In the early years, our city was called The Clearing, but in 1845, landowners Francis Pettygrove and Asa Lovejoy flipped a coin to choose an official name. Pettygove came from Portland, Maine, and Lovejoy was from Boston, Massachusetts. Pettygrove won two out of three tosses, and so our city is Portland.
- Benson Bubblers: These four-bowl drinking fountains are unique to Portland.
- Pioneer Courthouse Square has been a school, a hotel, and a parking lot but is now considered the city’s “living room.”
- The Portlandia statue is the second-largest copper repoussé sculpture in the U.S. (The largest is the Statue of Liberty.)
- Skidmore Fountain was designed to be a source of drinking water for people, horses and dogs.
- The Pittock Mansion was the home of Henry Pittock, who arrived in Oregon penniless on a wagon train in 1853.
Because of the many bridges crossing the Willamette River, one of Portland’s nicknames is Bridgetown. Some of the bridges that connect the east side to downtown are more than 100 years old!
You know it rains a lot in Portland, but did you know that our city has often flooded? In the flood of 1894, downtown Portland was flooded and people got around in boats. In 1948, the Vanport flood destroyed a housing area that was home to many African Americans.
Here's a video that shows some of the changes in Portland:
Still have questions? Contact a librarian for help!
The story starts with Mrs. Claire Randall on her second honeymoon in the Highlands of Scotland. It’s 1945 and she's a former combat nurse who has taken up the hobby of botany to fill her free time. She is gathering plants at the stone circle Craigh na Dun when she is transported through time to 1743, and finds herself in the midst the fighting prior to the Jacobite uprising of 1745.
This first novel of the Outlander series by Diana Gabaldon is a passionate romance with depictions of wartime violence, and steamy sex scenes. If you're squeamish about these things this isn't for you. Presented in the context of the times, these details give the story historical resonance. I found comic relief in Claire’s swearing. She doesn’t swear like a sailor but she swears like a healthy woman dealing with brawny men, exciting, brutal times, and frustration. I don’t know about you, but if I was a fish out of water I might swear a lot too. If romance, brawny men in kilts and time travel are among your favorite flavors too, there's more to explore in my list, Scottish highland romances.
The Library is Like Falling Into Heaven
by Sarah Binns
Born and raised in the San Fernando Valley, Carla later drove her VW bus all the way to Alaska - and stayed for forty years. When she and her husband moved to Nome in the early '70s, the local library association was little more than a women's social club. “Over a period of a few years we transformed into a working association with an eye toward a true lending library that was funded by the city,” she explains. Through their efforts, library funding was eventually secured, and Nome's Kegoayah Kozga Public Library continues to this day.
Shortly after Carla and her husband moved from Nome to an apartment above the Sellwood Library in 2006, she noticed a sign soliciting volunteers. She started as a paging list volunteer in 2007, pulling items that patrons have put on hold. On her inaugural day, Carla was dismayed to locate only a few of the books on the 100-book list. “It turns out it was the previous day's list!” she laughs. She says the paging list is “the ultimate Easter egg hunt” and intends to go on doing this task.
Carla also volunteers with Words on Wheels, a Library Outreach Services program which delivers books to those unable to go to the library. She's been with some of her patrons for two years now and still enjoys bringing them book suggestions. When it comes to the library and reading, Carla says, “It's like falling into heaven. I never mind waiting in lines because I always have a book with me. As long as I have a book, I'm fine.”
A Few Facts About Carla
Home library: Sellwood Library
Currently reading: The Mistborn series by Brandon Sanderson
Books that made you laugh or cry: Dave Barry's books make her laugh; “I try to avoid books that make me cry,” she says, "but The Art of Racing in the Rain was one that did."
Most influential book: Probably Lord of the Rings; “I always go back to it, I've read it at least 14 times.”
Guilty pleasure: “All books are guilty pleasures! But probably my science fiction.”
Favorite book from childhood: Little Women, Uncle Tom's Cabin, “and a story about a young girl in the Revolutionary War that I can't remember the title of!”
Favorite section to browse: New books, graphic novels, and staff picks
E-reader or paper books: Paper, though e-books are a nice option when on the go.
Favorite place to read: In bed in the morning with a cup of coffee or a chair in her apartment loft with good light.
Thanks for reading the MCL Volunteer Spotlight. Stay tuned for our next edition coming soon! Read last month's Volunteer Spotlight.
A good percentage of my childhood was spent at the library. When my brothers and I were young, my mom helped organize the summer reading program at our local library outside of Philadelphia. I created many a diorama based on books during those summers. A few years later, my mom started working there as a children’s librarian where, much to our chagrin, she seemed to learn all of the gossip in town (“So, I hear you’re dating so-and-so!”)
The most formative books for me as a kid were the Ramona books by Beverly Cleary. I related to her so much -- she seemed like a real kid. I appreciated the fact that her family worried about money, and her dad worried about finding a job. It reassured me to no end to read about kids facing real-life situations. I can’t tell you how many times I read those books. They MAY have been a factor in my deciding to move to Portland.
Other childhood favorites included Anne of Green Gables and all of the Roald Dahl, but especially The BFG. That book inspired a lifetime of whizpopper jokes. I love re-reading childhood favorites. I teach a continuing education class in writing and illustrating children’s books at Pacific Northwest College of Art, and I always recommend re-reading old favorites. It’s fascinating to read them from an adult perspective, and if you want to write children’s books yourself, it’s a great way to remember what you loved about reading as a child.
Here’s a list of my recent favorites:
The One and Only Ivan by Katherine Applegate
This was the last book that made me cry — like, a deep, body-shaking sob. If you like a body-shaking sob as much as I do, this is the book for you.
Where the Mountain Meets the Moon by Grace Lin
As soon as I read this book, I knew it would be a book I would read to my kids someday. It’s just a book you want to share. Now I just need to wait for my son to be old enough.
The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie
You just have to read it. It’s an amazing book.
Ida B by Katherine Hannigan
This book is both laugh-out-loud funny and cry-out-loud touching. Be careful where you read this one; I was reading it on the subway in New York when I started ugly crying.
A few more:
Inside Out & Back Again by Thanhha Lai
American Born Chinese by Gene Luen Yang
El Deafo by Cece Bell
One Crazy Summer by Rita Willams-Garcia
Get even more reading recommendations hand-picked for you by My Librarian.
If you're looking for work and aren't sure where to start, consider these top sites that will help you begin your job search, network with others find out when jobs in your area of interest open up.
OregonLive: Best Local Jobs
Take a look at the Oregonian’s online employment classified section.
Craigslist isn't just for getting a couple of bucks for selling that old futon in your basement - you'll also find lists of local jobs in a wide-variety of categories. Here's a great article on getting the most out of Craigslist for your job search.
Craig isn't the only one with a list - this is a newsletter and website that posts jobs, internships and volunteer opportunities from hundreds of Portland Metro and greater Oregon non-profits, public agencies, and private employers. It also offers a resource page with recommended books, career coaches and more.
LinkedIn is a profession-focused network that allows you to link to people you know and network with those who know them. Its job board allows you to post your resume and it also includes a browser toolbar widget that can help connect you with your targeted employer. Still not sure what LinkedIn is or how it can with your job search? Take a look at LinkedIn's job searching tips and here are some tips from Forbes that LinkedIn won't tell you.
Indeed allows you to set up searches and have the results emailed to you daily and/or pushed to you via RSS. Easy to limit to a particular location. As with LinkedIn, this site also lets you post your resume.
Search for jobs throughout the state - use the advanced search to limit to a wage per hour, occupational group and more.
WorkStep is a job search platform helping hourly workers in Oregon and Washington find jobs in industries such as warehouse, production, skilled trades and trucking.
What is a body and what is it for? Something to be improved? Something to be managed? Something to be disciplined? Something to be saved? Something to be remodeled? Something to set free? Something to be destroyed? Alexandra Kleeman's debut novel You Too Can Have a Body Like Mine does a remarkable job of tracking one young (presumably white) woman's body's movement in and through late capitalism. As much as A - the novel's narrator - tries to escape or resolve her body's contradictions, all she can eventually do is document the various ways her body is seen and reflected. At every turn, up against every potential escape route - roommate B who spends the first half of the book attemping to become A, boyfriend C who watches porn while they have sex so he might layer "fantasy upon reality upon fantasy," the mirrors she regularly consults for changes in her facial structure, the cult she later joins that prescribes a steady diet of nothing but Kandy Kakes - the possibly edible treats made of nothing ever alive hence nothing actually dead, and finally as a prop in a competitive dating show where real-life lovers test their knowledge of one another or face imposed and permanent separation - A inevitably finds herself simultaneously inside and outside her body, blurred lines never coalescing except in moments of extreme duress.
You Too Can Have a Body Like Mine is a surveillance report mapped and composed by the object of surveillance. Utilizing anorexia as a kind of totalizing metaphor, the novel turns the commodification of bodies inside out but we end up precisely where we began. Weird, paranoiac, and desperate, You Too Can Have a Body Like Mine mines territories familiar to fans of DeLillo, Pynchon, and Philip K. Dick - an oddly recognizable and spooky map of our current historical moment where bodies are necessarily quantifiable but ultimately weightless, until the threat of brutal hunger arrives with a sudden flash.
If you answered yes to any of the above, then urban exploration—the act of visiting abandoned man-made places to document the experience—might be something you’d enjoy. Even though they may be called “urban explorers,” as you can see from this example, many of the places they visit may not be in a city. Man-made structures and artifacts are everywhere and have been abandoned everywhere.
There are some theories out there about why people are drawn to abandoned places, but I don’t know if I’m self-aware enough to pick any one reason that explains my own fascination. In the United States, Detroit has become the poster child for urban decay, but it certainly isn’t alone. Urban explorers have an entire globe to discover and there is an active web presence for those who are interested. It isn’t for everyone, however. These are dangerous places, for many reasons.
Maybe running a gauntlet of armed guards or crawling through a dank ruined building full of bugs and asbestos isn’t appealing. Fortunately, there are those who are not only interested in that sort of adventure but also want to share, so you can vicariously enjoy man-made ruins by visiting the library and checking out one of the great books on this list.
Andy Ricker, the James Beard Award–winning chef behind Pok Pok, lets us know his favorite cookbooks, meals and his thoughts on the Portland food scene.
1. Do you have any favorite cookbooks, books or cooking blogs that have inspired you?
"Thai Food" by David Thompson; "The Joy of Cooking"; "The Whole Beast: Nose to Tail Eating" by Fergus Henderson; "White Heat" by Marco Pierre White; "Cous Cous and Other Good Food" by Paula Wolfert.
2. What do enjoy most about the Portland food scene?
The dedication the chefs, restaurateurs, farmers, food makers and gatherers have to using local products of the highest quality and being in a community that supports this ethos.
3. List your top 2 favorite meals (of all time or even this week).
Last week in Phrae, Northern Thailand, I had an amazing meal of expertly made local food at a restaurant called Jin Sot. The owner is a ninja. A Tai Yai/Shan restaurant near my home here in Chiang Mai reopened after a long hiatus, during which time I was jonesing badly, and much to my relief, the food had not changed at all: delicious egg curry called Khai Oop being my favorite dish.
4. Do you have any library memories to share?
When I was a kid growing up in rural Vermont, we had no TV so reading was our entertainment. We would go to the town library (Jeffersonville) and check out as many books as were allowed per person and devour them over the week.
Inspired to try your hand at Thai cooking? Check out our booklist below for our favorite Thai cookbooks that you can check out from the library. If you are feeling particulary adventerous, try your hand at making the egg curry dish that Andy mentioned, Khai Oop.
February 3, 2016, The Mercury recently reported findings of high levels of arsenic and cadmium in the air in SE Portland. Days later, the DEQ released a map that showed many areas throughout Portland to be affected.
If you are wondering, “Should I get tested for arsenic or cadmium poisoning?” this Portland Mercury article cites Dr. Gillian Beauchamp, a Toxicology Fellow at the Oregon Poison Center at OHSU, who offers advice.
A timely resource for updates on current action by Portland residents (meetings, information sharing, etc.) is the Facebook Public Group Inner SE Air Quality. Although the focus is SE Portland, there’s much information about air quality in other areas in the city being shared here too. Inner SE Air Quality is also sharing community-generated/created Google maps of cancers and serious illnesses, a map for people that have tested for heavy metal exposure, and a map showing results of soil testing for heavy metals. Check here for updates on community meetings you can attend. Neighbors for Clean Air Facebook page is another good resource.
If you are interested more broadly about air quality in Portland, check the ToxNet map. Use the Beta version and click on "zoom to a location" then enter an address to see emissions near you. If you click on "more" you can see the levels of toxins a facility reports. This doesn’t report these recent SE Portland findings.
The Oregon Health Authority’s Cancer Registry researches possible clusters in communities.
Questions? Call, text or email a librarian to get personalized help – or ask the librarian on duty the next time you're at the library. We will do our best to find the right resource or service for you!
Although scientific studies vary, there seems to be agreement that learning and speaking multiple languages is good for your gray matter. It may even delay the onset of dementia*. It will certainly improve your je ne sais quoi.
Here are a few of the language learning resources available to you from Multnomah County Library:
- Mango Connect: This online app is easy to use and full of quick exercises for learning over 50 different languages. You move through lessons at your own pace, and you can spend a lot of time on it or just a little bit each day.
- Language Exchanges: The library offers in-person language exchange programs in Chinese, French, Spanish, and Vietnamese. These events are intended for both English speakers and English learners. Half of the event is spent practicing in the non-English language, and the other half is spent practicing English. All levels are welcome! These programs are informal, fun, and a great way to meet people in your community.
- Books: The library has lots of books (and audiobooks) for learning languages! The best way to find these is by asking a librarian - they will guide you to the books and resources that are perfect for you.
For even more language learning ideas, take a look at the library’s Language learning topic page. If someone you know is working on learning or improving their English, be sure to also check out the library’s Learn English webpage.
You’re never too old to learn something new!
*: For more information about the science of languages and the brain, read “Delaying Onset of Dementia: Are Two Languages Enough?” (2014) in the online journal Behavioural Neurology.
Hello. My name is Matt and I read mysteries.
I never thought I’d be a mystery reader. It started off with the occasional Agatha Christie title to mix things up. A few years later, I found myself reading a too cozy for comfort title involving a doughnut shop and recipes. Things had gone too far. What kind of mystery reader was I? Was I one book away from entering the soft boiled world of J.B. Fletcher?
Luckily, the answer was right in front of me: gay detective novels. In a literary world with limited LGBTQ characters, it’s exciting to find a likeable protagonist to identify with. Exploring the cast of gay detectives, I was surprised to find a collection of gentlemen larger than expected.
Russell Quant is an everyman living in Saskatchewan. As a handsome rookie private detective in a small city, business can be slow. However, when it gets busy things quickly get out of hand. His cases take him to exotic locales and always lead back to his Canadian home for a thrilling finale. His love life is, uh, complicated and has it’s ups and downs. A quirky cast of friends and family round out the series to keep things interesting. Start with Amuse Bouche.
These are my favorites of the bunch, but check any of them out. Each of these mystery series have their own feel. It’s what makes the genre so much fun to read. Plus you never know if the perfect pie recipe is on the next page...
Nick Bruel is an author, illustrator and cartoonist, and is known for his series of children's books, Bad Kitty. In his spare time, he collects PEZ dispensers and hangs out with his wife and his cat, Esmerelda.
Nick: The time is 5:13 am. I’m standing here inside the downstairs bathroom of Nick Bruel, the world renowned children’s book author and illustrator, parkour master, Amway representative, and long standing member of the Flat Earth Society. Good morning, Nick. Thank you for joining me here today.
Nick: You’re welcome. I think. Why am I here?
Nick: I’ve been tasked today to interview you to find out some of your favorite things…
Nick: Like what? Ice cream?
Nick: Well, no, not precisely …
Nick: I like rum raisin. Haagen Dazs Rum Raisin ice cream. That’s my favorite. Done?
Nick: No, not done. I was thinking more along the lines of … wait. You like rum raisin? No one likes rum raisin.
Nick: I like rum raisin.
Nick: Since when?
Nick: Since always. It’s delicious, and I don’t have to defend myself. Are we done?
Nick: No! We’ve been tasked by the Multnomah County Library system in Portland to find out how you operate, to learn more about you by learning your favorite media.
Nick: Portland, Maine or Portland, Oregon?
Nick: Which is the one with all the street poetry, kombucha bars, and man buns?
[What follows is a long, uncomfortable silence.]
Nick: Sigh. Fine.
Nick: So, let’s start with your favorite movie.
Nick: My favorite movie of all time is a little known short film from Estonia called Man With A Broken Rainbow Of Love by the great director … excuse me … auteur Miloslav Krizkovenszvynzvz. It tells the story of a poor but rich-in-spirit doorknob salesman who’s raising a family of marmosets in his garage while quietly succumbing to the ravages of an earlobe fungus over the course of 3 hours. It’s an allegory of Stalinist Russia.
Nick: 3 hours?! I thought you said it was a short film?
Nick: The director’s cut takes 4 days to watch.
Nick: Well, actually, the library wants material that can be found in their collection.
Nick: Because this way people who read this can get to know you better while also promoting the library’s collection.
Nick: I see. So when people check out the same things I like from the library, they can feel like they’re ME?
Nick: Sort of.
Nick: They can pretend like they’re ME? The people of Oregon can go to the library and pretend to be Nick Bruel! That is beautiful. Just beautiful. Sniff.
Nick: Are … are you crying?
Nick: No. Shut up. I’m not crying. You’re crying!
[Audible scratching at the door]
Esmerelda: Meow?! Meow?!
Nick: GO AWAY, ESME! I’m conducting an important interview!
Nick: No, you can’t use your litterbox now! I told you that I’m conducting an important interview! Go poop in the recycling or something!
Nick: I HEARD THAT! Where were we? Oh, right. Uh … so can you name a more conventional movie that you like?
Nick: Does the library have the films of Buster Keaton?
Nick: I’ll check. [Looks intensely at toothpaste tube] Yes!
Nick: Without a doubt, Buster Keaton was the first true master of comedy. I love Chaplin, but Buster Keaton’s work best exemplified how comedy and timing work hand in hand. He might be best known for his stunts, but Keaton’s true genius was in how he set up his jokes visually. To this day, there are film directors who borrow from Keaton and his visual style.
Nick: Okay! Great! Let’s move on to favorite music.
Nick: I like anything with cannons in it.
Nick: Sure. Cannons.
Nick: What music has cannons in it?
Nick: What music … are you kidding me?! Haven’t you ever heard the 1812 Overture by Peter Tchaikavsky, you peasant?!
Nick: Oh, well, sure …
Nick: I’ll have you know that before degrading myself to this whole children’s book thing I do now, I had a promising career in place as a classical cannon player. I even studied at The Sarasota Online Cannon Conservatory And Clown College, which everyone knows has the most rigorous cannon certification process in the entire country! Even better than Yale’s!
Nick: Well, of course. Everyone knows that …
Nick: And I’d be playing the cannons to this day if not for that terrible day 12 years ago when I burnt my hand lighting the wick during rehearsals. Sniff. Sniff. My doctor says … sob … I’ll never be able to light another cannon wick again.
[Audible scratching at the door.]
Nick: NOT NOW, ESME! I’M BUSY! JUST CROSS YOUR LEGS AND THINK OF THE DESERT!
Where were we?
Nick: Ummm … favorite book?
Nick: Well, I’m quite fond of the work of a blind, Inuit hermaphrodite named J.D. Salinger who …
Nick: Hang on! J.D. Salinger was not a blind, Inuit hermaphrodite!
Nick: He wasn’t?
Nick: No. I understand that his eyesight was quite good.
Nick: My bad. Well, in any case, I’ve always liked how Salinger focuses on character development above all else. I don’t think anyone can turn words on paper into the life story of a friend you grew up with like Salinger, and nothing exemplifies this better than 9 Stories, a collection of short stories he published in The New Yorker. A standout in this collection is “The Laughing Man” which tells the tale of a youth sports club bus driver from the point of view of one of his riders. It’s an amazing, multi-layered tale of friendship, young love, adventure, and the power of a creative spirit. I read this book about once every 3-4 years to remind myself of what good writing looks like.
Nick: Never heard of it.
Nick: Well you should read it.
Nick: Maybe I will. What about picture books? Got a favorite picture book?
Nick: The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein. To me, it’s one of those rare books that transcends its purpose as a book. It’s message of unconditional generosity is so important that I’ve held a theory … a belief, really … for a while now that if every single person on the planet Earth read “The Giving Tree” by Shel Silverstein, then there would be no war. It’s a theory that can never be prove, much less tested, but I stick to it anyway.
Nick: A lot of people don’t like this book. They think the tree is acting too much like a martyr and that the boy does nothing more than take advantage of him.
Nick: Yeah, well some people can go suck eggs. If you step back for a moment and just contemplate that this is a story about what it means to be a parent to a child who you love unconditionally, then the message becomes more clear. I can back this up, because I knew Shel Silverstein and once had a conversation with him on this very topic. He told me that of course this book was about parenting and that he loved watching people practically lose their minds over this book of his.
Nick: Did Shel Silverstein think people should go suck eggs over it?
Nick: No. But he was thinking it.
Nick: Well, Nick, I think that about wraps things up. I’d like to thank you for joining me here today.
Nick: It was my pleasure.
Nick: No, no! The pleasure was all mine!
Nick: Oh, well if you insist!
Nick: Ha, ha!
Nick: Ha, ha, ha!
[Audible scratching at door.]
Esmerelda: MEOW!! MEOW!!
Nick: OKAY! OKAY! I’m opening the door! Jeez! Just light a match or something when you’re done this time. Sometimes I think you’re made out of eggs.
What is Dyslexia?
Dyslexia is a neurological difference often characterized by difficulties with reading, writing and spelling. It may run in the families and can not be “cured.” Individuals with this condition must learn coping strategies.
Dyslexia has nothing to do with intelligence. With the right instruction, almost all individuals with dyslexia can learn to read. A multi-sensory, phonics based approach is often the best way to help kids learn to read. The Orton-Gillingham, Barton System and/or Lindamood-Bell programs are well known programs that work.
This great Ted-Ed talk provides an overview of dyslexia.
What should I look for?
Decoding Dyslexia offers these early signs of dyslexia:
- Late speech (3 years or later)
- Mixing up sounds in multi-syllable words (e.g. bisghetti, aminal, mazageen)
- Inability to rhyme by age 4
- Difficulty with substitutions, omissions and deletions
- Unusual pencil grip
- Difficulty remembering rote facts (months of the year, days of the week)
- Confusion of left vs. right
Several organizations offer online self-assessment tools. Take a look at the the Uncovering Dyslexia Topic Guide for suggested websites.
Dyslexia and low self-esteem
One of the biggest challenges of dyslexia is counteracting shame caused by teasing and misunderstanding. Children are often teased because they can’t read as well as others. Teachers may say things like “she’s a slow reader” in front of the child or parents. Kids know what “slow” means and they often grow up believing they are “stupid” and/or “lazy.”
Headstrong Nation’s Learn the Facts wants you to know the facts, help your child recognize her/his strengths and weaknesses, learn how to talk about it with trusted friends and family and eventually, be comfortable sharing one’s real self with the world.
How the library can help
There are three valid types of reading: with your eyes (print & video), with your fingers (Braille) and with your ears (audiobooks). For information about Braille books, contact the Talking Book and Braille Library at the Oregon State Library. Multnomah County Library will help you find materials for reading with your eyes and ears.
Typically easier for someone with dyslexia, the library has thousands of audiobooks on CD and in downloadable formats for people who read with their ears. Library information staff can help you find and use audiobooks.
The library has thousands of DVDs, Blu-ray and downloadable films for people who read with eyes & ears. Library information staff can help you find and use these media.
The topic guide Uncovering Dyslexia is available on the website and My MCL.
Dyslexia Assessment in Multnomah County
Here are a few of the many assessment and intervention providers in the County.
The Blosser Center - Accredited by the Academy of Orton-Gillingham Practitioners and Educators, the Blosser Center provides assessment, tutoring and teacher training.
Language Skills Therapy - Provides assessment and tutoring
New Leaves Clinic - Provides assessment and treatment in Hillsboro, Oregon
PDX Reading Specialist, LLC - Provides assessment, tutoring, advocacy and professional development
Thanks to a new book by my favorite Swedish print designer, this is totally accomplishable in a single afternoon. Lotta Jansdotter's Everyday Style, presents crazy simple patterns for functional clothing and accessories to carry you through the seasons. While the designs are drawn from her own personal style, Jansdotter encourages women to adapt these classic pieces to suit who they are. Straight away I loved the Esme tunic that can be shortened to a modish top or lengthened to a free-spirited kaftan. I’ve been collecting (hoarding) fabric with unusual prints for years and can’t wait to transform my stash into things I can actually wear and use.
If you love textiles, modern design and fuss-free sewing, check out Lotta Jansdotter and be inspired to make your own unique something.
Wait, what? Soldiers protesting the war? That can’t be right, it was the radical college students and long haired hippies that protested the war, right? Not according to Jerry Lenkcke in his thought-provoking book, The Spitting Image: Myth, Memory and the Legacy of Vietnam.
While doing research about the way society viewed the returning Vietnam vets, Lenkcke kept coming across the mention of soldiers getting off the plane on American soil and being spit on by anti-war, anti-draft protesters. Intrigued, he decided to find the source for this image - was it symbolic or did it really happen? Could he find an example of it?
What he discovered kept me enthralled. I don’t think I will ever look at a picture of a soldier the same way again.
The book is well-researched, documented and supplemented by a complete filmography. If you are interested in how the media changes the way that we see the world, read The Spitting Image: Myth, Memory and the Legacy of Vietnam by Jerry Lenkcke.
Here is an example of an easy stock price search.
1. A stock price is needed for a company for a particular date. (Let’s say Nike on February 13, 2009.)
2. You go to a website with historical stock information (like Yahoo! Finance or Wall St. Journal’s MarketWatch), search for the company name or ticker symbol, and voila! You have the closing price for that day. (Keep in mind that the closing price may or may not already be adjusted.)
But this only works if the company is still in business and hasn’t changed names, hasn’t been involved in a merger or acquisition, and is still trading on the stock exchange under the same ticker symbol. If any of those situations are not the case, the historical price that you need might not be available online.
Take, for example, Macy’s, which went public in 1922 under the name R.H. Macy, and which for many years traded under the symbol MZ. You won’t easily find historical stock prices from before 1992 for this company on Yahoo! Finance or in other online databases because in 1992 Macy’s merged with Federated Department Stores. (Thanks to New York Public Library for this example!)
Steps for trickier stock price searches.
So how does someone get a historical stock price from before 1992 for Macy’s, or for any other company whose historical prices aren’t online? There are two steps: first, researching the company history to find out any information about different names, ticker symbols, and listings on stock exchanges; and second, looking in a newspaper or newspaper database for the date that you need. The library can help you with both of these steps.
Step 1: Research the company history.
This step can require a little detective work. It is where you figure out the name and ticker symbol of the company or security at the time of the historical price and the stock exchange which it was trading on. Here are several sources that the library offers for learning about a company’s history (you may need to look at more than one of them in order to get a full sense of a company’s history):
- Capital Changes Reporter: Lists capital changes (such as mergers and splits) for companies, by date, and includes information about stock exchanges and ticker symbols that the company traded under. Available in print in the Science & Business room at Central Library, or online through the CCH Intelliconnect database.
- International Directory of Company Histories: Provides detailed corporate histories for many companies, both U.S. and international. There are currently 156 volumes. Available in print in the Science & Business room at Central Library, or online through the Gale Virtual Reference Library database (note: the most recent volumes are only available in print).
- Mergent Intellect: Available through the library website. A database with lots of information about companies, including company histories.
- Directory of Obsolete Securities: Lists and gives brief info for companies and banks whose original identities have been lost to events like changes in name, acquisitions, mergers, or bankruptcy. Available in print in the Science & Business room at Central Library.
- EDGAR: This is not a library resource, but it is freely available online through the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), and we can help you if you have trouble using it! It contains many documents that public companies are required to submit to the SEC, including company reports.
Step 2: Look up the historical price in a newspaper or other source from that historical date.
Once you have done some research about the company whose stock price you are looking for (and hopefully learned their name, ticker symbol, and the stock exchange they were traded on at the time of the historical price), you are ready to find the stock price in a newspaper or other source from that time. Note that you’ll want to look at a newspaper or publication for the day immediately after the date for which you need the price, since the price would not have been published until the next day’s paper. Here are two sources for this, both of which are available electronically through the library website:
- New York Times Historical (1851-2009): Contains scans of articles from the New York Times, including stock prices. Choose “Advanced Search,” enter the date that you are looking for in the “Publication Date” section, and choose “Stock quote” from the “Document Type” menu. Leave the other search boxes blank, and do your search. You will retrieve a list of articles containing stock prices - to find the major stock exchanges, choose the articles with the most page numbers, then look in them for the company whose stock price you need.
- The Historical Oregonian (1861-1987): This database will be most useful for stock prices of companies from the Pacific Northwest. Enter the date you are looking for in the “Date(s)” box, and then do a search in the "All Text" box for a word like NYSE or NASDAQ which would appear on the page with stock prices.
In addition to these electronic databases for the New York Times and the Oregonian, the library also has a number of useful resources available in print and on microfilm at Central Library:
- Barron’s (1972 to the present)
- The Commercial and Financial Chronicle (1909 to 1976 and 1978 to 1987)
- The Wall Street Journal (1956 to 2012)
So there you have the basic steps for finding historical stock prices. It can indeed be a little bit of a research project sometimes. But don’t despair! Librarians are happy to talk to you about your particular stock price need, and to help you find the information you are looking for. Just get in touch with us using one of the methods on our Contact a librarian webpage. Happy stock price searching!
The Rose City Rollers league is made up of over 400 smart, tough, accomplished women who skate fast, hit hard, and defy stereotypes about female athletes ...And they read. Check out a list of favorites from Axles of Annihilation, one of the Rose City Rollers’ two All-Stars teams. Want more reading recommendations? Try My Librarian and get a personalized list made just for you.
The Mental Athlete by Kay Porter
Roller derby takes a lot of mental and physical strength. This book has given me a lot of great tips on how to deal with the tough situations. It’s a great guide not just for sports but also for life. We all have different challenges to face and it’s nice to have different ways to combat them head on.
A wonderful series of books about books! It’s about a father/book binder named Mortimer. When he reads books aloud, the characters come out of the book and into the real world, but with each character that emerges a new one must return to the book. One night when his daughter Maggie was very young, he accidentally reads his wife into a book called Inkheart. The trilogy follows him and his daughter as they go on a series of adventures trying to find Maggie's mother. One of my favorite parts about this series is that each chapter starts with a quote from a different book, so once I finished the series I had an incredible new list of books to read.
Anne of Green Gables by Lucy Maud Montgomery
Anne is a smart, adventurous, young, orphaned redhead. As a young freckle faced redhead growing up in the country, I always felt that Anne and I were meant to be bosom buddies.
When Nabi is not skating she enjoys…oh never mind, right now she is skating all the time. When the season is done she will hopefully read more books, see live theater, and do more hot yoga.
Roller Girl by Victoria Jamieson
Victoria Jamieson aka Winnie the Pow is a fellow skater with Rose City Rollers. I am lucky enough to be her derby wife and she gave me an advanced copy of her graphic novel. This beautifully illustrated book captures the heart of this sport. You don’t have to be involved in roller derby to fall in love with this story!
The Inner Game of Tennis by Timothy Gallwey
Mind Gym: An Athletes Guide to Inner Excellence by Gary Mack
I went on a sports psychology kick this season and read both of these multiple times, and they really helped with my mental game.
The Pearl that Broke Its Shell by Nadia Hashimi
A novel of two Afghanistan women in the same family but generations apart, who share similar hardship and struggles in a culture where females have little freedom.
Unbroken by Laura Hillenbrand
The true story of a World War Two pilot who survives a crash at sea, only to face continued abuse as a prisoner of war.
The Chosen by Chaim Potok.
A book about two Jewish boys who grow up in completely different households. The father of each boy recognizes what his son will need to succeed in life, but it comes at cost to the father-son relationship.
When Spocker isn't skating, you'll often find her indulging in sci-fi, fantasy, and gaming, geeking out about lighting design, baking some serious-business desserts, obsessing over font libraries and color theory, or maybe even singing karaoke.
The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan
I first read this in middle school, and it's always been an important book for me: as a half-Chinese girl growing up in the United States, a lot of the experiences in the book felt familiar, and helped me understand more about the Chinese side of my background.
The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams
The entire 5-book “trilogy” was a lot of fun, but the first book always stands out in my mind. It’s an entertaining and funny flip on the science fiction genre, and a must-read for any sci-fi geek.
A Game of Thrones by George R. R. Martin
A lot of people know about the HBO show, but the books came first, and they’re worth the read. It’s not a series for the faint of heart, and you should be careful what characters you get attached to - no one is safe! :-) - but it’s a complex and riveting story that’s really grand in scope.
Hard-Boiled Wonderland and the End of the World by Haruki Murakami
I like a lot of Murakami’s work, and this was the first book of his that I found. It’s a story that’s split between two worlds--with odd-numbered chapters about one, and even-numbered chapters about the other! One world that feels a bit cyberpunk-y, and the other more mysterious and otherworldly.
The Windup Girl by Paolo Bacigalupi
This book creates an interesting world, where Thai culture and society is at the center, natural food is scarce, and calories are more valuable and coveted than anything else. The story follows multiple characters’ perspectives, and it was fun to watch the story emerge from their individual threads.
My Librarian and our featured guest readers are made possible by a grant from the Paul G. Allen Family Foundation to The Library Foundation, a local non-profit dedicated to our library's leadership, innovation, and reach through private support.
photo credits: Mercy Shammah - Your Sunday Best Photography www.yoursundaybestphotography.com