Music Online from Alexander Street Press is a streaming audio and video service available with your Multnomah County Library card. This massive collection features a wide variety musical types in recordings and video, all accessible through the Multnomah County Library catalog.
Additionally, you can sign up for a free download of music with your email address, an interesting random method for exploring music that you might not know. Sign up for classical music notices, world/folk music, or both; every two weeks there is something new, with notes about the recordings.
This week's free download from Classical Music Library is the Piano Concerto for the Left Hand by Maurice Ravel:
"When the talented Austrian pianist Paul Wittgenstein lost his right arm in the First World War, he devoted himself to playing with his left hand only. As a result, he commissioned a number of works from composers as varied as Korngold, Richard Strauss, Prokofiev, and Britten. In the late 1920s, he approached French composer Maurice Ravel. Written between 1929 and 1930, Ravel's Piano Concerto for the Left Hand is the best known of Wittgenstein's commissions. Ravel travelled to the United States in 1928, where he led a very successful concert tour. The influence of American music and jazz, especially the music of George Gershwin, whom Ravel visited with in New York, is much in evidence in the harmonies and syncopated rhythms. Wittgenstein himself premiered the work in 1932." This recording is performed by the Orchestre Philharmonique des Pays de Loire, featuring pianist Abdel Rahman El Bacha." - from the description on Music Online.
At Central Library, you can find books that describe repertoire for specific instruments, useful for musicians who are looking for new works to play. The book Piano Music for One Hand is one of numerous books for just this type of piano music. Here is an excerpt from author Theodore Edel's description of this piece:
"One of Ravel's masterpieces and the absolue summit of the left-hand repertoire. It was written concurrently with the G major Concerto and nothing could be farther removed from its sparking Mozartean sound world than this dark and fateful music. Together the Concerti constitute the two poles of Ravel's persona; and they are his last compositions for the piano. This work is in one large ternary-form movement. The opening seems to rise out of the very depths of the orchestra, with the piano solo continuing the fateful mood. The extended middle section, in a driving 6/8, ranges from playfulness to savagery and incorporates a distinct jazz element."
- from Piano Music for One Hand, by Theodore Edel.
Central Library Art & Music Room Reference R- 786.2 E21p
Listening to this piece, I found it almost shocking how swiftly it moved from one affect to another, seemingly at the limits of joy and despair in a short work.
Jan is reading Extreme Medicine: How exploration transformed medicine in the twentieth century and has this to say about it: "Dr. Kevin Fong is one of the most brilliant people I've ever heard speak and brings all this breadth of knowledge to the study of how physical extremes push human limits and spawn medical breakthroughs."
When I first moved to Portland, everyone asked if I was going to get a bike. My response was a doubtful maybe. After relying on public transportation for most of my adult life, it seemed unnecessary. Seven years later, I’m contemplating which bike to add to my growing two wheeled family and can’t imagine getting around Portland any other way.
The road to year round riding was paved with a stolen bike(later found), scarily inappropriate routes, and an informative lesson about riding on ice. However, despite any obstacles I’ve rode a long way baby. Perhaps not in distance like the dedicated bike tourers, but around town you’ll see me on my commuter bike with the best of them.
One of my favorite afternoon jaunts is the Springwater Corridor. It's an amazing trail. However, If you need a change of scene, Portland’s Bureau of Transportation’s “Best rides around Portland” offers a multitude of route suggestions and maps for local and regional trips. Don’t know the best way to get somewhere? Bike Portland can help you sort out route information from other cyclists on their forums. More of a group rider? Attend one of the many Pedalpalooza rides that take place for three weeks every June. Craving some kindred spirits off the saddle? Look no further than the Filmed by Bike festival held every April.
That’s only the beginning, but before you lock up and put the away the helmet, don’t forget about what the library has to offer. There’s a wide array of books and maps with plenty of routes to keep you spinning around for the whole year. Additionally, our helpful reference staff can assist you in navigating any of the above resources to get you in gear!
Have you ever been in love? That was actually your Limbic System.
Have you every wonder why you get hot, cold, or hungry. It was probably a part of your diencephalon which is a part of your brain that controls the parts of your brain which regulate internal body condition.
Are you right or left brained? Maybe both?
If you are curious about how the brain works, need to write a report, or do reasearch on the brain, check out MCL's database on Teen and Health Wellness and click on Body Basics. There are articles, detailed images, charts that you can look through and that are easy to follow. The articles include an MLA, APA, and Chicago citation!
If you need more information on the human brain, click on contact a librarian. You can text, email, or call us!
As a child, I spent a lot of time with animals. My family had dogs, cats, chickens, ducks, geese, turkeys, lizards, assorted tropical birds, and even a herd of 13 goats. Moose visited the yard once or twice a week, and when the snow was deep sometimes ermine (those little weaselly-looking white critters with the black-tipped tails) peeked in our windows. To while away the dark winter nights we would check out a film projector from the local library, tack a white sheet up on the wall of the log cabin, and watch films (on reels!) of wildebeests stampeding across Africa, bears fishing in Canada, warthogs wallowing in the mud… somewhere far warmer than where we were. To this day, I can’t resist checking out lavish books of animal photography, big expensive books that would be awkward to own but that are a treat to look at for a few weeks.
Across the Ravaged Land by Nick Brandt. is my favorite of these. When it arrived on hold, I was shocked by its size. Opening it revealed majestic and ominous black and white photos of elephants, lions, hyenas, and other African wildlife, created without a telephoto lens or digital camera. Apparently Brandt is gutsy enough to walk right up to a hyena to take its portrait. Especially striking are the eerie shots of animals whose every last feather and hoof have been preserved by the mineral waters of a natron lake, including a bat perched among thorns that looks like it belongs on the cover of some long lost apocalyptic folk album. But the heart of the book is with the elephants, so monumental and solemn - fittingly so, since some were killed by poachers not long after their portraits were taken. A beautiful but sometimes bleak book, well worth a look.
There is lots of information about history in books, but sometimes the best way to find out about the past is to look at materials created at the time you’re studying. Newspapers can be a great source for this kind of primary source research.
People investigating local history here in Multnomah County are lucky -- there have been many, many newspapers published in Portland, Gresham, and other local cities over the last 150 years. The longest-lived Portland newspaper, the Oregonian, is also considered by many to be the “paper of record” for the state, and Multnomah County Library cardholders can read, search and browse every page of nearly every issue of the Oregonian published 1861-1987, using the library’s Historical Oregonian (1861-1987).
Let’s try a search! Start by going to the Historical Oregonian (1861-1987) page on the library's website, click on the blue Begin using this resource button, and then type in your library card number and PIN.
Say you want to see articles about the Rose Festival parades from past years. Type the keywords “rose parade” into the search box at the upper left corner of the page (remember to use those quotation marks -- they limit your search to the phrase “rose parade” with the words right next to each other and in order). Now click on Search.
This gives you 1,781 results! Quite a lot. The reason it's so many is that your search returns every occurrence of the phrase "rose parade" in every article, headline, or advertisement in every day's paper from 1851 to 1987. Whew!
As you can see, the articles in your list of results are arranged chronologically, with the oldest articles at the top. But since you probably don’t have time to read 1,781 articles in one sitting, let’s find some ways to get a shorter, more precise list.
One great way to narrow your search is by limiting to articles from a specific date range. To see articles about the 1952 parade, click on the Dates and Eras tab and then type in the year 1952. Click on the green Search button again to see articles published in 1952 that contain the phrase "rose parade."
This gives you a much more manageable list of 69 articles. If you find one you like, click on the snippet that shows the headline (or on the View article link), and you'll get a new page which shows the article.
Let's try a different way to narrow your search -- by adding a second topic. If you are a long-time lover of the Grand Floral Parade, you've probably been to at least a few parades held under cloudy or rainy skies. Portland in June, right? Let's look for articles about rainy parades.
Go back to the main screen and start a new search. This time, type in the phrase "rose parade" (with the quotes, just like before!), and also the word rain, and then click on the green Search button.
This gets you a nice list of about 50 articles, again arranged with the oldest one first.
Let's take a look at one of the articles. Scroll down the page a bit and you'll see an article from the front page of the June 13, 1941 paper. Click on the snippet of the headline (it's zoomed in kind of far, so only the words "For Rose Parade" are showing). This gets you the full page so you can read the article.
It turns out, the article does include the word "rain," but only because it the weather was forecast to be dry! The author says "the weatherman found no threat of rain to mar Friday's Rose Festival floral parade although some cloudiness is expected to continue." 1941, I guess, was a good year.
Here are some more tips and things to remember about using the Historical Oregonian (1861-1987):
- When you search this resource, you are searching the words and phrases that appeared in the newspaper. If you're looking for a topic that can be expressed in different ways, you might need to try different terms. For example: sometimes, journalists used the phrase "rose parade" to describe the big daytime parade that's always on a Saturday in June. But they might also have used the phrase "rose festival parade," or they might have said something like "the parade at this year's Rose Festival." Nowadays we have several parades every year, so it might also be good to search specifically for the "grand floral parade" or the "starlight parade." If you don't see the results you expect, try a different phrase or term. If your search finds only a few articles, read them and see if they offer any clues as to new search terms you can use that might get better results.
- These old newspapers are historical artifacts, and they reflect the culture, attitudes, and language of their times. Articles and advertisements from the past may stereotype individuals and groups, or use terms that are now considered derogatory and offensive. Historical newspapers may also use other out-of-date or unfamiliar terms: filling station instead of the modern gas station, or automobile instead of car.
- Librarians are here to help! Ask whenever you have questions, or any time you'd like more searching tips. You can contact a librarian by email, chat, text or telephone, or of course ask the librarian on duty any time you're at the library in person.
Now that you have a little grounding in how the Historical Oregonian (1861-1987) works, take it out for a spin! And share your discoveries in the comments, if you like.
Do you have more questions about searching for historical newspaper articles? Are you working on a local history project? If you'd like specific advice or help with your research challenges, do please Ask the Librarian!
Information Literacy. It’s a fancy term that teachers and librarians really like. There is an official definition from the American Library Association full of phrases like “locate, evaluate, and use effectively” and “proliferating information sources” and a bit about “escalating complexity”. So other than confirming that librarians like using lots of words, what does all of this mean?
Think of information literacy as the background skills (the Big Six, not to be confused with the Big Ten) that you need to be good at research. It is all about understanding what to do with what you find so you can get good grades and you know, learn something. While there are a lot of places that information literacy will serve you well, searching online can get really murky.
But you’re not alone! Check out these short and silly locally grown videos and other research tips for ways to make your homework all that much easier.
Our videos were made with the acting help and guidance of the teen councils of Midland, Northwest, Sellwood and Troutdale libraries.
Looking for more help? Contact a librarian!
How to do effective research. Five videos to help!
The little Birds fly
Down to the calico tree,
Their wings were blue
And they sang 'Tilly-loo!'
Till away they flew,—
And they never came back to me!
They never came back!
They never came back!
They never came back to me!
A couple of years ago I was a school librarian desperately trying to encourage poetry reading and appreciation among students kindergarten-eighth grade. I was succeeding to a certain degree, but one afternoon I was sitting at my desk wondering if I ever would be able to get through the barrage of Disney princesses and Lego warriors to the just plain silliness of Edward Lear.
Among the things I tried with my students:
- Reading out loud in unison
- Colouring a picture with the words
- Clapping the rthymn
- Encouraging students to write their own silly ryhmes
The response was lukewarm and after my last class left I sat there wanting to cry from frustration thinking that such poems would be lost to the newer generations forever. Lucky for me I did what I often do when upset - listened to music. Suddenly I heard from my computer where Pandora had been merrily playing away - Calico Pie, Little Bird fly….WHAT? HOW? The very poem I had just read to the first graders. The tune was peppy and clean. I was so happy I felt like dancing. The voice sounded familiar. Was it Natalie Merchant? Yes, Yes it was. When given the option to listen to the whole album, I hit 'enter' so enthusiastically that my keyboard almost bounced off the the desk .
The rest of the afternoon passed in a dream, poem after poem set to music and sung with Natalie Merchant’s unique personal style. One poem was new: "Bleezers Ice Cream", by Jack Prelutsky, but most were classics; " Maggie and Milly and Molly and me"- by e.e. cummings and "Spring and Fall: To a Young Child" by Gerald Manley Hopkins.
Other verses like "The King of China’s Daughter" and "The Man in the Wilderness" were so well-worn into my memory that I couldn’t remember where I had first heard them. When I consulted Natalie Merchant’s website I found that she and I were worried about the same thing: how to give children a sense of poetry, a sense that past things should be remembered. Natalie wanted her young daughter to know poetry at an early age. So she composed music for a selection of her favorite poems. She looked up the background of each poet and added it to the package. The result is Leave Your Sleep, a beautiful collection of readable, singable poems. I have been singing them ever since. I am no longer a school librarian but I know that many of my students memorized poems through her music and I am inspired to know that there are still those who are using their talents to keep poetry alive.
Librarian Beverly is reading The Memoirs of Sarah Bernhardt. She says: "What impressed me in Sarah Bernhardt's memoirs was her courage during the Franco-German War, when she established a military hospital in the theatre where she was an actress, and her ever present readiness for new places and experiences."
For imagery, it may prove elusive to locate just exactly the idea you are looking for on the internet, or by searching for books in the Library Catalog. Long before the invention of the internet, Central Library staff created the Picture Files to help solve this problem. For many years, books beyond repair, outdated calendars, and discarded magazines were reviewed by librarians and organized by volunteers into massive file cabinets of pictures, all by subject.
The composite picture shown here is from the file of womens' fashion from 1950, just the single year 1950. Womens' fashion design is one of the most extensive sections, with a file for each year from 1900-2005. There are picture files for hundreds of topics from the arts, history, social sciences and natural sciences.
Pictures can be checked out just like books. To use this collection, ask for picture files at the Central Library 3rd floor, Art and Music Reference Desk. You can check out up to 50 images selected from multiple folders.
The individual pictures are all protected by copyright laws of the US, since they are from printed books and magazines, published after 1922. As such, the goal of the collection is for helping people shape the ideas for their projects.
Questions about the Picture Files?
Contact Central Library Information Services:
In a tiny Russian village of Kashen, seventeen year-old Georgy Jachmenev steps in front of a bullet meant for the Tsar’s uncle. As a reward for his bravery, Georgy is offered a job working for Tsar Nicholas and his family as the personal bodyguard to young Alexei Romanov. Georgy excels at his job and becomes part of the Tsar’s inner circle. But when Georgy meets and falls in love with the Tsar’s youngest daughter Anastasia, his life is changed forever. Flash forward to 1981, when an aging Georgy is retired, living in London and caring for his cancer-stricken wife Zoya. Told in alternating chapters, these two worlds travel toward their inevitable meeting. Readers get a bird’s eye view of life in imperial Russia, from the glitz and glamour of life in the Winter Palace to the evil influence of the legendary Rasputin and finally to the sad fate of the Romanov family at the hands of the Bolsheviks.
As with many of his other fascinating novels, including Crippen, The Absolutist and The Boy in the Striped Pajamas, John Boyne has once again made history accessible and timeless. In The House of Special Purpose, he takes a much-examined story and makes it fresh and inviting. It is a story of love across sixty-five years of history, and a testament to the power of accident and determination to control our lives.
Ahhh riot grrrl , be still my heart. I have fond memories of you. When I was fresh out of college with my women's studies certificate I got to witness and participate in the rise and fall of your movement.
One of the most memorable days of my life (besides my wedding day) was when I did a poetry reading for 150 Canadian teens at a Vancouver Riot Grrrl concert in 1992. I was the only poet on the bill. I was told by an organizer at the event that most of the audience probably hadn’t heard a poet before.
I was shaking in my shoes when I started with these words:
Spoon Fed Our Daily Dose of Violence
You may wonder but may not care about my primal deep weep.
Or my cautious unspeaking nature.
Sure the words can be spelled or spilled upon the page but when real things are said I stutter.
I feel people shy and not so afraid of death.
They responded with screams and applause after this first poem. As a poet I felt like a punk rock star for a moment.
Riot Grrrl was a grassroots feminist movement in the punk scene. Riot grrrls were fighting against mainstream misogyny and subcultural sexism evident in punk rock shows and culture. They fought the good fight and their efforts still echo in our contemporary culture. Publishers and record labels have been collecting, reprinting and producing books, videos and music from this prolific movement. I created this list in honor of these cultural “sheroes.”
I avoided his poetry for years, the way one avoids eye contact in an elevator. Imagining it to be all about horses, I ignored the ravings—sane as they turned out to be. Perhaps it was his Poet Laureate status, or maybe just his popularity in general. I don’t remember now what compelled me to pick up that first book of his poetry. It was on display (oh those evil displays) and it was his newest publication at the time. I really wanted to hate him, but then I read the poems and I didn’t. The language he uses elevates the ordinary everyday and mundane into an appreciative art. It was accessible and relational. It made me rethink the small moments in life and wonder if they could ever be captured in just such a simple manner.
I started with Ballistics, but I don’t believe it matters which one you pick up to begin. Just begin.
The Portland Art Museum exhibition Venice - The Golden Age of Art and Music, is worth multiple visits to take in the two floors of artworks, manuscripts, and musical instruments on view. Intended as a multimedia presentation exploring the connections between art and music, you can use headphones for an audio tour, or listen to the musical works that are featured in each room.
The Montreal Museum of Fine Art summarizes this exhibition as follows:
Splendore a Venezia, organized, developed, produced and circulated by the Museum, brings together masterworks by many of the most renowned names associated with the city on the lagoon: visual artists directly associated with the musical life of the city include Titian, Tintoretto, Bassano, Giovanni Battista and Domenico Tiepolo, and Francesco Guardi, many of whom were also amateur musicians, as well as Bernardo Strozzi, Pietro Longhi and Canaletto, whose paintings record the role of music in Venetian life. The exhibition also includes manuscripts and publications by Venetian composers like Gabrieli, Monteverdi, Albinoni, Lotti and Vivaldi.
Continue listening to more of the works of composers from home with Music Online from Alexander Street Press, available with your Multnomah County Library card. All of the audio recordings from Music Online are linked through the Multnomah County Library catalog by composer, title, performers, and subjects with a new catalog type: "streaming music." Login with the barcode number and password (pin) from your Multnomah County Library card. Use the advanced search to find recordings by compoers' names, by era of music, and keyword.
Examples of recordings
Venice Before Vivaldi: A Portrait of Giovanni Legrenzi
Monteverdi Duets & Solos
Create a login and save favorites to a playlist, to return to the next time you use Music Online.
From formal Victorian rose gardens to old growth forests and everything in between, this is a great place to enjoy parks. But where should you start? These books will help you choose the right park for you!
Wild in the City is the classic guide to parks, trails and natural areas around our region. This fine natural history of the cities on the Willamette and Columbia Rivers contains short chapters describing specific birds, mammals, trees, hikes, parks, paddles, a wealth of facts and memories of natural places and experiences, and discussion of initiatives and policies for increasing and protecting the urban watersheds and natural areas.
In Nature Walks In & Around Portland, long-time local park explorers Karen and Terry Whitehill present 37 of their favorite nature walks, ranging from one-half to six miles in length. From well-known parks and natural areas like Sauvie's Island to hidden gems like SW Portland's Marshall Park, a glittering tree-covered treasure hidden between busy urban thoroughfares, this book is a great guide for walk and park lovers!
Portland Hill Walks features twenty-four miniature adventures stocked with stunning views, hidden stairways, leafy byways, urban forests, and places to sit, eat, and soak in the local scene. Whether you feel like meandering through old streetcar neighborhoods or climbing a lava dome, there is a hill walk for every mood. And of course, author Laura O. Foster features many walks in or through parks.
Do you want more options? Take a look at the great list of books to help you get outdoors, below!
Questions? Ask the Librarian.
Hoopla is a new online library media collection for adults, teens, and children, that you can use from home with your library card from Multnomah County. Select from a collection of thousands of digital movies, television shows, audiobooks, and music selections, by linking to Hoopla in the e-books and downloadables section of the library's website.
Check out movies and television shows for 72 hours; music albums for seven days; audiobooks for 21 days. There is a limit of six items total per month, reseting on the first of the month.
Hoopla includes new releases by major labels, studios and publishers, all available to cardholders for free and on demand. You do not need to place holds and can check out an item instantly, since streaming media allows for more than one person to check out items at the same time.
Audiobooks, music, and videos stream directly to your PC or mobile device, with download available for mobile devices only, using the app from the iOS App Store or Google Play for Android. Hoopla is separate from your regular library account, so all items return automatically at the end of the checkout time. There are no overdue fines.
Try it out:
1. Link to Hoopla through the Multnomah County Library website: e-books and downloadables.
2. For mobile devices, download the Hoopla app; search for: "Hoopla digital" in the iOS App Store or Google Play Store for Android.
3. Create a Hoopla account with your email address. Assign a unique password to use for Hoopla, and type your MCL library card barcode + pin number.
4. Browse collections by the categories of audiobooks, music, movies or television, or use the search feature to find titles, names, or subjects.
Samples from Hoopla:
Movies and music for children:
Spanish language/bilingual titles:
This second installment of the Money Tip$ series focuses on setting SMART goals for managing your money. What is a SMART goal? This episode will outline key elements for setting goals that are realistic and achievable. When your goals are set within your reach, it will be easier to reach your money management and financial goals. Take a look:
This episode of the Money Tip$ video series was produced by Multnomah County Library in collaboration with Innovative Changes, a Portland non-profit organization that exists to help low-income individuals and families manage short-term financial needs in order to achieve and maintain household stability. Made possible by The Library Foundation with a grant from the FINRA Investor Education Foundation through Smart Investing @ your library ®, a partnership with the American Library Association.