Blogs

Discover some of the ancestors of peoples now living in modern day Mexico to Peru from these websites and books about the Aztecs, Incas and Mayans. 

Map of Mesoamerica, Aztecs, 14th-15th centuries
Map of Mesoamerica, Maya

 

The British Museum in London has artifacts from around the world, representing people, places and cultures from the past two million years. Khan Academy has detailed information about the Aztecs, Incas and Mayans. Click on photos to find out more about that object and its importance. 

 

Scroll down the page of The Civilizations of Ancient Mesoamerica to read about the history and culture of ancient Mexicans. Visit The World of the Ancient Mayans for more information.

Map of Latin America, Inca Empire, 15th century

 

Have fun exploring the Mesoamerican Ballgame -a sport of life and death.  Check out the video below about the rubber balls used for the game and see an example of how a version of the game was played.

Rubber Balls in Mexico Have a Long History

If you want or need more help, contact a librarian. We're just a click away!

Photo of John McLoughlin
Are you studying Portland history? Read on to learn more about famous Portland residents, past and present.

Long before white settlers arrived on the Oregon Trail, the Portland area was home to the Multnomah people, a band of the Chinook Tribe. One of their leaders was Chief Kiesno (sometimes spelled Cassino).  Tragically, many of the native inhabitants of our area died from diseases brought by the Europeans.

John McLoughlin is often called the Father of Oregon. He moved to the area in 1824 and established Fort Vancouver just north of Portland. Later, his general store in Oregon City became the last stop on the Oregon Trail.

Photo of Abigail Scott Duniway
By 1845, Francis Pettygrove and Asa Lovejoy owned land in the area and flipped a coin to choose an official name. Pettygrove won the two out of three tosses, and since he was from Portland, Maine, he chose to name the new city after his hometown.

Abigail Scott Duniway is famous for fighting for women’s rights, especially the right to vote. After many tries, she finally succeeded in Oregon in 1912.  Intriguingly, Abigail’s brother, Harvey Scott, editor of The Oregonian newspaper, was opposed to letting women vote.

McCants Stewart was the first African American lawyer in Portland and started a newspaper, The Advocate. Dr. DeNorval Unthank is well-known for his role in fighting for civil rights for African Americans and was named Doctor of the Year in 1958. A park in North Portland is named for him. 

Some other famous Portlanders include children’s author Beverly Cleary, Matt Groening (creator of The Simpsons), and Phil Knight, the co-founder of Nike.

For more information on famous residents of Portland, visit the Oregon History Project’s biography page, or search the Oregon Encyclopedia.

Located between the Tigris and Euphrates rivers in present-day Iraq, the cultures of ancient Mesopotamia made remarkable achievements in writing, art, and agriculture. 

Image of ziggurat

This Khan Academy video provides a short introduction. For older students, here’s a John Green Crash Course video with more details. You may also like this interactive map, which shows how Mesopotamian culture developed.

The University of Chicago has an amazing collection of artifacts from ancient Mesopotamia, and at their website, you can examine them in depth, learn about what daily life was like, listen to interviews with archaeologists, or even go on a virtual archaeological dig.

At the British Museum’s Mesopotamia site, you can find maps and information about the writing, mythology, buildings, and astronomers from various Mesopotamian cultures.

Ancient Mesopotamia covers geography, religion, economics, and the government of Mesopotamian cultures.

Several different empires existed in region of Mesopotamia, including the Sumerians, Babylonians and Assyrians. The Sumerians were known for inventing cuneiform writing. You can see what your monogram would look like in this writing system. They also wrote the first superhero story, the Epic of Gilgamesh, and played board games. One Babylonian ruler is famous for creating Hammurabi’s Code, a collection of laws. Ziggurats, large step pyramids like the one shown in the photo, were built by the Sumerians, Babylonians and Assyrians.

If you didn’t find the information that you need, please contact a librarian for more assistance.

1001 Inventions and The Library of Secrets - starring Sir Ben Kingsley as Al-Jazari

The Golden Age of Islam spanned from the mid 8th to the mid 13th century A. D., although recent scholars have extended it into the 15th and 16th centuries. It encompasses the life of the prophet Mohammad and the beginnings of the Islamic religion. Islamic culture in Europe also influenced Western civilization. The Golden Age of Islamic Culture included many innovations in science, medicine, mathematics, astronomy, Hindu-Arabic numerals, and words. It was a time of inventions and exploration. The Golden Age ended with the siege of Baghdad in 1258 A.D. and with the rise of religious dogma, discussed here by Steven Weinberg and Neil deGrasse Tyson.

Attention educators! Did you miss our summer educator workshops this year? They are a great place to learn about the latest and greatest materials to use in the classroom. Don't worry; we now have booklists and videos available to share.

 

Gotta Read This: New Books to Connect with Your Curriculum: This workshop highlights new books you might integrate into your language arts, social studies, math, science and arts curriculum.

For K-5th grade educators: Watch part 1 and part 2 of the Gotta Read This K-5 recorded webinar, and peruse the list of the books we shared.

For 6th-12th grade educators: This booklist is broken down by subject, so you can choose the topics most relevant for you.

 

Novel-Ties (for 4th -8th grade educators): Discover hot, new fiction to use in book discussion groups and literature circles. 

Watch the Novel-Ties videos (and feel free to show them to students, too).

 

Talking Equity and Social Justice: School Corps Librarian Cathy Camper shares quick booktalks on titles that address these topics, in these two recorded webinars. The talks are followed by Q & A, sharing tips for how educators can incorporate these topics. A list of all the books and other resources mentioned in the talk can be found below the videos on YouTube.

Grades K-5

Grades 6-12

 

Contact School Corps with any questions!

Young volunteer, holding sign for Summer Reading
Multnomah County Library knew COVID-19-related protocols would mean the look, feel and interaction of the 2020 Summer Reading program would be different this year. And it was. But the program was as enthusiastically received as in pre-pandemic years.

The Summer Reading program’s expansive reach is made possible thanks to the The Library Foundation, which last year helped the library connect with more than 145,000 children and adults. Gifts to The Library Foundation support programs, books, and literacy initiatives.

Some of the Summer Reading program’s success in this summer-like-no-other was reflected on Beanstack, the online reading engagement software that gave readers the flexibility to play the Summer Reading game entirely online. And some was thanks to virtual programs such as the popular weekly Science Explorers Club with artist and educator Jess Graff, Clownin' Around with Nikki Brown Clown, and Comedia para los Niños with Angel Ocasio.

In addition, library outreach services staff took Summer Reading to:

  • Donald E. Long Juvenile Detention Center, where 14 teens successfully completed it;
  • 545 students, from kindergarten through high school, in the Migrant Ed program of Multnomah Education Service District;
  • 3,200 children at 168 childcare sites.

And, there’s more good news. Take a look at the numbers for Summer Reading 2020, and read about feelings shared by youth, parents and staff.

Sign on tree trunk about Summer Reading 2020
Summer

9,041: readers that successfully completed the Summer Reading program.

  • “My kids received a bundle of books, which really energized them again to read. The days following, they read for hours a day!” - Sarah
  • “I want to wholeheartedly thank the library for continuing the Summer Reading Program this year. My eight-year-old daughter received a manilla envelope a few days ago with four books in it and an OBOB book mark, with a note saying she won the Level 1 Book Bundle. She was elated! After a hard summer, it absolutely lifted her spirits, made her feel proud of her reading, and introduced her to books she may not have chosen herself. She dove right into reading them. Thank you for the time and effort to continue the prizes and send the books. Such a treat!” - Emily
  • “My five-year-old received his prize of books in the mail yesterday and he was clutching the package with his feet while opening it, all the while singing, “I can’t wait to read! I can’t wait to read!” He and his little brother were just delighted to have earned the books. I can’t thank you all enough." - Alison

Reading

35,472: number of days read (at least) by youth who finished the Summer Reading program.

  • “My son was so excited to log his reading on the iPad and see what badges he would earn. Usually getting him to read to himself is a challenge, but he really enjoyed the contest aspect and never argued about it, which is kind of a miracle. Thank you!” - Gina
  • “My child is only two-and-a-half, but it has given us some routine and something to look forward to every day. He gets to pick out the books and turn the pages. I love watching his recognition grow as we repeat his favorites or discover new ones.” - Jackie
  • “My daughter was so engaged with it!! She was all the time asking me to log her books and hours after reading.”
  • “I appreciate seeing how much I am reading each day. I read a lot anyway, but tracking it is satisfying. I also appreciate learning more about the library.”

Summer Reading volunteer with cardtable with books and sign on sidewalk promoting Summer Reading
2020

11,569: purchased books as prizes; plus, an additional 4,504 prize bundles.

  • “With COVID, we have exhausted our own books, and being able to place books on hold, pick them up and have the excitement of a game with badges and prizes really added something needed where so many other things have been cancelled.” - Diane
  • “We really appreciate your efforts to promote reading during this pandemic. Having access to e-books, audiobooks, library holds, and the summer reading club have made an enormous difference to our family. Without these programs, we would not have been able to afford keeping our children stocked with books during the pandemic. Thank you for all you do!” - Leah
  • “My daughter is an avid reader. This is a program she looks forward to every summer. This summer the program was especially meaningful to us. With so many of our typical summer plans put on hold, this program proved to be the one constant - the one piece that felt like summer as usual. We appreciate all that you've done this year (and in years past) to make this program happen. Thank you for encouraging and celebrating readers!”
  • “My kiddo has been missing daily trips to the library, so this made us feel more connected. She LOVES getting a t-shirt each year and was so thrilled for the one this year. She also got lucky and won a midway raffle prize of three new books, which made her month! Thank you.” - Liz

Volunteers

Before the pandemic, the Summer Reading program attracted hundreds of volunteers, mostly youth, who would donate thousands of hours of time and help run the program throughout the summer. Even with library buildings closed, the library had 220 volunteers this year, primarily ages 10-19, who helped to promote the program remotely within their communities. "I am happy that the library is able to adapt and still have this program even through a pandemic." - Summer Reading 2020 volunteer

That closes this chapter of the Summer Reading Program. See you in summer 2021 — and keep reading! 

Antes del Día de Acción de Gracias, que este año será el jueves 26 de noviembre, queremos celebrar con ustedes la Herencia Nativo Americana al estilo Oregón. La tierra que pisamos todos los días, en una época, perteneció a varias tribus indígenas como las de Multnomah, Kathlamet, Clackamas, Chinook, Tualatin Kalapuya, Molalla y más. Aunque mucho haya cambiado, les damos las gracias a estas personas por cuidar a la tierra para que la podamos disfrutar ahora.

Este año, una actividad que pueden hacer en sus familias es hablar sobre las cosas en nuestras vidas que nos inspiran tanto agradecimiento. Si tienen un poquito de tiempo extra, pueden escribirlo, dibujarlo o componer canciones simples para compartir entre familia. 

Escrito por Violeta G.

How Hollywood stereotyped the Native Americans

 

Hollywood movies and TV shows are full of stereotypes. To find the truth, you need to do good  research.

When I start my search, I make a list of all the names I know that might be good to search. Many tribes have both their own name and an anglicized name (for example, Diné  and Navajo) and it’s good to search under both. For more general searches, search multiple terms such as: Indian, Native American, First People or First Peoples,or try searching ”culture”  and “indigenous” with the geographical area, for example American indigenous culture.

When doing online research on Native Americans I check not only what the website says, but who is providing the information. Techniques for Evaluating Native American Websites provides good tips on what to look for. Another website post with good information is Tips for Teachers: Developing instructional Materials about American Indians. Does the website present a view that the people it describes support? Is the information current? Does the information come from Native Americans themselves? Many new age sites and commercial websites that are trying to sell you something take Indian culture and rewrite it for their own needs. If the website is created by an institution like a museum, or government agency, remember that it might represent that institution’s perspective, but not necessarily the perspective of Native peoples.

When looking at historical issues of newspapers, like The Historical Oregonian I have to consider that many of those stories will include racism and one-sided views that were common at the time.”Historic Newspaper Accounts of Oregonian Native Americans” provides some good insight into the slant of these articles over time, both good and bad.

Need more help? Contact a librarian to be sure you get what you need.


 

NEZ PERCES HORSES

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This video explores the integral role horses played in Nez Perce history and how they relate to the tribe’s culture today.

 

When researching Native Americans of Oregon, the Oregon Blue Book provides a good introduction to Oregon tribes, and has information on current tribal leaders and the economy of the tribe, plus an overview of the tribe’s history and culture.

 

Native Languages of Americas provides information about the original inhabitants of Oregon and includes a map of where they were located.

The Northwest Portland Area Health Board provides history and geographical information for the nine tribes that make up its membership. Click on the "Members" tab on the upper tool bar.

The Cow Creek Band of Umpqua Tribe of Indians provides information about Oregon tribes and a list of links to their websites, plus information about natural resources, economic development and tribal government for the Cow Creek Band.

Access Genealogy contains an overview of the history Oregon tribes, and links to many tribes' individual websites.

You can also search the library’s catalog, or do an online search for a tribe’s name. Many tribes have their own websites, which contain current information about tribal affairs, and might also include historical material.

Many resources about Indigenous people include biased information, so please also read How to Evaluate Native American and American Indian Websites, which provides help evaluating books too. 

If you still need more help, contact a librarian to be sure you get what you need.

Searching for information on Native American tribes and Native nations? These big web sites may be able to help you.

Whose land are you on? Native Land is an interactive website and an app that allows you to search any location and see who are the original inhabitants of the land, worldwide. The website also features a blog with updates and a page for Territory Acknowledgements, with the ability to search specific locations to get tribal affiliation, language, and treaties associated with that area.

You can search tribes alphabetically to learn about them, and learn about native languages as well as native culture. Try putting the name of the tribe you are looking for in the search box to see what other information they list, or scroll down to find the names of tribes listed alphabetically.

If you would rather search by location using a map, you can find state-by-state information, covering historic and contemporary information, languages, culture and history.

Many resources about Indigenous people include biased information, so please also read How to Evaluate Native American and American Indian Websites, which provides help evaluating books too. 

If you still need more help, contact a librarian to be sure you get what you need.

Native Americans use ALL of the Buffalo

 

Did you know that young children begin to notice and point out the differences they see in people as early as six months? This ability to put things into categories like "safe to eat" and "hungry animal to run away from" has helped humans survive over hundreds of thousands of years. But if we aren't paying attention, it can also lead to making oversimplified generalizations about people, and those stereotypes can be harmful. 

Because even babies are starting to sort people into categories, it's never too early to start talking with children about the stereotyping they will observe in the world around them, and help them question and push back against it. Here are some ideas for talking about stereotypes in a very kid-friendly way:

  • Ask your child to draw or describe someone from a specific category, such as "girl" or "boy". Chances are you'll hear things like, "girls have long hair" or "boys are messy" which gives you an opportunity to talk about people you know who may not fit those stereotypes. For example in my family, mom is a messy woman with short hair! 
  • Children's books can be a great way to start conversations, so as a family, do a "diversity audit" on books in your own home! Look for stereotypes and bias in your own books, or books you have checked out from the library, using some of these criteria. Be sure to talk about it as you go. You can use words like “fair/unfair” when talking about stereotypes you find in your books. For instance, “Wow, this picture book only included white male inventors. That’s unfair. Black women invented lots of things, too. Let’s read about some African American women inventors.” I guarantee you will learn a lot from the experience!
  • Look for books specifically written to talk with young children about stereotypes and how to celebrate differences: Here is a book list to help get those conversations started. 

These activities can be done any time of year. Here in the U.S, November is a time when we celebrate Native American Heritage Month and Thanksgiving, which gives extra opportunities for non-Native families to talk about stereotypes specific to Native Americans and Indigenous people. For example, ask your child to draw a Native American dwelling or home. Talk about how most Native and Indigenous families live in houses and apartments. They are modern, vital people in our society, not just historical figures. 

For some additional resources, I recommend this article about teaching preschool and kindergartners about Native and Indigenous peoples. You can also find info in this A Racial Justice Guide to Thanksgiving to help you tell the factual story of the holiday. We also have more book lists in this post Celebrating Native American Heritage month!

Like language, stereotyping is learned over time. It is never too early - or too late - to talk with children about kindness and fairness and diversity, and to demonstrate the many ways we can treat all people with respect and dignity.

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

Did you know that the Indigenous peoples in Multnomah County are descended from over 380 different tribes? Nearly 70,000 strong, Portland has one of the highest urban Native populations in the country. In November, we celebrate the rich and diverse cultures, traditions and histories of Native peoples, and honor the many important contributions they make to our communities. Here are some ways to celebrate and learn with the young people in your life!   

Attend a program, class, or visit a museum exhibit. Many cultural events normally held in person have moved online.    

Share stories and explore history and culture with your children all year long.

Adults and teens may enjoy the materials featured on the lists below:

Feel free to let us know if you need help placing holds or accessing your account. Subscribe to our Family Newsletter in English and Spanish for more on how the library can support home learning. We're here for you!

Multnomah County is sited upon the ancestral homelands of the Multnomah, Mollala, Kathlamet, Chinook, Clackamas, Tualatin Kalapuya and many other Indigenous Nations. These Nations have become the Confederated Tribes of Grand Ronde, the Confederated Tribes of Siletz Indians, as well as the Chinook Nation and Cowlitz Nation in Washington State. Land acknowledgements recognize and respect the enduring relationship that Indigenous People have with their traditional homelands. The effects of colonization can still be felt today and land acknowledgements are a small step down the path of repair, reconciliation and cultural revitalization.  Land Acknowledgement, courtesy of Melanie Fey, Central Library Access Services Assistant

Gun rights and gun control are topics that come up often these days. It can be hard to find good resources that present multiple viewpoints on issues like this, and provide quotable sources.

An excellent electronic resource is Opposing Viewpoints in Context. It provides links to articles, videos and audio files from multiple viewpoints (you will need a library card # and password in order to access this electronic resource from outside of the library).

 LawBrain covers the legal history of gun control back to the U.S. Constitution. Another good listing is Infoplease’s Milestones in Federal Gun Control Legislation  which covers laws up until 2013.

L.A.R.G.O. Lawful and Responsible Gun Owners and the N.R.A. National Rifle Association both support gun ownership in America. The Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence and The Violence Policy Center both work to reduce gun violence. The Violence Policy Center is also a good resource if you’re looking for statistics related to gun violence (including drive by shootings and suicide).

This Guardian article compares gun crime in individual states and FindLaw shares Oregon Gun Control Laws. FactCheck looks at statistics in the media after the Newtown shootings, and reports on Gun Rhetoric vs. Gun Facts.  Looking towards changes in the law, gun control is supported by more women than men, and that may have an effect on future legislation.  But right now,  despite repeated pleas for change after every mass shooting, nothing seems to change. 

Need some specific gun facts or laws we haven’t covered? Contact a librarian and we’ll be glad to help

For centuries, Europeans have explored places unfamiliar to them.  The big push to explore happened from the 1400s to the 1600s and is known as the Age of Discovery or the Age or Exploration.  Here are some sites that will help you learn more about individual explorers, the places they went, and the tools they used to get there.

Santa Maria model

For a broad website on exploration that includes biographies of explorers, information and illustrations ships and navigation tools, plus an interactive map showing voyages of the most ancient explorers through the 1920s, check out Exploration Through the Ages from the Mariners Museum.  Here's another link to exploration info at the museum.

Look at the companion website for the PBS program Conquistadors for more about explorers Cortes, Orellana, Pizarro and Cabeza de Vaca.  See also All the World is Human:  The Conquistadors for the companion videos from the BBC.  Be aware that this site takes a bit of time to load.
 
Learn about longitude, latitude, and navigation tools and see a film on how to use an octant and try it yourself at Marine Navigation in the Age of Exploration.
 
Find out how hard life was for a sailor and explorer in this infographic:  Age of Exploration:  Life on the Open Seas
 
Now you're ready to conquer the world!

Ah the stories of King Arthur and his knights, the cute thatched cottages, the banquets, the country life, and the bustle of growing cities!  What’s not to like about the Middle Ages and Medieval period in history?  Well, the smell for one.  And let’s not forget the plague. Get all the dirt on what life was really like in Europe during this time.

picture of knights
Start at the Annenberg Learner Middle Ages site for loads of info on everyday life in medieval times including the feudal system, religion, clothes, the arts and more.  This includes movies and other cool interactive stuff.  After you click on the link, scroll to the right to get the content!

 Click on the different people in the street in the Camelot International Village to learn more about their craft or trade and how they lived in the Middle Ages. Find out about entertainers, peasants, traders, thieves, knights, church and religion, women, and lords of the manor.

For a funny and informative video series about the Middle Ages, watch Terry Jones’ Medieval Lives.  Each 30 minute episode examines a different type of person important during the time period like kings, knights, monks and damsels.

picture of a king's seal

For a video and interactive introduction to medieval life, watch Everyday Life in the Middle Ages and see if you could survive way back in the day!

The Internet Medieval Sourcebook is super boring to look at, but amazing in its amount of primary source material (letters, legal texts, religious documents etc.).  It’s a comprehensive collection of online texts from the entire medieval era, organized by topic and chronologically.

Now that you’ve learned a lot about the Middle Ages, test your knowledge here.

Patricia Bath

Blackliberalboomer

She’s amazing. She attends Howard University School of Medicine, New York and Columbia universities. She believes everyone has a “Right to Sight.” She invents the Laserphaco Probe and procedure to improve cataract surgery results. She’s the first African American woman doctor to patent a medical invention. She’s the first African American woman surgeon at the UCLA Medical Center. She’s the first woman on faculty at the UCLA Jules Stein Eye Institute. Again, she’s amazing!

Further Exploration: http://www.nlm.nih.gov/changingthefaceofmedicine/physicians/biography_26.html

Available at Multnomah County Library: Patricia's Vision; The Doctor Who Saved Sight by Michelle Lord

Sarah E. Goode

Patent by Sarah E. Goode, by Krhaydon Public Domain, wikipedia

 

In 1884, a Chicago furniture store owner named Sarah E. Goode invented a folding cabinet bed to fit in small homes. Goode wanted to make it possible for people living in small homes to have furniture that fit in restricted space. When folded, the cabinet bed looks like a desk. Goode is now known as the first African American woman to receive a patent, on July 14, 1885. Today, there’s a Science, Technology, Engineering and Math education school in Chicago named after Sarah E. Goode.

Further Exploration at BlackPast.org.

Available at Multnomah County Library: Sweet Dreams, Sarah by Vivian Kirkfield 

Hat Rock Oregon geology

Oregon has an extensive geologic history, which is viewable from roadside videos. There are also videos of various landforms in the state created by geologic actions. Like other Pacific Northwestern states, Oregon has many volcanoes. Mount Hood and Mount St. Helens are two volcanic peaks close to Portland. The geologic history of the whole Pacific Northwest was influenced by the great Missoula Floods which has left its mark, in the creation of the Columbia River Gorge. The geology of Eastern Oregon also features the mammal fossil beds at John Day, which include the Painted Hills. The Pacific Northwest also faces the potential of a massive earthquake, due to the Cascadia subduction zone.

 

Jody Redifer is redefining what he thought working at the library was about. 

Jody Redifer

He spends a fair amount of time roaming Donald E. Long Juvenile Detention Center delivering books -- yes, books -- to youth. There’s a Multnomah County Library location at the detention center, and Jody fills the role of librarian. 

The setting -- engaging exclusively with teens at Multnomah County’s Juvenile Justice Complex -- generally is not thought of as traditional library work. And Jody is unique in this moment in time among library staff, with patrons not allowed in other libraries due to COVID-19 safety precautions.

Indeed, his presence isn’t lost on Jennifer Studebaker, youth services manager for Multnomah County Library. "He really strongly advocated for the ability to go back to direct service at Donald E. Long during COVID," she says. "So, he is one of the only library employees that I know of that’s doing direct service with youth in person."

Often during rounds in the halls of Donald E. Long, he catches the attention of youth in class. One recent day, a student waves, and points behind Jody. He wants to know when Jody will be back in the library. Jody smiles.

"I’ve been through and experienced some of the things these kids have done," he says, referring to an overnight stay at the detention center when he was 15-years-old.

"And I remember, even if I didn’t listen to the person - or if I didn’t really heed anybody’s advice or follow any good examples - I definitely remember the people who set positive examples for me in my delinquent days.’"

He says his detention center stint was a one-off; he didn’t plan on returning. Now, flash forward to late 2019, when he accepted the job at the detention center’s library. He’s been in the position nearly a year, and is glad to be back at Donald E. Long.

"It seems like I can do the most good for library services dealing with a population that’s marginalized, but that I can totally relate to in many ways, just having been there," he says. Jody notes that youth of color are disportionately over-represented in the detention center, a problem that Multnomah County Department of Community Justice seeks to address through a number of focused initiatives.

Jody says as a library assistant with Black Cultural Library Advocate knowledge specialty, he addresses community needs that are in line with the library’s mission to better serve Black, Indigenous, and People of Color populations, and with more direct service from staff who look like them and often share similar life experiences.

"I can help the Black community in and around Portland and Multnomah County,’" he says. "It’s really kind of specific work.’"

He says detention center youth range from age 13 and older, and serves some into adulthood probation up to age 25. He says he primarily works with youth ages 15 to 19.

Daily duties include some of the same routines as his first library job in 2017 as an access services assistant at Fairview-Columbia Library (and later St. Johns and Gregory Heights libraries), and as a library assistant at Central Library immediately before going to Donald E. Long.

“I bounced around a lot,’’ he says, “until I finally settled in to, maybe, where I’m supposed to be.’’

Studebaker agrees with that assessment of Jody’s current place in the library system, having seen his impact when accompanying him during visits to Donald E. Long.

"The youth there really bond with the people that provide service to them," Studebaker says. "They do it because there is an adult giving them positive attention, which doesn’t always happen for kids who are in those kinds of situations.

"Not speaking against Donald E. Long,’’ she clarifies, “but thinking about life experiences for some of those youth."

To this end, Jody rejoices in achievements he witnesses, including those in motion before he started his position in January. One example is an 18-year-old and frequent library user, who in September earned his diploma.

“Before I came here, he was on track to do that," Jody says. "I was super excited because he’s one of my favorite kids that I have a pretty good relationship with, and he comes to current events and I order books for him personally. I’m very proud of him."

Part of Jody’s job involves overseeing a library volunteer program for detention center youth. He says youth who meet a standard amount of volunteer hours can earn high school elective credits, and also fulfil community service and probation requirements.

Studebaker says the program gives “youth the opportunity to be the owners and the deciders of something in their life.’’

"You don’t just show up and know how to volunteer, or know how to organize a community space. You have to learn,’’ she says. "For youth, they need it to be through their own lens."

Jody also engages youth in new programming, including a constant in his adult life. Working with library Outreach and Programming, he’s setting up a recording studio in the library to educate youth about the music-making and recording process.

He says he began drumming at age 18, and for many years has played in bands and as many as 150 live shows yearly around Portland. Until 2020. COVID-19 has all but put the brakes on live music performances.

He teaches a current events class, too, which, he says, fills a particular void. For a variety of reasons, he says, detention center residential youth aren’t allowed to access any media.

"So, I bring them current events once a week, just to try to get them caught up on things that are important. We try to keep an eye on culture and diversity; try to keep the news fairly unbiased but to look at it realistically."

He says he’s progressed more swiftly in his position because of his partnership with Daniel Carter, a juvenile custody services specialist at Donald E. Long.

"I work really closely with him with a lot of what I do,’’ Jody says. “So, I’m not doing it all by myself."

Studebaker refers to Carter as a “champion,’’ of sorts: “Someone who cares very deeply about meeting the needs of the youth, and has really helped Jody navigate … within Donald E. Long," she says.

Conversely, Jody says, Studebaker is equally supportive.

"I go to work, and the needs are just jumping out at me left and right. Jennifer has allowed me a lot of latitude to find solutions, and to establish relationships with the other moving parts inside Donald E. Long that the kids interact with, to where we can really offer the services that the library has available - what we specialize in."

And, for Jody, to also reimagine where he sees his place in the library.

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Written by Wade Nkrumah

KIDS REACT TO TYPEWRITERS

Kids aren't born knowing how to use a keyboard.  But in today’s keyboard-centric world, kids need to learn to type. Luckily, there are some good free online typing programs aimed at students.

The article  Ed Tech Ideas: Keyboarding Sites for Kids lists many links to other free typing games.

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