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Bridging Cultures is dedicated to promoting understanding and mutual respect for people with diverse histories, cultures, and perspectives within the United States and abroad.  Its most recent effort is the Muslim Journeys Bookshelf, a collection of books, videos and other resources  addressing both the need and the desire of the American public for trustworthy and accessible resources about Muslim beliefs and practices and the cultural heritage associated with Islamic civilizations.  

Another feature of the Bookshelf collection is access to a library resource tool, Oxford Islamic Studies Online (OISO).  With your library card number and PIN, use this resource to access thousands of reference entries, chapters from scholarly and introductory works, Qur'anic materials, primary sources, images, maps, and timelines. This resource provides a first stop for anyone needing information and context on Islam.

The Bridging Cultures Bookshelf: Muslim Journeys is a project of the National Endowment for the Humanities, conducted in cooperation with the American Library Association. Support was provided by a grant from Carnegie Corporation of New York. Additional support for the arts and media components was provided by the Doris Duke Foundation for Islamic Art.

When faced with a blank page, how do you begin a new writing project? Sometimes just getting the pen moving or keyboard clicking feels like the toughest aspect of creative writing.

Writing prompts or exercises can help you create an entry point into your work, provide a little momentum, and release the pressure of the scary expanse of white page. Whether you’d like to write a novel, short stories, poetry, memoir or other nonfiction, you have to start somewhere.
 
There are some great books that offer advice about the craft of writing, advice about the writing life, as well as offering prompts to get you started. A few web resources also offer writing prompts, including Poets & Writers magazine and LitBridge.
 
Of course, writers and other artists find inspiration in all sorts of places. Perhaps a visit to browse the shelves at your favorite library will turn your eye to something that makes you want to write!

Portland City Archives: A2001-004.94 : 219 N Cherry StNearly every house history researcher wants to see old photographs or drawings of their house.  Who wouldn't, right?  Unfortunately for Portland-area house history buffs, this can be one of the hardest bits of house history ephemera to track down!  But don't despair; there are surviving photographs of some houses and it is possible (sometimes) to find them. 

The challenge is that there has never been a comprehensive house-portrait project in Portland -- or any other city or town in our area -- so there is no treasure trove of photos of local homes that you can dig through.  You might wonder, if there's no big archive of house pictures, where should you start?  There are a few possibilities:

First, ask your neighbors or the people in your neighborhood association.  People who live on your street may have their own old photographs of family events, parties, or other occassions which include your house in the background.  And a bonus -- when you find that long-time resident and photo-saver, they may share stories about past residents of your house or other interesting neighborhood lore!

Houses sometimes appear in the background of photographs taken to record activity on the street.  The city of Portland has a lot of photographs of infrastructure and maintenance work they've done over the years.  City of Portland Archives, Oregon, A1999-004Many of these images are carefully preserved in the Portland City Archives collection. These images usually show city workers doing something in the neighborhood (such as repairing the sewer like in the photo at left) or were taken in connection with city planning work, like a street scene before the installation of a new traffic light.  You can search for records (including photographs) using the Archives' catalog, Efiles, and some have been published on the archives's Vintage Portland blog -- see below for more about that! But, most photographs in the collection aren't available online.  To look at photographs in person, you'll need to visit the Archives reading room downtown (1800 SW 6th Ave., Suite 550; 503.865.4100).  Be sure to read the Archives' policies and tips for researchers before you visit!

The Oregon Historical Society library is another treasure trove for house history researchers.  Their collection includes more than 2.5 million photographs and negatives of people, communities, commerce, and life in the Pacific Northwest -- with a focus, of course, on Oregon.  A few of these images are available online in the library's photograph gallery, but most are available only by visiting in person (1200 SW Park Ave.; 503.222.1741).   Again, be sure to read the library's policies, hours and tips for researchers before you visit!  (And a note: Multnomah County residents can use the Oregon Historical Society library for free if they show picture i.d.; most others must pay an admission fee.)

Another potential source for house portraits and street scenes is the Vintage Portland blog, run by the Portland City Archives.  Every weekday the site features a different historical photograph (or sometimes a map or drawing) of Portland.  The posts are sorted into categories for neighborhoods, street names, time periods, and topics.  For example, if you are curious about the development of your neighborhood as well as the history of your house, you might want to look at the blog's many aerial photographs; or you might try looking at a neighborhood street like Foster Rd., Powell Blvd., or 82nd Ave.

If the house you're researching happens to be in the Albina district, you may find a photograph of it in The History of Albina, by Roy E. Roos.  The book begins with a brief a history of the district (and former city), but it also includes brief architectural history for a selection of houses and other buildings that are representative of different eras in Albina's development.  Many of the brief house histories are illustrated with contemporary photographs or have no pictures, but some have historic photographs or drawings.

Have fun hunting for a historic photo of your house!

 

  Questions? Ask the Librarian.

(This is a guest blog post from the Portland Urban Forestry Commission’s Arbor Month Committee.)

You’ve probably heard of Earth Day, but April holds another important earth-friendly holiday you may not have heard of: Arbor Day! Dedicated to planting and celebrating trees, Arbor Day was first honored more than 140 years ago through the dedicated efforts of tree-lover, newspaper editor, and Secretary of the Nebraska Territory, J. Sterling Morton. Morton worked his entire life to promote the beauty and benefits of trees, and Arbor Day has stood the test of time: it’s spread from Nebraska to every US state and more than 30 other nations and is a testament to the widespread love of trees we share as humans.

From “Stump Town” to Tree City USA, Portland has a tremendous forest legacy. We are lucky to enjoy the benefits of mature trees, even as we plant young trees in an act of stewardship and goodwill to future generations. The library has many books to help you learn about the trees in your community and the world: you can go on a tour of remarkable trees right here in Portland with Phyllis Reynolds in Trees of Greater Portland. In The Collector: David Douglas and the Natural History of the Northwest, join Jack Nisbet for the story of an adventurous and dedicated Scottish botanist and imagine the Pacific Northwest before Portland was ever conceived. Finally, in American Canopy, Erik Rutkow explores our national heritage, detailing the link between an immense forested continent and the rise of the modern American nation. Find these as well as recommended tree ID books and books about trees for children on a booklist of recommended “Tree Reads” from your Neighborhood Tree Stewards.

In Portland, we can’t fit our love of trees into one day. There will be an Arbor Day Festival in Portland on April 20, 2013, but also be sure to come celebrate the urban forest with us all month long!  Learn how to use a tree ID book, go on a TREEsure hunt of heritage trees in Portland, take a bike-tour of the urban forest, or get dirty planting. This April, you can touch your heritage and leave a legacy.

Literary Arts' 26th annual book awards ceremony puts the spotlight on Oregon's literary community.   Award categories named for Oregon authors such as Ken Kesey and William Stafford include fiction, poetry, drama, nonfiction, young adult and children's books.  Most of the finalists live in the Portland area, but Ashland, Eugene, Salem and Waldport are home to creative types.  It’s always fun to scan the list of publishers --  small presses are well-represented:  Black Ocean, Traprock Books and Small Doggies Press, to name a few.

Oregon has a rich literary heritage that goes back to the early 1800’s.  The publication of the journals of Meriwether Lewis and William Clark in 1814, followed by exploration, travel and pioneer accounts dominated the first years of  literature.  If you’d like to embark on a survey of Oregon’s literary history, start with Literary Oregon, 100 Books 1800-2000, a booklist created by the Oregon Cultural Heritage Commission and the Oregon State Library.  

The Oregon Center for the Book at the State Library maintains the impressive Oregon Authors Website.  It's easy to use!  Browse by author's name, city, genre and year published.  It also includes a very complete list of Oregon publishers.

More than a stodgy directory of government officials, the online Oregon Blue Book includes an Oregon Authors Book Guide.  Click on an author's name and view a preview of their best-known book - nifty!   Find more in-depth biographies of Oregon authors in the Oregon Encyclopedia.  Don’t see the author you’re looking for?   Write an entry and OE staff will add it to the knowledge universe.

Looking for Oregon authors in the library catalog?  Be prepared to do some creative searching.  Because the subject heading Authors, American – Northwest, Pacific includes Oregon and other states (Washington, Montana, Idaho and British Columbia), do a keyword search for Oregon author (or Portland author) to zero in.   Cross-check your search with the Oregon Authors Website's listings or use Literature Resource Center to verify an author’s place of birth or residence.  

Sample works by the 2013 Oregon Book Awards finalists and discover some new authors to follow.

You can find lots of detailed information about your neighborhood, your street, or even your house from maps.  The maps below have historical information about property ownership, building footprints, old out-of-date addresses, and more! 

Digital Sanborn Maps. Library resource containing digital versions of Sanborn fire insurance maps for Oregon, Washington, and California, for various dates. Compiled for insurance companies, these maps show the location and composition of buildings.  They also note potential fire hazards like gas stations, lumber mills, movie theaters, bakeries, and show the location of steep slopes, water mains, and other infrastructure details.   Maps for Gresham, Troutdale, and Portland are in this collection, as are maps for the former cities of St. Johns, Albina, and Multnomah (now all part of the city of Portland).  Be ready to enter your library card number and PIN; this is a special library resource! (If this collection doesn't have what you need, take a look at the Portland Bureau of Planning & Sustainability's list of Sanborn Insurance Maps Covering Portland, Oregon that are owned by other libraries and archives.)

The Portland Block Book. Two-volume book of maps of the city of Portland, circa 1907, showing ownership of residential property and other real estate information.  You'll need to know a property's legal description -- the name of the addition/subdivision and the block and lot numbers to use this book.  You can usually get the legal description of a property from PortlandMaps (see below).  Visit Central Library to use this two-volume set in person.

Metsker's Atlas of Multnomah County, Oregon. Atlases showing the names of property owners (for larger lots), lot lines and street names. The library has Metsker atlases from 1927, 1936, and 1944, as well as atlases for Clackamas, Washington and most other Oregon counties.  Visit Central Library to use the Metsker atlases in person.

Historic Resource, Reference, and Historical Maps. Digital images of historic maps from Portland's Planning & Sustainability Bureau. Includes the General Land Office cadastral (survey) maps of Portland from 1852, an 1894 map showing the methods of pavement in use throughout the city (detail at left), a 1955 aerial photo of the central city, a 1943 streetcar map, and many more.

PortlandMaps. Maps and current property information for Portland and much of the surrounding area, including maps, tax information, crime data, school and park information and more.

 

  Questions? Ask the Librarian.

7 Reasons Your Grant Proposals Are Being Rejected

  1. You don't write for your audience.
  2. You aren't proofreading enough.
  3. You aren't thorough enough.
  4. Your proposal contains too much fluff.
  5. You have a goal but no plan.
  6. You aren't providing enough data.
  7. You are using unreasonable budgets.

Read the entire article at Non-profit2point0.com!

Professional genealogists say you start your family tree with YOU. You find the records for YOUR birth, for YOUR education, YOUR travels, YOUR relationships and family AND your photos.

Do you need a copy of your birth certificate? a marriage or divorce record? a death record? If you were born in the United States or one of our territories, you can find the sources for these records at Where to Write for Vital Records.

When you are doing genealogy on other people in your family, if the event (the birth, marriage, divorce, death) occurred in the U.S., this will help you find out where the information you need may be found (and costs associated with obtaining it.)

As you look through your papers, the family file cabinet, the attic or other storage places for your records, keep an eye open for documents that will help you know where and when the important life events for other family members occurred.

If you find information for other family members, ask their permission to copy it. You will be able to use it as you move on to research the generations before you.

 

 

Nutrition is an important component of a healthy lifestyle. On this page we have gathered some resources to help you learn more about diet and nutrition for you and your family.

Organizations are often a useful resource for information. The National Dairy Council, The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, and Oldways: Health Through Heritage, are all examples of organizations from which you can find lots of current, practical information about what to eat! For instance, Oldways provides recipes based on cultural traditions and heritage. Their mission is to support eating as a family and cultural heritage, and to promote the "old ways" of eating. The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (formerly the American Dietetic Association) has a section for the public that offers articles about eating right for healthy weight, allergies, and other conditions. The National Dairy Council also offers recipes as well as a special section on child nutrition.

Many general health and medical web resources include nutrition information too. MedlinePlus, one of our favorite all purpose health sites, includes a section on food and nutrition. The Mayo Clinic, a well-respected medical institution, offers a section on healthy living which includes articles about nutrition and healthy eating. Nutrition.gov is a comprehensive resource for nutrition information for all members of the family and includes everything from medical information to shopping, cooking and meal planning.

The library subscribes to databases of journal and newspaper articles that focus on specific topics, such as health. Health and Wellness Resource Center is one of the most "user-friendly" databases. Type a search term into the box, or choose from a selection of tabs to find what you need. Alt Health Watch focuses on non-Western medicine, including articles that discuss diet and nutrition. Health Reference Center Academic has a nice subject guide search to help you find articles about diet or nutrition (and any other health or medical subject).

Enjoy browsing some of these consumer friendly resources about nutrition and diet and then check the library's catalog for some great books we have on these topics.

The library's film collection consists of entertainment and nonfiction DVDs and Blu-rays on a wide variety of subjects. Documentaries, educational films, instructional videos, short films, and DVD re-releases of feature films and television series are all part of the collection.

Searching My MCL for a DVD

My MCL makes searching DVDs easy:

  1. Go to My MCL and search for a title, actor, keyword, etc.
  2. Click on the arrow next to Format on the left side of the screen.
  3. Click the checkbox next to DVD in the format menu.

Screen shot of search for a DVD

Searching My MCL for a Blu-ray

  1. Go to My MCL and search for a title, actor, keyword, etc.
  2. Click on the arrow next to Format on the left side of the screen.
  3. Click the checkbox next to Blu-ray Disc in the format menu.

Movie night ideas

Use these lists to find something for movie night:

As always, if you don't find what you are looking for, you can ask a librarian.

It's said that history is written by the winners but many stories go untold, especially when they concern women. It's lucky for us when authors choose to highlight unfamiliar stories of accomplished women.

Take the recently released Eighty Days: Nellie Bly and Elizabeth Bisland's History-making Race around the World, by Matthew Goodman. I had a vague notion about Nellie Bly buried somewhere in my brain - 'a reporter, wasn't she?' - but I knew nothing more. As it turns out, she entered journalism at a time when the only role for female reporters was to contribute to the society pages. In a bold move to show her editor that women could do hard-hitting journalism, she volunteered to go undercover, and be committed to the notorious women's asylum on Blackwell's Island. Bly reported that if one wasn't insane when committed, one would most certainly lose one's sanity in the horrendous conditions on the island. Her work resulted in improvements to the facility and better care for inmates.

A good reporter can never rest on her laurels though, and so in 1889, Bly set out to race around the world in 80 days or fewer to see if the journey that Jules Verne imagined in Around the World in 80 Days could be accomplished. What she didn't realize was that a rival paper decided to make it a race by sending the young Elizabeth Bisland around the world in the opposite direction.

Goodman's book is a great chase by ship and train across many countries. The excitement of the race is nicely balanced by the historical detail, and satisfies the curiosity while reading like a novel.

There are many more suprising histories about women and their accomplishments, focusing on people like Hedy Lamarr and Gertrude Bell. Take a look at the accompanying reading list for more.

"Mom! I had a scary dream and now there's a scary noise!" (This from the child who sleeps with a giant plush albino python named Night Demon, aka Deathy.)
 
The clock reads 3:33 a.m. as I blearily think of horror movies and hope the walls aren't oozing. In Child the Younger's room, I sit next to his bed and prepare to activate my supermom extrasensory bat hearing to detect the noise. It turns out I can hear it just fine, no bats necessary. It is high-pitched and repeats steadily, something between a squeak and a wheeze. Sort of what I imagine a bat might sound like, drunk and asleep in front of a tiny bat television.
 
The noise is originating from the large cage in the hallway which houses our three pet rats. The Girls (as we refer to them collectively) are piled together inside their fleecy hammock, asleep.
 
They are snoring.
 
Blerg! I have all manner of Liz Lemon expletives for them as I reach in and gently jostle their bed to interrupt the noise. They poke their little faces out in my direction and blink their sleepy eyes at me, showily yawning in a ratty version of "What the what?"
 
By the hammer of Thor, after all this middle-of-the-night waking and yawning and walls that are decidedly not oozing (thank Thor), we all deserve some good movies that will not inspire another sleepless night. Something to wake us up, pick us up, make us believe in a future with much stronger coffee but not so strong as to induce nasty heart palpitations. Here are the movies of dreams gone right and wrong that have earned my attention lately:
 
First Position: Six serious young ballet dancers from five continents participate in the Youth America Grand Prix, a prestigious competition that could transform their lives overnight. Follow the progress of some amazing and talented children and teens as they compete with eyes wide open for places in the high-stakes international world of professional ballet. Even if you don't care one bit about ballet, the stories of these dedicated kids and their families will mesmerize you.
 
Mariachi High: This program documents a year in the life of Mariachi Halcon, a top-ranked competitive high school mariachi band in the rural ranching town of Zapata, Texas. These passionate teens and their devoted teacher will make you want to cheer as they pursue excellence and find strength in themselves and each other.
 
The Queen of Versailles: The riches to rags story of a billionaire and his wife seeking to build the largest house in the United States until the economic downturn flips the family fortune. Show up for the schadenfreude, stay tuned for the unexpected bits of compassion and insight that lend a surprising balance to what should be (and, yes, mostly is) an unmitigated train wreck of greed.
 
Dream away.

Has your child asked you “Where do babies come from?” yet?  Are you prepared to answer that question?  I was a bit unprepared when my 4 year old son asked me recently.  He saw a woman nursing her baby at the swimming pool and ever since then he has been fascinated by the human body.  I felt that I was only able to give him a cursory answer, which spurred me to check out the library for books.  I found some to read to him and others to help me answer his questions the best I could.  If you have found yourself in this situation with your child or are just preparing for it ahead of time, please check out the attached list for some books I found to help me.  Good luck addressing what can be a touchy topic for parents.

Did you know that librarians are experts at making book recommendations? Our library staff have compiled lists of great books for everyone in the family - on many subjects.

If you want more information, or a personal recommendation, ask a librarian online or at your local library.

I spent most of last year reading non-fiction books for teens as a member of a booklist committee.  It was interesting and, for the most part, enjoyable. I learned a whole lot about the Titanic, Steve Jobs, the Civil Rights movement and rufa Red Knots, among many other topics.  When I finished up my work in late January, I started casting about for books written for adults, and found some new titles on the Lucky Day shelf.  
 
In Me Before You  by Jojo Moyes, Louisa loses her waitressing job when the 'Buttered Bun' closes and has a heck of a time finding a new one that doesn't involve dead chickens or tricking old people into buying something they don't need.  So when a job opening appears for a daytime companion to a thirty-something quadriplegic man, she decides to apply. It's a six month appointment, so if things don't go well, at least she knows it's only for a short time.  Will is not particularly easy to get along with, but as the weeks go by, they develop a quirky kind of relationship and suddenly six months seems like much too little time.  A publisher's representative told me that this was the best book she'd read in a while and although I'm not sure it will be the best book that I will read in 2013, it was a pretty good start.
 
I feel like I'm pretty aware of what's forthcoming in the publishing world, so I was a bit surprised to find two books on the Lucky Day shelves that I hadn't heard of, especially because they were by authors I usually enjoy.  Maeve Binchy died in July 2012, so presumably A Week in Winter is her last book, unless, like V.C. Andrews, she'll be writing from the grave.  It's classic Binchy with a wide cast of characters coming together for a week at a newly opened seaside hotel.  Each chapter tells the story of one of the guests, and all the stories dovetail at Stone House Hotel.  
 
Anne Lamott's latest foray into faith and spirituality is Help, Thanks, Wow: The Three Essential Prayers.  It's slight in pages, but large in spiritual concepts, although I felt like I'd heard pretty much the same thing in Lamott's previous books.  Still, I can never hear too often how people struggle with big challenges and still manage with a little help from their friends, including the "big entity upstairs", especially when it's dished out with Anne Lamott's signature humor and humanity.
 
If you're hankering after something new, check out the Lucky Day shelves.  You might be surprised at what you'll find!

In addition to the usual places to search for your next gig, government employers feature new opportunities on these sites:

  • The Multnomah County government notes all open positions, including jobs with the library. 
  • The City of Portland's Employment Center is a great resource for learning more about employment with the city, including internships and workstudy opportunities.
  • Portland Development Commission has a page for job and internship seekers.
  • Metro Jobs is the place to browse current job openings at Metro, the Oregon Zoo and the Metropolitan Recreation Exhibition Commission.
  • The State of Oregon has a useful page which includes links to city, county, state and federal government job pages.
  • USAJOBS is the Federal Government's official one-stop source for Federal jobs and employment information.
  • Government Jobs is a handy government sector job board showing openings in many different agencies. 
  • Port of Portland is the place to go for jobs at the airport, marine facilities, industrial parks and more.

Also, don't forget that Multnomah County Library locations offer computer labs and other resources for job seekers

Before working for a new company or starting on a new career path, a little research goes a long way to helping you find the right match. Here are some resources to get you started:

PTSD, or post-traumatic stress disorder, is an anxiety disorder that occurs after a terrifying ordeal. Learn about the symptoms of PTSD and find out about medications and types of psychotherapy used to treat PTSD and other anxiety disorders.

Also, see how an older veteran with PTSD is overcoming this disorder.

 

The information on Anxiety Disorders was provided by NIHSeniorHealth and developed by the National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH).

As we celebrate the life of former Oregon Symphony director James DePreist, let’s note that in addition to all his incredible work with orchestras around the world, and a 2005 National Medal of Arts, he also wrote two books of poetry!

William Stafford contributed the afterword to DePreist’s first book, This Precipice Garden (1986). He describes DePreist’s confident presence as conductor, and compares this with the voice of the poems: “When he turns to the different rhythm of his poems, it is as if James DePreist puts that hovering attention to a parallel task; again the inner light finds which way to go amid infinite, shifting possibilities. Here, however, there is a record in language of the course taken. The reader can follow in slow motion and see how the self proceeds along a tangled path.”

Maya Angelou writes of DePreist, in her foreword to his book The Distant Siren (1989), “There is obviously poetry in the orchestral conducting of James DePreist and audible musicality in the poetry of James DePreist. His second collection of poetry has the tautness of a perfectly pitched viola and much of its resonance.”

These succinct, meticulously paced poems sometimes root us to an image or an idea, and sometimes launch us into surprising, soaring openness.

Beyond me
    came the meanings.

Meanings beyond words,
    long held from view
now lovingly decanted
    into prisms.

Meanings beyond words,
    multiplied beyond me
in transit
    to their source.

(from This Precipice Garden, page 7)

Hearing and using lots of words helps children get ready to read.  The more words they know, the easier it will be for them to learn how to read.  So how do we help kids develop a BIG vocabulary?  By talking with them!  

Of course every day we might use words like breakfast and shoes and bedtime.  But when we expose children to the world, and then have conversations about what they experience, we introduce them to lots of new words!  

There are so many fun places to take young children in Multnomah county.  Some of them are free (like your neighborhood playground) or inexpensive (like Portland Parks & Rec’s indoor parks), but some of them can make a pretty big dent in your wallet!  

Fortunately many of our local attractions offer discount days on a regular basis.  Admission to OMSI only costs $2 the first Sunday of the month.  The Oregon Zoo charges only $4 on the second Tuesday of every month.  The Crystal Springs Rhododendron Garden is free every Tuesday and Wednesday, free from the day after Labor Day through the end of February, and free year-round for children under 12.  The Chinese & Japanese Gardens and the Art Museum also have free days periodically each year.  

Pairing your adventures with books on related topics provides a great opportunity to continue and extend your conversations.  If your toddler loved watching the monkeys at the zoo, try reading Busy Monkeys together.  After building a tower at OMSI, your child might enjoy Dreaming Up.  Try pairing a trip to the Art Museum with Katie and the Water Lily Pond or a visit to any of the gardens with Flower Garden.  These are just a few suggestions to get you started.  We can help you find just the right book for you and your child.  And you can help your child get ready to read by having fun conversations every day.

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