Blogs

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."

Connie Willis’ multiple-Hugo winning Oxford Historians series began with the short story Fire Watch in the early 1980s, a good ten years before the first novel in the series (Doomsday Book). 
Fire Watch cover
 
The central conceit was scaffolded in this first story: graduate students in 2050 time travel to do their original research. Some aspects are not as well-developed in Fire Watch as in the novels — the formidable Professor Dunworthy insists on sending student Bartholomew to London during the Blitz rather than the Middle East in the 1st Century because of a misplaced possessive (St. Paul’s vs. St. Paul). The Professor we know from the novels would not be so capricious.
 
Or perhaps he would — because there is a chance that Dunworthy feels Bartholomew will learn something from serving in the Fire Watch, laboring to keep the symbol of London’s soul from burning, that he will not learn in traveling with the Saint. 
 
And learning that about humanity is the heart that runs through this series. In Fire Watch and Doomsday Book it takes the form of poignancy. The students in both stories are first hand witnesses to death, and although everyone they encounter has already been dead for a long, long time they learn that they are not the faceless mass of the long past, but precious and brave individuals. 
 
Time travel novels can do this magic, combining science and history into a unique alchemy. While Willis is a favorite, there are many more time travel novels to be savored in our collection. Check out the Time Travel Gems list for more.

bike picture six people

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!  

 

An image of the human brain depicting left and ride side functions. The logical left brain and the creative right brain.

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 book jacketAcross 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.

Front page of the Oregonian, June 10, 1973There 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, and 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.  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.

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!


 

Calico Pie,

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
  • Memorizing
  • 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 .Natalie Merchant Leave your sleep

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. 

Multnomah County Library picture file collection sampleThe 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:
503.988.5234

The House of Special Purpose book jacketIn 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.”


 

cover image for ballisticsI 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.

 

 

 

 

The Portland area is rich with beautiful parks and wild spaces. The cities of Gresham, Fairview, Portland, Troutdale and Wood Village all manage local parks, as does our regional government, Metro.

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 streaming music collection for multnomah county library cardholders (hoopla logo)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.

Questions about Hoopla? The library staff is always happy to help you in getting started with Hoopla.

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:

Audiobooks:

DivergentTreasure IslandOrange is the New Black

 

 

Music:

Movies:

 

Movies and music for children:

 

Television:

 

Spanish language/bilingual titles:

A la mar Spanish language film from Hoopla library service from Multomah County LibraryMe encantan los Aviones video from hoopla media collection Multnomah County LibrarySpanish Harlem Orchestra Viva La Traducion recording from Hoopla Multnomah County Library media serviceCancioines Pequenitos music from Hoopla Multnomah County Library media collection

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


 

Shane from Central writes: "What I like about Rich Dad's Cashflow Quadrant: Guide to Financial Freedom is learning about financial literacy and how to improve my financial situation."

ICool Tools bookjacket’ve never really read more than an issue or two of Wired  magazine, only because I knew if I did follow the periodical on a regular basis, I would further more be a slave to technology than is humanly necessary. That said, for a few years now I have been a loyal follower of the “Cool Tools” blog curated by Kevin Kelly, the founding editor of Wired. The blog proved so popular and full of, well, cool tools, that Kelly collated the best of the best into one gigantic catalog-reference guide of the same name. Over 450 pages of a seductive hybrid, melding your grandmother’s clockwork Sears catalog and the bottomless carpetbag of an exceptional, twinkle-eyed gadget clown. Initially, I checked it out from the library (of course), but after a day or two of barely exploring one-third of the tome, I knew I had to purchase my own personal copy. 

The “title” page reads thus: “A cool tool is...anything useful that increases learning, empowers individuals, does work that matters, is either the best or the cheapest or the only thing that works.” The inside and back covers are divided and indexed into 31 separate topics such as Craft, Dwelling, Edibles, Big Systems, Mobile Living, Storytelling, Aurality, Science Process, and Somatics. Sold yet? Ok, there is also another index by the specific  name of the tool and QR codes in each and every entry to link you straight to the web, usually the manufacturer’s specific site or Amazon. The back cover alone also gives you options: Raise backyard chickens, Erect an igloo, Publish an ebook, or Design your own fabric. Kelly and his team inform you in the first seven pages that all entries and/or links are as updated as possible, provide a FAQ, a How To Use This Book primer, and a handy supportive entry of a book on de-cluttering your life. Sounds counter-productive, right? Not really. Think of it as a non-threatening “abandon hope all ye who enter here.” Kelly plays the wide-eyed Tools R’ Us Virgil to your drooling Dante. 

This seems like a sales pitch, I know. As if I’m the underground marketing intern for Kelly’s company; but the title is self-published and most of the profits go right back into the people and materials that shaped the book in the first place. The best part is that you can spend hours slowly thumbing through it and not even think of purchasing anything.  Opening it randomly now, this is what I find: Three Jaw Brace, Virtual Piano, Silicone Pinch Bowls, and Etymotic Research Earplugs. If you put this title on hold down at your local library, make sure you bring a big bag as this book is like a yoga mat for cats.  Your brain, your budget, and your exposure to stuff that’s actually productive, however, will most certainly need their own personal Corpse pose.  Enjoy. 

Who better, than a pet rock, to guide you through the intricate field of Earth Sciences.  They come from the earth and have cousins all around the world. Let me introduce them.

igneous rock

Iggy – short for igneous is the youngest of the bunch. He was born in an explosion of great magnitude in the Pacific Northwest in 1980. He has cousins all around the world, but most of his first cousins are still on the slope of Mt. St. Helens in Washington. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

sedimentary rock

Sedim – short for sedimentary is very complex. She is mysterious about revealing her age. Her many layers tell the stories of different moments in her history which spans a great length of time. Some of her cousins have been known to gather at the base of Devil’s Tower.

 

 

 

 

 

 

metamorphic rockMorph – short for metamorphic, is very very old. But for most of his long life he was hidden in the depths of the earth. He helped to form one  of the largest mountain ranges in the United States, The Rocky Mountains, but didn’t see the light of day until much of what was causing the pressure on him, had eroded. his cousins go back for generations in the Appalachian mountains, which used to be very large, but are now just the remaining metamorphic rocks that formed their core.

When would you like to have lived? I sometimes wonder what I would be doing if I lived in a different time. What would my life be like? The Time Traveler's Guide to Elizabethan England by Ian Mortimer has helped me learn about life in England during the reign of Elizabeth I, 1558-1603.

book jacket for Time Traveler's Guide to Elizabethan EnglandThis is a prosperous time in England. Towns and cities are growing. London’s population hits 200,000 by the end of Elizabeth’s reign. While I am visiting London, I would want to see Shakespeare's latest play. Many customs are very different. Even the Queen likes a good bear baiting. This is a much rougher time. Some things have changed more than others. Lawyers were just as skilled then as now, but doctors are much better in the 21st century. If I were sick in Elizabeth’s time, I would probably do better if I called a priest instead of a doctor. I also need to remember to pay heed to my social betters as this is a very class-conscious time.

There is lots of beer. It is safer than the water. I will be drinking about a gallon a day. Unless I am a gentleman, I won’t be able to afford wine. A strong nose and lots of perfume are helpful as there are many noxious smells. The growing populations only add to the problem. The Elizabethan people don’t enjoy the stink, but there often is nothing they can do.

Does Elizabethan England sound interesting? Why not take a trip back and see if it is for you.

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