning adventures in the comments below. Can you answer the question, Are you prepared?



    Studio Olafur Eliasson Encyclopedia bookcover A glowing orb hangs in a dense mist. You descend a ramp and enter a great hall. Golden light fills the heavy air. Your mirror image swims far above you, along with the images of hundreds of other viewers of the spectacle. You sink to the floor, waving and gesturing, watching the limbs of the crowd as they wave and gesture far above, like the feathery tongues of sea creatures trapped at the bottom of some deep ocean pool.


    This unusual scene is what you might have encountered if you saw Icelandic-Danish artist Olafur Eliasson’s installation, The Weather Project, which can be glimpsed on the artist’s website . Eliasson and his studio create sculptures and installations that combine architectural elements with natural materials such as light, mist, water, ice, wind, scent, even lichen. The Weather Project so enraptured viewers that they lay on the floor of the Tate museum basking in the radiance of its strange sun, and even inspired a recent Marc Jacobs fashion show. Of the installation’s allure, the artist says,

    "I don't mind making things that look great or seem very seductive, because to me, rationality and seduction are not mutually exclusive. For instance, you can be rational about your seduction, as in The Weather Project [2004], or in Beauty [1993]. The quality of the experience really depends on the combined performativity of the installation and the person; if the situation allows for a very individual experience, I'm not afraid of the work being called "beautiful." I don't think beauty can be generalized, even though many people seem to suggest just that by insisting on a type of beauty that would be immanent to the works. "Beauty" is a very complex term..." - Olafur Eliasson [p. 75].


    Find out more in Studio Olafur Eliasson.



    Quick! What’s the commutative law of addition?


    Can’t remember? It just means you can add numbers in any order and get the same result.


    2 + 3 = 5

    3 + 2 = 5


    You may have learned this concept in school. You probably remember the rule, but the name may have slipped your mind.


    Why does this matter? Maybe you’d like to help your child with homework, or perhaps you’re going back to school and need to take a math placement exam.


    A great place to brush up on old math skills (or to learn new ones) is The Foundations of Real World Math course.


    The course is free. It uses videos from Khan Academy and portions of College of the Redwoods’ Pre-Algebra Textbook, 2nd edition and Denny Burzynski and Wade Ellis’ Fundamentals of Mathematics.


    The course is made of seven units. It covers basic math concepts, like the commutative law of addition, and advances through negative numbers, percentages, ratios and graphs and charts. The goal of the course is “not just to help you learn basic algebra and geometry topics, but also to show you how these topics are used in everyday life.


    A Room of One's Own by Virginia WoolfWhat do writers need? Virginia Woolf famously said that “a woman must have money and a room of her own if she is to write fiction” (in the essay A Room of One’s Own), but of course that’s not all, and not for everyone (men, poets, playwrights…). Writers need time, and space to pursue their craft. Writers need support, which can take the form of opportunities to read aloud, or to hear other writers talking about writing, or a community of supportive critical readers.

    There are lots of organizations in the Portland area that offer resources for writers! Some are free, others are cheap (though not all). They involve various commitments of time. Here are some local organizations, roughly grouped  - but you’ll see that they are hard to categorize… 

    Writing groups, workshops, and classes

    The Attic Institute presents workshops, classes, and individual consultation about writing projects.

    Lewis and Clark Northwest Writing Institute offers classes for community members.

    The Mountain Writers Series presents monthly readings and writing workshops. The links section of their webpage connects to a huge number of other local organizations!

    The Multnomah Arts Center offers some wonderful literary arts classes.

    PDX Writers facilitates workshops and retreats.

    Portland State University has a few different graduate programs in writing.

    VoiceCatcher is a nonprofit connecting and empowering women writers in Portland.

    Write Around Portland offers free creative writing workshops in social service settings, and creates publication and reading opportunities for workshop participants.

    Membership organizations

    The Independent Publishing Resource Center (IPRC) offers resources and workshops related to printing and book-making. They also have certificate programs in creative nonfiction/fiction, poetry, and comics/graphic novels.

    Oregon Poetry Association, Oregon’s oldest and largest literary organization, offers community, contests, and conferences.

    Oregon Writers Colony offers community, conferences and workshops, and the use of a beach house writing retreat!

    Rose City Romance Writers, the Portland, Oregon chapter of Romance Writers of America, educates, supports, and mentors published and unpublished romance writers.

    Willamette Writers hosts regular meetings for the exchange of ideas related to writing and craft.

    Reading series

    Literary Arts’ programs include Portland Arts and Lectures, Writers in the Schools, the Oregon Book Awards and Fellowships, and Delve Readers Seminars.

    LitHop PDX is an annual literary pub crawl featuring many readings at different venues.

    There are many different reading series in Portland! You could head out to hear writers read their work at the Mountain Writers series, the Spare Room series, the Loggernaut reading series, the Bad Blood poetry reading series, Burnt TongueIf Not for KidnapUnchaste ReadersSoft Show, or The Switch... you could catch a reading when the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America (FWWA) Pacific Northwest Reading Series has a Portland event...  or you could see one of the many readings at Powell's BooksKBOO also maintains a list of regular readings in the Portland area.

    Conferences/Festivals/Big events

    Ooligan Press’s Write to Publish Conference aims to demystify the publishing industry for emerging writers.

    At the Portland Zine Symposium, zine and minicomic creators sell and trade their self-published creations.

    Wordstock is Portland’s biggest annual literary festival, featuring author readings, writing contests, workshops, exhibits and a book fair.

    Other stuff

    Oregon Authors is a great general resource for information about authors in Oregon! The site is a collaboration between Oregon Library Association and Oregon Center for the Book. It includes a great list of readers and writers groups in Oregon.

    Last but certainly not least, Multnomah County’s Central Library offers the Sterling Room for Writers, where writers can find a quiet work space in close proximity to all the resources the library has to offer. Interested writers must submit an application and be approved to gain access to the room.

    Portland Zine Symposium 2014Ahh, summertime in Portland. Sunshine and strawberries and going to the river. Cookouts and bike rides and reading in the hammock. Summertime in Portland also means that it’s time for the Portland Zine Symposium! If you’ve never been, the Portland Zine Symposium is an annual zine fair and tabling extravaganza that brings folks in from all over the world. This conference highlights do it yourself culture, small presses, and self-published comics and publications of all kinds, with ongoing workshops and events over the course of two days.  It’s been happening every summer since 2001. And did I mention that it’s all free?!

    Here’s where the library comes in. Not only will we have a table at the Zine Symposium, but did you know the library also has over 1,000 circulating zines in our collection, many of them from local authors and artists? And that we have tons of great resources to assist in whatever phase of the creative process you may be in, whether you are a veteran, do-it-with-your-eyes-closed zinester or you have never made a zine in your life (but have always wanted to)? One of my favorite books on all things zine-making is Whatcha Mean, What’s a Zine? I personally loved it so much, I had it checked out for almost a year--the beauty of renewing!

    If this sounds like it’s right up your alley, be sure to check out our table the weekend of July 12th and 13th. We’ll be there making library cards and highlighting self-publishing resources from our collection, as well as zines that you can check out. Don’t have a card? No problem! We can make you one of those too. We’ll also be roaming around and scoping out other tables, looking for zines to purchase to add to our ever-growing zine collection. This is the most exciting part! So if you find yourself at the Zine Symposium, don’t be shy--be sure to come by and say hello!

    So you've been trying to use primary sources in your research. Maybe you found some great historical documents or speeches. But now you'd like to include some historical images and articles. Read on! (If you need more background about primary sources, start with our blog post Help! I Need to Find Primary Sources!)

    There are many places to find historical newspaper and magazine articles. The Historical Oregonian has local newspaper articles from 1861-1987. You’ll also find all the advertisements, photographs, and other images that appeared in the newspaper’s pages. This allows readers to see what life was really like in a certain time period, from world events to the cost of groceries. Image of old newspaper The New York Times Historical is another good source for U.S. and international news articles. The National Geographic Virtual Library has articles, maps, images and ads from National Geographic magazine, covering the years 1888-1994. All three of these resources require a Multnomah County library card number and PIN.

    If your library card’s gone missing, you can find articles from other newspapers in Oregon by searching Historic Oregon Newspapers or newspapers from around the country at the Library of Congress’s Chronicling America site.

    One thing to keep in mind when looking for primary sources: these materials come from different time periods, and they reflect the attitudes and language used at the time.  Articles, images and advertisements from the past may use stereotypes or words that are now considered offensive.  And sometimes primary sources may use out-of-date words: cars may be called automobiles or glasses may be referred to as spectacles, for example.

    Still have questions? Contact a librarian for help!

    Have you been told to use primary sources in your research? Read on for some suggestions!

    What are primary sources, anyway?Revolutionary war map

    A primary source is one which was created during the time period being studied. Examples could include documents, speeches/interviews, images, articles (written during the time period), and even artifacts. So, if you are studying the Holocaust, The Diary of a Young Girl by Anne Frank is considered a primary source. Someone researching the Civil War could use Matthew Brady’s battlefield photographs. And President Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s “Day of Infamy” speech is a great primary source for those studying the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor.

    Where can I find them?

    A great place to begin your search is American Memory, a “digital record of American history and creativity.” It contains documents, audio recordings, images, videos and maps from the Library of Congress. Here you can listen to former slaves tell their stories, watch video clips from the aftermath of the 1906 San Francisco earthquake, or view maps from the American Revolution.

    The National Archives also has a large collection of primary source materials for students and educators. They are arranged by time period and are keyword searchable. Would you like to see President Kennedy’s academic record at Harvard? Or view a handwritten copy of the Oregon Treaty that set the boundary between the U.S. and Canada?  You’ll find them here.

    The Masterfile Premier database contains the text of thousands of primary source documents. To find them, once you are in the database, click on the Advanced Search link. Then enter your search terms in the box at the top, and make sure to choose Primary Source Document in the Publication Type box before you click on Search. You'll need your library card number and PIN to search Masterfile Premier.

    For historic photos, a great place to look is the LIFE Magazine archive (no library card required), which spans the time period from the 1860s and 1970s.

    Are you looking for primary sources specifically about Oregon history? The Oregon Digital Library searches the collections of libraries around the state to find both documents and images. The Oregon State Archives also has some web exhibits about Oregon history that incorporate primary resources; topics range from the creation of the Oregon constitution to Oregonians’ experiences in World War II.

    Still have questions? Check out our blog post on Finding Primary Source Articles or contact a librarian for more help!

    Energetic Volunteer

    by Donna ChildsVolunteer Carol Lidberg

    Carol Lidberg is a dedicated, high-energy volunteer at the Capitol Hill LibraryShe often begins her 2-hour shift before the library opens and races through her list of 130-200 hold requests, challenging herself to find them all in under two hours.  Not only is she a swift and accurate book searcher, she often manages time to check them in to trigger holds, tag them for the library to which they will be sent, and put them in the appropriate crates. Whew!

    Carol’s career as a library volunteer began in 7th grade, when she helped at her local library, and continued through college with a work-study job in the college library.  After several years of working full-time, she resumed her library volunteering in 2008 when she left her job to begin an unpaid career in “family management,” caring for her husband and son.

    In addition to her weekly stint at Capitol Hill Library, Carol also volunteers at her son's school library at Capitol Hill Elementary. There she checks out books for classes visiting the library and shelves books for the next visit.  She has worn many hats at Capitol Hill School, spearheading various projects and fundraisers, serving on the PTA for several years, helping in the office—whatever needed doing.

    Although Carol previously took summers off from her volunteer jobs to be home with her son, now that he is growing up, she will be working at Capitol Hill Library this summer.   And she won’t be alone:  her son is going to begin his library volunteer career working in the Summer Reading program at Capitol Hill.  Like his mother, he is starting young.  

    A Few Facts About Carol

    Home library: Capitol Hill Library
    Currently reading: When Darkness Falls, by James Grippando.
    Favorite book from childhood: Nancy Drew and Boxcar Children books.
    A book that made you laugh or cry: Any Spenser novel by Robert Parker makes me laugh.
    Favorite section of the library: Mysteries and travel.
    E-reader or paper book? Paper book, at least until my arthritis gets too bad.
    Favorite guilty reading pleasure: Peanuts comics.
    Favorite place to read: On the couch with an afghan and a cat.

    See last month's Volunteer Spotlight.


    When people in Portland talk about a story that was “in the paper,” they often mean it was in the Oregonian. Until recently, the Oregonian was the city’s daily paper -- and it sort of still is: a daily edition is available online, at newsstands and at the library; while home subscribers get their papers only on Wednesdays, Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays.

    Front page of the July 24, 1904 Oregon Journal (image from Historic Oregon Newspapers,

    Portland-area newspapers

    The Oregonian has never been the Portland area’s only newspaper! Let's take a brief tour of some local newspapers past and present, and I'll show you a bit about how you can use them for your research.

    Daily newspapers

    For most of the 20th century, Portland residents had two or three local daily newspapers to choose from. The Oregon Journal was published daily from 1902 to 1982, and the Portland Telegram (also called the Evening Telegram and the News-Telegram) was published daily from 1877-1939. And, the daily Oregonian was available too, of course!

    During this heyday of daily news, each paper had a different editorial policy and political niche. People generally say that the Journal supported the Democratic Party, the Oregonian supported the Republican Party, and the Telegram’s editorial stance was independent.

    Weekly, semiweekly and neighborhood newspapers

    There have always been many non-daily newspapers in the Portland area, too! These days, we have a long list of weeklies and semiweeklies, such as the Portland Observer, the Portland Tribune, the Willamette Week; and of course many neighborhood and suburban papers like the St. Johns Review and the Gresham Outlook.  Some of these still-running non-daily newspapers have been in print a long time, and can be useful for historical research as well as for current news.

    Other Portland-area weekly or semiweekly newspapers have sadly left us, but are still available at the library! Here are a few gems that you will not see on today’s newsstands, but which are in the library’s collection:


    Finding newspaper articles at the library

    Sometimes, the best way to research is to browse. If you want to know what was in the news on a particular date, you can go right to the library’s archive of the newspaper you’re interested in and start reading through the issues one by one. Nothing could be simpler -- except that this method is sometimes a little slow!

    What if your research requires you to find newspaper articles by topic? To do this, you’ll need two things:

    • an archive of the newspaper, so you can read it (this archive could include the print edition, a microfilm copy, and/or an online version)
    • an index or a way to search for articles by keywords or topics, so you can find what you need

    Archives of old newspapers

    The library maintains an extensive archive of Portland newspapers of all stripes and stretching back more than a hundred years. Most are kept at Central Library -- visit the Periodicals room on the second floor to take a look at this wide-ranging collection.

    Gresham Library has an archive of the semiweekly Gresham Outlook, and the librarians at Gresham are experts at finding old articles! Consult them any time you'd like help getting started with your Gresham newspaper research.

    If your research requires reading newspapers from other parts of our state, be sure to consult Historic Oregon Newspapers -- an ever-growing archive of early Oregon newspapers that you can search and read online. Most of the papers included in Historic Oregon Newspapers were published 1922 or earlier.

    photograph of the Local Newspapers Index at Central Library


    That takes care of your first tool, an archive of the newspaper -- what about the second tool, an index or way to search?

    While you’re in the Periodicals room at Central Library, take a look at the library’s local newspaper index. This card file index is like a big giant catalog of news topics -- you can look for any subject, from A to Z, and the newspaper index will point you to Portland-area newspaper articles on that subject.

    photograph of an example card in Central Library's Local Newspapers IndexWhen you find your subject in the newspaper index, you'll see one or more cards, like the one in the photograph on the right.

    This particular card gives us information about a couple of articles reporting on Portland freeways. This card is in the “F” section of the index, under Freeways. Portland. The article cited at the top is from the Oregonian (noted as “Oreg”), and was published November 28th, 1974, on page A56, column 1. The headline is “Let people speak on freeway issue.” The little red note on the left, “ed.,” tells us it was an editorial. The red note below tells us that there’s another reference to this article in the “M” part of the index, under the heading Mt Hood Freeway.

    The second article cited on this newspaper index card has the headline “McCall asks end of Mt. Hood freeway,” and it was published in the Oregon Journal (noted as “Jour”) on November 28th, 1974, on page A11, column 3. This one also has a note in red underneath it -- but this time it’s just an explanation about the contents of the article.

    [An aside: the Mt. Hood Freeway was never built; if you want to learn more, try reading the great article about it in the online Oregon Encyclopedia.]

    The newspaper index card file mostly focuses on helping you find articles published 1930 to 1987, and like I said above, it only includes information about local newspaper articles. If you are looking for a news story from before 1930, consult the card file newspaper index first just in case (it does include cards for a few pre-1930 articles!).

    photograph of bound newspaper index volumes, at Central LibraryIf the newspaper index doesn’t help you find that pre-1930 story, try one of the bound index volumes that are on top of the card file case. Each of these bound newspaper index books works differently, and they cover different newspapers and different dates as you can see.

    Talk to the librarian on duty in the Periodicals Room to get started with the bound newspaper indexes -- or if you have any questions about finding the articles or newspapers you need.

    And, back to the Oregonian

    Maybe you’ve consulted the card file local newspaper index, and the article you want was in the Oregonian. Or maybe you’ve tried using the newspaper index and it didn’t have everything you need.

    The library has two great resources for finding Oregonian articles, and both allow you to search and read online:

    Recent and historical issues of the Oregonian are also available to read in the Periodicals Room at Central Library, in old-fashioned paper and microfilm formats.

    Have fun with your newspaper research!

    Do you have more questions about searching for historical newspaper articles? Are you working on a local history project? If you'd like specific advice or help with your research challenges, do please Ask the Librarian!


    Multnomah County Library has an amazing array of titles that might be of interest to our LGBTQ community:

    Speaking of Librarian Matthew, he is one of our very special My Librarians. He loves making up reading lists and providing readers advisory for LGBTQ literature and non fiction in general. Some examples of his excellent lists are Getting Started with LGBT Fiction and Character Driven Gay Fiction. Not sure what to read next, ask Matthew!

    Or you can contact any of us with questions about our collection - or any other question you may have - just visit the Contact page and let us know!

    It’s a jungle out there. And if you have pets, it might be a jungle in here too… So with so many animals- millions and millions of species- where do you start looking for the ones that you want?

    Turtle from USGS

    The Encyclopedia of Life probably has what you are looking for. It is easy to search, has a really cool map system and tells you where to find a lot more info. The catch is that it is all pretty high level reading and information. Don’t get me wrong- it’s great stuff and there aren’t that many other places to go looking online for sloth genetic code. Some of these other places might ease you into the Encyclopedia of Life. Try one or try them all, it’s up to you!

    If you are looking for smaller bites of animal information Animal Planet can keep you up to date on Wild Animals and Pets in fun and handy top 10 lists. My favorites: Top Animal Thieves and the Top Cats of the internetWolf photo from US Fish and Wildlife

    A classic place that people learned about animals is the tv show Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom. At their site you can watch new videos and check out some of the old videos all the way back to the 1960s. And from there you can head over to the Colorado State library’s collection of photos that one of the Wild Kingdom’s photographers gave to them. The Garst Photographic Collection has thousands of photos and information about the animals in them. They do warn that there are “only” 600 or so species listed, but they are fun and different species like the Egyptian Goose and the Yellow Mongoose. (Hint: only one of those is a bird.)

    You can check out the animals at the Oregon Zoo or at the Lincoln Park Zoo in Chicago online and visit them in person if you like. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Department has things covered here in the states and oversees the Endangered Species Act.  They also have a huge collection of pictures, videos, sounds and maps that are almost all in the public domain. (Meaning you can use them!)  If you want more about people working to help animals, World Animal Net is network of animal protection and conservation groups working all around the globe.

    Male Ocelot from US Fish and WildlifeThe Natural History Notebooks covers animal species both extant (living) and extinct (died out) from dinosaurs to komodo dragons to squirrels. (And if you scroll to the bottom of the page, they give you the citation for your paper too!)  The National Geographic Creature Feature is arranged a lot like the Natural History Notebooks and if you can’t find the animal you want in one it might be in the other.

    Still need more animals? Ask a librarian!

    In the face of tragedy and violence, it can be hard to know what to say to kids. How do you answer your child’s questions while reassuring them that you will keep them safe? The authors of Taking the Terror out of School Shootings remind us that “[w]hile there are no easy answers about these kinds of events, children will want an explanation from parents and teachers. A complete explanation will not be easy, it may not even be possible, but we must try. We must strive for a balance between helping a child feel safe and acknowledging the existence of violence, evil and danger in the world.”

    Here are three other resources that can help parents and caregivers:

    Helping your children manage distress in the aftermath of a shooting. From the American Psychological Association.

    How to talk to your kids about Reynolds High School shooting, recent teen deaths (links). Oregonian reporter Amy Wang includes links to helping a grieving teen.

    A Survival Guide for Parents of Teenagers: What if the next shooting is at my school? (pdf). A tip sheet for talking to your teen about school violence. From the University of Minnesota College of Education and Human Development.


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