Blogs

Geoff Brunk
Library Outreach Services Coordinator Geoff Brunk has been with Multnomah County Library for 21 years, but his library career started halfway across the world in Taipei, Taiwan.

Geoff, who is fluent in Mandarin, has a degree in Asian Languages and first went to Taiwan to study for what he thought would be one year — it actually turned out to be ten. There, he started working at the National Central Library in international exchange, contacting libraries from around the world and exchanging books with them. His passion for libraries continued as he made his way to Oregon and began working for Multnomah County Library.

Today Geoff continues his work with diverse communities. As part of the library’s Outreach Services team, he helps people across Multnomah County access library materials through several programs: Words on Wheels, a volunteer-supported library program that matches specially-trained volunteers with homebound patrons; a lobby service program that provides library materials to senior living communities each month; and through outreach to 50 organizations that assist people without permanent housing.

Each of these programs is meaningful for Geoff because of the opportunity to connect with patrons who may not make it into a library branch:

"I love hearing from community partners how Multnomah County Library’s shelter program improves their guests’ and clients’ lives. It’s fun visiting the senior communities, seeing residents from different cultures poring over books and movies in their native languages, then catching up with our staff and one another at these library-focused gatherings. And I enjoy playing matchmaker, going along with Words on Wheels volunteers on their first visits to their patrons’ homes. It amazes me how often the pair have things in common."

As part of the library’s effort to connect the houseless community to library services, Geoff manages library donations to local shelters and organizations. Last year, with delivery help from volunteers, the library donated 15,000 materials in English and Spanish, from books for leisure reading to titles on GED test preparation, substance abuse and recovery, parenting, and mental health.

During his outreach, Geoff meets a variety of patrons, young and old, English-speaking and non-native speakers. In recalling a special moment, he remembers a Mandarin-speaking patron, a woman in her 80s, who called asking for United States citizenship information.

"After checking with our resident expert on naturalization, Lisa Regimbal, MCL’s adult literacy coordinator, I sent this patron exactly what she needed. A few months later, when we visited her apartment building, she came over to thank me. She’d just gotten her citizenship and was excited and grateful for the information the library provided. It was wonderful to have helped a person become a proud new US citizen."

 

We know that for most human beings, perception is reality. For most of their existence, libraries have relied on a simple equation: If books = important; and library = books; then libraries = important. But similar to the Toys“R”Us brand, the “books are us” brand is losing its perceived value and relevance. Among other forces, both libraries and Toys“R”Us have been deeply impacted by rapidly evolving and increasingly broadly valued technology. A recent report provides some insight.

The report, From Awareness to Funding: Voter Perceptions and Support of Public Libraries in 2018 (FATF), an update to a report from 2008, was produced by OCLC Research, in partnership with the American Library Association (ALA) and its Public Library Association (PLA) division. The report’s findings are both affirming and cause for concern. They call for urgent action.

Think about our world 10 short years ago. The iPhone and the App Store, Kindle, and Netflix all launched around then–right around the time the original From Awareness to Funding report was released.

About 10 years ago:

  • Google did about 365 billion searches; in 2016 Google did over 2 trillion searches
  • 24% of the US population was using social media; in 2017 81% was using it
  • 11% of Americans were using smartphones; in 2017 81% were using them

According to the recently released 2018 Tech Trends report by Amy Webb and The Future Today Institute, the next decade will bring continuing and unprecedented change, including a “new era of computing and connected devices which we will wear and will command using our voices, gestures and touch….[which] will forever change how we experience the physical world.” (p.8). It’s hard to believe that within the span of 20 years the smartphone as we know it will have come and gone. To state the obvious, the world and the communities in which our libraries exist are dramatically different than they were the year FATF was first released. And these changes are impacting the perception people have of public libraries--their value and relevance.

Given all this, it is no wonder that, according to the updated report, the perception that “the public library has done a good job of keeping up with changing technology” dropped from 60% in 2008 to 48% in 2018. And in spite of, or perhaps because of, this it is imperative that libraries continue to prioritize their role in digital equity. Where else can those among us with the fewest resources and opportunities find free, quality access to and assistance in effectively using the technology increasingly imperative for thriving in our world?

Technology’s relentless evolution isn’t the only trend to which we must constantly adapt. The demographic shifts we see demand investment to ensure that everyone has equal opportunity and access. A widening opportunity gap presents critical challenges for people who are new to this country and others who might be left in the margins. According to Pew, “by 2055, the U.S. will not have a single racial or ethnic majority. Much of this change has been (and will be) driven by immigration.” It is heartening, then, to learn that in the 2018 report there was a 10% increase in the number of participants who acknowledge that the library “provides classes, programs, and materials for immigrants and non-English speakers.”

Of concern, there was a 20 point drop in the number of respondents who are likely to see the library as a resource for children (71% in 2008; 51% in 2018). Support for early literacy and school success have long been a cornerstone of the library’s value. No doubt, technology is a factor in this shift. Not only do most folks now turn to Google and the internet for their basic information needs (including homework), but more and more people, especially youth, seem to prefer digital entertainment (YouTube, Spotify, Snapchat) over reading. According to Flurry Analytics, the average U.S. consumer spends over five hours a day on a smartphone and, from 2016 to 2017, media consumption on mobile devices jumped 43%. According to a 2015 Common Sense Media report, US teens “use an average of nine hours of entertainment media per day” and tweens “use an average of six hours a day, not including time spent using media for school or homework.”

Other findings that were hard to read, but vitally important, include a decline in respondents’ enthusiasm about library staff. There were notable drops from the 2008 findings in “having the right staff to meet the needs of the community” as well as the perceptions that staff are friendly and approachable, true advocates for lifelong learning, knowledgeable about my community, understand the community’s needs and how to address them through the public library, and have excellent computer skills. All of this likely contributed to a decline in the library’s perceived value and relevance to the community. In 2008 73% of respondents agreed that “having an excellent public library is a source of pride.” In 2018 that percentage dropped to 53%. Additionally, in 2008 71% agreed that “if the library were to shut down, something essential would be lost.” In 2018, only 55% of respondents felt this way.

It would be natural for librarians to respond to all of this with defensiveness and/or despondence. And while that’s certainly understandable, neither response is constructive. I would encourage us to assign a sense of urgency to these results. We’ve known for years that the ways in which the world is changing will impact how we do what we do. These sorts of findings provide us direction in charting our future. I think we can all agree that libraries are in an increasingly unique position to improve the lives of those we serve and build stronger, more resilient communities. How we do that may be different than it was decades ago, but it is no less important. In fact, our communities need us now more than ever. Fortunately, the percentage of respondents that agreed their local library is “a place for people in the community to gather and socialize” increased from 35% in 2008 to 44% in 2018 and more people believed that to be an important role for the library–a fact that sets us up nicely for serving as conveners and facilitators of the important conversations and connections our communities need.

Franklin Delano Roosevelt once said, “libraries are essential to a functioning democracy.” In his new book, The People vs. Democracy, Yasha Mounk writes that “over two-thirds of older Americans believe that it is extremely important to live in a democracy; among millenials, less than one-third do.” If all of that is true, then we have an obligation to ensure that America’s public libraries are strong, relevant and responsive. And we need to do the work to ensure that our communities believe they are. It’s up to us.

So how about a new equation? If libraries = democracy; and democracy = important; then libraries = important. So let’s roll up our sleeves and get to work!
 

Attention educators! Are you tired of using the same old books with your students every year? Attend one of our summer educator workshops to learn about the latest and greatest materials to use in the classroom.

 

Gotta Read This: New Books to Connect with Your Curriculum

Come to this workshop to learn about new books you might integrate into your language arts, social studies, math, science and arts curriculum.

For K-5th grade educators:

  • Tuesday, Aug. 7, 2-4:30 pm, Central Library U.S. Bank Room, 801 SW 10th Ave. Register by August 3.

For 6th-12th grade educators: Gotta Read This! online booklists

  • Select the subjects of greatest interest to you. Register by August 3, and we’ll notify you when the online booklists are available.

 

Novel-Ties (for 4th -8th grade educators)

  • Discover hot, new fiction to use in book discussion groups and literature circles. Register by August 3, and we’ll notify you when this online workshop is available.

 

Contact School Corps with any questions!

Getting online at the library, a coffee shop or a hotel is convenient, but what about security and privacy?

Anyone who is up to no good can monitor your activity on public wi-fi. Hackers easily get software that makes this possible. Your personal information, private documents, contacts, photos, even your login credentials can be seen. This information can be used to access your accounts, impersonate you or steal your identity.

Public wi-fi includes open networks (which don’t require a password) and semi-open networks (which do, but anyone can log on).

Take precautions

  • If possible, wait until you can use a network you know is secure to check email or do online banking or shopping. They all involve sending passwords and personal information.
  • When you do use public wi-fi, check that you are connecting to the correct network. A coffee shop’s wi-fi may be named espresso1, but someone could have set up a false wi-fi and named it freecoffee. If you login to freecoffee, all your information will flow through the hacker’s computer.
  • Look for https in the address bar. This means that the site is encrypted. A hacker can still intercept your information, but it will now be harder to read and use. Every page of a website should be encrypted. If you find yourself on an unencrypted page, log out right away.
  • Change your computer’s wi-fi settings to public and turn off file sharing.
  • Limit your time. Stay logged into wi-fi only while you need it.
  • Sign out of accounts. Log out when you are done.
  • Keep your computer and security software up to date. Pay attention to warnings that a site is unsafe.
  • Do not use the same passwords for different websites. If someone gains access to one of your accounts, they won’t have access to your other accounts.
  • Consider changing settings so your mobile device does not automatically connect to wi-fi.
  • Your phone’s cellular data is much more secure than public wi-fi. If in doubt use cellular.

VPN

If you regularly access online accounts through wi-fi hotspots, using a virtual private network (VPN) may be a good idea. VPNs encrypt traffic between your computer and the internet, even on unsecured networks. You can get a personal VPN account from a VPN service provider. Some organizations create VPNs to provide secure, remote access for their employees. VPN options are also available for mobile devices; they can encrypt information you send through mobile apps.

More resources

Tips for Using Public Wi-Fi Networks (Federal Trade Commission) 

VPN Beginner's Guide (The Best VPN) 

More topics

More ways to protect yourself online.
 

According to Clarke's third law, "any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic". Watching an artist create something out of nothing feels like magic to me.

Maybe I caught this bug as a kid watching a show called The Book Bird. In it, a mustachioed man named John Robbins combined two of my great loves into performance art - he drew a scene from a book as he described the story. I would then rush to my public library to find out how the book ended. Public television has always been a good place for art junkies, most notably when Bob Ross encouraged us all to paint "happy little trees".

 Whether you're looking for inspiration for your own work, or you just like to watch, take a look at this list of artists in motion. And here's some affirmation from Mr. Ross himself.

Bob Ross Remixed | Happy Little Clouds | PBS Digital Studios

From: trustme@yourorgc.om
To:you@yourorg.com
Date: Monday May 5, 2018 3:30 am
Subject: Act now to avoid irreparable consequenses!!!!!!!!

Hello Sparky,

Due to the iregular fiscal quarter, we will need to upload our monthly reports early and to a different server. Click on this link spreadsheet or the attatchment below to upload your financial reports. Keep up the good work!

Sincerely,

Todd Goodatmanagement Esq.
CEO- Your Org


Consider the above email. Anything seem odd? Out of place? Abnormal? Too good to be true? Go with your gut! 

Criminals running phishing scams are crafty chameleons who excel at impersonating agencies and authorities in order to trick you into releasing valuable data. Email is a very common medium for these con artists. Be suspicious of any email out of the ordinary. Look closely at the following items to protect yourself. 


1. From: Is the sender’s email address from a suspicious domain? Is this not someone you usually communicate with?

2. To: Were you cc’d on this email but don’t recognize the other names who received it? Is there an unusually large amount of people in the To field? Do all the names start with the same letter?

3. Date: Did you receive the email during regular business hours? Did you receive it suspiciously late at night?

4. Subject: Does the subject line seem unrelated to the content of the email? Are there misspellings? Is the message a reply to something you never sent or requested?

5. Content: Is the sender asking you to click on a link or attachment to avoid a negative consequence or gain something of value? Is the email asking you to look at a compromising picture of you or someone you know? Are there misspellings and bad grammar? Do you get a gut feeling that something is not right?

6. Hyperlinks: Remember, "hover to discover." Hover your cursor over the link without clicking to display the full web address. Is it what the email claims? Is it slightly different than an address you know? Is the email just a hyperlink?

7. Attachments: Is this attachment unexpected or seems to not relate to the message? Is it an odd file type? The only file type that is always safe to click on is a txt file.


Want some more info? Check out these articles:

The Motherboard Guide to Not Getting Hacked

Protect Yourself from W-2 Phishing Scams

Netflix Phishing Scam Provokes Police Warning

Ecommerce: Is it truly safe?

 

And of course, your library has hundreds of books to arm yourself with.

More ways to protect yourself online.

 

A phishing website or email is a scam to trick you into revealing personal information by appearing to be from a someone or an organization you know. 



Phishing is a game as old as time. Call them hackers, social engineers or bad actors — just new names for the huckster, the hustler, the confidence man. Smooth talkers who manipulate people into parting with their hard earned money, then disappear.

Legitimate agencies rarely ask you to send sensitive information through email or text messages.

It’s probably phishing if:

  • There are spelling and grammar mistakes
  • The language is urgent or threatening
  • The message asks for personal information, such as social security number, bank account number, your mother’s maiden name
  • It’s too good to be true


What if I’m unsure about an email?

  • When in doubt, delete it.
  • Do not reply.
  • Do not open any attachment.
  • Do not click on any links.
  • Hover your cursor over links to see the true address
  • If you know the sender, reach out to them by phone or text to ask if this is a valid email
  • You can report suspicious emails and phishing scams to your email providers, or to phishing-report@us-cert.go

 

Want more info on phishing? Check out these videos:

Phishing in a Minute: Decoded
E-Safe Phishing Cartoon

And of course, your library has hundreds of books to arm yourself with.

More topics to keep you safe online

Everyone knows I love a good tiger-striped coat (for evidence, note our two tabby cats and one brindle dog), and that I have a soft spot for rescued pets. My family’s first kitten sauntered up to our doorstep, climbed up the screen door, and meowed to high heaven during dinner hour. My siblings and I named her, in the straightforward style of children under five, Tiger.

The author of Maverick and Me chose a more unique name for her pet (I think you can guess what it is), the real-life rescue dog this book is based upon. The story begins on a cold and rainy afternoon, when a woman finds a sick and tiny puppy with a tiger-striped coat by the side of a road. She nurses him back to health, and gets him ready to find a home.

When a young girl named Scarlett meets Maverick at an adoption event, his life takes a turn for the better. Together, they come up with a fun way to tell all of her friends about other puppies that need homes. This heartfelt picture book introduces kids to the concept of pet adoption, and will spark conversations about helping pets in need.

April 30th is National Adopt a Shelter Pet Day. If you're thinking of adding a new furry (or feathered!) member to your family, our local shelters have some great pets to choose from. If you aren’t looking for a pet of your own, here are other ways you can help out pets in need:

  • Foster a dog or cat up for adoption at your local animal shelter

 

 

  • Donate supplies. Most shelters are always in need of blankets, toys, and dog/cat food. If you happen to buy some food that your pet doesn't like, why not donate it? The Multnomah County Shelter even has an Amazon wish list to make donations easier.

  • Share the idea of pet adoption with family and friends who are looking for a pet. There's nothing like love from a pet who's found its furrever home!
 

 

Logo for Bike to Books
Celebrate National Bike Month!

Ride your bike to the library during May and get a free bike light!

Multnomah County Library is partnering with the City of Portland Bureau of Transportation and Metro to give free bike lights to patrons who ride their bikes to any Multnomah County library during the month of May. (One bike light per person, while supplies last.)

Other fun ways to celebrate National Bike Month:

#BiketoBooks

 

book cover for Katherine Johnson
Although March is coming to an end, it's not too late to celebrate Women's History Month!  In fact, in just a short period of time, you can read about women from all over the world in some great, new books for youth. 

Just in time for the movie A Wrinkle in Time, there's a new biography of Madeleine L'Engle written by her granddaughters: Becoming Madeleine.  You'll get an up close and personal look at the author through photographs and excerpts from her diaries.  Katherine Johnson finally got some well-deserved and long-overdue recognition through Hidden Figures (the movie and the book) and there have been several recent books published for youth as well.  One I recently enjoyed is in the fun and informative You Should Meet reader seriesKatherine Johnson by Thea Feldman. For anyone who loves art and/or science, The Girl Who Drew Butterflies by Joyce Sidman is the perfect match as it is about a woman who loved, studied and practiced both!  So get reading before the month is over (but feel free to enjoy these books any time of the year)!

March 14 Roosevelt HS walkout. Courtesy of the Gresham Outlook.
“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world.”

-- attributed to Margaret Mead, used with permission

The students at Florida’s Stoneman Douglas High School -- who channeled their fear and outrage over the horrific event at their school into an organized, non-violent campaign advocating for an end to gun violence and mass shootings -- embody Mead’s thoughtful, committed citizens. In one short month, they organized the National School Walkout on March 14 and the upcoming March for Our Lives on March 24, as well as a third protest commemorating the 19th anniversary of the mass shooting at Columbine High School on April 20. For more books about student activists and activism, take a look at this list.

Hundreds of Multnomah County students participated in the walkout on March 14. Reynolds High School students, who experienced a school shooting in 2014, heard from one of their classmates, as reported in the Gresham Outlook (photo left).

March for Our Lives in downtown Portland
"Divine Robertson, a 17 year-old junior and an organizer of the Reynolds event said it was meant 'to give a statement to everyone out in the world...that we're not accepting that there are school shootings and that schools aren't keeping kids safe like they should.'"

An estimated 12,000 people participated in Portland’s March for Our Lives on March 24. Students at a number of Multnomah County schools have registered their intention to walk out in peaceful protest on April 20.

The Extra Woman

“I’ve never been much for the spotlight.”

by Sarah Binns

For this month’s Volunteer Spotlight, I was delighted to interview someone whose studious work ethic and generosity is familiar: Tim Feliciano, search assistant at Northwest Library, began working at that library in 2014 around the same time I did. For a fun- and book-filled couple of years, Tim and I were a team, dividing up the paging list, fulfilling holds, and having a grand time.

“I wasn’t sure I’d like volunteering at the library,” he remembers. “I wasn’t sure I could get through the long paging list, but then you came on and we developed a system.” The rest is history! Though I am no longer there, Tim continues as a search assistant and also shelves holds, weeds out old books, and even does book repair. “It’s a recent promotion,” he laughs. “When people take a book to the beach and it gets sandy, the binding falls apart. So I re-glue the binding on books like that or get liquid spills off covers.”

Born and raised in Portland, Tim’s path to library volunteering is unexpected. After attending PSU, OHSU, and University of Texas Medical Branch he worked at the American Red Cross Blood Donation Center in North Portland for 27 years. “I did everything from assisting at the blood bank to working on tissue typing for transplants. I enjoyed it a lot because I was behind the scenes. I’ve never been much for the spotlight.”

Along the way he met the person who would change his life—and his library habits—for good: “I met my wife Susan at a ballroom dance class about 30 years ago.”

“It was an intermediate swing class,” Susan adds. Susan Smallsreed is the Youth Librarian at Northwest Library, so Tim’s volunteer gig is all in the family. After retiring from the Red Cross, he says, “I needed things to do when you can’t play golf and the weather is bad, so I do things like bowling and pulling books at the library!”

Despite Susan’s library connection, Tim says he doesn’t read much besides the dictionary and technical or medical textbooks, which he memorizes thanks to a semi-photographic memory. He never stops learning, though, and is currently taking a PCC Italian language class to prepare for his and Susan’s trip to Italy in November. It will be a well-deserved vacation for one of Northwest’s longest-serving volunteers!


A few facts about Tim

Home library: Northwest

Favorite book from childhood: “For me it was Beauty and the Beast, Sleeping Beauty, those all ends well fantasies. For my kids it was Where the Sidewalk Ends.”

Most influential book: The Baltimore Catechism. “I studied that for two or three years.”

Favorite book as an adult: Any action adventure books by Clive Cussler and Graham Brown

Book that made him laugh: Growing up Catholic and They Kill Managers, Don’t They? “I thought, ‘this may help me’!”

E-reader or paper? Large print paper books

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

 

 

Recent changes in the global marketplace for recycling material have trickled down to the Portland area and has resulted in a shift to what you can and can’t recycle locally. Prior to the start of 2018, local recycling drop off sites were informing consumers of the coming change and stopped collecting plastic bags, plastic film, clamshell containers, and lids.

What changed?

China, one of the larger purchasers of local recycled material, announced that they were going to halt the imports of some recyclable plastics and paper by 2018.

What can you do?

  • Metro suggests that you sort by plastic shape, not by number, when placing items in your home recycling container.
  • Be mindful of the seven things to keep out of your recycling bin.

  • Metro has a online database to help you locate options for recycling by material and by location.


Where can you learn more?

Here is a list with additional sites and links to help you sort through the recent changes to local recycling.

Pick up a Metro refrigerator magnet at your local library with contact information on who to ask if you should toss or recycle (while supplies last).

Need more help? Contact a librarian and let us know how we can assist you.


 

In the face of tragedy and violence, it can be hard to know what to say to kids. How do you answer your child’s questions while reassuring them that you will keep them safe? The American Psychological Association says, "It is important to remember that children look to their parents to make them feel safe. This is true no matter what age your children are, be they toddlers, adolescents or even young adults."

Here are three resources that can help parents and caregivers:

Helping your children manage distress in the aftermath of a shooting. From the American Psychological Association.

The National Child Traumatic Stress Network has several resources about mass violence available on their website including Talking to Children about the Shooting and Tips on Media Coverage

A Survival Guide for Parents of Teenagers: What if the next shooting is at my school? A tip sheet for talking to your teen about school violence. From the University of Minnesota College of Education and Human Development.

After Feb. 28, the library will no longer have audiobooks available via the Hoopla service. Here's the good news: Many of those same audiobooks are also available from OverDrive. We're making this change because it puts all of the audiobooks in one place and saves the library some money at the same time. To make sure you can still get the audiobooks you love, we’ve also added an “always available” audiobook collection to OverDrive comprised of 200 popular audiobooks from the Hoopla collection.

We made this change to our electronic offerings for a couple of reasons. The main one is budgetary: Hoopla operates on a cost per checkout basis, which means that it enables us to provide access to their whole catalog of material, but only pay for what gets used (usually $1.99-$3.99 per check out for audiobooks). This also means that the more it is used, the more we pay. Audiobooks have grown enormously in popularity over the past few years, on Hoopla, but especially on OverDrive (OverDrive audiobooks get about 5 times the checkouts Hoopla audiobooks do) and our budget has remained flat in that time as well. Since we can control costs on OverDrive better than we can on Hoopla and since it is the place most people already go for audiobooks, we decided to consolidate our audiobook offerings to the OverDrive service.

We know that this is disappointing for many people (we've heard from a lot of them), but we are trying to be good stewards of public funds. We plan to continue to support the unique content Hoopla offers (we will still offer music, video, and comic books on Hoopla) and expand the OverDrive collection, both in titles and in copies.

If you have never used OverDrive before, I hope you'll give it a try. We have made a page for easy browsing of currently available audiobooks here.


 

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

A generation of sociopaths

You meet interesting people at the library
Pat Daggett

by Donna Childs

We know that libraries are full of stories, but they aren’t all between the book covers.  The staff and volunteers may have stories too.  Take Pat Daggett who enters holds data at the Sellwood Library every Tuesday.  Who would know that she and her husband lived in Saudi Arabia for four years?  A transportation expert, he helped the Saudis set up a bus system, while she did office work for the US Army Corps of Engineers.  After returning to the US with a new understanding of the region, they answered an ad to host Middle Eastern students.  That led to ten years of serving as second parents to students from Saudi Arabia, Libya, the United Arab Emirates, and Qatar.  Not only do the young people keep in touch after returning home, one called when a new student was arriving. He asked to speak to the new fellow to ensure that they’d be ok.   In addition to forming close friendships with their charges, they saw this venture as an “opportunity to create tolerance.”

In addition to the Corps of Engineers, Pat has worked for such diverse organizations as Reed College, AT&T, a congressman in Washington DC, attorneys in Ohio and Delaware, and the Oregon State Legislature.  She also spent 19 years working in many capacities at the American Tinnitus Association, where she became an expert in hearing issues.  

With a BA in Library Science, Pat was also an elementary school librarian for two years. As a member of the University Club’s Library Committee, she helps choose books for the club’s library and organize an annual dinner featuring a local writer as guest speaker.  Thus, it seemed natural for Pat to volunteer at Sellwood when she retired.  At first, she canvassed the library searching for holds, but now foot problems have necessitated a more sedentary task:  processing data on holds coming from and going to other County libraries.  Like many volunteers who work with holds, she relishes the chance to discover new books, and she enjoys Sellwood’s intimate atmosphere where she can get to know staff and patrons.


A few facts about Pat

Home library:  Sellwood

Currently reading:  Dinner with Edward by Isabel Vincent

Favorite book from childhood:  The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

Favorite section of the library:  Historical fiction and geography

E-reader or paper book?  paper

Favorite reading guilty pleasure:  before/during chores

Favorite place to read:  in a patch of sun

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

Irie Page is about to turn 14. Instead of, say, a birthday sleepover, she has planned a gift for her community, a free event featuring Mike Domitrz, the founder of the Date Safe Project and a consent educator for kids, teens and adults.  The funny, interactive presentation that he gives to teens and adults is called "Can I Kiss You?", which is also the title of his book. It focuses on how to have healthy, safe relationships and how to both avoid sexual assault and avoid sexually assaulting someone else. Her family raised money online to pay Domitrz's speaking fee, and after the story was covered on the local news, they got all the funding they needed. The event will take place at 7 p.m. on Thursday, November 9th in the Lincoln Recital Hall at Portland State University. PSU has waived the rental fees in support of Irie’s event.


I first met this remarkable young woman at the reference desk at my library when she was just a little kid signing up for our Read to the Dogs program. We book lovers who work at the library always notice the passionate readers, the ones who leave with huge stacks of books they’re obviously eager to dive into, and that was Irie. When she was old enough, I suggested that she volunteer for our Summer Reading program, giving out prizes to kids for reading, and she brought huge enthusiasm to this as well. When she told me last summer about the event she was planning, we decided to put together a book display. Irie chose all the books herself. If you can’t get in to see the display, here’s the list.

“After I saw Malala speak, I was inspired to do something for my community,” Irie told me. She originally wanted actress and feminist Emma Watson. "That's not going to happen," her mom told her, and then suggested Domitrz. When Irie happened upon a book here at the library about philanthropy parties, her idea took off.

“I’ve always seen things in the world and thought, ‘That’s messed up. I want to change that,” said Irie. Like Malala, the Pakistani advocate for girls’ rights to education, she decided she could make a difference. She chose to start here, in her own city. 


***EDITED to update Irie's story. This event was a huge success. There was so much community interest that Portland State University gave them a bigger theater in which to hold it, and it was still standing room only, with more than 500 in attendance. I took my middle school-age son and we both found it interesting and inspiring. I was delighted last week when I ran into Irie in the library and she told me she's one of two state honorees for the Prudential Spirit of Community Award. This is a very big deal! She's won $1000, a silver medallion, and a trip to Washington, D.C. At a ceremony in D.C., five national honorees will be chosen from among the state award winners. The staff at my library, who has known Irie for so long, is rooting for her to win the national award, which comes with even more honors and with cash awards for her and for the charity of her choice. We're so proud of her.

 

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