Blogs

Padre y madre ayudan a su niña a leer un libro.

La biblioteca ha reorganizado la colección completa de libros para principiantes en cuatro niveles para estudiantes que están comenzando a leer en español. Los niveles son: Comenzando, Desarrollando habilidades, Leyendo más y Por mi cuenta. 

Esta nueva organización de los libros de lectura se hizo con el fin de facilitar la búsqueda de libros por nivel de complejidad para mejorar la experiencia de los estudiantes y sus padres en la biblioteca; y para que los jóvenes se conviertan en lectores exitosos.

Los niveles están por color en lugar de ser por número para evitar la comparación entre el grado y el nivel de lectura. Haga clic en los enlaces para ver los libros de cada nivel:

Encontrará la etiqueta correspondiente en el lomo de cada libro.

English | Español | Tiếng Việt | Русский | 简体中文


The Oregon Legislature passed a new bill (HB 4401) that extends the statewide eviction moratorium. This means that landlords cannot evict renters for nonpayment or without cause (with limited exceptions) until July of 2021. To be protected from eviction for nonpayment, renters must fill out and sign a Declaration of Financial Hardship for Eviction Protection form and give it to their landlords.

You can get a form in English, Spanish, Korean, Russian, Vietnamese or Chinese at all library locations. No appointment is needed to pick up a form from the library. Forms can also be downloaded and printed from the Oregon Judicial Department website

 Additionally, renters can apply for rent assistance through community resources. You can find more information on the 211info COVID-19 Rent Relief (Multnomah County) and COVID-19 Rent Relief (statewide) websites. You can also contact 211info by calling 2.1.1 or 866.698.6155, by texting your zip code to 898211, or by emailing help@211info.org.

The new moratorium also includes money for landlords to help pay back part of the rent. Landlords can contact Oregon Housing and Community Services for information on how to apply.

More information for renters and landlords is provided in multiple languages online by Oregon Law Center and Legal Aid Services of Oregon. 

If you need legal help or would like to talk to an attorney about your rights, you can contact the Legal Aid Services of Oregon Portland Regional Office at 503.224.4086 or 1.800.228.6958. The Oregon Law Help website also has a directory of legal aid resources across Oregon.

If you have other legal questions related to the COVID-19 pandemic, COVID-19 (coronavirus disease) law help: Legal resources during the pandemic might help. And you can always contact us with questions! It is against state law for library staff members to perform legal research or advise patrons regarding their legal rights, but we can help you get connected to the best resources for your needs.

An online inquiry. Followed by an email. Then an in-person connection.

Author Liz Crain and her cookbooks Dumplings Equal Love
Liz Crain was starting work on her second cookbook collaboration. She put in a digital query to Multnomah County Library for research assistance. Pauline Theriault got an email. So began their librarian-patron alliance.

Pauline is a material selector librarian who has been at Multnomah County Library for 23 years. Until last summer, she was an information services librarian helping patrons in person and assisting patrons who call or email the library with inquiries about myriad subjects and topics.

“If the first tier of people can’t answer the question ... they pass it on to what we now call the Information Services staff work group,’’ she says. “There are two classifications in that work group, and it’s the librarians and the library assistants.’’

“We work on those questions that are passed on to us. We either call the person back or we email them. Or, we might set up an appointment to meet with them in person and go over materials to answer the questions that they’ve asked.’’

Library patrons have immediate access to library staff for research and questions, ranging from general to topical subject matter via phone, email, and chat, all available on the library website. These resources are especially vital now, with only staff allowed in libraries due to COVID-19 safety precautions.

Liz found, in Pauline, a complementary resource for her cookbook writing pursuits. Liz moved to Portland in 2002, saying she brought with her a love for libraries from her childhood growing up in Cincinnati.

So, when she launched into her second cookbook collaboration, initially about brunch and brunch recipes, she says she instinctively turned to the library. That was 2014. The cookbook, Hello! My Name is Tasty, was co-authored with John Gorham and published in fall 2017.

Her research assistance experience in 2014 worked out so well that Liz sought Pauline for another cookbook project. Dumplings = Love: Delicious Recipes From Around The World (see book and e-book in My MCL) was published in fall 2020.

“It was just really exciting for me,’’ Liz says. “I’ve always loved research. But there are so many experts at the library.’’

Pauline says after Liz made the research assistance request in 2014, Pauline saw the question topic and began searching for information based on her knowledge of the library’s collection and Liz’s needs.

“One of the areas I was responsible for was the cookbook collection,” Pauline says, referring to her 22 years as a librarian at Central Library.

“I had a pretty good in-depth knowledge of the resources we have available through the library. So when her question came through, I got back to her with some information. And then it turned out that what was really best for her was that she came in and made an appointment to meet one-on-one.”

Along the way, Liz says, the cookbook idea evolved from centering on brunch to highlighting around-the-clock recipes from Tasty n Sons and Tasty n Alder restaurants. “That was just one research query,’’ Liz says, “and I got enough content from that initial response from Pauline to set me on my way.”

In 2018, Liz says, the idea for her third cookbook was inspired while dining with Sasquatch Books representatives during Portland Book Festival. She says she developed a loose table of contents for a dumpling cookbook and started research with two particular dumplings: Korean Mandu, and Japanese Gyoza. Again, she reached out to Pauline.

“Any kind of query that I have, she’ll immediately have this web of ideas that I wouldn’t have even considered,’’ Liz says.

“The thing I remember is, she looked up some Oxford English Dictionary terms related to what I was researching. That was great, because, who has that at home?”

Luckily, all library cardholders do. The Oxford English Dictionary is available via a subscription database with a library card through the library's website

Just as Liz had an early fondness for libraries, Pauline settled on her professional calling as a young adult. “I knew I wanted to be a librarian. I liked to read.”

Pauline earned her master’s degree in library science from University of Arizona after graduating from Oregon State University with a bachelor's degree in English and minors in fine art and German.

“I knew there was something else that I was striving for,’’ Pauline says of majoring in English. “Because I knew I was going to get a master’s degree, I just took courses I was kind of interested in.’’

She was hired as a librarian for the science and business section of Central Library after starting her career at Salem Public Library. In Salem, she says, she developed a cookbook research-interest connection with a patron, noting that forming bonds with patrons is fairly common.

“I think what happens is, when you establish a good working relationship with somebody, they think of you as their personal librarian. This has been the case with friends over the years, as well as with patrons.”

However, more often than not, Pauline says, such connections generally are with patrons who are regular library visitors. “Like the fellow I knew from Salem.’’

“Liz, I just sort of met blindly,” Pauline says. “I was just answering the email question, and then she made an appointment to come in. So, that just started out strictly digital, and then it turned into meeting somebody in person. Usually, I think, it’s the opposite; we meet somebody in person first, and then establish a relationship.’’

Liz says she was equally grateful for Pauline’s expertise the second time around - “she helped me out immensely, getting all sorts of books, databases, online materials” - while researching for Dumplings = Love: Delicious Recipes From Around The World

“She has such a wealth of knowledge, working at Central for 22 years,’’ Liz says. “I didn’t really know the breadth of research assistance that you can get for free at the public library.” 

Read a full Q&A with Liz and Pauline.

Liz Crain and Pauline Theriault have a question and answer conversation about Pauline’s work as a librarian for Multnomah County Library. The interview has been edited for brevity.

Pauline Theriault and Liz Crain
Liz Crain: Will you please talk about the research assistance part of your work?
 
Pauline Theriault: Years ago we had lines of people at the reference desk requesting help. Now, we have the internet and Google and people email us their questions. I think people don’t realize that there's a level of in-depth research that people can access through the library. They think they have to research everything on their own now. The library staff can help people find a lot of unique, in-depth, and elusive information. 
 
Liz: What are the bulk of requests that people are coming to the Central Library for?
 
PT: It runs the spectrum, from finding information to help start a business to writing a book proposal and needing to know how many books sold on a particular topic. We get a lot of history questions; genealogy is really popular. People ask for information about marriages and divorces. Whatever you can imagine. You know, somebody is making costumes for their kid's play and they need some information on how to make something that looks sort of historical out of towels. 

Liz: In your perfect world, what would you like to see this aspect of library research assistance look like?
 
Pauline: I always think it's great when more people are using this aspect of the library.  I've always been interested in the thrill of finding information. It's nice when people come in and ask us questions because we can talk to them face to face and get immediate feedback. Reference services is a big part of what we do, but it's probably less than it used to be because of the changing nature of the information world. Either way is great. It's nice to be able to talk to someone and ask questions and confirm if you're headed in the right direction. It's much harder to do that in email. But I'd rather have people email us than not ask at all. 

Liz: What's some advice for patrons when they are requesting research help?
 
Pauline: Sometimes people aren't sure what they're looking for until they start having a conversation with somebody. They're really not sure if something exists, so they ask for something else. People are often surprised that various forms of information even exist. Sometimes we might not be able to find something in the exact format that someone wants but we can provide an alternative that may suit their needs perfectly.

Liz: Any other advice you want to give people on navigating public library research avenues?
 
Pauline: Having that library card is such a valuable thing. It's probably the best card in someone's wallet in terms of access to information and books. You can check things out. There are all of these databases that you would never be able to access yourself for free, like full-text magazines. We have fiction, ebooks, streaming movies, streaming music. We have a database where you can learn a foreign language. Just plug in your library card. 
 
Liz: Is there anything you'd like to advise patrons not to do when querying research requests?
 
Pauline: Don’t be in a hurry. Also, if you don't get the right answer or if it isn't what you're looking for, ask for clarification or explain yourself. It's a conversation. 

Liz: What is your job title now?
 
Pauline: I'm a librarian in Materials Selection. I order adult non-fiction books, DVDs, sheet music, and music CDs.
 

Multnomah County Library card holders have free access to a great resource for job seekers. Lynda.com has courses to help learn about many topics including business, software and technology. You can learn skills needed to get the job you want. 

We’ve created this list of Learning Paths offered on Lynda.com that will give you some of the most sought after skills by employers right now. You can also explore Lynda.com to find other skills you are looking for.

When you get to the Lynda.com site, choose “sign in” at the top right and it will direct you to use your library card number and pin to gain access.

Contact us for more help or information.

Image showing to click on Sign In on Lynda.com website

Desde mi propia experiencia como inmigrante, mujer de color e hija de dos personas trabajadoras que creyeron en el Sueño Americano, me tomo muy en serio recomendar libros que reflejen las experiencias de vida de los inmigrantes en este país. Me preocupo por tener libros en nuestra colección que coincidan con personas cuyas historias históricamente han sido suprimidas. Libros que relaten las experiencias de nuestro diario vivir tales como: El libro de los americanos desconocidosPaco un niño latino en Estados Unidos, o  Al principio, viajábamos solas

Y aunque la narrativa del inmigrante no es una sola historia, como explica la novelista Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie en su TedTalk El peligro de una sola historia, creo que los inmigrantes compartIimos muchas cosas en común. Una de ellas es el abrazar los ideales de Estados Unidos. Al igual que cualquier otra persona que adopte estos principios, nosotros, los inmigrantes, nos esforzamos por fortalecer la comunidad en la que vivimos. Recordemos que los inmigrantes y los hijos de inmigrantes son nuestros vecinos, compañeros de clase, colegas y compañeros de trabajo; somos parte de tu comunidad.

From my own experience as an immigrant, a woman of color, and the daughter of two hard-working individuals who believed in the American Dream, I take very seriously recommending books that reflect immigrants' life experiences in this country. I care about having books in our collection that match people whose stories have historically been suppressed, books that are reflective of our everday lives, El libro de los americanos desconocidosPaco un niño latino en Estados Unidos, or Al principio, viajábamos solas

And while the immigrant narrative is not a single story, as novelist Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie explains in her TedTalk, The Danger of a Single Story, I believe immigrants share many things in common. The most important of these is to embrace the ideals of the United States. We, just like anybody else who embraces these principles work hard to make our community stronger. Immigrants and the children of immigrants are our neighbors, classmates, colleagues, and co-workers; we are part of your community.

 

 

¿Que es un minikit? Es una actividad STEAM (Ciencia, Tecnología, Ingeniería, Arte, Matemáticas por sus siglas en inglés) en una bolsita. Hay cuatro diferentes actividades en cada serie. ¡Coleccionalas todas!   
 
Solo en la biblioteca de Rockwood. No se necesita hacer cita. 
 
Los adolescentes (de 6º a 12º grado) o sus padres pueden venir a la biblioteca de Rockwood y pedir su minikit. Los jóvenes se quedan con todos los materiales en su minikit.
 
Instrucciones en inglés, ruso y español vienen con cada kit. Hay videos cortos de los kits en acción en la página de YouTube de MCL. Si los adolescentes quieren participar en una demostración / taller con los minikits, tenemos dos programados para enero en eventos de la biblioteca.
 
La primera serie, Circuitos y robótica para principiantes, comienza en una semana. Cada viernes, repartiremos una diferente minikit
8 de enero       Circuito Eléctrico en Papel
15 de enero     Circuito de Masas
22 de enero     Robot Cepillito
29 de enero     Robot Chatarra 

¡Visitenos en Rockwood!

Minikits de makerspace

Distance learning can be challenging.  If you are looking for help with schooling, here are some free tutoring resources  to consider.

Tutor.com

Who is eligible :  K-college students
Registration required : yes for some features, no for live help
Who are the tutors :  college and graduate students, teachers, working professionals
Which languages is tutoring available in : English, Spanish, Vietnamese

Other Tutor.com information : 
available with a library card
live tutoring 2-10 pm daily
essay help
worksheets
suggested websites
learning videos

Learn to Be

Who is eligible : K-12 students with a focus on underserved students
Registration required : yes
Who are the tutors : high school and college students, adults
Which languages is tutoring available in : English

Interns for Good

Who is eligible : Elementary and middle school students
Registration required : yes
Who are the tutors : high school students
Which languages is tutoring available in : English

ConnectOregonStudents

Who is eligible : K-12 students in Oregon, Southwest Washington, and Northern California
Registration required : yes
Who are the tutors : Oregon high school students 
Which languages is tutoring available in : English (but includes language learning tutoring for other languages)
Other : they also offer peer support

Teens Tutor Teens

Who is eligible : Teens 13-18
Registration required : yes
Who are the tutors : high school students
Which languages is tutoring available in : English
 
 
Other Teens Tutor Teens information :
group tutoring
test prep tutoring
on-demand videos
worksheets
essay editing
 

If you are looking for extra academic support instead of live tutoring, consider these free resources:

Learning Resource Express Library has academic support resources for upper elementary school through high school. Available with your Multnomah County Library card.

Khan Academy has free video-based lessons and practice for K-12 students.

Smart Tutor offers free resources for K-8 students and support for high school math.

“Ni de aquí, ni de allá” is a saying I learned at a young age, growing up in a border town with Mexico. Whether in public or in private, I was reminded daily, “you are neither from here (US) nor from over there (Mexico).” I didn’t have to think hard to understand the meaning of these words, either. I just had to listen, and listening was one lesson mi abuelita drilled in to me. (La chancla does wonderful things.) She taught me to appreciate what was around me and to realize that I was not from “here” or “over there” but from both worlds.

Children are going to have fun reading about Mexican-Americans in these picture books, and they will have fun talking about the colorful illustrated stories that complement the narratives. The wide and diverse experiences – from Tomás Rivera’s library visits and Emma Tenayuca’s labor struggles to Pat Mora’s lyrical reflections and Juan Felipe Herrera’s poetic depictions – which these books convey will invite children, as well as adults, to learn more about the history of Mexican Americans. 

These lists of books express a world where Mexican and American cultures, traditions, and values coexist. You just have to listen. 

Baby playing with food
You’ll hear a lot of different opinions about this topic, but many doctors and early childhood educators actually believe it is a good idea.

Playing with their food:

  • Helps babies learn to feed themselves
  • May prevent picky eating
  • Helps babies build their brains
  • Gives you a moment to catch up!

Playing with food begins as soon as babies are old enough to sit in a high chair. They love to reach for food and explore it in a hands-on, messy experiment of texture and taste. It may not be pretty, but it is a normal and healthy stage of development.

There is an element of play, but there are also important stages of learning taking place. Like mastering the pincer grasp, which eventually leads to holding a pencil! And kids who play with their food can be faster to learn words associated with food textures. In a 2013 study, toddlers who poked, prodded, swirled, mashed and even threw their food were interacting with key developmental concepts more than other children.  

And playing with your food isn’t just for babies, many preschool programs include activities where children participate in "sensory sessions," and touch, listen, taste, and smell different kinds of foods—then share observations with each other.

At any age it's fun to sing a song while you and your child “play” with your food. Here is one where you can make up your own variations together about the foods you like and how you cook and eat them.

All Around the Kitchen
Soup, soup, put it in the pot,
warm it up, warm it up, eat it while it's hot!

Bagel, bagel, put it in the toaster,
warm it, toast it, eat it with some jelly!

Ice cream, ice cream, put it in my tummy,
I like (flavor), yummy, yummy, yummy!

This post was featured in our monthly Family Newsletter. Sign up for the newsletter here, and email us at learning@multcolib.org if you have any questions.

Family having dinner at the table
I know in my own family, it can be hard convincing my child to drink enough water and eat their veggies. And just saying, “it’s healthy” doesn’t cut it. So how do we convince our kids that eating healthy is important? 

Before we start, the most important thing is to never connect eating well to losing weight, being slim, or being attractive. All bodies are fabulous! It’s just great if they can feel their best, too. And second, healthy eating looks different to different people. Some families are vegetarian or vegan or keep halal or kosher.  What people do or don't eat can be driven by values and culture, as well as health.

Teaching kids to eat well can be tricky. You don’t want to give them more facts than they can handle or turn every meal into a lecture. But you also want them to know that everything they put in their mouths affects their whole body. And the more nutritious the food they put in, the better they will feel, the more energy they will have, and hopefully, the more fun! 

One idea is to talk about the properties, or nutrients, of food and how they can help give our bodies energy for playing our favorite sports, help our brain and mind focus on schoolwork, and make us better with our hobbies, even video gaming! Some of the books in this booklist might help with these conversations.  

Another tip is to avoid calling foods “good” or “bad.” Kids should learn that all foods have a place in their diet. Try labeling foods as “go,” “slow,” or “whoa.” Kids should eat “go” foods, like vegetables, every day. But they might want to go “slow” with less nutritious foods, like pancakes. And say “whoa” to foods like candy bars, and leave those for special occasions. Foods with less nutrition don’t need to be off limits, but the goal is for kids to stop and think twice before they eat them often. 

Another great idea is to have your kid help plan and post menus for the week. Include some favorites and try some new foods, as well. You can even check out a kid’s cookbook from this booklist.

In some cases of extreme pickiness or disordered eating, it's important to remember that doctors and occupational therapists can help and you should talk with your child's pediatrician.  

Perhaps the most important thing is teaching through modeling. Seeing their grownups eat nutritious food, will help kids want to do the same. Talk to them about how eating well is fun, makes you feel good, and gives you energy!

This post is part of our "Talking with kids" series, and was featured in our monthly Family Newsletter. Sign up for the newsletter here, and email us at learning@multcolib.org if you have any questions.  

Child baking with grownup
For many, food is an important part of family life. Gathering together for meals is a way to share warmth, community, and family history. A recipe passed down through generations is a treasure. Exploring different cuisines is an opportunity to learn about other cultures. Homemade food is more nutritious than take-out or convenience foods and youth who learn to cook have healthier eating habits later in life. Beyond that, the kitchen is also an ideal place to teach kids reading, science and math.

Children under five learn about the world by using their senses. By touching, tasting, and smelling they’re being little scientists trying to figure out what the world is about. Using these senses is an integral part of the cooking process. Helping with simple tasks such as stirring, washing vegetables, and tearing lettuce helps these young learners develop their fine motor skills. Following step-by-step instructions teaches children executive functioning and gets them ready for school. 

As children get older and gain confidence, they can take over reading the recipe. There is so much that can be learned by reading a recipe. Recipes are math. Children need to understand fractions and ratios. They need to understand different units of measurement. It also supports literacy by exposing them to vocabulary that they won’t find elsewhere. How often are words like sear, tablespoon, dice, drizzle, or crimp used in daily conversation? Through trial and error children learn problem solving and that failure is just another opportunity to learn.

They say that baking is chemistry and cooking is art. The truth is that each one is both chemistry and art. Both allow for creativity once you understand the basics of a recipe. But it’s important to understand the basics for your recipe to turn out right. This is where science comes in. You probably don’t even realize how much science you use in the kitchen. Foods go through chemical and physical changes as they’re prepared and cooked. Certain elements are necessary in order for the recipe to turn out correctly. Which elements can change and which need to stay the same? Why? What adjustments, if any, do you need to make for any modifications? Why? These are scientific questions. Encourage children to ask questions. Don’t worry if you don’t know the answer. You can search for the answer and learn together. You can even ask the library for help!

Looking for more ideas? Look no further than Oregon State University's Food Hero program. They have lots of learning activities for all ages!

By grounding learning in the real world, kids are more likely to understand why the skills they learn are important and are better able to retain them. They’ll also have the satisfaction of eating the results of their lesson and the pride of sharing it with others.

- Keli Y, Teen Librarian, Rockwood Library

This article was featured in our monthly Family Newsletter, you can sign-up here to receive your copy!

Starting January 1, new digital magazines will be available through OverDrive & the Libby app. Here's what you need to know about this change:

Should I keep the RBdigital app installed on my phone?
No. There will be no new issues added after December 31, 2020.

Can I still read the magazine issues I borrowed from RBdigital?
Yes. To read your borrowed magazine loans, visit zinio.com, or download the free ZINIO app. From the ZINIO app or website, register for a new ZINIO account. You will need to use the same email address you used to access RBdigital. Once you've registered, your RBdigital magazine loans will be available in your account.

Will OverDrive have a magazine reader like the one available on RBdigital?
The Libby app will offer an article and thumbnail view for magazine titles starting in January. The article view will not be available on the OverDrive app and website.

Will there be a checkout period for magazines?
Yes. Magazines will now checkout for 21 days.

Can I renew magazines?
Yes. You will have the option to renew a magazine within 3 days of the end of the lending period. Or you could borrow it again with no waiting. 

Will magazines count against my OverDrive checkout limit?
No. Magazines will not count toward checkout limits.

Will there be an option to automatically borrow new issues of a magazine?
No. OverDrive does not currently have plans to support auto-checkout of magazine titles, but their developers are considering a notification system for when new issues are added.

Somos Familia es una organización que tiene una misión de “desarrollar el liderazgo en nuestras familias y comunidades latinas para crear una cultura donde las personas de géneros y orientaciones sexuales diversas puedan prosperar.” Ha creado infográficos y herramientas de cómo hablar sobre el género y la orientación sexual con su familia y videos sobre la importancia de la aceptación familiar.

Ve el video Tres Gotas de Agua de cómo el amor de tres madres les ayudó a entender a sus hijas e hijos LGBTQ+.

Tres Gotas de Agua


Escrito por Kimberly S.

La situación por la que estamos pasando en la actualidad tal vez no nos permita seguir con algunas de nuestras tradiciones familiares, pero también nos brinda oportunidades para alcanzar nuevos propósitos y empezar nuevas costumbres.

Se puede elegir una actividad simple por mes. La actividad tendrá éxito si todos están de acuerdo y es algo definido. Los niños, pueden jugar a contar los calcetines mientras los doblan y los guardan, ayudar con la preparación de algún postre o ¡hacer una piñata!  Los jóvenes, pueden ser parte de la planeación de cómo distribuir el presupuesto familiar, participar en las compras del mandado y ponerlo donde corresponde al llegar a casa. 

En familia, se puede hablar acerca de las celebraciones tradicionales que se han pasado de generación en generación. Cuando los niños y jóvenes aprenden y participan activamente de estas conversaciones, es más probable que aumenten su confianza, sean optimistas y refuercen su identidad. Jueguen y creen un libro con fotos y algunas historias de esas tradiciones para revivir los recuerdos.

Escrito por Violeta G.

Crayon drawing of a person walking a dog, with the words "Thank you for the walks!"
2020 has been a year with a lot of challenges. We want to give thanks to those who have helped us with things big and small throughout the year. Join us in showing gratitude for those in our lives that have brought us joy!

We've started writing and drawing!

  • Librarian Kimberly is writing to her mom to thank her for making fig jam.
  • Librarian Violeta is writing a note to her cat to thank for the delicious cuddles every day.
  • I drew a picture for my dog to thank her for our daily walks. 

Who do you want to send your note to? 

If you’d like, share with us on social media! Tag @multnomahcountylibrary with your #gratitude notes and drawings. 

Want to learn more about the power of gratitude? See our post and booklists here!

Would you like more tips for things to do that don't involve a screen? Sign up for our Family Newsletter. And we are always available to help support families, especially through Home Learning. Connect with us at learning@multcolib.org

- Jen May, Home Learning Support Librarian

Caring for ourselves helps us to better care for our families, especially during times of extreme stress. This post is being written during the time of the Covid pandemic: children are learning from home, grownups are struggling with work, people are scared, and stress is running high. It is In these times, more than ever, that parents and caregivers need to take care of their needs, to fill themselves up so they have enough care, patience and time to share with their families.  The Child Mind Institute has put together a wonderful article for caregivers on prioritizing their own well-being in order to benefit the whole family. Here are the main takeaways:

  1. Make time for yourself
  2. Prioritize healthy choices
  3. Be realistic (my favorite!)
  4. Set boundaries
  5. Reconnect with things you enjoy

We know it's easy to say, but not always easy to do. The library is here to help:

  1. If it would help to have the kids entertained so you can have quiet time, check out our storytimes and events for kids! These are always changing, so check back often.
  2. If you are looking for healthy recipes or exercises, we have thousands to choose from!
  3. We have books to help you set boundaries, help you set realistic expectations, and to give yourself a break
  4. If one of your favorite activities is sitting down with a good book, or watching a fun show, or listening to some beautiful music, we can help recommend any of those things for you. Check out the My Librarian group for a great suggestion (or 20!).
  5. If you want to learn something new or get back into an old hobby, we have lots of ways to help you get started. Just connect with us.

We are here to help, so please let us know what we can do for you, and for your family! You can leave a comment below, or email us directly at learning@multcolib.org. Also consider signing up for our monthly Family Newsletter. Take care!

sign that says, "my pronouns are ____/ _____"
Youth who identify as LGBTQ+* benefit from a supportive network of family, friends, and peers, especially during times of stress and isolation.  Here are some organizations and resources that can help provide that support.

Local Resources for LGBTQ+ youth

  • Sexual & Gender Minority Youth Resource Center (SMYRC) has served local youth since 1998.  They provide empowerment, community building, education and direct services. 
  • Oregon Youthline is a local 24-hour youth crisis and support service.  Help is available via phone, text, email, or chat.  Youthline is staffed by trained teen volunteers from 4-10 pm daily.
  • GSA Network supports Gender & Sexualities Alliance (GSA)  groups that unite LGBTQ+ youth and their peers.  They also provide tips on how to run virtual GSAs.
  • Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network (GLSEN) Oregon chapter of the national organization that supports every student’s right to a safe, supportive education. 
  • Pride Northwest has a mission: to encourage and celebrate the positive diversity of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and trans communities, and to assist in the education of all people through the development of activities that showcase the history, accomplishments, and talents of these communities.

 

neon rainbow with "Love is Love" signs in the background
Virtual Resources for LGBTQ+ youth and those who support them

  • Gender Spectrum free online support groups for LGBTQ+ youth, parents and caregivers.  Groups also offered for parents/caregivers in Spanish.
  • Q Chat Space a safe space for LGBTQ+ teens to connect
  • Trevor Support Center provides resources and counseling via phone and chat. TrevorSpace is an international community for LGBTQ+ young people. 
  • PFLAG is the nation's largest family and ally organization, founded in 1973 after the simple act of a mother publicly supporting her gay son.
  • It Gets Better Project over 60,000 diverse video stories, all on a single theme.
  • Trans 101: Gender Diversity Crash Course helps people better understand what it means to be trans, and how we make the world a safer and happier place for trans and gender diverse people.  Available as a video series or booklet.
  • An age-by-age guide to talking to your kids about gender from Today's Parent.  No matter your kid's age, it's not too early (or late!) to talk to them about gender. Here's how to start the discussion, and keep it going as they grow.  

 

LGBTQ+ Booklists

Support can also come in the form of reading books and watching media with LGBTQ+ representation.   Your library is full of books for kids and teens that feature LGBTQ+ characters.  Explore the reading lists below, or ask us for a recommendation

*LGBTQ+ stands for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer or Questioning.  The + is meant to include all gender identities and sexual orientations not covered by the other letters.  Read What Does LGBTQ+ Mean? for more information.

Cthulhu figurine
Maybe you’re reading Lovecraft Country or The City We Became. Or maybe you just like your fiction eerie, weird, or chock full of tentacles. Perhaps you find squidlike elder gods, or squids themselves, cute. In any event, despite H.P. Lovecraft’s despicable views - or as a reaction to them - current authors are gleefully reinterpreting his tales, giving them all kinds of twists he never would have imagined, and that he might have found downright... horrifying. Maybe even namelessly terrifying, indescribably eldritch, and worse yet (for him),  better written than the stories of old H.P. himself!

The fabulous irony of all this is that Lovecraft was an early proponent of fanfiction, shared universes, and remixing, so in a sense these authors are working in a tradition he encouraged, but use it in subversive and creative ways. And often that sense of otherworldly eerieness and creeping dread that is central to cosmic horror is even more vivid and terrifying than ever. Delve into this strange new world with the books below.

“Enjoy the little things. For one day you may look back and realize they were the big things.” – Robert Brault

Life is full of unknowns and uncertainties. Children of all ages are sensitive to stress in their families' lives. Children feel emotions very strongly, but they don't always have the words to describe how they're feeling. Talking with even very small children about fears and sadness can help them feel more secure. And talking to them about gratitude can help as well!

Take time to pause and notice aloud the people and things you are thankful for every day. Kids are always listening and they pick up on our moods - negative and positive. Gratitude, or thankfulness, feels good! And it is really good for us, too! Scientists who study the brain tell us that positive emotions like appreciation and gratitude are good for our brains, our minds and even our bodies.     

Being thankful lets us balance out the negative emotions like fear, anger and anxiety that creep in. The incredible thing about gratitude is that it grows and increases the more we practice it. One positive thought can lead to dozens more. This type of positive thinking decreases stress and anxiety in people of all ages. 

It's been said that gratitude is like taking a U-turn on complaining and negative thinking. A game my family sometimes plays is "Unfortunately, Fortunately." It's fun for road trips or even when sitting around the dinner table. "Unfortunately, all my soccer games have been canceled, but, fortunately, we have had extra time to play lots of games together." 

It's about focusing on what's good in our lives and being thankful for the things we have. "Unfortunately, Poppy can't come and visit us on Sundays now, but, fortunately, we can draw pictures to send to him! And we get to walk to the mailbox!"

Teaching children an attitude of gratitude is as simple as helping them look at different situations from a positive point of view. It’s about focusing on what’s good in our lives, noticing the small things, appreciating and being thankful. We can model gratitude and appreciation for our children. We all take things for granted, but taking time to name those things reinforces trust, calm and joy.

Here are some things you can try with your family:

  1. Keep a running gratitude list on the refrigerator. Bigger kids can write the words and little ones can draw. Each day the list can be revisited. What makes you happy? Watching a puppy play,  helping dad cook? Add what makes you grateful? A sky full of stars,  the hummingbird at the window, a hug? 
  2. Try the Gratitude ABCs. Go through your ABCs and take turns coming up with something you are grateful for, for each letter. I am grateful for Apple pie, and Basketball, and Cats… This also works as a great tool for helping someone fall asleep. Get comfortable and concentrate on your Gratitude ABCs. The next day you can think about what letter you fell asleep on. 
  3. Practice sharing and giving. Share first within the family and then spread to the wider community. An older child can pass on treasured toys or collections to a younger sibling. Have a basket or bag for items that can be donated to those who may need them. Clothing, toys, food for a food bank. Go together to deliver them when the basket is full.
  4. Express gratitude with acts of kindness. “We have so many tomatoes. Let's bring some over to our neighbor. Maybe she would like some of these flowers, too.” “ Let’s ask Mr Jones if he needs anything when we go to the store. And I know he loves your drawings.”
  5. Gratitude can start right now. I bet we can think of three things right now that make us feel thankful. Maybe you'd like to send a note to someone showing your gratitude!

And of course, there are always books! The titles below can help you start conversations about gratitude with the young folks in your life.

Want to learn more tips on talking with kids, please sign up for our Family Newsletter.  And we are always available to help support families, especially through Home Learning. Connect with us at learning@multcolib.org

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