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Various colorful books on a table

Photo credit: Motoya Nakamura, Multnomah County 

Gone are the days when you were hushed for giggling. Libraries are now thriving community spaces where you can meet with peers, get computer help and enjoy art programs. But did you know there are many more free things that you can do through the library?

  1. Learn a new language: With Mango Languages, you have access to over 40 language courses from basic introductory courses to more advanced, and conversational learning. Learn Arabic, Spanish, Mandarin, Italian, Vietnamese, German and more.
  2. Watch a movie: Watch documentaries and indie films through the Kanopy collection or stream music, comics, and videos through Hoopla.
  3. Print documents free of charge: Printing is available at all library locations, for free! Use the mobile printing service or come use a library computer for copying, faxing and scanning.
  4. Visit a local museum: Enjoy free educational and cultural experiences through My Discovery Pass. You’ll find tickets for museums, local cultural attractions and performances.
  5. Live homework help: With your library account, you can gain access to, where you can practice for the PSAT, tackle a math problem, or have a paper for your class proofread.
  6. Start your citizenship journey: Learn about the process of becoming a citizen in a free series of classes. The classes cover U.S. history, government and other information that can help you prepare for the Citizenship Test. Classes are in English and taught by volunteers from Mission: Citizen.
  7. Get Job help, resume building and interview prep: Library staff can help you get started with your job search. From creating a resume and cover letter, to practicing for an interview, the library has classes and individual appointments available for you.
  8. Take adult literacy classes: The library offers one-on-one and small group tutoring to help patrons achieve their learning goals. Whether it is to prepare for a GED exam or read a child’s notes from school, the library’s adult literacy team can help.
  9. Visit the Rockwood Makerspace and build cool things (grades 6-12): The Rockwood Makerspace is a collaborative learning environment for teens to hang out, create independent projects with art supplies, and learn new technology.
  10.  Get one-on-one tech help: Many locations offer drop-in tech help sessions. Come by and meet one-on-one with a friendly tech helper. They’ll help you find answers to questions about mobile devices, websites, getting started with e-books and more. 

The library is excited to welcome youth in grades 6-12 to participate in the 2023 Multnomah County Library Summer Reading Art Contest!

With the theme of “Find Your Voice,” teens can create and submit cover art to be displayed on the Summer Reading teen gameboards. Prizes include a $100 prepaid gift card!  

A panel of library staff, artists, and teens will select one winner from the entries. If your artwork is selected, people across Multnomah County will see your artwork all summer long. The library will also share winners and honorable mentions on the library’s social media channels. Selected art will be included in a Summer Reading coloring book.


  1. Original artwork only.

  2. Content should be appropriate for all ages.

  3. Black & white image only.

  4. If hand drawn, use black ink, marker, pen or hard pencil.

  5. If digitally drawn, submit as black & white EPS or high resolution (300 dpi) PNG, JPG or TIF.

NOTE: Final artwork will be printed at a maximum of 6” x 4” [measurements may change if art is scaled down].

The box on the flyer is proportional to the final maximum measurement, and you may use it to submit your artwork. 

You don’t have to use the entire box, but your artwork must fit inside of it.


Please include your name, grade, school (if applicable) and a phone number or email address so we can reach you if you win.

Winners will be selected based on the following criteria:

  • Follow art specifications above 
  • Draw something related to the theme: Find Your Voice. Our voices include not only the sounds we make, but the words we write, the art we create, the movements we perform, and the actions we take each day to impact our world.
  • Show graphic design/artistic merit.
  • Winners must live in the Multnomah County Library service area.

—Art is subjective. Decision of the panel is final.—

By submitting a design, you agree to the following:

  • You affirm that the artwork is your original design and that no part of the artwork has been copied or derived from any other work. 
  • You give the library permission to make digital and print copies of the artwork you are submitting and to share the artwork you submitted with the public on the web, on the cover of teen gameboards, in a coloring book and in other places.
  • You give the library permission to include your first name, grade and school when the library makes copies of or shares the artwork you are submitting.

Entries must be received by: 11:59 pm, Tuesday, Feb 28, 2023.

Submit your artwork electronically to, bring it to your local library, or mail a paper version to: Summer Reading Program – Multnomah County Library Isom Building, 205 NE Russell Street, Portland, OR 97212

Summer Reading is supported by gifts to The Library Foundation, a local nonprofit dedicated to our library's leadership, innovation and reach through private support.

English | Español | Tiếng Việt | Русский | 简体中文

Taxes in 2023: Forms and assistance

Every year during tax filing season, the library is ready to help— whether that be books, workshops, referrals to tax help, or printing out the forms you need, we're here for you!

Look for Upcoming Events, Programs and Blog Posts on our site for the most up-to-date information.

The deadline to file federal and state tax returns is Tuesday, April 18, 2023. You can get tax preparation assistance and support in the following ways:

Paper copies of tax forms or instructions

Tax return preparation assistance

Other tax assistance

  • If you need assistance with a tax issue beyond regular tax preparation, the Low Income Taxpayer Clinic from Lewis & Clark Law School might be able to help. They provide free need-based legal representation in Federal tax matters, specializing in client controversy with the IRS.  Contact them by emailing or filling out an online form.
  • Questions about IRS Administrative rulings & positions? Want to read analysis of recent tax legislation or the CCH Tax Briefings (newsletter)? VitalLaw (formerly CCH Cheetah) is a resource largely for tax attorneys and professional tax preparers that may help with unusual tax situations. It is available in any of our 17 library locations (no remote access).

File your taxes online for free

Still have questions?

Call the library at 503.988.5123, send us an email or chat with us. Library staff cannot prepare returns, advise on tax matters, or interpret tax law.

Lara P.

El inicio de un año es un buen momento para ayudar a sus hijos a formar buenos hábitos. Ésto es algo que se puede hacer en familia. Como pediatra, la Doctora Lanre Omojukun Falsi menciona en su artículo:  “Propósitos saludables para niños y adolescentes en el Año Nuevo”, que puede ser divertido reunirse con la familia y juntos seleccionar una o dos resoluciones o metas para lograr en el Año Nuevo. 

Para niños en edad preescolar podría ser:

  • Recoger sus juguetes y ponerlos en el lugar que les corresponde.
  • Tratar de probar nuevos alimentos cuando sea posible.
  • Esforzarse por ser amable con otros niños.


Los niños de primaria podrían tratar de:


Los adolescentes podrían:


He aquí una lista de libros para ayudarlos a tomar decisiones en el nuevo año para ayudar a garantizar que toda la familia sea feliz, esté saludable y segura. 

Los años a partir del 2020 han sido estresantes para las familias. Hay muchas ideas sobre cómo reducir el estrés y algunas de las que nos entusiasman provienen de OK You, una "organización sin fines de lucro que apoya a los jóvenes en el uso de prácticas creativas para mantenerse conectados con su yo para estar OK". Recientemente, la biblioteca tuvo la oportunidad de hablar con la fundadora y directora del programa OK You, Kathleen Lane. Ella habló de cómo los proyectos diseñados por diversos artistas "proporcionan una oportunidad segura para la expresión, la conversación y comprensión. Empezar o terminar el día con un proyecto de OK You es una forma genial de establecer una conexión en familia mientras se usa la creatividad para liberar, compartir y navegar a través de momentos y emociones difíciles". 

Cuando se le preguntó cómo fue creado OK You, Lane dijo: "Me pareció muy, muy importante compartir con los jóvenes otra forma de enfrentar sus miedos y preocupaciones; que pudieran tener una nueva forma de verse a sí mismos y dejar la pena; dejar de decir ‘qué hay de malo en mí’, y en su lugar decir ‘qué hay de bueno en mí’ y ver todas esas hermosas conecciones entre ansiedad y creatividad, ansiedad y empatía... De eso se trata realmente este programa; se trata de... descubrir todas las cosas bellas que llevas dentro y saber que tenemos la capacidad, a través de esos talentos, de ser creativos para manejar nuestros miedos y preocupaciones... podemos tener acceso a esos mismos talentos que provienen de la ansiedad para sobrellevar la ansiedad".

OK You se ha usado en entornos como escuelas y espacios comunitarios, pero Lane compartió dos proyectos que las familias pueden hacer en casa. Lo primero que me vino a la mente fue el OK Kit. "Un OK Kit puede ayudarte a recordar todas las cosas buenas que hay en tu vida, y en ti mismo, para que puedas enfrentar cada día con calma y valentía. De esa manera, cuando estés preocupado o experimentes momentos desafiantes, estarás mejor preparado para superarlos". Este es un gran proyecto para que la familia lo haga junta. Como dijo Lane, "es un magnífico ritual de comunicación para el desayuno, la cena o antes de acostarse... algo en lo que todo el mundo puede compartir lo que ha agregado o su objeto favorito adentro; es una forma estupenda de entablar un diálogo emocional en el hogar".

También mencionó Dados Agradables como un divertido proyecto familiar. Dados Agradables es básicamente cuando se te ocurren seis ideas diferentes de autocuidado y las agregas a las caras de un dado de 6 caras, y luego cuando estás estresado o preocupado puedes tirar tu dado y obtener una idea de algo que hacer para sentirte mejor. Y Lane dijo que cuando la familia lo hace junta ¡puede ser divertido! Por ejemplo, si dos niños tiran sus dados e intentan hacer las dos cosas a la vez, ¡puede que se abracen mientras cantan o se estiran!

Lane hizo un maravilloso resumen del poder de OK You: "Creo que los niños a cierta edad pueden convertirse en un misterio para sus padres y encierran tantos sentimientos... y creo que el hecho de tener esta oportunidad a través de prácticas creativas para dejar salir algo de esto... el simple hecho de tener algo con lo que puedes trabajar con tus manos... De algún modo esto disminuye un poco la tensión y creo que es muy importante que los niños vean que todos luchamos por superar esto. Es un viaje que dura toda la vida, en el que navegamos y nos ocupamos de todos esos sentimientos que aparecen y que está bien, que es normal, que es parte de ser humano. Nuestra cultura como que nos vende la idea de que todos debemos aspirar a ser felices y todo lo demás son sentimientos malos. Pero podemos aprender mucho de todos los sentimientos que surgen en nosotros y que los padres den el ejemplo de que está bien incluso decir: ‘Estoy teniendo un día muy difícil. Estoy realmente estresado’. Y que los niños vean que [sus padres] siguen ahí, sentados a la mesa de la cocina y que mañana estarán mejor".


Image of notebook with New Year's resolutions
The new year is an excellent time to work on forming good habits and setting healthy goals, and this is something the whole family can do together. As pediatrician Dr. Lanre Omojukun Falsi says in her article  “Healthy New Year’s Resolutions for Children & Teens," it can be fun to sit down with your family and pick one or two resolutions - or goals - for the New Year. 

For preschoolers that might look like putting their toys away or trying new foods.

Elementary school kids might try making time to read or drinking water every day.

And teens could try getting 8-10 hours of sleep or helping out in the community.

We’ve also attached a booklist to help with making choices in the new year to ensure your whole family is happy, healthy and safe.

This article was written for our Family Newsletter, available in English and Spanish. Please sign up here and you can email us at with any questions.

Image of two children working on a craft project
The 2020s have been stressful for families. There are numerous ideas on ways to reduce stress, and some we are really excited about come from OK You, a “nonprofit that supports youth in using creative practices to stay connected to their OK selves.” The library recently had a chance to speak with OK You’s founder and Program Director, Kathleen Lane. She talked about how the projects — designed by diverse artists —  "provide a safe opening for expression, conversation, and understanding. Beginning or ending the day with an OK You project is a great way to connect as a family while using creativity to release, share and navigate through difficult moments and emotions.” 

When asked how OK You came about, Lane said, “It really, really felt important to me to share with young people some other way of holding their fears and worries, that they could have a new way of seeing themselves and drop the shame — drop the ‘what's wrong with me’ — and instead identify more with ‘what's right with me’ and see all those beautiful connections between anxiety and creativity, anxiety and empathy… That's what this program is really about, it's about …discovering all the beautiful things that you carry inside you and [to] know that we do have the ability through those gifts to get creative around how we handle our fears and worries… we can access those same gifts that come from anxiety to navigate anxiety.”

OK You has been used in settings like schools and community spaces, but Lane shared two projects families can do at home. The first that came to mind was the OK Kit Project (Spanish). “An OK Kit can help you remember all the good things in your life — and in you — so you can face each day with calm and courage. That way, when worries or challenging moments come your way, you’ll be better able to get through them.” And this is a great project for the family to do together. As Lane said, “it's a great check-in ritual you can have at the breakfast table or at dinner or before bed… something where everybody opens up and shares something that they added, or their favorite object inside. It's a great way to just open an emotional dialogue in the home.”

She also mentioned Nice Dice as a fun family project. Nice Dice (Spanish) is basically where you come up with six different self-care ideas and add them to the sides of a 6-sided die, and then when you are stressed or worried you can roll your die and get an idea of something to do to make you feel better. And Lane said when the family is doing it together, it can get silly! Like if two kids roll theirs and try to do both things at the same time, so maybe hugging while singing or stretching!

Lane gave a wonderful summary of the power of OK You: “I think kids at a certain age can become mysteries to their parents and they hold so many feelings… and I think just having this opportunity through creative practices to let some of it come out… just having something that you're working with with your hands…. It kind of diffuses that tension a little bit and then I think it's really important for kids to see that we're all working through this. It’s a lifelong journey working through and navigating all these feelings that come up and that it's okay, it's normal, it's part of being human. Our culture sort of sells this idea that we're all supposed to aim for happy and everything else, those are the bad feelings. But we can learn so much from all of the feelings that come up for us and for parents to model that it's okay to even say, ‘I'm having a really hard day. I'm really stressed out.’ And then for kids to see that [their parents] are still sitting at the kitchen table and tomorrow they're better.”

This article was written for our Family Newsletter, available in English and Spanish. Please sign up here and you can email us at with any questions.

Hầu hết các quốc gia ở Á châu, Tết Âm lịch là dịp để tri ân, suy ngẫm về năm đã qua và mừng năm mới cùng gia đình và bạn bè. Tại thư viện Quận Multnomah, Tết Âm lịch là một dịp đặc biệt có các chương trình thú vị và hấp dẫn nhằm chia sẻ phong tục truyền thống của dịp lễ này với cộng đồng địa phương.

Toàn Lâm-Sullivan – nhân viên song ngữ người Hoa chuyên ngành thư viện trong khu vực – cho biết : “Sum vầy bên gia đình để tạm biệt những điều đã qua và đón chào một khởi đầu mới là những giá trị mà dịp lễ này hướng tới.”

Tết Âm lịch là khởi đầu một năm mới theo lịch âm, diễn ra vào cuối tháng Một hoặc đầu tháng Hai. Một con giáp sẽ dẫn dắt một năm âm lịch. Năm 2023 là năm con Thỏ đối với cộng đồng người Hoa và năm con Mèo theo lịch Việt Nam. 

Phong tục mừng Tết Âm lịch khác nhau tùy theo quốc gia và khu vực. Các ngày Tết có thể kéo dài từ 3 đến 16 ngày thường là những buổi tụ họp linh đình có biểu diễn, âm nhạc và pháo hoa. 

Lan Phan – nhân viên song ngữ người Việt– chia sẻ rằng trong văn hóa Việt Nam, vào ngày đầu tiên của năm mới, "mọi người mừng thêm một tuổi. Chúng tôi có phong tục "mừng tuổi" và mọi người sẽ nhận được quà là bao lì xì. Trong bao lì xì có tờ tiền giấy mới được tặng các em nhỏ và đôi khi là cả người lớn nếu họ chưa kết hôn. Theo thông lệ, ông bà, cha mẹ, cô, dì, chú, bác phát bao lì xì cho các em nhỏ. Người nhỏ khi nhận quà sẽ trao những lời chúc thật tốt đẹp trong năm mới cho người lớn tuổi. Ngoài ra, một số hãng sở có thể chọn phát bao lì xì cho nhân viên của họ như là lời chúc một năm mới thịnh vượng và may mắn.”

Lan còn cho biết : “Tết Âm lịch còn là một dịp để các gia đình người Việt dọn dẹp nhà cửa, chuẩn bị quà, nấu bánh chưng – một loại bánh truyền thống làm từ gạo và có hương vị thơm ngon, màu xanh đẹp mắt của màu lá dong hoặc lá chuối. Bên cạnh việc dọn dẹp, trang trí nhà cửa và nấu bánh, nhiều gia đình sửa soạn bàn thờ chu đáo để cúng tổ tiên và những người thân đã mất trong gia đình. Đây cũng là dịp mọi người hồi tưởng, suy ngẫm về những gì đã qua và hướng đến một năm mới với niềm hy vọng những điều tốt đẹp.”

Mỗi vùng miền có truyền thống ẩm thực riêng và các món ăn độc đáo để mừng đón năm mới. Toàn lại chia sẻ thêm : “ Trong khi miền Bắc Trung Quốc có nhiều món ăn với thành phần chính là bột mì, thì nhiều món ăn ở miền Nam Trung Quốc lại chủ yếu làm từ bột gạo. Gia đình tôi là người gốc miền Nam Trung Quốc; ở vùng này, chúng tôi ăn bánh trôi tàu nhân mè (汤圆/Tāngyuán). Hình tròn tượng trưng cho sự hòa hợp và sum vầy.”

Mặc dù có sự khác nhau về truyền thống ẩm thực nhưng các nền văn hóa có một điểm tương đồng là hai hình thức múa được biểu diễn trong dịp Tết Âm lịch, đó là múa Lân và múa Rồng. Những hình thức múa này có ý nghĩa mang lại sự thịnh vượng và thành công trong năm tới. Múa Lân gồm hai người và múa Rồng cần hơn năm người để biểu diễn.

Trong mười năm qua, thư viện đã tổ chức các chương trình và hoạt động Tết Âm lịch, thường thu hút hàng trăm khách sử dụng thư viện ở mọi độ tuổi. Năm nay, thư viện có tổ chức một hoạt động bằng tiếng Việt, cắt dán tạo sản phẩm thủ công tại thư viện Gregory Heights vào ngày 13 tháng 1 và một gian hàng câu đối đón Tết bằng tiếng Hoa tại thư viện Woodstock vào ngày 15 tháng 1. Để có thêm thông tin, xin quý vị xem trang mạng thư viện.


中文双语图书馆专员Toan Lam-Sullivan说道:“这是一个阖家团圆、辞旧迎新的节日。”



越南语双语图书馆助理Lan Phan分享了在越南文化中新年第一天的习俗:“每个人会庆祝自己的生日;我们还有贺新年的习俗,越南语叫做‘mừng tuổi’,就是拜年的意思,每个人都会得到一份礼物;还会在红色的信封中放入新钞,发给孩子和未婚的人,通常是祖父母、父母、姑姑、叔叔给孩子们发红包;此外,某些公司也会发红包给员工,作为新年兴旺、吉祥如意的引路财。”

Lan还说道: “回顾过去的一年及展望新的一年” 也是农历新年的一项传统。一家人聚在一起 “祝福老年人在新的一年健康长寿、打扫住所、准备礼物、煮”bánh chưng”这种传统美味的甜口米糕;并且相互致赠寓意吉祥如意的红包。” 除了打扫和装饰住所,许多家庭还会准备祭祀活动,为祖先和已故亲人呈上贡品。


Toan说道: “在中国的北方地区,有许多以小麦粉为主材料的食物,而在中国的南方地区,则有许多以米粉为主材料的食物。我家人就是南方人,我们会吃一种有芝麻馅料的甜口米团,叫做汤圆,”圆圆的造型代表着合家幸福与团团圆圆。”


在过去的10年间,图书馆举办的农历新年活动和演出往往吸引了数以百记名的男女老少民众参观。今年,图书馆将于1月13日在Gregory Heights图书馆举办以越南语进行的越南手工活动,于1月15日在Woodstock图书馆举办写春联活动(华语)。如需了解更多信息,请访问图书馆网站。

"Maybe this is why we read, and why in moments of darkness we return to books: to find words for what we already know." - Alberto Manguel

Talking with people about books is a shortcut to knowing them -- what they think, value and love. Talking together about books builds understanding and community. Get started with these resources to find, join and sustain book groups.

People reading and talking online
Finding a book group

The library is currently focused on providing online book groups for youth. Find listings for these book clubs, as well as one time events by searching for Book Clubs and Discussion Groups under “type of event” on the library’s events page.

Everybody Reads is the library’s community wide reading project, taking place each year from January to March. Check the Everybody Reads page for details about book discussions and related events.

Mt. Hood Reads - Every year, Mt. Hood Community College invites students and members of the community to join them for discussions around a book or books.

Noname Book Club is an online/irl community dedicated to uplifting POC voices by highlighting two books each month written by authors of color. Here is a list of their past picks available from Multnomah County Library.

Well Read Native is a digital book club for reading Indigenous authored books. Their mission is to elevate Indigenous voices and empower Native American, Alaska Native, and First Nations children to be readers and storytellers.

Check out NDN Book Nerd on Instagram to find your next Indigenous authored read.

Prose Before Bros is a Portland book community that focuses on literature that centers and prioritizes the  experiences of Black and brown woman. Here is a list of their featured titles.

Science Friday book club - Science Friday runs this online book club for those interested in reading and exploring science. 

BookBrowse Online Book Club offers a curated resource of contemporary fiction and nonfiction, with an emphasis on books that not only engage and entertain but also deepen our understanding.

Delve Reader Readers’ Seminars, via Literary Arts - There is a cost to participate in these discussions featuring canonical books.

Sustaining a book group

Finding books that appeal to everyone can be challenging, but we can help.

Do you need help with ideas for you next read? Ask our My Librarian team - we can provide customized lists based on the tastes of your group, and help you place holds on multiple copies. We can also help with books in Spanish.

If you’re primarily using digital titles, check out this  "Always Available" e-book collection from OverDrive, made up of some 3000 classic titles.

Here are the most popular available e-books - this link updates automatically to available titles. 

Is your question about book groups still unanswered? Contact us for more information.

Photo of a student working on homework
Does homework have you and your family stressed out? Have you forgotten algebra or physics or U.S. history? Or never took those classes at all? 

If your student needs some extra help with their assignments, try Live Homework Help from Through a live chat, students can get free one-on-one help with an expert tutor in the areas of language arts, math, science or social studies. You can type in a question or attach a document or photo of the assignment. Live Homework Help is available every day from noon to midnight in English and Spanish and from 3 p.m. to 9 p.m. in Vietnamese. Just type in your library card/Library Connect number and then choose your grade level and subject. This video with step-by-step instructions guides you through the process. 

In addition to the live chat, Live Homework Help offers these other helpful services when you set up a free account:

  • Submit a paper: Upload a written assignment and a tutor will give you feedback–just a little, or a lot–depending on what you need, all within 12 hours. 
  • Drop off a math question: If you don’t have time to work with a tutor one-on-one, submit your math problem and get a detailed response within 48 hours.
    Image of Live Homework Help form to connect with a tutor
  • Sample quizzes: Are you ready for a quiz? Select a practice quiz in algebra, biology, calculus, chemistry, English, geometry, or physics to test your knowledge. 
  • Prep for standardized tests: If you’ll be taking a test like an AP exam, the SAT or ACT, or graduate school entrance exams, you can find preparation tools and sample tests. 
  • Resume help: Upload your resume or cover letter to have it reviewed by an expert.
  • Study resources: Websites, videos, games and flashcards are available 24 hours a day on many subjects.
  • Review your previous chat sessions with a tutor whenever needed.

Hopefully using Live Homework Help can relieve some of that homework stress! You may also wish to check out these other tutoring resources

This article was written for our Family Newsletter, available in English and Spanish. Please sign up here and you can email us at with any questions.

The North Portland Library has been participating in community-wide Kwanzaa celebrations since 2000. Educator and community leader Joyce Harris has been a staple for Kwanzaa in Portland since the early years of celebrations, dating back to the early 1970s in someone’s home. Ms. Joyce had already been planning and organizing seven days of Kwanzaa events each year before reaching out to the library in the early 2000s.

Table display for Kwanzaa with photos, candles and wooden objects

"I finally got to the point where I said, let me ask community groups if they might take on the responsibility of planning a night. And, of course, the library stepped up and said oh yeah, we will do a date. And it became very focused because the library always developed a children-centered program. So there were arts and crafts and different activities for kids," says Ms. Joyce.

Celebrations happened every year, and Ms. Joyce would always talk to the library first to ensure that the date and time would benefit families who wanted to attend the celebrations.

People came not just from the immediate North Portland community but also from other suburbs outside of Portland. "There are a lot of folks that would celebrate Kwanzaa in other places. But quite frankly, they came to this area and were starved for cultural activities, so this was a whole week of wonderful things," says Patricia Welch, former library administrator at North Portland Library.

Throughout the years, Kwanzaa celebrations occurred at the Matt Dishman Community Center, the Black Educational Center and the North Portland Library. Other participating organizations included Bridge Builders and the City of Portland. 

Kwanzaa was a city-wide event and the library was just one participating location. The library displayed art exhibits and book displays throughout Kwanzaa.

"The library was one of the places where people knew there would be a Kwanzaa, and they looked for it," says Ms. Joyce. 

Among the performances at the yearly events were dance troupes, poets, chefs, musicians and internationally recognized quilt artists like Adrienne Cruz.  

"Talented artists, folks from the community, would just come in and lend their talents. The library is privileged to be allowed to participate in what was already a wonderful cultural tradition," says Ms. Patricia. 

Ms. Joyce and Ms. Patricia worked together for many years on the community-wide Kwanzaa celebrations. Together, they created programming that created a sense of belonging and community. 

"A part of our mission was to uplift African American literature and culture, so we were just very fortunate that a tradition had already been established and we were welcomed into it," says Ms. Patricia.

The library celebrated Kwanzaa in person at the North Portland Library in December 2022 after two years of virtual events. There were poetry readings, cooking demonstrations and Malian-inspired crafts. 

The Library is grateful to Ms. Joyce and Ms. Patricia for the many years of planning Kwanzaa celebrations in the community. With the foundation they built, a new generation of library staff and community members can lead and join in the celebrations of Kwanzaa for the years to come.

Here are some questions to consider while reading and discussing Ruth Ozeki's A Tale for the Time Being, Multnomah County Library's Everybody Reads title for 2023.

1. The title of Ozeki’s book hints at many meanings, which are explored throughout the book. What does it mean to be a "time being" and how is that reflected in each of the characters’ ways of looking at the world? 

2. Places like Tokyo, Silicon Valley, New York City and British Columbia provide the backdrop for characters in the story. Nao and Ruth feel ill at ease in the new places where they settle. What is the connection between geography and belonging, and how are Ruth and Nao different and alike as they try to fit in?

3. When Nao’s classmates take bullying to a new level by staging a mock funeral for her, they post it on social media. Nao takes a sort of perverse pleasure in watching the views rise on the video. What comment do you think the author might be making about the identities we present online, and how that impacts our sense of self? Are there other places in the story where this theme arises?

4. As Nao and Ruth’s stories unfold, a connection between them grows, even though they haven’t met. How does this connection mirror the relationship between any writer and reader? Is there an implied mutual obligation or collaboration in this partnership? How do reader and writer combine to, as Nao says “make magic”?

5. Ruth’s husband Oliver observes, “We live in a bully culture.” How did you respond to the passages describing the bullying to which Nao is subjected? What did you make of Nao’s bullying of her classmate, Daisuke, in turn? From your own lived experience, does Oliver’s assertion feel true?  

6. Discuss the concept of Schrödinger’s Cat. How does it relate to discussions of time and being in the book? How does the fact of discovering stories in boxes or other kinds of containers (journals, books) parallel the concept?

7.  Some readers have suggested that Ruth and Nao are two parts of a whole person. In the story, we see many characters who are struggling, and who are fractured in some way. Is there a character who doesn’t fall into this category, and what role does that person play?

Find more questions for discussion from Penguin Random House.

Everybody Reads 2023, a community reading project of Multnomah County Library, is made possible by gifts to The Library Foundation with author appearance made possible by Literary Arts.

Новый год («славянский» Новый год) отмечают более чем в пятнадцати странах. В библиотеке округа Малтнома слово «славянский» добавляется в начало фразы, чтобы отметить особые традиции русскоязычных стран. Русскоязычная команда ежегодно празднует в библиотеке славянский Новый год. В состав команды входят люди из разных стран, включая Россию, Армению, Беларусь, Украину и другие. 

Славянский Новый год наступает 31 декабря, знаменуя начало года обещаниями лучшей и счастливой жизни. Празднование проходит в кругу семьи за ужином, где накрывают столы с традиционными блюдами. На столах можно встретить традиционный картофельный салат (салат оливье), бутерброды с икрой, селедку под шубой (блюдо из нарезанных соленых огурцов, яиц и овощей) и холодец. 

Елена Стоун, сотрудница библиотеки Грешам, рассказала, что для нее самым ярким моментом этого праздника было поесть сладостей. «В Беларуси в это время мы получали много новогодних конфет. Мы перебирали все конфеты и выбирали самые красивые, чтобы повесить их на новогоднюю елку».

Новогодняя елка похожа на рождественскую елку. Ее ставят в домах для празднования Нового года и украшают игрушками, снежинками, шоколадными фигурками и гирляндами.

Подобно Санта-Клаусу, который является символом Рождества в США, Дед Мороз (тоже с белой бородой и в красной шубе) и его внучка Снегурочка (девочка из снега) известны в славянских странах как дарители подарков на новогодние праздники.

Man dressed like santa claus next to  woman dressed in white

Хотя во всех русскоязычных странах Новый год отмечают схожим образом, в каждой стране также есть свои традиции. В России в полночь люди быстро пишут желание на бумажке, сжигают ее, бросают пепел в бокал с шампанским и выпивают его, надеясь, что желание сбудется.

В Армении Новый год — это время для посещения родственников и друзей. Марина Нерсесян, работник отдела информации библиотеки Грешам, говорит: «Мы заходили в гости хотя бы на несколько минут и приносили с собой конфеты и армянский коньяк. Те, у кого много родственников, навещали их с утра до ночи с 1 по 14 января. Каждый родственник усаживал вас за праздничный стол и угощал различными блюдами. Так мы проявляем уважение к старшим родственникам и соседям».

В Закарпатской области Украины, граничащей с Румынией, Венгрией, Словакией и Польшей, зимние праздники начинаются 19 декабря (День Святого Николая). Олег Карпинец, один из администраторов Центральной библиотеки, рассказывает, как уникальное географическое положение породило особые традиции. 

«В моем родном городе на Украине было принято, чтобы дети чистили свои зимние сапоги и ставили их на подоконник вечером 18 декабря, а на следующее утро в них лежали подарки», — рассказывает Олег. Еще одна распространенная традиция — ходить по соседям петь колядки.

В этом году праздничные торжества в русскоязычных странах отличаются от тех, что были в предыдущие годы. Продолжающаяся война повлияла на доступ к теплу, воде и другим необходимым удобствам. Подарки и роскошные ужины, возможно, не везде будут обычным явлением в этот праздничный сезон, но «славянский» Новый год, как надежда на будущее — это то, чем многие дорожат. 

Библиотека округа Малтнома является местом, где члены различных русскоговорящих общин могут объединиться, чтобы сохранить свое культурное наследие через общение и празднование. Приглашаем посмотреть книги русской детской коллекции в библиотеках  Роквуд или Грешам, чтобы узнать больше о «славянском» Новом годе. Посетители также могут ознакомиться с недавно расширенной  коллекцией на украинском языке в Центральной библиотеке.

All across Asia, Lunar New Year is a time of appreciation, reflection and celebration with family and friends. At Multnomah County Library, Lunar New Year is a special time for fun and engaging library programs that share the history and traditions of this celebration with the local community.

little kids touching the lion dance performers

“Being with family as a reunion, to say goodbye to the old and to welcome a new beginning is what this time is about,” says Toan Lam-Sullivan, bilingual Chinese regional librarian.

Lunar New Year, the start of a new lunar calendar year, occurs at the end of January or early February. A zodiac animal guides each lunar year. 2023 is the Year of the Rabbit for the Chinese community and the Year of the Cat in the Vietnamese calendar. 

Lunar New Year traditions vary by country and region. They can last anywhere from 3 to 16 days and often include large gatherings consisting of performances, music and fireworks.

Lan Phan, bilingual Vietnamese library assistant, shares that on the first day of the new year in Vietnamese culture, "everybody celebrates their birthdays. We have the tradition of wishing the new age, which is called ‘mừng tuổi,’ in which everyone gets a gift. The red envelopes containing newly printed paper money are for kids and sometimes adults, too, if they are not married. Usually, the grandparents, parents, aunts and uncles give out red envelopes to kids. Additionally, some employers can choose to give out red envelopes to their employees as a token of wishing for prosperity and good luck in the new year."

Lunar New Year offers a chance to “reflect on the past year and look forward to the upcoming one,” says Lan. Families will “give well wishes to the elderly for the new year; clean the house; prepare gifts; cook bánh chưng, a traditional and delicious sweet rice cake; and share the red envelopes as a token of good luck.” Besides cleaning and decorating the house, many families also prepare an altar to offer gifts to their ancestors and deceased family members.

Each region has its own culinary tradition and unique foods to begin the new year. 

“In the north of China, there are many foods with a base of wheat flour, then in the south of China there are many dishes with a rice flour base,” says Toan. “In the southern part of China, where my family came from, we eat sweet rice balls with sesame seeds filling (汤圆/Tāngyuán). The round shape symbolizes harmony and togetherness.”

While culinary traditions differ from region to region, one similarity across cultures is the two types of dances performed during the Lunar New Year— the lion dance and the dragon dance. They are meant to bring prosperity and success in the coming year. The lion dance consists of two performers, and the dragon dance consists of more than five.

For the past 10 years, the library has hosted Lunar New Year events and activities, which often draw hundreds of patrons of all ages. This year, the library will offer a Vietnamese craft project at Gregory Heights Library on January 13 in Vietnamese, and a spring couplet workshop at Woodstock Library on January 15 in Chinese. For more information, visit the library website.

Новый Год (Slavic New Year) is celebrated in over fifteen countries. At Multnomah County Library, the word Slavic is added to the beginning of the phrase to acknowledge the distinct traditions of Russian-speaking countries. Each year, the Russian-speaking team brings Slavic New Year celebrations to the library. The team includes people from various countries, including Russia, Armenia, Belarus, Ukraine and more. 

Slavic New Year occurs on December 31, marking the beginning of the year with promises of a better and happier life. Celebrations center around family dinners, with tables covered with signature dishes. On the table you might find a Slavic potato salad (olivier salad), caviar sandwiches, dressed herring (a dish with sliced pickles, eggs, and vegetables) and jellied meat. 

Yelena Stone, a clerk at Gresham Library, shares that eating sweets was the highlight of this holiday for her. “In Belarus, we got a lot of New Year candy around that time. We looked through all the candies and chose the prettiest ones to hang on the New Year tree.”

The New Year tree is a decorated pine tree similar to the Christmas tree. It is put up in homes for the Slavic New Year celebration, and decorated with toys, plastic snowflakes, chocolate figures and garlands.

Just like Santa Claus is a symbol of Christmas in the United States, Father Frost (also with a white beard and red coat) and his granddaughter Snegurochka (a girl made of snow) are well-known in Slavic New Year celebrations as the gift givers of the season.

Father Frost next to Snegurochka

Although there are similarities in the way that Slavic New Year is observed throughout Russian-speaking countries, each country also has its festivities. In Russia, at midnight, people quickly write a wish, burn the piece of paper, let the ashes fall into their champagne glass and drink it, hoping their wish will come true.

In Armenia, Slavic New Year is a time to visit relatives and friends. Marina Nersesian, library assistant at Gresham Library, says, “We would stop by for at least a few minutes and bring candy and Armenian cognac with us. With numerous relatives, we would visit them from dawn to dusk on January 1 until January 14. Every relative visited would then sit you at the holiday table and let you try various dishes. It was about showing respect to older relatives and neighbors.”

In the Transcarpathian region of Ukraine bordering Romania, Hungary, Slovakia, and Poland, winter festivities begin on December 19 (Saint Nicholas's Day). Oleg Karpynets, temporary library administrator at Central Library, shares how the unique geographic location created distinct traditions. 

“In my hometown in Ukraine, the tradition was for kids to clean their winter boots and place them on the windowsill in the evening of December 18, and the next morning, there were presents in them,” says Oleg. Another common tradition is to sing carols door to door.

This year, holiday celebrations in Russian-speaking countries differ from those in previous years. The ongoing war has affected access to heat, water and other essential human services. Presents and lavish dinners may not be commonplace everywhere this holiday season, but the Slavic New Year, or Новый Год, theme of hope for the future is something many hold dearly.  

In Multnomah County, the library is a place where members of the Slavic community can unite to keep their cultural heritage alive through conversation and celebration. To learn more about Slavic New Year, check out the children's Russian-language collections at Holgate, Midland, Rockwood or Gresham libraries. Patrons can also browse the newly added Ukrainian collection available at Central Library.

Annie Lewis inside library

Annie Lewis knows libraries inside and out, from singing songs with kids in storytime, to outreach and services all over the county. She believes libraries are about belonging — for everyone, in all walks of life. As the new deputy director of Multnomah County Library, Annie provides leadership for the public services division of the library and oversees: 

  • Location services (19 library locations)
  • Community services (outreach, events and virtual)
  • Books and materials inside the library and the digital collections
  • Library policies and procedures
  • Office of Project Management and Evaluation

Annie started working at Multnomah County Library in 2014 as a Bilingual Spanish Youth Librarian. Since then, she has been working in various roles including as a Library Supervisor, Early Childhood Services Manager, Interim Neighborhood Libraries Director, and Director of Library Community Services. Before joining the library, Annie worked as an adult services librarian at Beaverton City Library and as a librarian at Tualatin Public Library. She studied History and Spanish at Pacific University and later received a Masters degree in Library and Information Science at the University of Washington. 

Q: Do you have a favorite book-to-movie adaptation?

AL: One of my favorite book-to-movie adaptations is The Elegance of the Hedgehog, which is the book, and the movie is The Hedgehog. The book is beautiful and has such rich character development. But the movie narrows in on the personality traits and complexity of the characters. It’s a love story, but it also touches on family dynamics, social isolation and has an ending that left me sobbing.

Q: What is one of your favorite things that the library offers?

AL: The library offers so many incredible resources that it’s hard to choose just one, but I’d have to say providing free public computer access for printing, scanning, faxing, and copy machines and staff who are able to assist patrons with access. It's helping a large part of our community meet needs in ways that ensure more equitable access to the services that are only available online or through the use of technology.

Q: Tell us about a meaningful experience you’ve had in your library career

AL: Part of my job as a librarian that has brought me the most joy is leading storytimes with young children. I love making connections with children and inspiring them to sing, dance, play, and most importantly, develop the fundamental skills to be able to read. 

Q: What’s something that people may not know about the library?

AL: The library does a lot of work outside of library buildings. We have a number of partnerships where we provide books and literacy support for children and adults in a variety of settings throughout the community. I think that's more hidden because we are doing that with our partners such as the Every Child a Reader program which works with Head Start programs, home visiting programs and other early childhood providers across the county. We also partner with the Multnomah County Health Department and the Reach Out and Read program to give books to children in health clinics at their well-child visits. We have a number of specialized programs for adults as well including library services for adults in custody at Inverness Jail & Columbia River Correctional Facility, our adult literacy programs and books by mail for individuals who are homebound. These and more are the less visible services but are incredibly impactful to those receiving them.

Q: When you think about the future of the library, what do you envision?  

AL: The key features of our new spaces, in addition to the future of libraries, in general, is about providing space and place for people. So people can not only access resources such as technology, books and other literacy support materials, but also have spaces to gather. Libraries are really that space where you don’t have to have any membership to belong, you don’t have to pay a fee to enter, and everyone in the community is invited and can be in that space. It’s our job as the library to provide spaces that are as inclusive as possible.

Библиотека пополнила свою коллекцию новыми материалами на украинском языке! Библиотека уже несколько лет обладает коллекцией, насчитывающей более чем 400 экземпляров электронных книг и аудиокниг на украинском языке. Коллекция новых материалов даст возможность посетителям также пользоваться печатными изданиями.

Новая коллекция на украинском языке представлена более 350 печатными книгами для взрослых и детей в различных жанрах - художественном, научно-популярном и др. Коллекция будет пополняться каждый год.

Ukrainian selector Angela, holding two Ukrainian books in the library

«После многих лет работы над созданием этой коллекции в нашей библиотеке я очень рада возможности предложить материалы на украинском языке нашему украинскому сообществу», — говорит Анжела Тверетинова, которая работала над выбором и приобретением материалов на украинском языке.

Украинская коллекция станет частью “Коллекции на мировых языках” библиотеки. Вы можете найти материалы на украинском языке в Центральной библиотеке во взрослом и в детском отделах. Просмотрите списки книг для взрослых и детей на веб-сайте библиотеки, забронируйте, а затем закажите доставку в ближайшее для вас отделение для получения.

В сумме коллекция электронных и печатных материалов на украинском языке сейчас насчитывает более 700 наименований. Будем рады предоставить вам эти книги, которые вы можете начать бронировать прямо сейчас!

Photo of a young woman looking a holiday lights
Holidays. There are quite a few of them in the fall and winter months, and they’re supposed to be fun, right? Except for many people, they can be stressful. Some facets that can be issues for teens, tweens and pretty much anybody:

  • Your favorite holiday is problematic
  • Your family is a mess
  • You have no $$
  • You are without personal or family traditions
  • You don't believe in _______ (fill in thing that requires belief)
  • You have food allergies
  • You’re struggling with mental health

Here are some things to read (or watch) about those subjects.

Surviving and Thriving During the Holidays, Mt. Sinai Adolescent Health Center

“It’s Okay to Like Problematic Things”, URGE  

Tips for Managing the Holiday Blues, National Institute of Mental Health

Dealing with Grief During the Holidays (Doesn’t Mean Avoiding It), Teen Vogue 

Why Coming Out to my Family is Not on My Holiday To-Do List, Teen Vogue

The Agnostic’s Holiday (written by a teen for teens!)

A Teen’s Perspective on the Holidays with Food Allergies, Food Allergy Research and Education

Local teens create the All In My Head: Real Teens, Real Talk podcast, and there are two episodes about therapy: Therapy Part 1: The Teens features teens reflecting on their mental health journeys, and Therapy Part 2: The Therapist has an interview with a local mental health professional, plus tips for teens on talking to families about mental health and therapy.

This article was written for our Family Newsletter, available in English and Spanish. Please sign up here, and you can email us at with any questions.

Photo of a family reading a book together
Did you know the best things you can do to help your child get ready to learn to read also happen to be some of the easiest, cheapest, and most fun things, too? They are! 

From the time kids are born, their brains are learning all the things they need to know so eventually they can put letters together into words and words into sentences. Singing songs and hearing and talking about books and stories help kids learn vocabulary and the rhythm and sounds of a language. Smooshing play dough, cutting paper with scissors, and digging in sandboxes, dirt, or piles of rice help make fingers and hands strong to hold a crayon, pencil, or pen later on when they are learning to write. Making up rules to their own games or creating their own stories helps them with social skills and learning about beginnings, middles, and ends. 

Reading, talking, singing, writing, and playing are all things you can do at home without expensive supplies; just sing and dance around to a favorite song or pick up a book, start reading, and ask questions like, “What do you think will happen next?” to get the early literacy learning started!

If this sounds like the kind of fun learning your family loves, the library has a lot of resources to help!

  • Zoom Bags (not to be confused with the online meetings!) are easy-to-grab, age-based bags in Spanish and English filled with books and simple activity suggestions on kid-friendly topics. You can place those on hold and pick them up at your local library! 
  • Storytime staff have videos of books, songs, flannelboard stories, and activities that you can enjoy and sing-along with on the library YouTube. You can even favorite and make playlists of the ones your family really enjoys! 
  • There are booklists created on a variety of topics to help you find good read-aloud books, including these age-based lists, and you can always get suggestions just for you and your family with a quick email to My Librarian - Tasha, Amy, Kate, Sherita, and Diana all love picture books!

This article was written for our Family Newsletter, available in English and Spanish. Please sign up here, and you can email us at with any questions.


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