Blogs

Katie Grindeland is the author of The Gifts We Keep, a selection from The Library Writers Project, which highlights local self-published authors. In an innovative partnership, Ooligan Press worked with the library to publish this novel about an Oregon family struggling with past tragedy while caring for a Native Alaskan girl with sorrows of her own.

Reading with friends? Start the conversation with this book summary and discussion guide.

Why did you want to tell this particular story?

I have always been a very character-driven writer, so I was excited at the prospect of diving into first-person emotional exploration with a somewhat diverse group of people. It was really important to me to try and give voice to their internal experience since we don’t always have a platform for that in our put-together grown-up lives. Big feelings, authenticity, connection, these were pillars for me. Not just as words on a page, but as an open-handed gesture to the reader’s experience as well. If someone reads this story and feels emotionally seen or included, I would consider that my biggest success.

Who or what inspires you, writing wise? Who inspires you in your life?

I am always inspired by those really good writers who make you stop in your tracks, by virtue of how purely they can weave a phrase or present an idea. The kind where I have to put the book down to stare at nothing and just think for a few minutes. Yann Martel and Marilynne Robinson and Jonathan Safran Foer and Barbara Kingsolver. But I also really love the writer who just wants to borrow your ear for a minute to tell a cool story they know. Lynda Barry and Stephen King and Cheryl Strayed and Diane Ackerman. These and so many more. Outside of writing, hard workers inspire me. Nose-to-the-grindstoners inspire me. Bad-at-something-but-trying-it-anyway inspires me. I find a lot of bravery in authenticity. And kindness. Kind-hearted people are secret super heroes and they don’t even know it. That inspires me.

Can you recommend a book you've recently enjoyed?

All The Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr. It undid me, in all the best ways. Beautiful, meaningful, incandescent. I read much of this by headlamp on a solo camping trip near The Dalles, listening to trains run by in the dark, simply because I couldn’t put it down. I also love “S”, by Doug Dorst and J.J. Abrams. It's a novel within a novel, filled with miscellanies that fall out of the book into your lap if you aren’t careful, postcards, notes, photos -- all of which may or may not be clues to unraveling the story. Plus, if you’re anything like me, it will have you spouting about the Ship of Theseus paradox to friends and family, whose reception may be lukewarm in comparison to your enthusiasm for the idea!

Haciendo la diferencia un 'Día' a la vez

Ana Morillo, MCL Staff, with Día volunteers Claudia Ramirez-Cisneros and Francisca Ixtepán
Por Sarah Binns, voluntaria de MCL 

El sábado 20 de abril, la Biblioteca Midland celebrará su evento anual del Día de los Niños y Día de los Libros con libros, comida, presentaciones artísticas y manualidades para los niños y las personas jóvenes de corazón. El Día de los Niños, una celebración tradicionalmente realizada el 30 de abril en muchos países latinoamericanos, en general fue introducido a los Estados Unidos a finales de los años 90 por la autora y defensora de la alfabetización bilingüe Pat Mora. Las bibliotecas de todo el país adoptaron el programa después de ser patrocinado por la Asociación de Servicios de Bibliotecas para Niños. Este año, el evento de la Biblioteca Midland ha sido organizado casi exclusivamente por dos usuarias y voluntarias apasionadas de la biblioteca que tienen una experiencia personal con esta tradición: Claudia Ramírez-Cisneros y Francisca Ixtepán. Tanto Claudia como Francisca crecieron en México celebrando el Día de los Niños. “Era algo especial, nuestros padres nos daban regalos”, dice Francisca. Sin embargo, la vida no siempre ha estado llena de regalos para Claudia y Francisca, quienes ahora viven con sus familias en Portland.

“Mi mamá y mi hermano se vinieron aquí primero”, explica Claudia. “Yo tenía solamente 11 años de edad cuando se fueron. No teníamos teléfonos, entonces mi mamá enviaba cartas diciendo lo mucho que me extrañaba”. Claudia participaba como voluntaria enseñando a los niños en su iglesia para “ayudarme a sobrellevar la soledad” sin su familia. Esto despertó un interés permanente por ayudar a otros, lo cual Claudia se trajo con ella cuando se reunió con su familia en Portland a la edad de 15 años.

Francisca se mudó a Portland cuando ya era una persona adulta y la transición a un nuevo país y cultura fue muy desafiante para ella. “Algunas veces, cuando la gente no me entendía, me daba por vencida”, dice Francisca. “Muchas mujeres en nuestra comunidad se apartan porque tienen miedo. Es necesario que como inmigrantes aprendamos a hablar el inglés y aboguemos por nuestros hijos en la escuela o hablemos con la gente en las tiendas cuando no podamos encontrar personas que nos ayuden”. Francisca recibió ayuda del amable personal bilingüe de la biblioteca durante una clase realizada como parte de un evento de difusión comunitaria de la biblioteca. Inspirada por su jefe, a quien ella considera su amigo, y por la necesidad de ayudar a su hijo que estaba siendo acosado en la escuela, Francisca decidió regresar a la escuela para estudiar, aprender el inglés y seguir una carrera.

Francisca y Claudia se conocieron en el Colegio Comunitario Mt. Hood y desde entonces se convirtieron en voluntarias muy activas en la biblioteca y en la comunidad latina de Portland.  Ana Ruiz Morillo, coordinadora de difusión en español de la biblioteca, compartió: “En los últimos cinco años, Francisca ha sido voluntaria en las celebraciones del Día de los Niños y Día de los Libros de MLC. El año pasado, ella invitó a Claudia para trabajar juntas y más tarde ambas aceptaron el desafío de planificar y realizar el evento de “Autor Latino de 2018” con el autor de libros para niños René Colato Laínez en la Biblioteca Midland. Estas dedicadas voluntarias trabajaron muchas horas para planificar, promover y realizar este evento porque, a final de cuentas, todo lo que querían era expresar su apreciación por toda la orientación que recibieron del personal de la biblioteca”.

Nuevamente este año, Claudia y Francisca han dedicado meses para planificar el Día de los Niños y Día de los Libros de la Biblioteca Midland, la cual será una celebración bilingüe multifacética de la cultura latina. Vamos a tener decoraciones inspiradas en Coco, la película galardonada por la Academia con el tema del Día de los Muertos, y también presentaciones de danza como la “Danza de los Viejitos”, un baile tradicional del estado mexicano de Michoacán. Y, gracias al apoyo de The Library Foundation, cada niño asistiendo al evento recibirá un libro gratuito.

La planificación de Claudia y Francisca asombra al personal de la biblioteca por su habilidad para movilizar a la comunidad y crear un intercambio cultural tan vibrante. “Nosotros estamos aprendiendo del liderazgo de Claudia y Francisca”, dice Morillo. “Estamos mejorando en las cosas que hacemos debido a sus contribuciones”. 

Esperamos verlos a ustedes el 20 de abril en la Biblioteca Midland. Ya sea que traigan a sus niños o a su propio niño interior, tengan la seguridad de que pasarán un tiempo maravilloso gracias a Claudia y Francisca. 

ChIldren sitting on floor

Will your child be 5 years old by September 1? If so, sign up for kindergarten now so they can start school this fall. Sign up at your neighborhood school by June 1 to give your child a good start, connect to summer activities, and get access to free resources. School offices close for the summer, so don’t wait! 

To identify your school, call 2-1-1 or email health@211info.org. Help is available in many languages.

Ana Morillo, MCL Staff, with Día volunteers Claudia Ramirez-Cisneros and Francisca Ixtepán
Making a difference one Día at a time

by Sarah Binns, MCL volunteer

On Saturday, April 20, Midland Library will host its annual Día de los Niños y Día de los Libros (Children’s Day and Book Day) with books, food, performances, and crafts for the young and young at heart. Día de los Niños, traditionally held on April 30 in many Latin American countries, was introduced broadly to the US in the late 90s by author and bilingual literacy advocate Pat Mora. Libraries across the country adopted the program after it was sponsored by the Association for Library Services to Children (ALSC). This year, Midland Library’s event has been organized almost solely by two passionate volunteer patrons with personal experience of the tradition: Claudia Ramirez-Cisneros and Francisca Ixtepán. Both Claudia and Francisca grew up in Mexico celebrating Día: “It was something special, our parents gave us presents,” says Francisca. But life has not always been full of gifts for either woman, both of whom now live with their families in Portland.

“My mom and brother came here first,” Claudia explains. “I was only eleven when they left. We didn’t have phones, so my mom sent letters saying how much she missed me.” Claudia volunteered teaching youth at her church “to help me get through the loneliness” without her family. This ignited a lifelong interest in helping others, which Claudia carried with her when she joined her family in Portland at age fifteen.

Francisca moved to Portland as an adult and found the transition to a new country and culture challenging. “Sometimes, when people didn’t understand me, I’d give up,” she says. “Many women in our community step back because they are afraid. It is necessary as immigrants to learn to speak English in this country and to advocate for our kids at school or speak to people at the store, when we aren’t able to find people who could help us.” Francisca found help from the welcoming bilingual library staff during a class conducted as part of the library’s community outreach. Inspired by her boss, who she considers a great friend, and by the need to help her child who was being bullied at school, Francisca decided to go back to school, learn English and pursue a career.

Francisca and Claudia met in classes at Mt. Hood Community College and have since become very active volunteers at the library and in the Latinx community in Portland. Ana Ruiz Morillo, MCL’s Spanish Outreach Coordinator, shared, “For the past five years, Francisca has been volunteering at the MCL Día celebrations. Last year she invited Claudia to join her and later on both took on the challenge to plan and conduct the 2018 Latino Author event with children’s author René Colato Laínez at the Midland Library. These dedicated volunteers put so many hours to plan, promote, and conduct this event, that at the end, all they wanted to do was express their appreciation for all the mentorship they received from library staff.”

Again this year Claudia and Francisca have devoted months of planning to Midland Library’s 2019 Día, which will be a multifaceted, bilingual celebration of Latinx culture: There will be decorations inspired by the Academy Award-winning, Day of the Dead-themed film Coco and dance performances, including “la danza de los viejitos,” or “dance of the old gentlemen,” traditionally from the Mexican state of Michoacán. And, thanks to the support from The Library Foundation, every child in attendance will receive a free book.

Claudia and Francisca’s planning awes the library staff, with their ability to rally the community and create such a vibrant cultural exchange. “We are learning from the leadership of Claudia and Francisca,” says Ruiz Morillo. “We are becoming better at what we do because of their contributions." We hope to see you on April 20 at Midland Library. Whether you bring your children or your inner child, it’s sure to be a wonderful time, thanks to Claudia and Francisca.

Rod Madison in a truck
With a few online clicks, a library patron can go from deciding what they want to read to placing that book on hold at their neighborhood library; thanks to a team of library staff led by Logistics Supervisor Rod Madison, that book, along with thousands of other books and other library materials, are moved around the county each day— taken off library shelves, sorted, routed to new locations, and put back on the shelves and ready for checkout.

Along with his team, Rod helps facilitate the movement of nearly 175,000 library materials around Multnomah County each week — more than the entire collection held at Midland Library!

"I always want to help our patrons get the materials they want, where they want them and in the fastest way possible," said Rod. 

Brought to the library by a love of books and a background in academics — he holds a Master’s Degree in History and taught classes at Oregon State University for more than a decade — Rod initially began working at the library’s “sort center,” the operation he now manages. This is where all materials moving from one library location get manually sorted for drivers to take to their destination. 

After transitioning into a position as a library assistant and spending time at two of the library’s largest locations — Central and Midland libraries — Rod pursued positions in library management, finding his experience in operations, public service, and as a library delivery driver, a perfect match for the logistics role. 

Outside of the library, Rod has a fascination with aviation history and enjoys striking up conversations about classic aircraft and visiting local aviation museums, interests that stem from his father who was a naval aviator during WWII.

"My deep interest in aviation is just part of a broader fascination with transportation in general. I guess it's only fitting that I'm working in a job that involves trucks!"

Logo for Bike to Books

Enter for a chance to have your bike art placed on a Portland street! 

Pick up an entry form at your library or download the form and create your design. 

Bring your completed entry to a Multnomah County Library by May 31.

Contest is open to children and teens in grades PreK-12.

Contest dates: May 1-31, 2019

Need inspiration? See the 2018 Bike to Books winners.

Other fun ways to celebrate National Bike Month during May:

#BikeToBooks | biketobooks.com.

2018 Bike to Books winner with his drawing in a bike lane

“You think your pain and your heartbreak are unprecedented in the history of the world, but then you read.” ~ James Baldwin

With the release of the movie If Beale Street Could Talk, interest in the works of James Baldwin is high. If you'd like to take a deeper dive into Baldwin's work, the time is right. The National Book Foundation has declared 2019 the year of James Baldwin through their Author in Focus program. 

Delve into the library's holdings on and about Baldwin. If you'd like to explore his writing futher, Broadway Books will hosting events as part of the year-long celebration. On April 7, the store will host a discussion of incarceration in America and its impact on marriage as seen through the novels An American Marriage by Tayari Jones and Baldwin's If Beale Street Could Talk. They will also host an open-mic night during which people can read aloud their favorite Baldwin passages. Find more information on Broadway Books' event page.

According to the scholar Therman B. O'Daniel, "Baldwin is a bold and courageous writer who is not afraid to search into the dark corners of our social consciences, and to force out into public view many of the hidden, sordid skeletons of our society." Find out for yourself why Baldwin's work still resonates so strongly long after his death.

Denise Auld
For Denise Auld, pursuing a career as a librarian has always been about more than finding books and information, it’s about forging connections and being there for people in the community.

As a teen, Denise spent her days after school at the St. Johns Library. She would see other teens from around the neighborhood, and they all became library regulars— huddling over new laptops on "teen lounge" nights and sharing stories with Janie, the youth librarian.

"Often nobody was at home, and the library became a calm and safe place for me to just be a teenager," said Denise. Visiting the library as a teen was more than a second home, it reinforced her desire to make working in libraries a career.

Today, Denise is currently serving dual roles for the library. For the past six years, she’s been an access services assistant at Holgate Library, assisting patrons with their accounts, helping coordinate the vast amount of library materials that are checked in and out each day, and training new library staff. The position also provided an opportunity for her to work with teens at the library, managing teen programming, running an active Teen Council group of 20 members, and mentoring more than 50 teen volunteers during the library’s annual Summer Reading program.

"I want to be the person that Janie was for me when I was a teen," she says.

Possessing both the experience of helping patrons in the library and a desire to help others, Denise was selected to help create a comprehensive training program for more than 400 staff and 200 volunteers on a new library software system that staff will begin using in May.

"I enjoy teaching and finding different ways to help people learn. Whether it’s working with the teen council or organizing classroom training for library staff, I want people to feel confident in what they do."

Currently in college working toward her Bachelor’s degree in psychology, Denise plans to pursue a master’s program so she can become a teen librarian.

Runner, Reader, and Reliable Volunteer 
photo of volunteer Darcy Pound

by Donna Childs, MCL volunteer

Darcy Pound began volunteering at Troutdale Library for the Summer Reading program after her freshman year of high school. She soon added membership in the teen council, which helps librarians plan events that interest teens; she was part of a group who put together a summit on bullying and effecting positive change. Now she is a full-fledged “search assistant,” coming every Saturday morning to search shelves for books requested by other branches. She is most enthused about this role because of all the interesting books that pass through her hands. There’s that love of learning again! According to Troutdale Library staff, Darcy is “friendly, efficient, reliable, and a good role model.”

A high school senior, Darcy is planning to go to college in the fall, possibly to Oregon State University, where she has been accepted into the Honors College. A potential biology major, her eyes light up when she talks about intriguing new biological discoveries. Thanks to her, I now know that dogs have developed a left gaze bias, looking at the side of our faces that shows more emotion. She’s a solid “A” student, who is at the top of her class, even while taking challenging Advanced Placement courses.

Darcy is also a runner. She is on her high school’s cross-country and track teams, and she was able to combine her love of running and volunteer work for her high school Key Club by helping at the annual Shamrock Run. When asked about summer activities, she mentioned an exciting job working at the 30 summer concerts at McMenamins Edgefield Hotel—some attracting more than 5,000 people—and then she added with a smile, “and of course, running. I love to run.” She also talked about family trips with her parents and younger brother to places such as Mount Rushmore and Dinosaur Park in South Dakota with its 30-foot-high dinosaur replica.

Darcy is a top student who is eager to learn, a talented and enthusiastic runner, and an active and committed volunteer—whether at church, school, or at Troutdale Library. She is also mature, intellectually curious, and original (see her “favorite place to read” comment below).


A few facts about Darcy

Home library: Troutdale

Currently reading: Radium Girls by Kate Moore and 1984 by George Orwell

Favorite book from childhood: A Mango-Shaped Space by Wendy Mass

Favorite section of the library: Nonfiction and graphic novels

E-reader or paper: Paper!

Favorite reading guilty pleasure: I love to read nonfiction that’s written so well it seems like fiction."

Favorite place to read: The stairs. It’s oddly relaxing to sit on a set of stairs and read a good book.




 

Congratulations to Kaiyee, the middle school division winner! Kaiyee is a patron of Holgate Library.

Illustration by Kaiyee, the middle school division winner

And to Trina, the high school division winner, who frequents North Portland Library.

Illustration by Trina, the high school division winner

Each winner receives $100 from collage: curated art and craft supplies and have their art featured on thousands of gameboards this summer. Here are the 22 finalists in the contest, each showing their interpretation of this year’s theme, Space: A Universe of Stories.

Winners were selected by library staff who work with youth and the Summer Reading program. They considered creative interpretation of the theme, popular appeal, and how well the art would print. Trina’s work was felt to show the human connection reading creates; Kaiyee’s, the universe available in books. The results of the voting were very close this year. We were blown away by the quality and creativity shown by the entrants. 

Summer Reading is made possible by gifts to The Library Foundation.

Logo for Summer Reading 2019
Whose art will be on the cover of the middle and high school gameboards for Summer Reading 2019? Here are the 22 finalists in the contest, each showing their interpretation of this year’s theme, Space: A Universe of Stories.  

Winners will be announced on or around March 15. 

We had almost 100 amazing entries--a record number of talented teens, vying for $100 gift cards at collage: curated art and craft supplies.
 
Summer Reading is made possible by gifts to The Library Foundation.

Mother and child reading together
It can be hard to find the right book for a beginning reader. But the library makes it easy. We divide all beginning reader books into four categories, and they are color-coded.

Starting Out (Yellow Reader)

Building Skills (Blue Reader)

Reading More (Red Reader)

On My Own (Green Reader)

To make it even easier, we put together Welcome to Reading bags. Each bag has five books in one of these categories. Getting books that are at the right reading level will help your child love reading and want to read more! Check out a bag from your local library.

Made possible by gifts to The Library Foundation.

Ana Ruiz Morillo

For Spanish Outreach Coordinator Ana Ruiz Morillo, growing up in the Dominican Republic amidst pronounced wealth disparity led her to pursue a career in education and community outreach — she wanted to help others find opportunity and paths to success. 

Growing up between her parents’ two different Dominican neighborhoods, Ana experienced both the lessons of responsibility and hard work, and the privilege of having opportunity and established social circles. 

"These contrasting experiences made me think about equity before I even knew how to describe it. All communities deserve access to quality healthcare, a good education, and opportunities to succeed. I knew I wanted to do something about it," said Ana.

Ana started in her own community in Santo Domingo, meeting with leaders, organizing events and coaching youth on important leadership skills like public speaking.

Eventually, Ana earned her degree and became a teacher in the Dominican Republic before moving to the United States in 1995. In Oregon, she found a job with the Multnomah County Health Department — a place where she felt fulfilled using her bilingual skills while working with community members at neighborhood health clinics. She had planned to work while earning her Master’s Degree in Education so she could return to teaching. But then a job opened up with the library that seemed a perfect match. 

"When I came to work at the library, my supervisor told me, ‘you will always make a difference to students in the classroom, but through the library, you will broaden your impact. It’s a door to the whole community.'" 

"That was 12 years ago, and I haven’t looked back," says Ana. 

Now, Ana coordinates Spanish outreach services for the library. Working with bilingual library staff from across the county, volunteers and interns, Ana helps foster connections and build programs, services and networks between the library and Multnomah County’s Latinx communities. 

One of the most successful library programs Ana leads is El Día de los Niños y El Día de los Libros (Day of the children and Day of the books). The annual celebration of childhood and bilingual literacy is one of the library’s largest programs. Every April, several library locations offer fun and free literacy programming for kids, along with information for parents about how to support their children’s educational development. In 2018, Día events and programs drew nearly 10,000 attendees. 

Ana now utilizes her networking and leadership skills to mentor other library staff, volunteers and interns on conducting bilingual outreach in the community. 

"I continue to fall in love with my job. The library isn’t just flyers and books; the library is meeting people where they are. We are facilitating connections, broadening cultural understanding, and helping other people find their purpose and make an investment in their communities."

Beginning May 12 at 5 pm, the library is upgrading the software that helps run the library. This update will make using the library even better for you and more reliable for us. The library is making this update to continue to provide the best possible service to our patrons.

We look forward to bringing you updates like modernized software that enhances library services and improved self-checkout stations.

During this transition, there will be an impact on some library services. We apologize for the inconvenience.

Classic Catalog

We are replacing the system that currently provides the Classic Catalog. If you use the Classic Catalog, you will need to sign up for My MCL by May 13. This will let you continue to access your account and the library catalog. Here’s how:

  • Create a My MCL account. Here’s a helpful guide.
  • If you were using Classic Catalog, your borrowing history will also be visible in My MCL once you create an account.
  • You can also import your reading lists from Classic Catalog.
  • Patrons who have been using My MCL should not be affected.

Other limited impacts

  • Beginning March 1, patrons will not be able to suggest new purchases for the library. This service will return after the work is complete.
  • Phone renewal will not be available May 13 -15.
  • Temporary reduction in some library programming and availability of meeting rooms.
  • Online renewals will not be available May 13-15. Fines will not accrue during that time.

Need help? Contact us.

Ben Nguyen, library volunteer
“It was a place I could call home.” 

by Sarah Binns, MCL volunteer

When Ben Nguyen and his family emigrated from Vietnam to Portland, one of the first places they visited was their local library. “We always came to the library because it was where my parents had access to computers. I probably rolled around in the corner and picked up picture books,” he laughs. After moving into one house with two other families, the library became “a place of refuge from the noise and crowdedness,” he says.

Since then, Ben has volunteered with the Gregory Heights Library in many different positions. For nearly five years, he has been a search assistant, gathering books on hold and sending them to other library branches. He’s always been a reader and doesn’t volunteer to gain credit: “I do it because it’s fun every week, and I love getting to see the staff.”

As a senior at Reynolds High School, Ben doesn’t have much free time, but he plays tennis on the Reynolds High School team during the year and enjoys hiking in the Columbia River Gorge. He’s also passionate about social justice and has volunteered with the Multnomah Youth Commission for the past three years. “I work with officials on the city side and figure out equity issues, like working to make public transit affordable and accessible”, he says. Through the efforts of Ben and his fellow youth commissioners, TriMet access to East County schools has increased, including a program providing free or partially-funded bus passes to students who receive free or reduced lunch at Parkrose and David Douglas high schools.

“I don’t think of social justice as a career,” he says, “but it is a passion I want to pursue later in life.” Ben also wants to support immigrant and refugee communities, since “I know how hard it is to access resources.” Even more impressively, Ben has been accepted to Stanford University and likely will start there in the fall. “I actually wrote about the library for one of my college essays,” he explains. “I talked about it as a place where my sister and I felt protected. It’s where I was able to learn English and read my first chapter book. It was a place I could call home.”


A few facts about Ben

Home library: Gregory Heights

Currently reading: Multnomah County Library’s selection for Everybody Reads for 2019, Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Most influential book: 1984 by George Orwell. “It made me start engaging in current events and politics.”

Favorite section of the library: Nonfiction, especially narrative nonfiction, where he found books like Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City by Matthew Desmond

Favorite book from childhood: Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White

Book that made you laugh or cry: When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi

Favorite place to read: “Definitely in bed!”

E-reader or paper: “Paper because of the feeling of getting to flip the pages and remembering how much effort the authors put into their work.”

 

We know that snow day closures can throw things off-kilter. Don't worry, we've got you covered. For snow day closures:

  • Don't worry about returning your books when the library is closed for snow days.
  • Late fines won't be charged for the days the library is closed.
  • No holds will expire while the library is closed.

If you can't get into a library once we're open, contact us. We can extend due dates and holds, and fix any problems with late fines. Thanks again for your support of the library.

St Johns Library in the snow

mom and son watching movies
The library is here for you — from entertainment to growth opportunities to family activities. Here are a few things you can do with your library card that might make things easier.

Man standing and reading from a book
February is Black History Month. Join us to celebrate.

 

A Place Called Home: From Vanport to Albina
February 3
St. Johns Library
February 4
Albina Library

Black history traveling museums
At Albina, Belmont, Midland, North Portland and Troutdale libraries throughout February.

Celebrate Black History with Gospel Music Timeline
February 6
Midland Library

Black History Month Film Fest
Saturdays in February 
St. Johns Library

African American Read-In
February 10
North Portland Library

Sista in the Brotherhood film screening 
February 11
Kenton Library

Portland’s Rhymes and Hip-Hop Life 
February 11
Rockwood Library

A Midsummer Night at the Savoy
February 17
North Portland Library

Where the Heart Is film screening 
February 24
North Portland Library

Black Feminism in the Hashtag Era
February 26
North Portland Library


 

Dedicated Booktalker and Treasure for Third-Graders

by Donna Childs, MCL volunteer

As a Books 2 U volunteer, Ethelyn Pankratz talks to third-graders at two Portland schools about books. And she is a natural at it: even during our interview, she went through the seven books she had brought, pointing out especially good illustrations or photographs, showing what she liked about each, and how they might appeal to children—demonstrating a “booktalk” without my realizing it.

The Books 2 U program trains volunteers and provides books for students in third, fourth, and fifth grades; volunteers then choose titles from the many possibilities in the Books 2 U office. On this day, Ethelyn’s choices ranged from wordless books to those with mostly words, beautifully illustrated works, easy readers, adventure tales, and science. Since each classroom session is limited to 20 minutes, she goes through them rapidly, but without seeming to hurry.

The booktalker training includes learning to catch students’ attention, and in her 18 years of volunteering, Ethelyn has become adept at “reading” the students and choosing books that will interest them. She admitted that working with third graders may make her task easier because they are intrigued by everything and eager to learn. To do this well, she said, a volunteer must love reading, be aware of the kids’ varied reading levels, and have a good sense of what elements of a book to emphasize.

An ideal Books 2 U volunteer, Ethelyn spent most of her career in education: as a preschool teacher, an art instructor for Portland Public Schools, as executive director of what was then called the Association for Retarded Citizens, administering a program for people with developmental disabilities, and even working with an organization that brought young people from Myanmar to be educated in the U.S., hoping that they would return home and teach others.

When she retired, Ethelyn wanted to do something useful that she would enjoy. When I asked what she likes best about volunteering with Books 2 U, she replied, “watching their eyes light up—seeing them become engaged with a book. Since some schools no longer have libraries, we are a way to reach kids who might not be introduced to the world through reading.”


A few facts about Ethelyn

Home library: Capitol Hill

Currently reading: a science-fiction trilogy by Brandon Sanderson

Favorite book from childhood: Girl of the Limberlost by Gene Stratton-Porter

A book that made you laugh or cry: The Little Colonel by Annie Fellows Johnston

Favorite section of the library: young adult books

E-reader or paper book? Both. I like the ability to adjust fonts on e-readers, but I prefer the feel of paper books, especially if I want to keep a book.

Favorite reading guilty pleasure: reading in the daytime

Favorite place to read: on the couch or in bed

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

 

Logo for Summer Reading 2019
HEY TEENS: Want to win $100 to spend at collage: curated art and craft supplies? Want thousands of people to see your artwork? 

Are you an artist in grades 6–12? Would you like a chance to win one of two $100 gift certificates to collage: curated art and craft supplies? Enter cover art for the 2019 Multnomah County Library Summer Reading teen gameboards! The theme is “Space: A Universe of Stories.” We will select a middle school and high school winner from the entries. If your artwork is selected, people across Multnomah County will see your artwork all summer long. The library will also share winners and honorable mentions on the library’s social media channels.

PRINTABLE FLIER with entry size and all these details (or you can pick one up at your library).

ART SPECIFICATIONS 1) Black & white image only. 2) If hand drawn, use black ink, marker, pen or hard pencil. 3) If computer drawn, submit as black & white EPS or high resolution (300 dpi) PNG, JPG or TIF. NOTE: Final artwork will be printed at a maximum of 7” x 4.75” [measurements may change if art is scaled down].

SUBMISSION DETAILS Please include your name, grade, school (if applicable) and a phone number or email address so we can reach you if you win. Submit your artwork electronically to summerreading@multco.us, bring it to your local library, or send a paper version to:

Summer Reading | Multnomah County Library Isom Building, 205 NE Russell Street, Portland, OR 97212

Entries must be received by FRIDAY, MARCH 1.

Summer Reading is made possible by gifts to The Library Foundation.

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