Blogs

Moshow the Cat Rapper is passionate about many things: cats, cat ladies, music and creativity. He dropped by the library to share some of his favorite songs with us.
  1. "Handy Man" on JT by James Taylor. 
  2. "By Your Side" on Lovers Rock by Sade.
  3. "Blue Light" on Silent Alarm and streaming by Bloc Party.
  4. Tha Carter III by Lil Wayne
 
Oh, and Sushi's favorite book? The Very Quiet Cricket by Eric Carle.

 

Kids aren't born knowing how to use a keyboard.  But in today’s keyboard-centric world, kids need to learn to type. Luckily, there are some good free online typing programs aimed at students.

The article  Ed Tech Ideas: Keyboarding Sites for Kids lists many links to other free typing games.

Need more help? Contact a librarian

In 2011, the  United States Department of Agriculture replaced the idea of the Food Pyramid with My Plate ,which gives you a plan to figure out what you need to eat to be healthy. But not everyone agreed that My Plate represented healthy eating habits. Healthy Eating Plate vs. USDA Eating Plate argues that the USDA plan was influenced by political and commercial pressures from food industry lobbyists. They said that their plan, created by experts at Harvard School of Public Health and Harvard Medical School, is better because it’s based on science.

 

There are also food pyramids created to represent traditional Asian, Latino, African Heritage, Mediterranean and vegetarian and vegan diets (scroll down on the linked page to view these). Which ones match the way you eat? If you need more help researching diet and nutrition, feel free to contact a librarian.

 

 

There’s lots of ways to measure yourself, and this video tells you some ways to do it.

If you are paying attention to calories, concerned about your weight, planning to exercise, or just want to check how healthy your are, check out these online tools. Your Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR) measures the number of calories you burn even if you’re sleeping.  Your Body Mass Index is a measurement of body fat based on height and weight that will help you know if you are under, over or average weight.

You can look up how many calories you burn doing your favorite activities, or how long you should do an activity to lose weight, plus figure out the best exercise to lose weight. If you’re a runner and use a pedometer, you’ll need to measure your step length to figure out how far you run.

Your target heart rate can help you know how hard you should exercise so you can get the most aerobic benefit from your workout.

There are other health calculators you can use to help you assess your health, exercise, and vulnerability to disease as well. If you need more help, feel free to contact a librarian.

3 eggs =18 gummi bears =1 glass of milk= 200 calories.This is 200 Calories is a fun video that compares what 200 calories of different foods looks like. It also talks about what a calorie is, and why calories aren’t the only thing to consider in planning a healthy diet.

What Does 200 Calories Look Like? is a poster that compares visually 200 calories of more foods.

Wondering how many calories are in your favorite drink? This look at calories in drinks compares calories in soft drinks, juices and coffee drinks. Don't forget, serving size matters!

The Fast Food Nutrition Calculator lets you calculate the nutrition of meals at fast food restaurants. Select the items you want to eat then see how many total calories, grams of fat, and could it be? - vitamins -  are hiding inside your favorite meal.

Need more help?  Contact a librarian to be sure you get what you need.

It can be frustrating, if you are a kid or teen, to find answers to questions you have about your own health. Sometimes you feel shy about asking someone else questions. And when you look on the Internet, there are so many articles, it’s hard to tell what to read and believe.

Try using KidsHealth and TeenHealth, to look up stuff about yourself, and for homework assignments about health, disease and the human body.

The library database Teen Health and Wellness has good articles about health and disease, (also great for homework), as well as links to teen help hotlines (including info on getting free mobile apps for hotlines). Articles here can be instantly translated into dozens of common languages other than English too. You will need your library card barcode number and PIN number to use this.

This list from MedlinePlus connects to lots of different articles about teen health you might also find useful.

Need more information? Contact a librarian to be sure you get what you need.

 

What if all those times you're waiting around you exercised instead? 

We need exercise! To stay healthy, reduce stress and maintain a healthy weight, it’s important for kids to exercise one hour a day. Yup, scientists have discovered too much sitting can actually kill you in seven different ways. Since computer and TV screen time means you’re sitting a lot, break up your viewing time with some fun moves that make you active.

But how about using your screen time to  improve your moves? There’s lots of online videos made to get you moving. This kids’ twenty minute dance and fitness workout is like having your own fitness instructor bring the class right into your home. Put together basketball moves for a ten minute recess break. Or how about a reggae  or a hip hop instant recess?  A twenty minute yoga stretch break can make you feel refreshed. Workout with a friend or exercise with your family. Quit eating gummy bears and get silly with the gummy bear dance instead. Or go crazy and just dance like nobody’s watching.


More questions about exercise?  Contact a librarian to be sure you get what you need.

Whenever I have to write something, whether it’s a research paper or an article, the first thing I do is keep track of my sources. There’s nothing more frustrating than having a really good fact, but not being able to remember where you found it!

There’s two good online resources, called citation makers, that I use to help me. The great thing is, you can use them to keep track of your resources while you do your research, but they also help you format the citations, and generate your list of sources, or bibliography.

Many students in Oregon use the OSLIS citation maker to generate citations. It allows you to chose between MLA and APA style guides. Be sure to read through all the instructions before you get started. You can’t save a list of citations here, so you’ll have to create your list all in one shot. 

Easybib is a free service that offers you a lot more, and is good for high school and college students. You can save multiple bibliographies here, use their note taking system, generate a bibliography in Word, and generate citations for up to 59 formats of material, in MLA, APA or Chicago/Terabian style manuals. Watch the training video to learn more, and please contact a librarian if you need more help.

 

Human bodies need vitamins and minerals to function well. What’s the difference between the two? Vitamins come from organic sources (plants and animals), while minerals are inorganic and come from the soil and water. This chart tells you what each nutrient does, and how much a teen needs each day.  The best way to get vitamins and minerals is naturally, through eating foods that contain them. Vegetables and fruits are loaded with nutrients. It can help to have a chart that tells you what each food contains.

If you take vitamin or mineral supplements, what is the recommended daily allowance (or RDA)? This article explains why, as with any medicine, you should be careful of what you take, and also be sure to take the right dose for your age.

Need more information? Contact a librarian to be sure you get what you need.

 

Seems like everytime I go online, watch TV or read an article, I can’t avoid ads for burgers, chips, soda and candy. And once I see them, how can I not want to eat them?

It’s not by accident I'm craving junk food. Junk foods’ manufacturers specifically target young people, advertising everywhere kids go, to get you hooked on their product. If you become loyal to their brands as a kid, that’s a whole lifetime of purchases for them, since you will probably outlive your parents or grandparents. That’s why kids’ are highly targeted with ads.

The average child sees 10,000 food advertisements per year, most of them not for healthy foods. The fallout from this is that kids are unhealthy and obese. Fourteen percent of children are obese and of these, 60% have risk factors for diseases like diabetes, high blood pressure and heart failure.

Now  these ads are on social media too. One study investigated junk foods ads on social media sites and discovered this marketing most attracted interaction from teens and young adults. It’s also been shown that kids of color are at higher risk of being targeted by junk food advertising.  And this type of ad only confuses feelings about ourselves and our body image. Girls especially get confusing mixed messages; how does one stay skinny and attractive and eat tons of junk food at the same time?

Teen Health and the Media and Common Sense Media have good resources for further info about junk food and other advertising aimed at youth.

 

Need more help?  Contact a librarian to be sure you get what you need.

 

 

 

 

“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, AARPseems to recommend ADT Companion Service, offering a discount to members, but if they are profiting on these sales, their endorsement might not be unbiased. 

Luckily, Consumer Reports did this unbiased online comparison in 2015. And in 2014, Consumer Reports Magazine also 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. 

 

Searching for information on Native American tribes and Native nations? These big web sites may be able to help you.

You can search tribes alphabetically to learn about them, and learn about native languages as well as native culture. Try putting the name of the tribe you are looking for in the search box to see what other information they list, or scroll down to find the names of tribes listed alphabetically.

If you would rather search by location using a map, you can find state-by-state information, covering historic and contemporary information, languages, culture and history.

If you still need more help, contact a librarian to be sure you get what you need.

 

 

Hollywood movies and TV shows are full of stereotypes. To find the truth, you need to do good  research.

When I start my search, I make a list of all the names I know that might be good to search. Many tribes have both their own name and an anglicized name (for example, Diné  and Navajo) and it’s good to search under both. For more general searches, search multiple terms such as: Indian, Native American, First People or First Peoples,or try searching ”culture”  and “indigenous” with the geographical area, for example American indigenous culture.

When doing online research on Native Americans I check not only what the website says, but who is providing the information. Techniques for Evaluating Native American Websites provides good tips on what to look for. Does the website present a view that the people it describes support? Is the information current? Does the information come from Native Americans themselves? Many new age sites and commercial websites that are trying to sell you something take Indian culture and rewrite it for their own needs. If the website is created by an institution like a museum, or government agency, remember that it might represent that institution’s perspective, but not necessarily the perspective of Native peoples.

When looking at historical issues of newspapers, like The Historical Oregonian I have to consider that many of those stories will include racism and one-sided views that were common at the time.”Historic Newspaper Accounts of Oregonian Native Americans” provides some good insight into the slant of these articles over time, both good and bad.

Need more help? Contact a librarian to be sure you get what you need.


 

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This video explores the integral role horses played in Nez Perce history and how they relate to the tribe’s culture today.


When researching Native Americans of Oregon, the Oregon Blue Book provides a good introduction to Oregon tribes, and has information on current tribal leaders and the economy of the tribe, plus an overview of the tribe’s history and culture.

Native Languages of Americas provides information about the original inhabitants of Oregon and includes a map of where they were located.

The Northwest Portland Area Health Board provides history and geographical information for the nine tribes that make up its membership. Click on the "Members" tab on the upper tool bar.

The Cow Creek Band of Umpqua Tribe of Indians provides information about Oregon tribes and a list of links to their websites, plus information about natural resources, economic development and tribal government for the Cow Creek Band.

Access Genealogy contains an overview of the history Oregon tribes, and links to many tribes' individual websites.

You can also search the library’s catalog, or do an online search for a tribe’s name. Many tribes have their own websites, which contain current information about tribal affairs, and might also include historical material.

If you still need more help, contact a librarian to be sure you get what you need.

Multnomah County Library's Lucky Day service includes books for kids, teens and adults.  Lucky Day copies are available for spontaneous use and are not subject to hold queues.  Nobody can place holds on these items; it's first come, first served.  That means you might not have to wait at all for the most popular new titles!  You never know what you might find at your neighborhood library - it just might be your Lucky Day!

Will Russia compete in the 2016 Summer Olympics?  For years, the largest country in the world has run the largest ever state-sponsored doping program to push its Olympic athletes to win.  Investigations have begun to reveal the extent and now the International Olympic Committee may ban all Russian athletes from the games. 

Should the IOC ban all Russian athletes?  What’s so bad about doping?  Athletes enhance their performance with training, equipment, coaches, and nutrition.  Why not allow athletes to enhance their performance with drugs?  How do officials detect doping and enforce bans?  Is there an acceptable level of doping?  How long has Russia been researching performance enhancing drugs and doping their athletes?  And how can I trace the timeline of the scandal for my summer school research paper?

Students can find news information beyond a Google search in two places: Opposing Viewpoints and Student Resources in Context.  Opposing Viewpoints offers arguments on both sides of many issues such as performance enhancing drugs.  Student Resources in Context offers access to a wide array of sources – articles, podcasts, news broadcasts, videos, reference books, websites, and even academic journals.  As you search, remember good research strategies like trying a variety of key words in your search, narrowing by date or type of resource, and looking for relevant subject headings.

Amanda Morgan is an architect who'd love to design a library someday, and Karen Munro is a librarian who'd love to live in a house made of books. Together, they host Silent Reading Party, a monthly gathering of Portlanders who like to read together in companionable quiet, with a cocktail. Silent Reading Parties are two hours long, so here is Amanda and Karen's list of books you can read in two hours. (Pick one up just in time for their ticketed edition SRP on the deck of the Society Hotel on August 14th.)

1. I Await the Devil’s Coming by Mary MacLane
The Neversink series from independent publishers Melville House has brought new life to scores of wonderful books.  MacLane’s amazingly-titled feminist memoir was written in 1902 when she was just a teenager living in Butte, Montana.  The book was a huge bestseller in its time and has been described as riveting, shocking, sensational and deeply heartfelt.  If MacLane’s not your cup of tea, check out the full Neversink Library for tons of other great two-hour reads.

2.  Citizen: An American Lyric by Claudia Rankine
Rankine’s book — part personal essay, part poetry, part catalog of visual art — took the literary world by storm when it was published last year.  In the context of police violence toward black Americans and growing tension around race relations, Rankine writes about her own experiences as a black woman and the ways in which blackness and black people are represented in the media.  A short book to dwell on for a long time.

3.  Commencement and other speeches:

Fantastic Mistakes: The Make Good Art Speech by Neil Gaiman

We Should All Be Feminists by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Congratulations, By the Way: Some Thoughts on Kindness by George Saunders

This is Water: Some Thoughts, Delivered on a Significant Occasion, about Living a Compassionate Life by David Foster Wallace

Very Good Lives: The Fringe Benefits of Failure and the Importance of Imagination by J.K. Rowling

Because commencement speeches must command departing grads’ waning attention spans, they’re usually brief, provocative, and inspirational. Fortunately for us, the best of these speeches  by some of our finest literary lights  have been published in slim volumes that can be easily read in a single sitting; yet they invite multiple readings with their insights on compassion, success, identity and creativity.

4.  The 33 ⅓ Series from 333Sound/Bloomsbury
Music nerds love this gorgeously packaged, wonderfully idiosyncratic series of slim but passionate paeans to a far-reaching range of essential albums. Each volume explores, in-depth, a single album, weaving broad cultural contexts with the authors’ personal milieus and obsessions. Some writers you’ll recognize, like Jonathan Lethem, who penned the excellent tribute to Talking Heads’ Fear of Music. Others, like Kembrew McLeod, who brings an academic rigor to his appreciation of Blondie’s Parallel Lines, may be new to general readers, though well-established in the world of cultural criticism. There are currently 115 titles in the series, meaning if you find yourself hooked and decide to read one each month, you’ll be bringing them with you to Silent Reading Parties well into 2018.

5.  Glaciers by Alexis Smith
We couldn’t pass up the chance to recommend Portland author Smith’s lyrical novella about a day in the life of a Multnomah County librarian. This lean volume gently seduces the reader into a dreamy reverie about love, loss and longing. The Portland of Glaciers, published in 2012, may well be receding into memory along with the ice formations of the title, so it’s especially poignant to have it preserved in such a lovely work.

6.  Dear Committee Members by Julie Schumacher
If you’re looking for something light and comic, try this epistolary novel about a professor of the humanities struggling against what he sees as the encroaching forces of corporatization and commercialization in his university.  For such a short book, it’s surprisingly moving — and also so funny that it won the Thurber Prize for American Humor in 2015.


7.  The Face series by Ruth Ozeki, Tash Aw and Chris Abani (Not owned by MCL)
Another great venture from a small independent press — Restless Books recently launched an innovative series of short books titled The Face. Each book is one extended essay by an author considering his or her own face, and then following that topic wherever it leads.  Tash Aw, Ruth Ozeki and Chris Abani each offer thought-provoking titles that touch on globalization, identity, assimilation, and more.

8.  March by John Lewis
This three-book graphic memoir tells the story of the American civil rights movement through the eyes of veteran activist and Georgia Congressman John Lewis.  Beginning with lunch counter sit-ins and Freedom Rides and culminating in the 1963 “Bloody Sunday” march from Selma to Montgomery, March combines art and words to bring history to life.  Stack all three volumes on your lap and settle in for an amazing ride.   

9.  Wabi-Sabi: For Artists, Designers, Poets, and Philosophers by Leonard Koren

Wabi-Sabi: Further Thoughts

Arranging Things: A Rhetoric of Object Placement (not in MCL catalog)

Undesigning the Bath (not in MCL catalog)

Leonard Koren is an artist, architect and writer. His books are short, playful, sensual meditations on aesthetics, and his quiet insights are often broadly applicable to other creative pursuits  and even to the pursuit of simply living a beautiful life. If you’ve ever appreciated a perfectly arranged bouquet of wildflowers, or a thoughtfully curated group of objects on a table, or if you’ve had an “earthy, sensual, and paganly reverential” bathing experience, you’d likely find a kindred spirit in Koren.


10.  Rabbit by Victoria Dickenson, Bee by Claire Preston, Leech by Robert G.W. Kirk, Elephant by Dan Wylie, etc.
 If you like to slip out of the human world in your reading hours, consider this elegant series from small publishing house Reaktion Books.  Each title is by a different author and profiles a different animal — wolf, octopus, spider, shark — in a single engaging essay.  Pick your favorite beast and spend a couple of hours learning more about its habits and its world.

Multnomah County Library's Lucky Day service includes books for kids, teens and adults.  Lucky Day copies are available for spontaneous use and are not subject to hold queues.  Nobody can place holds on these items; it's first come, first served.  That means you might not have to wait at all for the most popular new titles!  You never know what you might find at your neighborhood library - it just might be your Lucky Day!

Do you need to do a project or report on microorganisms? This category of microscopic life embraces both the plant and animal worlds. It includes bacteria, protozoa, fungi and tiny animals called rotifers.  Microorganisms affect everything from our little toenails to global warming. Wow!

Here are some resources from the library and online that will help you get the big picture on these tiny organisms. Start here also if you’re looking for a topic to research.

If you're looking for: 

--simple text and big pictures: Research will feel like fun when you use this picture-filled tutorial on microorganisms from the Children's University of Manchester.  In addition, a book from our library, The Good, the Bad, and the Slimy, will entertain you while providing a great introduction.Children's University of Manchester Logo The Good, the Bad and the Slimy cover image

 

--a topic for a science project: Try Cell and Microbe Science Fair Projects, which is aimed at upper elementary and middle school students. Also, at the end of this book you will find the “Microbe Identification Guide” in case you’ve been experimenting on your own.  Cell and Microbe Science Fair Projects cover

 

--in depth research on a specific topic:  Access our online tool, Today's Science, from  the Research tools and resources page on our website. The photo of the microbe at the top of the page is from Today's Science. 

 

--specific information about types of microorganisms? Or a study guide for a microbiology class? Take a look at Microbiology for Dummies. Of all the overview books at the high school and college level, this is the clearest, with useful Microbiology for Dummies covercharts and pictures. You may want to use the index for specific organisms or processes.

 

Need to dig even deeper? Don’t forget you can Text a Librarian or come into any library for more help.

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