MCL Blogs

The default blog for all Library Blog Posts.

Leonid Pasternak, from WikipediaDo you need an MFA? You’re a writer. You write stories. You have a novel brewing. You’ve published some poems in small magazines. Or you’ve sold an essay. Maybe you’ve self-published a chapbook, zine, pamphlet, or little book. Or an e-book! Maybe you write and write, and would like to do these things.
 
Artists, including writers, might choose to pursue an Master of Fine Arts (MFA!) degree in order to become a professional in their field. It usually takes two or three years, and in many cases involves a substantial amount of money, which often means major student loans. An MFA in creative writing usually centers around a writer’s workshop, where students receive feedback on their work, and provide feedback on the work of their colleagues, under the guidance of a professor who is a published author. MFA students have mentorship, community, an ear to the publishing world, and perhaps most importantly, dedicated time and space to write. Funding and an opportunity to gain teaching experience by working as a teaching assistant are also sometimes part of the deal, but not always. 
 
Do you need an MFA to be a writer? Well, you already are one, right? Debate rages on (well, perhaps rages isn’t the most accurate term - simmers? drags?) about whether it’s worthwhile for aspiring writers to pursue an MFA. Plenty of writers don’t bother.  
 
Novelist Chad Harbach wrote an essay examining the social and literary consequences of a writing world (fiction, in particular), in which writers inhabit one of two systems: the world of MFA programs or the world of NYC publishing. This is published along with essays by contributors examining features of life from both sides in MFA vs NYC: The Two Cultures of American Fiction.
 
So, is an MFA right for you? If you think so, some guides to programs might be useful: the Associated Writing Programs (AWP) guide to programs, or the MFA Programs Database from Poets & Writers Magazine. In book form, there's also The Creative Writing MFA Handbook: A Guide for Prospective Graduate Students.
 
Perhaps an MFA program isn’t in the cards for you. Perhaps you might be be a better writer going under your own steam. Can’t you have mentorship, community and connections without the hefty price tag? Can’t you create your own reading lists and writing assignments, your own deadlines? Meet writer friends and share ideas and constructive criticism on your work? I’ll bet you can do these things. After all, you have the whole library at your fingertips!*
 
Here’s a booklist for you: DIY Creative Writing MFA
 
You might try working through an online Creative Writing course: there are quite a few free online courses offered by MIT OpenCourseWare! These cover different topics and genres, with courses about reading and writing poetry, reading and writing stories, writing the personal essay, genre writing, writing about race and border crossings… You can find these and other free (and for-fee) online courses on SlideRule.com. If you'd like some help finding a syllabus or other course materials that are a good fit for you and the work you'd like to do, please feel free to get in touch with us
 
Especially if you want to do it yourself, local resources for writers are essential - they include classes, events, and writing groups. Here’s our post about some of them in the Portland area.  Also see our booklist of creative writing prompts and guides for ideas for creating your own assignments!
 
Let's not forget that the whole point of an MFA program in Creative Writing is to do a huge amount of work in a focused, directed sort of way. MFA students read like crazy, from the masters to the innovators. They write like crazy, all the time, head down and pen moving (or, you know, keyboard clicking). They read one anothers' work and think intensely about how and why a great piece of writing works. They dig deep into the mysteries and ambiguities and theories of language and literature. Get to work! 
 
*Sorry, shameless plug for library services. But seriously: everything you need to read is here, and plenty of resources for guidance about craft. We can help you borrow obscure poetry books via Interlibrary Loan, if necessary. We can connect you with suggestions for your reading list. We can even provide space for writing. If only we could help with the problem of time for writing.

Earlier this summer, people around the world marked the 100th anniversary of the start of the Great War, later called the First World War, and the anniversary has created a flurry of interest in the conflict and its impact on people across several continents.

The Great War was great in the sense that it was huge and record-breaking. The 30 or so participating nations sent about 65 million people into battle. It is hard to make an exact count of casualties and injuries that resulted, but it is generally accepted that about 21 million uniformed personnel went home wounded, and 8.6 million died. In addition, about 6.5 million civilians were killed in the fighting.* Obviously, this war had a dramatic effect on people across the globe, altering personal stories, disrupting family patterns, creating opportunities for some and closing doors for others.

Family historians should take note of how the war may have affected their recent ancestors. One way to do that is to get a little context for what the war was like for real people -- you might start with my colleague Rod’s great reading list of books that illuminate the experiences people had in the First World War, both on the battlefield and on the home front.

Of course, you family historians want to track down your own specific ancestors too. Lots of general genealogy books teach you how to find official sources like draft records, military service records, and records of veterans, but the library has a great local resource you may not know about!

article about Dr. A. H. Huyke, Oregon City Enterprise, Dec. 8, 1935, from [European War, 1914-1918 Participating Oregonians]If your ancestor served in World War I, survived, and later lived in Oregon, he may be included in the library’s collection of 1930s-era newspaper clippings, [European War, 1914-1918 Participating Oregonians].

On the right you can see an scan of one of the clippings in the collection -- it’s an article about Dr. A. H. Huyke, from the Oregon City Enterprise, published December 8, 1935.

This is one of thirteen articles and obituaries about Oregon WWI veterans, collected by the library in 1934 and 1935 and preserved together in a binder.  We’re not sure exactly why these articles were set aside and given special treatment; and we don’t know whether they were clipped by a librarian, a library volunteer, or a community member who later donated them to the library. But here they are, a lovely little slice of history just waiting for a genealogist digging into their family’s Oregon past!

I share this collection with you for two reasons:

The first reason is that maybe you are digging into an Oregon ancestor’s World War I military service and this is just the perfect resource for you! But there are only thirteen newspaper clippings in this collection, so it’s a little bit unlikely that many of you will find this the perfect source.

My second reason for sharing this collection is that I want you to remember that the library is rich in unusual, deep, and useful sources for your family history research.

Not least among these rich resources is our amazing complement of skilled librarians. Whenever you have an odd or challenging question that you can’t easily find the answer to; whenever you wonder if there might be a great resource that would illuminate the story of one of your ancestors’ past perfectly, ask us!

Librarians, I like to say, love questions. We are ready to help you find the right tools and resources for your genealogy research, and we’re happy to show you how to use those tools efficiently and effectively. So ask us the next time you’re at the library, or call or email us anytime.


* I got these numbers from Warfare and Armed Conflicts: A Statistical Encyclopedia of Casualty and Other Figures, 1494-2007, by Micheal Clodfelter (Jefferson, N.C. : McFarland, c2008). The book has a huge amount of detail about the various casualty figures and other war-related data.


 

A Proud Advocate for the LibraryVolunteer Jack Tan

by Mindy Moreland

When most of us hear the word “library,” we picture tall shelves of well-ordered volumes, or maybe a quiet place to sit and read. But as Jack Tan has learned over the past four years, books are only the beginning of what the library has to offer. Jack grew up in Taishan, in China’s Guangdong Province, and moved to Portland four years ago. When he arrived,he spoke little English, so his uncle suggested a trip to the Rockwood Library, near his family’s home. Jack started taking English classes at Rockwood and using the library. “That’s how I fell in love with the library,” he says. “And I use the library so much, why not give back?” 

Jack became a Summer Reading volunteer at Rockwood, helping young readers to select books, choose prizes, and complete their game boards. He especially enjoyed seeing young children learning to read, and the encouragement and support their parents provided. “Jack utilized his every minute here. He never sat still; he always looked for something to help out with,” writes Reid Craig, the volunteer coordinator at Rockwood. “As such, we thought he would make an excellent Computer and Homework Helper. This is a pilot program in the Rockwood Library where we match trained volunteers with children that need help with their reading and homework.” When Summer Reading ended, Jack transitioned into this new volunteer opportunity. “It has been thrilling to see Jack at work helping so many youth,” Reid continues. “There are folks in the community that come to the library especially to get help from Jack.” 

After his first year studying accounting at George Fox University, Jack has taken on a new role and a chance to understand more of how the library system as a whole operates. In the summer of 2014, he is a Communications Intern as part of the Multnomah County Office of Diversity and Equity’s summer mentorship program, working on several different research and media projects. This position fits Jack well, since he is a proud advocate for the library’s array of resources and opportunities. “The most fascinating thing about libraries is the social services they provide,” Jack says. “They make people feel thankful, and make them feel a sense of home.” As Jack would tell you—and as his own experience proves—libraries are indeed about much more than books. 


A Few Facts About Jack 

 

Your home library is: Rockwood Library

What are you reading now? I don't reading any book now, but the last book I read was call The Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell.

What book has most influenced you? The Greatest Salesman in the World by Og Mandino 

When you were a child, what was your favorite book? My Childhood by Maxim Gorky
 
What is your favorite section of the library to browse in? Adult non-fiction
 
Which do you prefer--e-reader or paper book? Paper book

What is your reading guilty pleasure? All of the pleasure, and none of them is guilt. Because I believe books are magic portal to another dimension, out there you will left everything behind you, and just enjoy that moment while you have it.

Where is your favorite place to read? In my bed. Right before I go to sleep.
 

Extraordinary Volunteer and ScholarVolunteer Julia Yu

by Donna Childs

 

Each year,  1000 high school seniors across the country receive prestigious Gates Millennium Scholarships.  This year, out of 21 recipients from Oregon, nine are from Portland, and two 

are volunteers at a Multnomah County Library.  One of those, Julia Yu, is a recent Franklin High School graduate who will attend Emory University in Atlanta in the fall.  (The other volunteer, Enat Arega, is the sister of library volunteer Melaku Arega, who was featured in a previous Volunteer Spotlight in August 2013.)

Julia is a charming, hard-working, talented young woman who has volunteered at the Holgate Library since 7th grade, for a total of almost 500 hours.  She started because she loved reading and because the library was a refuge after school while her parents worked.  Over the years, she has helped with Summer Reading, worked as a branch assistant, and served on the Teen Council, spending as many as four days a week at Holgate Library in the summer.

Not only is she a top student and library volunteer, but Julia was very active in her school’s Key Club, Red Cross chapter, and National Honor Society.  A natural leader, Julia was Key Club Secretary, Preparedness Coordinator at the Red Cross, and Vice President of the National Honor Society.  She initiated several events to improve the Honor Society, increasing membership from 70 to over 180 students.

There isn’t space in this brief profile to list everything this impressive young woman has accomplished already.  She wrote eight essays for her Gates application, before school began in September. She worked for six months as an intern at OHSU, all day every Saturday, which included lectures and lab research on proteins. She plans to major in biology at Emory and pursue a career in medicine. She works in the summers with the Gear-Up college preparatory program and has been president of the math club at Franklin.  Keep an eye on this young woman - she will go far!


A Few Facts About Julia

 

Your home library is: Holgate Library
 
What are you reading now?  Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison

What book has most influenced you? Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher and Brave New World by Aldous Huxley

What is your favorite book from childhood? the Twilight Series by Stephenie Meyer
 
A book that made you laugh or cry: Thirst by Christopher Pike
 
What is your favorite section of the library to browse in? Science fiction and teen romance
 
Which do you prefer--e-reader or paper book? Paper book

What is your reading guilty pleasure? Supernatural reads such as The Vampire Diaries (L.J. Smith), Thirst (Christopher Pike), and The Walking Dead (Robert Kirkman)

Where is your favorite place to read? In my room on my comfy bed.
 

Listening to the radio, we hear music that is new, along with favorites, that may also be new from interpretations or performances that we haven't heard before. Though a common complaint of many is that email is too much, if you like to find out about music and musicians that might be new to you, Alexander Street Press has a signup for free music downloads every two weeks that arrive in your inbox. A short text about the composer and piece of music comes with the recording,

Alexander Street Press offers downloads from two collections that do not require logging in with your library card from Multnomah County Library : Classical Music Library and Smithsonian Global Sound for Libraries.

Sampler: Here is a Classical Music selection from past weeks of music: 
Link to these two collections for the current week's downloads. Classical Music Library and Smithsonian Global Sound for Libraries.

Erik SatieSampler: Erik Satie's Trois Sarabandes

Eccentric. Iconoclastic. Hostile. Incompetent. Enigmatic. Pioneer.

French composer Erik Satie (1866–1925) has been called many things, but his musical legacy establishes best that he was, in essence, a visionary. Satie composed in a musical environment dominated by the heavily orchestrated, longwinded Germanic tradition—home to Wagner, Brahms, and Bruckner. In stark contrast, Satie’s music is clean, simple, and brief. Unlike the thematic transformations found in Wagner’s operas, Satie does not develop his motives, choosing rather to juxtapose shorter repeating phrases. 

The sarabande originated as a movement in the Baroque dance suite. Centuries later, Satie’sThree Sarabandes for piano still bear a resemblance to the original sarabande. All three movements are in triple meter (though Satie’s irregular phrasing often obscures this), conform to an AABB form, and strive to emphasize the second beat of the measure, sometimes referred to as a “sarabande rhythm." Otherwise, these three short pieces are distinctly Satie.

The late 19th century was the beginning of a harmonic revolution and Satie surely enlisted. While Satie’s music was regarded as radical among more conservative musicians, he was really forecasting the new movements in 20th century music—minimalism, total chromaticism, and serialism, to name a few. While his teachers and peers strove to force him into following the rules and conventions of “proper” composition, Satie remained true to himself and ushered in the new wave of music. This recording is performed by France Clidat.

Sampler: Pakistan: The Music of the Qawal

The Sabri Brothers - Nât Sharîf. Qawwali is a form of Sufi devotional music popular in the northern regions of present-day Pakistan and India. Although it is thought to have originated in Persia, present-day Iran, and Afghanistan, the form of qawwali performed in this 1977 recording probably dates from the Mughal Empire (approximately 1526–1857) in the Indian subcontinent. Qawwali music became popular in the 20th century through the recordings of Pakistani singer Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan. Other 20th-century performers include Aziz Mian and the Sabri Brothers.

To explore more of Music Online Alexander Street Press, login from home to the Multnomah County Library website with your MCL library card. 

How many books are in your stack?

Every week, new books  are added to my ever growing "to be read" pile.  While it’s a pleasant hazard of the library profession, the looming tower of unread tomes has grown a bit too tall for comfort. However, after a recent search through the new titles joining the collection, I think there's some room left...

Mathematicians shiva cover

Sitting shiva for his mother, the greatest mathematician in history, Alexander "Sasha" Karnokovitch, wants to mourn in peace. However, scholars from across the globe have other plans.  They flock to her home to pay their respects and, more importantly, search for her rumored solution to an elusive math problem. The Mathematician’s Shiva is the story of life, loss, and the quest for life’s qualitative and quantitative answers.

air food history books cover

 

Did you know that wine tastes different at 30,000 feet?  I didn’t. It turns out getting food in the  friendly skies wasn’t so easy. Food In The Air And Space: The Surprising History Of Food And Drink in The Skies by Richard Foss promises to take on the subject in a fun and accessible way. 

My Drunk Kitchen: A Guide To Eating, Drinking, And Going With Your Gut cover

 

Hannah Hart is amazing. What started as a YouTube video for a friend has evolved into a huge success. Her debut book is  My Drunk Kitchen: A Guide To Eating, Drinking, And Going With Your Gut.  A comedian by trade, she’s assembled a fantastic collection of recipes and humor.  If that’s not enough to sway you, John Green wrote the introduction to the book and the content should appeal to fans of Amy Sedaris’ I LIke You.

Check out the rest of the list to see all the books i’m waiting to add to the stack.

 

 

Librarian delivers books to a bridge tender, 1963

The relationship between Portland librarians and their bridges has always been a strong one. The library’s 1920 annual report  highlighted a new book delivery service to the bridge tenders (Broadway, Hawthorne, and Morrison, and later the Steel and Burnside bridges):

 

 The reading philosophy of one of the bridge tenders is of interest to more than librarians. In stating his reasons for wanting books for his waiting hours, [one bridge tender] said that, though not an educated man, he was greatly interested in reading for as he grew older he observed that the only people who seemed to be contented in their declining years were those who had formed the acquaintance of great characters in books. These characters were often the only friends left after life’s friends had passed us on the journey to the Great Beyond (Library Association of Portland, Oregon Fifty-seventh Annual Report,1920, 36-37).  

 

     In 1956, the library’s annual report stated that librarians hand-delivered 672 books to isolated bridge tenders.  This special delivery service continued until 1975 when only the Burnside Bridge remained as a deposit station. Some of the bridge tenders’ favorite subjects included travel stories, history, archaeology, and horses.  You will agree with the 1944 Oregonian article that stated, “librarians often find they are supplying books to persons whose life stories would make as interesting reading as the books they receive...Such a man is P.J. Hyde a Spanish-American war veteran and one-time sailing ship adventurer” (Books Taken Bridge Men: Library Offers Delivery Service, Oregonian, October 8, 1944, 19).

 

What woud you request from the library to wile away the quiet and isolated hours as a mid-20th century bridge tender?  Here is an imaginative list to get you reading back in time; Multcolib Research Picks: Mid-20th century bridge tenders book club.

 

But what if you want to read books about the bridges?  Are you an aspiring Bridge Pedaler? Do you have a third grader going to a Portland Public School? Are the bridges part of your daily commute? Or are you simply in love with our Willamette River bridges?

 

 

Architecture! History!  Engineering! And Beauty!

 

Take a look at our picks of the best bridge books out there; Multcolib Research Picks: For the love of  Willamette River Bridges. We also have a wide range of bridge materials that are part of the Oregon Collection and can be viewed at the Central Library upon request.  In addition to books there is a wealth of resources available online.  Check out a curated list of the most useful websites, including both historical resources and beautiful photography; Multcolib Research Picks: The best online Willamette River bridges resources.

 

In the 20th century, library staff delivered books across narrow catwalks to lonely bridge tenders. Today in the 21st century, library staff have also walked on a bridge and visited with the bridge tender but this time (sadly!) we brought no books, only questions and an innate librarian curiosity. The Multnomah County Bridge Section staff recently offered a special tour of the Bridge Shop and the Morrison Bridge (virtual tour link) for library staff. The tour was led by Multnomah County engineer Chuck Maggio and included both a visit to the Morrison Bridge tender’s station and a special view from underneath the bridge as the double-leaf bascule draw span swung upwards during a routine bridge opening. I have included a few favorite images from the tour.
  

 

 

Advancements in technology have changed the way the bridge tender stations are staffed, there is not time for reading, contemplation, and handicrafts.  Librarians no longer deliver books to the bridges.  That being said, I’d like to think that our bridge tenders are still readers in their private lives and I know that Multnomah County Library staff still treasure and hold dear their local bridges.   

 

May the love of the Willamette River bridges continue!

 

 

 

 

 

 

* Image from 150 Years of Library Memories Collection. Physical rights to this item are retained by Multnomah County Library. Copyright is retained in accordance with U.S. copyright laws. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License. 


Piggy bankLet’s face it, spending money can be fun. You can use your money to buy new video games, books, tickets to a movie, clothes, yummy food at the food carts, and scores of other things. But just as spending money can be fun, saving money can be fun too.

Knowing how to save your money is an important life skill to have, and there are a couple of different ways that you can save your money. The easiest way to save money is to put it in a piggy bank or money jar. You can also save your money by putting it in a savings account at your bank or credit union.

Did you know that you can earn money by saving money? When you put your money in a savings account you are allowing the bank to borrow your money, and the bank pays you interest. So you earn money by letting your money sit in the bank.

 

Would you like to learn more about managing your money? Ask a librarian, we'll be glad to help!

N 45° 31.138 W 122° 40.971

These are the coordinates for the geocache that can be found at Central Library, known as Urban cache, plagiarized. The cache, which was created in 2002, has had enough visitors that its “author” had to create a second volume.  Central’s geocache is unique, in that it has a call number and an entry in the library catalog, but there are reportedly other geocaches to be found at Capitol Hill, Fairview-Columbia, Gresham, Hollywood, North Portland and Woodstock libraries.

The third Saturday in August is Geocaching Day, created by geocaching.com (The Official Global GPS Cache Hunt Site), so it’s time to talk a little bit about geocaching. An anonymous geocacher from Iowa visited Central’s cache the other day and he described it as using extremely high-tech equipment to find Tupperware in the woods. According to the history page on geocaching.com, the game began in May 2000, when the data from GPS (Global Positioning System) satellites was unscrambled by the U.S. government and made available to anyone with a GPS receiver.  The first cache was planted a few miles from Portland in Beavercreek by Dave Ulmer who wanted to check the accuracy of GPS by posting information about its coordinates to an online user group. He called it a “stash,” which was quickly changed to cache (for just the reason you are thinking) and the games began. Ulmer’s cache is no longer there, but a plaque now sits at the coordinates and there is still a place to record your visit.

The only rules of this game are: Enter your name (and any deep thoughts if you have them) in the cache’s logbook and, if you remove something from the cache, please leave something of equal value.  I like that the large majority of goodies left in Central’s cache are those library-sized (2 ¾ x 5 in.) pieces of paper with the call number written on them (O-910.92 B668g). One of our veteran librarians tells me the reason why our geocache is in the 910s instead of the 620s (where our books on geocaching are), is because the owner of the cache selected the number based on his observation that the books on geography and exploration had that 910 number. After the fact (when we realized that we’d need a call number for geocaching), librarians decided the how-to books belonged in the military and nautical navigation section.

(How librarians decide what goes where in the Dewey Decimal System is a topic for another day!)

For more on geocaching, check out one of these books.

A friend recently shared an article "I'm with the Banned" by Lauren Myracle, author of the popular Internet Girls books (L8R G8R, Ttfn, et. al.) about her experience doing an AMA on Reddit (e.g. "ask me anything").  Myracle writes fiction for teens, and her books, "have a history of being banned."  She writes, "Censorship is a hot topic. We Amer'cuns like our freedom."

So, why does she write "objectionable" books?  Because she wants to make a difference: 

"..I write with the hope of handing my readers a mirror in which they can see themselves as well as a window through which they can see the pains and joys of others."

And believe it or not, many teens think about things their parents may not like.  Reading a book is a safe way to explore issues and behaviors.  But if the books aren't available, youth may have to test it out for themselves.  Which would you prefer?

Questions? Don't hesitate to Contact a Librarian.

Craigslist is a popular online tool for job searching. Because it’s open to anyone, there is a wide variety of jobs available, but be careful to avoid scams!

Here’s how to search, but keep in mind that services like this change all the time, so it might look different when you try these steps.

Start at Craigslist.

In the jobs column, find your field or click jobs to search all jobs.  

The default search is “all portland,” which includes Multnomah County plus six additional counties. Use the drop-down menu to refine the search to a specific county.

Choose a county

Type a keyword or keywords into the search box. Don’t enter a complete sentence, just use a few words that describe the job you want.

  1. Limit the search by using the check boxes for telecommute, contract work, internship, part-time work, or non-profit. Leaving these blank will generate the most results.

  2. Click search.

  3. Organize results the way that’s most useful for you. Map displays your results on a map so that you can see where each job is located.

  4. Click the link to read a description of the job.

Apply for the job:

Be sure to read the entire job description. Follow the application directions in the posting very closely.

Often you can apply for the job using email by clicking the reply button.

  1. Click the reply button

  2. From the drop-down menu, select the text in the copy and paste into your email field.

  1. Right click and select copy.

  2. Paste that email address into the To field in your email.

For more help, try the Craigslist help page.

For more help searching for a job, try Multnomah County Library’s Jobs and careers page, Job Seekers’ labs, and classes for job seekers.

 

The library has all kinds of wonderful materials that will help you learn your next language — but sometimes it seems like you need to learn library-ese to find them! 
 
Here are some key phrases that will help you in your search for language learning books, CDs, and more:
 
"Self instruction"
Search this term, along with the name of your language of interest, to find all sorts of media that will help you in your efforts to teach yourself. If you find you want to narrow down the results after you search, use the Format filter on the left — know that the ‘Book’ drop down arrow also includes a ‘Book Plus CD’ choice, so don’t ignore it if you are looking for audio! Example: Tagalog "Self Instruction"
 
Sound Recordings for English Speakers
This phrase will help you in finding audio-only courses. Example: Vietnamese "Sound Recordings for English Speakers"
 
“Bilingual Books”
A search for this phrase will bring up books that have the same content in two different languages. If you simply add your language the first results should be books in that language and English. Example: Chinese "Bilingual Books"
 
However, if you want a more precise search go to our Advanced Search page, use the drop down menu to select Subject and enter “Bilingual Books,” then chose your language from the drop down Language menu. Example: subject:("bilingual books") language:"spa"
 
Looking for more tips on searching, or other help with your language learning? Ask us!
 

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.

波特兰华人服务中心将于八月十六日举行一年一度的亜裔社区义诊活动,穆鲁玛县图书馆将会在场参与,提供有关促进身心健康的资源及书籍,並有华语职员为大家介绍及解答有关图书馆各类活动的资料。亜裔社区义诊活动在8/16 上午十一时至下午四时于3430 SE Powell 街华人服务中心举行。欢迎各位到图书馆的摊位与我们見面!

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.

“Help! I’ve fallen and I can’t get up!” We’ve all seen and heard that ad on TV. But if you decide to get a medical alert device, or are helping an older friend or relative get one, you might be ready to scream “Help! I need a device but can’t decide which one to get!”

Here’s some tips to make things easier. First, make a list of features you want the medical alert to have. The Federal Trade Commission has some good advice about things to consider. An article called “Personal Emergency Response Systems” from CRS – Adult Health Advisor (June 2012) also gives a checklist of possible concerns [ Note: to read the article, you may have to enter your library card number and PIN]. This blog post from Huffington Post, Post 50 examines three major designs and providers of each kind.

It’s hard to find unbiased reviews. For example, AARP offers a discount to members, available through ADT Companion Service, but this comparison by a competitor, Life Station, makes some arguments against it.

Luckily, in 2014 Consumer Reports Magazine published some unbiased information in their articles "Should You Buy a Medical Alert System?" and "How to Pick a Medical Alert System."  [ Note: to read these articles, you may have to enter your library card number and PIN]. 

Also, Lawserver Online RatingLab’s comparison of medical alerts provides product reviews, advice about comparing them and a ratings chart. You can also go to the Better Business Bureau and do a search for “medical alarms” limited to your zip code, to find how they’ve rated local services.

If you are trying to help an older person who lives out of state, you might also want to find out what is available to them locally. You can use this eldercare locator to find agencies where they live, that can help you.

Be wary of phone salespeople, and online ads; there are lots of scams out there. The resources we’ve listed should help you find a reliable device that will work for you.  Need more help? Contact a librarian and we'll be glad to help. 

 

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

 

Woodstock Library (6008 SE 49th Ave.) will be closed at least through Monday, August 4 to repair water damage from a plumbing failure.

Patron holds and due dates for that location have been suspended so long as the library remains closed. Holds will be available for pick up when the library reopens.

If you have questions about your account, including overdue items and fines, please call call automated 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.

The closest libraries to Woodstock are Sellwood-Moreland (7860 SE 13th Ave.) and Holgate (7905 SE Holgate Blvd.) See all library hours and locations.

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.

 

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