“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
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 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.
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.
You meet interesting people at the library
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
“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.
She happens to be celebrating her 80th birthday on February 12 and I've been reminded of how much I loved her books growing up. I commiserated with older sibling Peter living with his irrepressible little brother Fudge. I went along with Margaret as she dealt with friendships and puberty in Are You There God? It’s Me, Margaret. We were checked for scoliosis at school and I thought of Deenie, the brace she wore and how much she wanted to be a regular teenager.
Judy Blume’s habit of writing real life and real characters continues in her adult novels. She wrote Summer Sisters for adults, but there are no doubt also teen readers for this book about friendship and choices. She later used an event from her own teenage years to explore loss, love and secrets as friends, families and strangers find their lives changed In the Unlikely Event.
Judy Blume is one of the most consistently challenged authors with books like Forever and Then Again, Maybe I Won’t. She hasn’t shied away from divorce, puberty, bullying, sex. It’s likely her honest and realistic writing is the reason for her fans across generations.
P.S. I'd love to hear about YOUR reading resolutions for 2018!
Slavery to Civil Rights
I first read The Left Hand of Darkness as a graduate student in library school, enthusiastically exploring my early feminist righteousness. Ursula Le Guin was a beacon to me then. I would have never imagined that, decades later, I would pass a lovely Portland winter’s afternoon in her home sipping tea, chatting about her life, career, ebooks, politics and her love of Multnomah County Library.
And, oh how Ursula put her library love into action! She was a deep and genuine friend to Multnomah County Library. She offered a list of her favorite works. She was a singular voice in support of issues that matter. She served on the Multnomah County Library Advisory Board in the 1990s, and she shaped how our library addressed issues that are important today. She leaves an impressive body of work, and she remains one of our library’s most popular authors.
For decades, Ursula Le Guin offered Multnomah County Library her unwavering support. She spoke, wrote and acted in support of library funding at every turn. She celebrated our milestones (even writing a poem celebrating Central Library’s reopening in 1997). She took on pivotal issues and daunting opponents: advocating for the rights of authors and artists; affordable library access to ebooks; and the importance of a person’s fundamental and constitutionally protected right to read, think, and pursue knowledge without scrutiny or constraint.
In her 1997 remarks about Central Library, she said, “A library is a focal point, a sacred place to a community; and its sacredness is its accessibility, its publicness. It’s everybody’s place.”
Of the many wonderful memories I have as director of Multnomah County Library, that gray afternoon with Ursula Le Guin is one of my most treasured. I will be forever grateful to have encountered her. May we honor her legacy by embodying who she was and what she stood for, in our own lives and communities.
Federal Hard Copy Forms
This year, libraries will have the Form 1040, 1040A, 1040EZ and some accompanying instruction booklets. All locations will have reference copies of the 1040 Instructions and Publication 17: Your Federal Income Tax. We can't promise when forms and booklets will be available, or that we won’t run out, but you can always download and print federal tax items from the IRS Forms & Publications page. You can also direct questions to the IRS offices in Oregon. Of special note, neither the 1099 and 1096 forms nor any of the W series (W-2, W-4, etc.) are available for download. Many office supply stores have the 1099 forms or you can contact the IRS directly to have those mailed to you.
State Hard Copy Forms
Public libraries are no longer a distribution center for state tax forms and booklets. If you need Oregon forms or booklets, you can come into the library to print them or do it yourself from the Oregon Department of Revenue page. If you want forms mailed to you, then you can contact the Oregon Department of Revenue via:
- Phone: 800-356-4222
- Clicking on "Order Paper Forms" on the Forms and Publication Library page
- Visit a regional Department of Revenue office
You can stop by the library for assistance printing out tax forms for other states, or you can go to the Federation of Tax Administrators State Tax Forms & Filing Options, which provides links to tax forms for each state.
“I’ve always been a computer person.”
by Sarah Binns
Dennis Pham is one of those people who does it all: “I go to school full time, work part time, then volunteer,” he says. For the past three years that volunteer time has been spent at Midland Library, where he started to earn volunteer hours for school: “Then I met the staff and it just felt right. I’ve kept at it ever since,” he says. Dennis was first a technohost and is now a Computer Lab Assistant. “That’s more my style,” he says of his new position, “overseeing all of it!”
A Woodstock native, Dennis now lives near Pleasant Valley with his family. Having “always been a computer person,” he’s studying for his bachelor’s degree in mechanical or chemical engineering at PSU. He’s also a production operator at Siltronics, a semiconductor manufacturer. Seeing how the machines work and knowing colleagues who’ve been with the company forty or fifty years inspires him: “One day that’s gonna be me!” he laughs.
While he sometimes works as many as 70 hours a week, Dennis says that’s just fine and the job helps him pay for school. It’s a wonder he still finds time to volunteer, but he doesn’t want to give it up, especially since he likes working with computers. “Computers are better than shelving! As a branch assistant there’s lots of the same thing over and over again—with computers it’s a different question every day.”
Midland’s computer lab operates simultaneously and in the same room as the library’s drop in tutoring for adults. Lisa Regimbal, Adult Literacy Coordinator, notes that there is significant crossover between basic computer literacy and literacy. Though Dennis doesn’t volunteer with the adult literacy program, Lisa thinks he is an outstanding partner and is always willing to help with room set-up and computer issues.
Dennis also sings the praises of the library staff. “I like working with Lisa,” he says. “I think Lisa is amazing for getting that program started there, I look up to her.” He adds he wants to give a “shoutout to Darrel, Jessie, Maureen, Alán,” and the rest of the staff “for making my days awesome. They’re a really good crew, especially the branch assistants,” he says with a beaming smile. Given his commitment and enthusiasm for Midland, it’s easy to see how Dennis keeps coming back—and why the staff call him “an outstanding volunteer” right back!
A few facts about Dennis
Home library: Midland
Currently reading: “Not reading anything right now, just studying.” He does read lots of articles for school and work.
Favorite book from childhood: The Time Machine by H.G. Wells. “He was my favorite author at the time.”
Most influential book: War of the Worlds by H.G. Wells. “It stuck with me. It made me think anything can happen!”
Favorite browsing section: Sci-fi and then WWII historical. “I also like to brush up on nonfiction.”
Book that made him laugh or cry: Overlord, a Japanese series, made him laugh. But, he says, “I’ve laughed at a lot of books.”
Favorite place to read: “Mostly I just read on my bed after 8pm. I’m a night reader.”
Thanks for reading the MCL Volunteer Spotlight. Stay tuned for our next edition coming soon! Read last month's Volunteer Spotlight.
Can’t remember when your divorce was final? Need a copy of your birth certificate? Trying to remember when your parents got married? Looking for your grandmother’s death certificate? These are all examples of vital records: documents related to a person’s birth, marriage, divorce and death. If you’re looking for any of these, the library is here to help!
There are a few things to keep in mind when searching for vital records at Multnomah County Library:
- Public libraries don’t keep archives of public records. You can request copies of birth, marriage, divorce and death certificates from the Oregon Center for Health Statistics.
- The library does have indexes you can use to verify vital records information in Oregon. However, these indexes don't cover all time periods -- and the most recent year is 2008.
- The library has a wealth of genealogical resources including useful blogs on topics such as finding obituaries and researching house history.
- Many historical vital records are available from the Oregon State Archives.
- Library staff are always happy to assist you in your vital records search. Please call us at 503.988.5123 or email a librarian anytime.
Getting copies of vital records
Most vital records in Oregon are available through the Oregon Center for Health Statistics. Because there are restrictions on who has access to these records, you will need to provide a significant amount of information about yourself and/or the subject of the vital record. Also keep in mind that the Center for Health Statistics charges fees for vital records. The more research they have to do, the higher the fees.
In order to ensure you receive the correct record, expedite your order, and potentially save yourself some money, you can consult the Oregon Vital Records Indexes available at the library. These indexes provide the name(s) of the individual(s), the county in which the event occurred, the date, and the record number. You can use these indexes yourself at the Central Library or contact the library and have a staff person search for you. Should you need vital records for states other than Oregon, check the Centers for Disease Control's list Where to Write for Vital Records for every U.S. state and territory.
The state of Oregon began recording births in 1903 but there is no statewide index to birth records. If you need your own or an immediate family member’s birth certificate contact the Oregon Center for Health Statistics.
For genealogists, birth certificates more than 100 years old can be accessed by anyone. If you need local birth records, you can use the Ledger Index to City of Portland Births which is focused on the years 1881-1917 within the city of Portland. Keep in mind, however, that the city was much smaller then than it is now.
If you need to verify marriage information, Multnomah County Library has the Oregon Marriage Index (1906-1924, 1946-2008). This index is organized by the name of either the groom or bride and is also available through Ancestry Library Edition (accessible only in the library). To get a copy of your own or an immediate family member’s marriage certificate, contact the Oregon Center for Health Statistics.
For genealogists, anyone can request a marriage certificate more than 50 years old. In Oregon, counties issue marriage licenses, so to find records that are not included in the Oregon Marriage Index you can check the Oregon Historical County Records Guide.
If you need to verify divorce information, Multnomah County Library has access to the Oregon Divorce Index for 1925-2008. Online, Ancestry Library Edition (accessible only in the library) also has Oregon Divorce Records, 1961-1985. If you need a copy of your own or an immediate family member’s divorce certificate, contact the Oregon Center for Health Statistics. If you need the full court record and divorce decree, you will need to contact the issuing court, usually the county circuit court. To help, Multnomah County Archives & Records Management has prepared a handy guide to obtaining divorce records and decrees.
For genealogists, anyone can request a divorce certificate more than 50 years old. If you’re looking for the court records, some counties have all of their circuit court records but others turned over their older documents to the Oregon State Archives.
If you need to verify death information, Multnomah County Library has the Oregon Death Index (1903-2008). This index is also available through Ancestry Library Edition (accessible only in the library). If you need a copy of an immediate family member’s death certificate, contact the Oregon Center for Health Statistics.
For genealogists, anyone can request a death certificate more than 50 years old. You can also search for local deaths before 1903 using the Ledger Index to City of Portland Deaths (1881-1917).
If you still have questions about vital records or other genealogical research questions call or email a librarian to get personalized help. If you’d rather have face-to-face assistance, ask the librarian on duty the next time you visit the library. We're always happy to help!
by Donna Childs
It is not surprising for library volunteers to be book lovers; in fact, it might almost seem a requirement. But Anne Pearson takes volunteering with books to a new level: she not only volunteers at the Hollywood Library, she has also served on the Board of the Friends of the Library—as Chair two years—and she works at a local children’s bookstore.
According to the staff at Hollywood, Anne brightens everyone’s day when she comes in to volunteer. She is “an efficient, reliable, hard-working volunteer [who] is also so nice and fun and always has great reading recommendations and delicious restaurant reviews and recipes to share.” Furthermore, she’s a good sport who is willing to do whatever needs doing, though her primary task is searching paging lists and pulling holds every Friday morning. Anne’s motivation for volunteering at Hollywood is a desire to help the library that has brought her much pleasure, as well as finding new books to read and recommend. And as a lover of cooking, she shares recipes as enthusiastically as she does book recommendations.
A former member of the Friends of the Library Board, Anne served as Chair in 2006-07 and 2007-08. Much of her work involved advocating for passage of a levy to continue library services, and meeting with various groups to discuss the need for the levy. Her work on the Board reinforced Anne’s belief that those of us in Multnomah County are “lucky to have such an amazing library system.”
Always an advocate for reading, Anne works two days a week at A Children’s Place (Portland’s oldest independent children’s bookstore), where she is in charge of choosing and buying books for the “Good Reads for Moms and Dads” section of the store, which includes books for moms and dads as individuals, not only as parents. Anne has clearly found a place—whether in the bookstore, on the Friends Board, or at the Hollywood Library—where her love of books benefits her and those around her.
Home library: Hollywood
Currently reading: I just finished A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles—LOVED it!
Most influencial book: Les Miserables by Victor Hugo
Favorite book from childhood: Half-Magic by Edward Eager
A book that has made you laugh or cry: The Heart’s Invisible Furies by John Boyne
Favorite section of the library: Lucky Day
E-reader or paper book: Paper, although I love the convenience of e-books for travel
Favorite reading guilty pleasure: Janet Evanovich’s Stephanie Plum series—howlingly funny!
Favorite place to read: Any place cozy!
Thanks for reading the MCL Volunteer Spotlight. Stay tuned for our next edition coming soon! Read last month's Volunteer Spotlight.