MCL Blogs

The default blog for all Library Blog Posts.

(This is a guest blog post from the Portland Urban Forestry Commission’s Arbor Month Committee.)

You’ve probably heard of Earth Day, but April holds another important earth-friendly holiday you may not have heard of: Arbor Day! Dedicated to planting and celebrating trees, Arbor Day was first honored more than 140 years ago through the dedicated efforts of tree-lover, newspaper editor, and Secretary of the Nebraska Territory, J. Sterling Morton. Morton worked his entire life to promote the beauty and benefits of trees, and Arbor Day has stood the test of time: it’s spread from Nebraska to every US state and more than 30 other nations and is a testament to the widespread love of trees we share as humans.

From “Stump Town” to Tree City USA, Portland has a tremendous forest legacy. We are lucky to enjoy the benefits of mature trees, even as we plant young trees in an act of stewardship and goodwill to future generations. The library has many books to help you learn about the trees in your community and the world: you can go on a tour of remarkable trees right here in Portland with Phyllis Reynolds in Trees of Greater Portland. In The Collector: David Douglas and the Natural History of the Northwest, join Jack Nisbet for the story of an adventurous and dedicated Scottish botanist and imagine the Pacific Northwest before Portland was ever conceived. Finally, in American Canopy, Erik Rutkow explores our national heritage, detailing the link between an immense forested continent and the rise of the modern American nation. Find these as well as recommended tree ID books and books about trees for children on a booklist of recommended “Tree Reads” from your Neighborhood Tree Stewards.

In Portland, we can’t fit our love of trees into one day. There will be an Arbor Day Festival in Portland on April 20, 2013, but also be sure to come celebrate the urban forest with us all month long!  Learn how to use a tree ID book, go on a TREEsure hunt of heritage trees in Portland, take a bike-tour of the urban forest, or get dirty planting. This April, you can touch your heritage and leave a legacy.

Literary Arts' 26th annual book awards ceremony puts the spotlight on Oregon's literary community.   Award categories named for Oregon authors such as Ken Kesey and William Stafford include fiction, poetry, drama, nonfiction, young adult and children's books.  Most of the finalists live in the Portland area, but Ashland, Eugene, Salem and Waldport are home to creative types.  It’s always fun to scan the list of publishers --  small presses are well-represented:  Black Ocean, Traprock Books and Small Doggies Press, to name a few.

Oregon has a rich literary heritage that goes back to the early 1800’s.  The publication of the journals of Meriwether Lewis and William Clark in 1814, followed by exploration, travel and pioneer accounts dominated the first years of  literature.  If you’d like to embark on a survey of Oregon’s literary history, start with Literary Oregon, 100 Books 1800-2000, a booklist created by the Oregon Cultural Heritage Commission and the Oregon State Library.  

The Oregon Center for the Book at the State Library maintains the impressive Oregon Authors Website.  It's easy to use!  Browse by author's name, city, genre and year published.  It also includes a very complete list of Oregon publishers.

More than a stodgy directory of government officials, the online Oregon Blue Book includes an Oregon Authors Book Guide.  Click on an author's name and view a preview of their best-known book - nifty!   Find more in-depth biographies of Oregon authors in the Oregon Encyclopedia.  Don’t see the author you’re looking for?   Write an entry and OE staff will add it to the knowledge universe.

Looking for Oregon authors in the library catalog?  Be prepared to do some creative searching.  Because the subject heading Authors, American – Northwest, Pacific includes Oregon and other states (Washington, Montana, Idaho and British Columbia), do a keyword search for Oregon author (or Portland author) to zero in.   Cross-check your search with the Oregon Authors Website's listings or use Literature Resource Center to verify an author’s place of birth or residence.  

Sample works by the 2013 Oregon Book Awards finalists and discover some new authors to follow.

You can find lots of detailed information about your neighborhood, your street, or even your house from maps.  The maps below have historical information about property ownership, building footprints, old out-of-date addresses, and more! 

Sanborn Maps. Library resource containing digital versions of Sanborn fire insurance maps for Oregon, Washington, and California, for various dates. Compiled for insurance companies, these maps show the location and composition of buildings.  They also note potential fire hazards like gas stations, lumber mills, movie theaters, bakeries, and show the location of steep slopes, water mains, and other infrastructure details.   Maps for Gresham, Troutdale, and Portland are in this collection, as are maps for the former cities of St. Johns, Albina, and Multnomah (now all part of the city of Portland).  Be ready to enter your library card number and PIN; this is a special library resource! (If this collection doesn't have what you need, take a look at the Portland Bureau of Planning & Sustainability's list of Sanborn Insurance Maps Covering Portland, Oregon that are owned by other libraries and archives.)

The Portland Block Book. Two-volume book of maps of the city of Portland, circa 1907, showing ownership of residential property and other real estate information.  You'll need to know a property's legal description -- the name of the addition/subdivision and the block and lot numbers to use this book.  You can usually get the legal description of a property from PortlandMaps (see below).  Visit Central Library to use this two-volume set in person.

Metsker's Atlas of Multnomah County, Oregon. Atlases showing the names of property owners (for larger lots), lot lines and street names. The library has Metsker atlases from 1927, 1936, and 1944, as well as atlases for Clackamas, Washington and most other Oregon counties.  Visit Central Library to use the Metsker atlases in person.

Historic Resource, Reference, and Historical Maps. Digital images of historic maps from Portland's Planning & Sustainability Bureau. Includes the General Land Office Cadastral (survey) maps of Portland from 1852, an 1894 map showing the methods of pavement in use throughout the city (detail at left), a 1955 aerial photo of the central city, a 1943 streetcar map, and many more.

PortlandMaps. Maps and current property information for Portland and much of the surrounding area, including maps, tax information, crime data, school and park information and more.

 

  Questions? Ask the Librarian.

7 Reasons Your Grant Proposals Are Being Rejected

  1. You don't write for your audience.
  2. You aren't proofreading enough.
  3. You aren't thorough enough.
  4. Your proposal contains too much fluff.
  5. You have a goal but no plan.
  6. You aren't providing enough data.
  7. You are using unreasonable budgets.

Read the entire article at Non-profit2point0.com!

Professional genealogists say you start your family tree with YOU. You find the records for YOUR birth, for YOUR education, YOUR travels, YOUR relationships and family AND your photos.

Do you need a copy of your birth certificate? a marriage or divorce record? a death record? If you were born in the United States or one of our territories, you can find the sources for these records at Where to Write for Vital Records.

When you are doing genealogy on other people in your family, if the event (the birth, marriage, divorce, death) occurred in the U.S., this will help you find out where the information you need may be found (and costs associated with obtaining it.)

As you look through your papers, the family file cabinet, the attic or other storage places for your records, keep an eye open for documents that will help you know where and when the important life events for other family members occurred.

If you find information for other family members, ask their permission to copy it. You will be able to use it as you move on to research the generations before you.

 

 

Nutrition is an important component of a healthy lifestyle. On this page we have gathered some resources to help you learn more about diet and nutrition for you and your family.

Organizations are often a useful resource for information. The National Dairy Council, The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, and Oldways: Health Through Heritage, are all examples of organizations from which you can find lots of current, practical information about what to eat! For instance, Oldways provides recipes based on cultural traditions and heritage. Their mission is to support eating as a family and cultural heritage, and to promote the "old ways" of eating. The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (formerly the American Dietetic Association) has a section for the public that offers articles about eating right for healthy weight, allergies, and other conditions. The National Dairy Council also offers recipes as well as a special section on child nutrition.

Many general health and medical web resources include nutrition information too. MedlinePlus, one of our favorite all purpose health sites, includes a section on food and nutrition. The Mayo Clinic, a well-respected medical institution, offers a section on healthy living which includes articles about nutrition and healthy eating. Nutrition.gov is a comprehensive resource for nutrition information for all members of the family and includes everything from medical information to shopping, cooking and meal planning.

The library subscribes to databases of journal and newspaper articles that focus on specific topics, such as health. Health and Wellness Resource Center is one of the most "user-friendly" databases. Type a search term into the box, or choose from a selection of tabs to find what you need. Alt Health Watch focuses on non-Western medicine, including articles that discuss diet and nutrition. Health Reference Center Academic has a nice subject guide search to help you find articles about diet or nutrition (and any other health or medical subject).

Enjoy browsing some of these consumer friendly resources about nutrition and diet and then check the library's catalog for some great books we have on these topics.

The library's film collection consists of entertainment and nonfiction DVDs and Blu-rays on a wide variety of subjects. Documentaries, educational films, instructional videos, short films, and DVD re-releases of feature films and television series are all part of the collection.

Searching My MCL for a DVD

My MCL makes searching DVDs easy:

  1. Go to My MCL and search for a title, actor, keyword, etc.
  2. Click on the arrow next to Format on the left side of the screen.
  3. Click the checkbox next to DVD in the format menu.

Screen shot of search for a DVD

Searching My MCL for a Blu-ray

  1. Go to My MCL and search for a title, actor, keyword, etc.
  2. Click on the arrow next to Format on the left side of the screen.
  3. Click the checkbox next to Blu-ray Disc in the format menu.

Movie night ideas

Use these lists to find something for movie night:

As always, if you don't find what you are looking for, you can ask a librarian.

Become a tutor

Multnomah County Library Volunteer Services 

Volunteer Literacy Tutoring at Portland Community College

Portland Literacy Council

Support for tutors

ThinkFinity Resources and discussion on the latest trends in education

Talk to the Clouds A blog about learning and teaching language

Making it Real: Teaching Pre-Literate Adult Refugee Students (PDF 1.5 MB)

Has your child asked you “Where do babies come from?” yet?  Are you prepared to answer that question?  I was a bit unprepared when my 4 year old son asked me recently.  He saw a woman nursing her baby at the swimming pool and ever since then he has been fascinated by the human body.  I felt that I was only able to give him a cursory answer, which spurred me to check out the library for books.  I found some to read to him and others to help me answer his questions the best I could.  If you have found yourself in this situation with your child or are just preparing for it ahead of time, please check out the attached list for some books I found to help me.  Good luck addressing what can be a touchy topic for parents.

Did you know that librarians are experts at making book recommendations? Our library staff have compiled lists of great books for everyone in the family - on many subjects.

If you want more information, or a personal recommendation, ask a librarian online or at your local library.

In addition to the usual places to search for your next gig, government employers feature new opportunities on these sites:

  • The Multnomah County government notes all open positions, including jobs with the library. 
  • The City of Portland's Employment Center is a great resource for learning more about employment with the city, including internships and workstudy opportunities.
  • Portland Development Commission has a page for job and internship seekers.
  • Metro Jobs is the place to browse current job openings at Metro, the Oregon Zoo and the Metropolitan Recreation Exhibition Commission.
  • The State of Oregon has a useful page which includes links to city, county, state and federal government job pages.
  • USAJOBS is the Federal Government's official one-stop source for Federal jobs and employment information.
  • Government Jobs is a handy government sector job board showing openings in many different agencies. 
  • Port of Portland is the place to go for jobs at the airport, marine facilities, industrial parks and more.

Also, don't forget that Multnomah County Library locations offer computer labs and other resources for job seekers

Before working for a new company or starting on a new career path, a little research goes a long way to helping you find the right match. Here are some resources to get you started:

PTSD, or post-traumatic stress disorder, is an anxiety disorder that occurs after a terrifying ordeal. Learn about the symptoms of PTSD and find out about medications and types of psychotherapy used to treat PTSD and other anxiety disorders.

Also, see how an older veteran with PTSD is overcoming this disorder.

 

The information on Anxiety Disorders was provided by NIHSeniorHealth and developed by the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH).

When it seems like the rain is never (ever) going to stop, don’t despair! Multnomah County has a lot of hidden art to see that will get you out of the house and won’t cost you anything.

The area’s colleges and universities are a treasure trove of free art galleries! Here are links to some all over town:

Government buildings are a great place to see rotating exhibits, usually by local artists. Experience interactive and experimental media installations in the Portland Building Installation Space; visit the art gallery in the Gresham City Council Chamber Foyer; and check out the current exhibition at Central Library’s Collins Gallery.

The Regional Arts & Culture Council has a searchable database of public art around the county. (Tip: Click on Advanced Options to search by Collection and Discipline.)

View work by local photographers at Blue Sky Gallery, originally founded as the Oregon Center for the Photographic Arts.

Learn more about contemporary art in the Portland Institute for Contemporary Art’s Resource Room. It is both an archive and library, housing over 3,500 artist publications, magazines, and audio and video recordings, as well as a video archive of performances and lectures presented by PICA over the span of the organization's history.

Coming soon: Rainy Days, Part 2: Free Museums!

The financial news is awash with talk of fiscal cliffs, the sequester, and whispers of austerity.  What does it all mean?  How will it affect us, our friends and families, or society at large? Advocacy groups and politicians from all perspectives encourage contacting your representatives to share concerns about these, and other issues, but where can you reach them?

Online, you can find contact information for:

Looking for more information about Oregon Government?  Try The Oregon Blue Book.   

Want a printable PDF of contact information including local school districts?  The League of Women Voters of Portland has you covered.

Thinking bigger?  Take a look at the Federal Staff directory for an extensive list of who’s who in the Federal government.

Caroll’s has an excellent set of contact information for nationwide County, Municipal, State, and Federal governments. 

As always, Multnomah County Library staff is always happy to help you find the information you’re looking for.  If you have any questions about this topic or any others please let us know!

As we celebrate the life of former Oregon Symphony director James DePreist, let’s note that in addition to all his incredible work with orchestras around the world, and a 2005 National Medal of Arts, he also wrote two books of poetry!

William Stafford contributed the afterword to DePreist’s first book, This Precipice Garden (1986). He describes DePreist’s confident presence as conductor, and compares this with the voice of the poems: “When he turns to the different rhythm of his poems, it is as if James DePreist puts that hovering attention to a parallel task; again the inner light finds which way to go amid infinite, shifting possibilities. Here, however, there is a record in language of the course taken. The reader can follow in slow motion and see how the self proceeds along a tangled path.”

Maya Angelou writes of DePreist, in her foreword to his book The Distant Siren (1989), “There is obviously poetry in the orchestral conducting of James DePreist and audible musicality in the poetry of James DePreist. His second collection of poetry has the tautness of a perfectly pitched viola and much of its resonance.”

These succinct, meticulously paced poems sometimes root us to an image or an idea, and sometimes launch us into surprising, soaring openness.

Beyond me
    came the meanings.

Meanings beyond words,
    long held from view
now lovingly decanted
    into prisms.

Meanings beyond words,
    multiplied beyond me
in transit
    to their source.

(from This Precipice Garden, page 7)

For kids, teens and teachers interested in zines, Portland offers some great resources. At the library we have a couple some good books that will tell you most of what you need to know to make zines.

The author of Stolen Sharpie Revolution 2, Alex Wrekk, lives in Portland. She's an expert on zines, and this little book, a zine itself, will tell you all the basics information you need to create a zine. She also explains tricky stuff, like how to layoutyour pages so when you print your zine, the pages will come out in the correct order. 

 

Check out Whatcha Mean, What's a Zine? by Mark Todd and Esther Pearl WatsonIt covers zine history, tools and methods for making zines, reasons for writings zines, photocopy tricks, how to promote your zine and more. 

 

 

Portland has a great zine resource called the Independent Publishing Resource Center (IPRC). With a name like that, of course it includes zines! The IPRC has a huge library of zines, and offers classes in zine and book making, readings, zine sales and lots of zine-related events. If you join and become a member, many of these things are discounted. If you’re a teacher, you can contact them to have someone come to your class and teach a Media Action workshop. Call them to learn more. 

Every summer, Portland has its own Zine Symposium. People come from near and far to attend this fun event to sell their zines, meet other zinesters, attend workshops and visit Portland. Best of all, it provides you with an opportunity to table and sell your own zines. Check their site  in the spring each year to get the most current  news, as they post updates about dates, location and tabling. 

Want to know more about making your own books? We have a separate blog post for kids who want to make books.

Contact us if you have other zine-related questions. 

 

Hearing and using lots of words helps children get ready to read.  The more words they know, the easier it will be for them to learn how to read.  So how do we help kids develop a BIG vocabulary?  By talking with them!  

Of course every day we might use words like breakfast and shoes and bedtime.  But when we expose children to the world, and then have conversations about what they experience, we introduce them to lots of new words!  

There are so many fun places to take young children in Multnomah county.  Some of them are free (like your neighborhood playground) or inexpensive (like Portland Parks & Rec’s indoor parks), but some of them can make a pretty big dent in your wallet!  

Fortunately many of our local attractions offer discount days on a regular basis.  Admission to OMSI only costs $2 the first Sunday of the month.  The Oregon Zoo charges only $4 on the second Tuesday of every month.  The Crystal Springs Rhododendron Garden is free every Tuesday and Wednesday, free from the day after Labor Day through the end of February, and free year-round for children under 12.  The Chinese & Japanese Gardens and the Art Museum also have free days periodically each year.  

Pairing your adventures with books on related topics provides a great opportunity to continue and extend your conversations.  If your toddler loved watching the monkeys at the zoo, try reading Busy Monkeys together.  After building a tower at OMSI, your child might enjoy Dreaming Up.  Try pairing a trip to the Art Museum with Katie and the Water Lily Pond or a visit to any of the gardens with Flower Garden.  These are just a few suggestions to get you started.  We can help you find just the right book for you and your child.  And you can help your child get ready to read by having fun conversations every day.

Many new amateur house historians find determining their home's historic period and style to be a challenging task. You can usually find the date your house was built by looking it up in PortlandMaps or contacting your local County Assessor's office, but figuring out what it might have looked like when it was new can be difficult!

Once you've looked through a few guides to historic periods in architecture, try looking at some of these resources to get a more detailed idea of how houses were designed and decorated in the past:

  • Mail order house plans and design catalogs [blog post].  List of websites featuring scans of late 19th and early-mid 20th century house plan catalogs.  People used these catalogs to shop for a new house -- they either bought the plans and had a builder construct them, or bought a house kit, which came with plans and all the materials (neat, right?). 
  • Floor plan books [reading list]. Reprints of house plan catalogs, simliar to the ones featured in the blog post above, which you can check out from the library!
  • Using old magazines to identify house styles [blog post].  Guide to researching house-style and architectural history information in the library's collection of old (and new!) magazines.
  • Color scheme & design books [reading list]. Books focusing on the history of paint colors and color design of the late 19th and early-mid 20th century.

  Questions? Ask the Librarian.

Gun rights and gun control are on everyone’s mind, after the unfortunate shootings that took place last year. It’s often hard to find good resources that present multiple viewpoints on issues like this, and provide quotable sources.

An excellent electronic resource is Opposing Viewpoints Resource Center in Context. It provides links to articles, videos and audio files from multiple viewpoints (you will need a library card # and PIN in order to access this electronic resource from outside of the library).

The Washington Post created this quick timeline of gun control history in the United States, and LawBrain covers the legal history of gun control back to the U.S. Constitution. Another good listing is Infoplease’s Milestones in Federal Gun Control Legislation  which covers laws up until 2013.

L.A.R.G.O. Lawful and Responsible Gun Owners and the N.R.A. National Rifle Association both support gun ownership in America. The Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence and The Violence Policy Center both work to reduce gun violence. The Violence Policy Center is also a good resource if you’re looking for statistics related to gun violence (including drive by shootings and suicide).

This Guardian article compares gun crime in individual states and About.com lists Oregon Gun Rights. FactCheck looks at statistics in the media after the Newton shootings, and reports on Gun Rhetoric vs. Gun Facts.  Looking towards changes in the law, gun control is supported by more women than men, and that may have an effect on future legislation.

Need some specific gun facts or laws we haven’t covered? Contact a librarian and we’ll be glad to help

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