Blogs

For those of us who love classic literature, Multnomah County Library is a great resource. There are ongoing Classics Pageturners book discussion groups at Hillsdale Library and Hollywood Library, plus a Quarterly Classics group at Capitol Hill Library.  Copies of the books will be available two months in advance of the discussions.  Please call the branch to confirm.  Following that are a series of lists of Western and non-Western literature from every era.

Here are the Classics book group schedules:

Hillsdale Library Classics Pageturners,

Second Saturdays, 3-5 pm

 

June 9, 2018, The Trial, by Franz Kafka

Hollywood Library Classics Pageturners,

Third Sundays, 2-4 pm

 

June 17, 2018, The Mill on the Floss, by George Eliot. (This is a different edition than the group will read)

Capitol Hill Library Quarterly Classics

Second Wednesdays, 1:30 pm, October 2017, January, April & July 2018

 

July 11, 2018, Native Son, by Richard Wright

 

More than 700 adult library patrons are homebound due to age, illness or disability. Because they can’t visit the library, we bring the library to them. Adults who are homebound may have their materials mailed to them or delivered by library staff. Another program called Words on Wheels pairs a patron with a volunteer who takes time to visit when delivering materials. All three services are free.

Many home delivery patrons have no access to a computer. More than a third of these patrons call us to ask about what to read next. We ensure they always have books they haven’t read before.

“It is amazingly helpful to get suggestions and choices that energize my thinking and make the world more alive,” said one books-by-mail patron who responded to a recent survey. “A wonderful program that encourages and stimulates my mind so that I feel alive and young at 93!”

Van delivery patron with staff

A patron on our van delivery route echoed this: “You saved me from a lonely, narrow life. You bring the world to my door with helpful, cheerful people who are always on time and never miss a delivery. “

Reading, said another patron, keeps me alive.

A recent survey of Words on Wheels patrons shows that the program reduces isolation.

“Arthritis has made me homebound for several years. It is profoundly isolating. The social contact with someone who loves to read as much as I do helps! When arthritis made it impossible for me to carry 30 books home on Trimet, Words on Wheels saved my life!” 

Said another: “I look forward to my volunteer’s visits. Not only does that mean a supply of books tailored to my interests, it means I have a visit from this lovely woman who brightens my day. I very seldom leave my home, so visitors are quite welcome. We have lots to discuss — all those books I read.”

Patron and volunteer talking

The numbers of aging and disabled older adults in our community is expected to grow significantly in the next 15 years, according to Multnomah County's Aging, Disability and Veteran Services Division. In fact, the number of aging baby boomers will soon surpass those of all other segments of the population. An estimated 30 percent will become disabled at some point.

The library’s outreach services ensure that patrons who are homebound can still connect.

Two library staff prepare outreach materials

“Your service is a double blessing to all of us who are disabled. It opens up a giant window on the world,” said one patron.

Another patron, homebound due to a debilitating illness, said, “Thanks so much for a service I never anticipated needing. I am homebound. I thought at my age — 69 —  I would not read again, study our past and learn once more. You have given me hope again. I love you all.”

To refer an adult for free home delivery, call Library Outreach Services at 503.988.5404 or email us (lib.adult.outreach@multco.us).

 

In March 2018, a scrap yard fire in Northeast Portland destroyed homes, forced some community members to stay indoors and forced others to evacuate the area due to the smoke and air

quality. Concerns and questions over the lingering effects are still on the minds of some community members. The Multnomah County Health Department has compiled a list of community questions with responses provided by government agencies.

The document is comprehensive and covers questions regarding next steps, air quality, health, soil and water, emergency response and clean up.

Anyone who is a resident of Multnomah County, and that is in need of health care can seek care at county clinics, including people with a low income and who have no health insurance. Medical, dental, and mental health care is available at low or no cost, and interpretation services are always free. Residents should call 503-988-5558 for appointments.

To stay up to date on Multnomah County emergencies, the county advises that residents sign up for PublicAlerts. The service sends landline phone, mobile phone, text, and email alerts in English, Spanish, Vietnamese, Chinese, Russian, Somali, Romanian, Ukrainian, Japanese, Arabic, and Laotian.

“I want to provide for my community.”

by Sarah Binns

If you're worried about the future of the world, think about this month’s Volunteer Spotlight, Lizette Sayavedra Herrera. A senior at Reynolds High School, Lizette is a driven activist who educates and champions her community. This may be the first time you’ve heard her name, but it won’t be the last.

Lizette started as a search assistant at Troutdale: “At first I thought it’d be fun and I could get out of the house.” She pauses and her voice fills with delight: “It turns out I’ve thoroughly enjoyed it.” Her volunteerism soon expanded as she became an assistant for La hora de aprender (The Learning Hour), an educational program for Spanish-speaking children. “I organize things, I read to the kids.” Another pause. “I blow up the balloons. The kids love the balloons.”

The program is close to Lizette’s heart, as she is a Mexican immigrant who came to the U.S. at age six. “When I moved here I didn’t have a lot of Spanish-speaking people around me.” She loves La hora de aprender because she can participate in Latino culture and because she gives kids the Spanish-speaking community she didn’t have.

Lizette is also a force for students of color at Reynolds, serving as co-president of the Latino Student Union and a member of the Black Student Union. “It’s a way for me to learn and grow. I’m Latina but I have a lighter complexion, which comes with privilege….” She addresses the complexities of racial identity and the need for awareness in communities of color: “You have to know when to step in and when to step back. Learning people’s stories, it’s what I have a passion for.”

Lizette will marry activism with academics when she attends Wellesley College this fall, pursuing biomedical engineering or pre-law. “My grandmother has diabetes. She takes up to ten medicines a day. If I can take her pills down from ten to five, that’s significant. Plus, groundbreaking medicines often aren’t available to people of color due to price gouging.” Lizette’s interest in law stems from the over-representation of Latinos and people of color in the U.S. prison system: “A lot of times people of color don’t have access to attorneys or the same legal opportunities.”

Bound for the east coast in the fall, Lizette is excited about Wellesley’s all-female campus: “I know I’ll learn from being surrounded by other women.” She’ll continue to be an advocate for communities of color. “I want to provide for my community,” she concludes. Look out world, Lizette Sayavedra Herrera is coming for you—and she is going to change it.  


A few facts about Lizette

Home library:  Troutdale

Currently reading:  The New Jim Crow by Michelle Alexander and The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood

Favorite book from childhood:  The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle

Most influential book:  Esperanza Rising by Pam Muñoz Ryan

Book that made you cry:  Esperanza Rising

Favorite browsing section: Young adult nonfiction

E-reader or paper?  Paper!

Favorite place to read: "My bed."

Thanks for reading the MCL Volunteer Spotlight. Stay tuned for our next edition coming soon! Read last month's Volunteer Spotlight.

 

 

On choosing a summer read

When I say vacation or beach read, you probably have some books immediately come to mind. Not all readers think of the same type of book though. My husband sees it as an opportunity to read the long books he doesn’t have time for usually. His vacation books lean toward meaty nonfiction and fiction that makes you think. I want escape. I also want to read books written for adults since as a youth librarian I’m usually reading books for kids and teens. While I want to read Evicted (my husband's last beach read), I eye my stack of mysteries, fantasy, and stories about women (both light and more introspective).

Gimme some Terry Pratchett, Alan Bradley, Carl Hiaasen, Ann Patchett. I want to catch up on mystery series, be an armchair traveler, laugh about life’s absurdities, and read a bestselling author I’ve missed. Some teen books sneak on to my vacation reading pile. A Sarah Dessen novel is the definition of beach read and I needed the devoted time of my last vacation to devour Thunderhead, second in an enthralling series by Neal Shusterman.

So many books, so little vacation time. What do you plan to read this summer?

Birthdays, graduations, weddings -- all memorable life events that we plan for and celebrate. But when you think about it, isn't dying the biggest, most dramatic event in a person's life? And yet we spend little time preparing for it. Recently I've been inspired by Kate Bowler's podcast, Everything Happens, which is by turns hilarious, dark, heart-rending and sweet. Her companion book, Everything Happens for a Reason got a big thumbs up from Bill Gates in his annual summer reading recommendations.

Kate's diagnosis of stage IV cancer sent her into heavy contemplation mode, and luckily she decided to share her insights. Tip #1 - never say "everything happens for a reason." Tip #2: spread joy, as Bowler did when she posted this Bhangra tribute to the Winnipeg Jets on her twitter feed. Tip #3: check out the attached list for more thoughts on space between life and death.

Winnipeg Vs. Everybody - The Bhangra Remix

Has the recent Netflix documentary "Wild Wild Country" piqued your interest on the history of the Rajneesh movement? Are you curious about how it was reported on at the time, before the internet and up-to-the-minute news feed updates?

Your friendly neighborhood library can help you learn more. Your library card grants you access to the Historical Oregonian, where you can read the headlines and the articles on the Rajneesh movement that riveted Oregonians at the time. Did you know that the Rajneesh movement published their own newspaper? Central Library has copies of these newspapers available for the community to look at. 

From tailored booklists to one-on-one appointments  to help you delve deeper on this or any other subject, your library is here to help guide you on your research path.

Do you have a zine you want to share with the world? The library is a great place to do that! We have a zine collection available for checkout at five of our locations: Albina, Belmont, Central, Hollywood and North Portland. The focus of the collection is to provide a showcase for local authors that produce zines on popular topics of interest to our community.

We generally limit our purchases to distros like Antiquated Future, Microcosm, Mend My Dress Press, Portland Button Works and Powells Books. We also purchase zines at the annual Portland Zine Symposium.

You can submit a sample of your zine by dropping it off or mailing it to the following locations (please include your name and contact info.)

Multnomah County Library Belmont Branch
Attn: Lori Moore
1038 SE Cesar E Chavez Blvd.
Portland, OR 97214

Or

Multnomah County Library Central
Attn: Karen Eichler
801 SW 10th Ave
Portland, OR 97205

Contact us for more information.

Finally -- a reason to celebrate insomnia.

WPC 56
BBC shows set in different eras can be so spot-on. They've produced some brilliant series that completely capture the milieu of a particular time period and do it whilst telling a really interesting story. I enjoy watching Downton Abbey for the beautiful frocks but the story of how the world of the upper class was changing after the turn of the century is the more important tale to observe. And yes, I love the fashions of the 40s and 50s so I’ll watch a lot of shows just for the look of those times, but give me a series that explores the changing roles of women and men, and I’ll binge-watch the entire thing in a couple of days.

WPC 56 is one of those shows. It’s set in the 1950s, in the West Midlands police force. Gina Dawson is the first female police officer to serve in her home town police station. At her first meeting with the chief inspector, he sternly says to her, “Never forget that your sole responsibility is to support the men so that they can get on with the job of real policing.” Unbelievable. But then again, so believable. In just a few episodes, we see how such tough issues as rape, mental illness, and race relations played out in a small town in 1950s England. Even though I wish I had a few of their party dresses, I’m glad I’m living in 2018. 

Here's a list of some of my other favorite British series that bring to life other times and places. 

 

Multnomah County Library’s new mobile sewing lab is on the move! Funded through the library’s staff innovation program Curiosity Kick!, the program is piloting a series of Somali sewing classes at Capitol Hill and Gregory Heights libraries. 

Sewing instructor

The Library Sewing Project began as an idea proposed by Capitol Hill Library Assistant Suad M., Central Library Assistant Lisa T., and Capitol Hill Library Administrator Patti V., after the team heard from the Somali community a desire to find free neighborhood sewing classes. The proposal was selected by staff to receive a $10,000 Curiosity Kick grant in 2017.  

The team purchased ten sewing machines, a bin of sewing supplies, and a cart to transport the equipment and supplies throughout the library system. They also identified Somali speaking sewing instructors who could teach the four new beginning sewing programs.

When the new series of classes launched in March at Capitol Hill, all classes were filled to capacity with eight students each. The demand and interest for the sewing classes remains high.

“This program not only responded to community requests, it created a space for women who usually don't feel safe or comfortable using public institutions due to language barriers. By providing an instructor that shares the same language and culture, we reduced that barrier, and got over 100% attendance, 100% of the time,” said Suad.

Violeta
Violeta still remembers the first time she saw the library as more than books: 

"Growing up on the Mexican border, the one public library in town was the size of an average living room. Then we moved to Texas and my mom took us down to our new library. I couldn’t believe everything it had. It was a big space! They had blocks to play with, Disney movies to check out, and best of all, everything was free."

Today, as a bilingual (Spanish) youth librarian for Troutdale Library, Violeta helps connect East County youth to the library world she fell in love with from an early age. She especially enjoys the connection she’s made with teen patrons.

"Working with teens is underrated. I can show them my goofiest self, and they really open up. We want to make the library a desirable and inclusive space for everyone. It can be a place of acceptance for them as they go from seeing the world as black and white to seeing the ‘grays’ in life."

With Violeta’s leadership, Troutdale is reviving its Teen Council, an opportunity for teens from the neighborhood to develop leadership skills and get involved. The Teen Council meets bimonthly and develops programs for other youth to get involved in the library.

This May, Troutdale will host a special three-part event for teens and youth, Live in a Better World and Give Back, which will be an opportunity for attendees to craft and make tote bags that will be donated to women and children at the Rose Haven day shelter.

In addition to her role as youth librarian, Violeta worked for the past nine months as a regional librarian in East County, supporting Gresham, Troutdale, Rockwood and Fairview libraries. In her role, she spent time reaching out to organizations and listening to what East County neighborhoods want from their library; coordinating resource lists for patrons, such as where in East County houseless patrons can get basic services; and leading training opportunities for other youth librarians.

As Violeta reached out to neighborhood organizations, she recognized an increasing need for the library to be out telling the community all it can offers — for free — that goes beyond books.

"Some people think of us as another government organization, but we are so dedicated to helping people get the information they need, connecting them to resources and most importantly, protecting their privacy," said Violeta.

As a librarian dedicated to serving East County, Violeta’s commitment and passion for helping people in her community, and connecting them to the library, remains at the center of her work.

"I’ve always felt at home in the library. I want to help ensure others feel that way too."

Privacy and cyber security are just two facets of digital literacy. Technology is drastically changing the way we find and apply for jobs, manage our finances, and make sense of the daily news. It’s changing the way we understand and implement things like copyright, diplomacy, and activism. As more industries are disrupted by digital innovations, the opportunities we seek may distort and disappear without warning.

Check out these local resources for more information about efforts in our community to bridge the digital divide and create a future where the promise of better living through technology is offered to everyone:

Free Geek

Municipal Broadband PDX

Digital Equity Action Plan

Protecting Yourself Online

 

Take a look at these other resources designed to help people navigate the information jungle:

Terms of Service Didn’t Read

How Secure is my Password?

Have I Been Pwned?

Snopes.com

Library Freedom Project

Mozilla Learning

 

As always, your library is here for you. Peruse these reads that explore the various elements of web literacy.

 

thinking man
Ask yourself these questions when you're evaluating a website:

  1. What authority is responsible for this site? Who developed the site, and is there a clear link to contact information? What are the author’s credentials, and is the site supported by an organization or commercial body?
  2. What is the purpose of the site? Is the purpose to inform, persuade, convey an opinion, entertain, or parody something/someone? Is the site geared to a specific audience (students, scholars, public at large), and does the content support the site’s purpose?
  3. What is the extent of this site’s coverage? Does the site claim to be selective or comprehensive?  Are the topics explored in depth? Compare the value of the site’s information compared to other similar sites.  Does the site provide information with no relevant external links?
  4. Is the information posted on the site current? Does the site list the date the information was first written, published online, and last revised? Are there any dead links or references to sites that have moved?  Is the information provided so time-specific that its usefulness is limited to a certain time period?
  5. Is the site clearly objective, or is it trying to sway its audience? Is the information presented with a particular bias?  Is site advertising at odds with the content? Is the site trying to explain, inform, or persuade, or is it selling something?
  6. Is the information accurate? Does the site provide references, and does it use correct spelling and grammar?


There are also specific criteria in evaluating government websites, which are especially important when trying to access vital services:

  1. Does the website address end in ".gov."?
  2. Does the site charge a fee for blank government enrollment/application forms? Government forms and instructions are free.

Contact Consumer Action’s hotline at 415.777.9635 or online if you have a question about a suspicious site that claims to be government related.

Finally, here are some more ways to protect yourself online.

Sources:

Re-Hashed: 5 Ways to Determine if a Website is Fake, Fraudulent, or a Scam (Hashed Out)

6 Criteria for Websites (Dalhousie University)

Be aware of government imposters (Consumer Action)

Couple taking selfie
Online privacy and security can seem daunting and confusing. We've broken it down into a few topics we thought would be most helpful. Have more ideas? Let us know in the comments.

How to evaluate a website

Get the privacy you want on social media

How to protect yourself on public wi-fi

7 ways to identify a phishing scam

Email phishing scams and how to avoid them

Beyond privacy: digital inclusion

 

 

mother and son on beach
What is too much information on social media?

Ask yourself whether the information could be used against you. For example, if you share vacation photos while you're away, someone could break into your empty house knowing you're gone. If you share photos when partying hard, those photos may be seen by a future potential employer. If you make a new phone number available, your ex may find it. 

Here are some tips to maintain the privacy that you want on your social media accounts:

  • Use strong passwords.
  • Update your accounts regularly.
  • Don’t accept people you don’t know as friends.
  • Keep personal things personal and limit sharing to the people you want to see them rather than making everything “public.”
  • Be wary of strange messages or links from friends. People can pretend to be a friend, or maybe your friends’ account has been hacked.

Here are some useful links:

Information from The Center for Identity on privacy settings

Facebook privacy settings

Facebook privacy settings video

Messenger privacy settings

YouTube privacy settings

Instagram privacy settings

Twitter privacy settings

SnapChat privacy settings

 

More ways to protect yourself online.

Signs that say Hope and Despair.
When you are seeking help, it can be overwhelming to figure out where to start. This is a selective list of social service organizations and places that offer housing, shelter, mental health counseling, escape from abusive situations and other basic needs for people who are homeless, jobless or going through personal transitions. If you have any questions or need assistance finding services, contact us and we'll be happy to help!

When in doubt, start here: 211info

211info is a comprehensive support hub for referrals to food, shelter, housing, foreclosure assistance, health care, and much more. Calls are confidential, anonymous and free. Certified Information and Referral Specialists assess the situation and refer callers using a locally managed database of over 4,200 programs in Oregon and Southwest Washington. Telephone interpreters are available for help in more than 150 languages. Dial 211 from any phone; text your zip code to 898211; send an email to help@211info.org; or search resources online.

Other resources:

Cascadia Behavioral Healthcare

Cascadia provides mental health counseling for people with psychiatric and substance use challenges. They provide crisis intervention, addictions treatment, and housing services for people who are very low-income. Their website includes addresses and phone numbers for services as well as links to additional behavioral health resources.

Multnomah County Mental Health & Addictions Services

Provides mental health services to adults, children and families. They serve Oregon Health Plan members enrolled in Health Share of Oregon/Multnomah Mental Health as well as people who have no insurance or resources. Their Mental Health Call Center is staffed 24 hours a day, seven days a week; call 503-988-4888, 800-716-9769 (toll free) or 503-988-5866 (TTY).

Northwest Pilot Project

Provides housing and other supportive services for seniors ages 55 and older who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless. Help finding housing, transportation help, advocacy and referrals to other resources and services. NW Pilot Project recommends calling 503-227-5605 before coming in.

Outside In

Outside In is a community resource for homeless youth.  They provide health services, counseling and shelter, as well as programs and education.

Call to Safety

Offers 24 hour telephone crisis counseling for victims of domestic and sexual violence; call 503-235-5333 or 888-235-5333. The organization also offers support groups and direct service counseling for victims of domestic violence and childhood sexual abuse.

Rose City Resource

Street Roots publishes this very comprehensive directory of services for people experiencing homelessness and poverty in Multnomah, Washington, and Clackamas counties.  It is updated twice a year.

Transition Projects

This organization can help with a variety of services including shelter, showers, food box vouchers, clothing, laundry services, Trimet tickets, information and referral, and housing search assistance.

Diary of a Bookseller book jacket
Sometimes I get in a reading rut where I realize that the last ten books I've read have been British police procedurals or chapter books featuring third graders, but I am rarely in a reading slump where I drift from book to book starting chapters only to abandon them a few pages in (even though they were books I placed on hold and was desperate to read - before I got them).  This spring, however, I hit a major slump and it was only when I picked up The Diary of a Bookseller by Shaun Bythell that my reading juices got flowing again.  Bythell is the owner of The Bookshop - the largest used bookstore in Scotland - and for a year he kept a diary noting the dramas small and large in a bookseller's life.  I read it quickly and frequently laughed out loud at stories of staff and customers. I have now put in a request to my Scottish sweetie that we visit Wigtown - the book town where Bythell's shop resides - sometime in the next year or so.  After reading Bythell's book, I moved on to more memoirs, anecdotes, romance and other fiction about bookstores, and my spring reading slump is a thing of the past (although I am now, perhaps, in a bookshop reading rut)!  Check out this list for some entertaining and engrossing books about bookstores.  Happy spring reading!

 

Library staff providing a tour of the library
On a late afternoon in early April, a small group is quietly gathered in a meeting room at Midland Library. Terhas is watching as Corinne stands smiling at the front of the room, pointing to a slideshow projected on the board. Speaking in short sentences, Corinne goes over the various types of education in the United States; she pauses and then waits. Terhas and the other students in the classroom turn attentively to the person next to them, their translator.

The room fills with chatter and animated discussion in Arabic, Rohingya, Kinyarwanda, and Tigrinya. 
 
Terhas is attending a cultural orientation session organized by Catholic Charities for newly settled refugees. During the sessions, refugees learn the basics of navigating transportation, banking, employment, health services, education, and thanks to a partnership with Multnomah County Library — they also learn all about the library.
 
When Corinne finishes, she introduces Elena Gold, a library assistant at Belmont Library and Gesse Stark-Smith, a community outreach librarian, to talk about the library and distribute gifts to each of the refugees — Oxford Picture Dictionaries. 
 
The dictionaries were purchased as part of the staff-led library innovation program, Curiosity Kick! Each year, staff submit ideas for new services or programs that cost under $15,000 and could help the library better serve the community. Library staff vote and select the top ideas to move forward as fully funded projects. Last year, staff selected the dictionaries project as a winner. 
 
“The library is here to help people live their lives as they wish, and library staff are very perceptive at identifying changing community needs. The Curiosity Kick! Program has been an encouraging model to introduce new services while supporting staff innovation and problem solving,” said Vailey Oehlke, director of libraries.
 
Elena and Gesse make their way around the room, handing out the new dictionaries along with forms to sign up for a Multnomah County Library card. 
 
“The dictionaries have been a wonderful gift to the refugees during these sessions. They’re getting so much information in a short period of time so the ability to have something tangible to keep and hold on to and learn from is very meaningful,” said Corinne. 
 
In addition to partnering on the cultural orientation sessions and handing out free dictionaries, the library offers ongoing support and services, including English conversation classes, citizenship classes and one-on-one adult tutoring, which can help adults studying for a degree or professional certification.
 
Until the allocated funding runs out, the library will continue to provide dictionaries to refugees through Catholic Charities and two other local refugee resettlement agencies. The project team is currently looking for ways to continue the program after the Curiosity Kick project ends. 
 
After receiving their new dictionaries, the group follows Elena and Gesse out for a tour of the light-filled Midland Library. Delighted with her new library card, Terhas pulls an item off the shelf and heads straight for the self-checkout machine, eager to check out her first book.

 

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