Blogs

The end of the year brings a blizzard of “best books” lists – it’s almost too much of a good thing!

Hilary Mantel Bring Up the Bodies 2012Book lovers familiar with established publishers such as The New York Times, The Atlantic and Publishers Weekly will find some overlap.   Bring Up the Bodies, the second book in Hilary Mantel's Thomas Cromwell trilogy, appeared on all three of their fiction lists.  On the flip side, Daily Candy and Slate offer up lists of overlooked and underappreciated books. 

Oprah's Best Books of 2012 include selections from O's editors and favorite writers.  NPR goes beyond the usual fiction, mysteries and Nancy Pearl favorites with categories like "10 Eye-Catching Reads", "Recipe Rebellion: A Year of Contrarian Cookbooks" and "Graphic Novels that Flew Under the Radar in 2012."

For readers looking for something  different -- think edgy, unusual, underground favorites --  check out the “best        books” rankings from the Daily Beast and Book Riot.    The underground -- undersea fiber-optic cables --  gets special mention in Andrew Blum's Tubes, an exploration of the infrastructure of the Internet.

Ready to be surprised and delighted?  Peruse Brain Pickings, a "human-powered discovery engine for interestingness."  Curious mind at large Maria Popova creates best-of-reading lists by subject -- art, science, history, music, graphic novels and more.

For “best books” beyond general fiction, take a look at Tor.com (scifi),  Geeks are Sexy (technology), Photo Eye (photography) and The Dirt (landscape architecture). 

No “best books” list would be complete without the Oregonian’s Top 10 Northwest books of 2012, a tribute to the many talented writers in the Pacific Northwest.  Portlander Cheryl Strayed won raves for Wild,  her inspiring memoir about hiking the Pacific Coast Trail. 

Just for fun, search Youtube for “best books of 2012” and marvel at the range of videos.  Here’s where book enthusiasts have a level playing field with big-budget titans. 

Enjoy a gold mine of lists thanks to blogger Largehearted Boy.  For the fifth straight year he's aggregated every online best-of-the-year book list.  How's that for a best for last?!

 

The following is a selective list of websites to help you find information about diseases and their treatment.    The sites are sponsored by well-respected associations and organizations.  You can also find information about specific diseases on the websites of organizations such as the American Diabetes Association or the American Heart Association.  The library subscribes to databases that contain articles from health and medical journals.   These are a good source of health information that is both current and authoritative.   You can find these databases on the health topics page under resources.

Cancer.gov

Comprehensive information about cancer and its treatment from the National Cancer Institute.   Information is available for both lay persons and health professionals.  You can also find statistics, clinical trials and the latest research on cancer.

CAPHIS

If you want to find even more health information, try this very helpful list of the Top 100 Health Websites You Can Trust, selected by The Consumer and Patient Health Information Section of the Medical Library Association.   

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

A fabulous resource of health information with a focus on public health.   There is  information about diseases but also advice for traveling overseas, lots of statistical reports and epidemiological studies and reports.  If you search the CDC Wonder, you can find reports like Daily Air Temperatures by geographic area and period.  A fun and educational health site.

ClinicalTrials.gov

A clinical trial is a research study in which human volunteers are assigned to interventions based on a plan and are then evaluated for effects on biomedical or health outcomes.  This site lists publicly and privately supported clinical trials on a wide range of diseases and conditions and describes the trial’s purpose, who may participate and contact information.  Used by patients, health care professionals and researchers,  it lists trials from 50 states and 182 countries.

Family Doctor

Sponsored by the Association of Family Physicians, this site is geared for the lay person. It is easy to use, and organized so that you can search by a disease or an age group or a topic. It also includes a symptom checker but remember to check with your health care provider for the most authoritative information about your symptoms.

Kid’s Health

Information about health, behavior, and development from before birth through the teen years.  Kids can find information geared just for them, about their bodies and feelings, growing and developing, in age-appropriate language.  Parents can find information about pregnancy, parenting, kids' health and much more.

Lab Tests Online

Explains clearly and concisely the purpose of many blood tests and other laboratory tests. Searchable by specific test, by age category, and by condition or disease.

Mayo Clinic

Find health information for the whole family on this well-known organization’s site.  You can also watch yoga videos, shop for products or stay abreast of the latest research on diseases and conditions. 

MEDLINEplus

One of the best places to start your search for medical information.  Search by a specific disease or find information under body location, body system or by age group.   The site is a wealth of information,  including  lists of health organizations and associations, directories to help you locate a physician or hospital, information about drugs and health news, and social issues that can affect you and your family's health.  You can even watch a video about your upcoming surgery!   From the National Library of Medicine.

 

Mental health

APA Help Center: from the American Psychological Association

An online resource of brochures and short articles on the psychological issues that affect our physical and emotional well-being.  Geared for the lay person, the APA offers topics that are timely and relevant to our daily lives.

Cascadia Mental Health and Addictions Treatment Services

Cascadia provides mental health counseling, crisis intervention, addictions treatment, and transitional, residential, and permanent housing for people with psychiatric and substance use challenges, most of whom are very low income. Their website includes contact information as well as links to national resources for people seeking assistance.

MedlinePlus Mental Health and Behavior     

NAMI: National Alliance on Mental Illness

Nami was organized to reduce the stigma of mental illness. You can find definitions and explanations of a variety of mental disorders as well as support groups, programs and research on this site. Also available in Spanish.

National Institute of Mental Health

Provides information about mental illness and mental conditions as well as the latest research on treatment. Find specific studies being conducted across the U.S. that are currently recruiting participants.

Noah (New York Online Access to Health) Mental Health

This award winning site provides high quality consumer mental health information in both English and Spanish,  suitable for the layperson.  If you want to learn more about a mental health condition or disease, start here.

National Institute of Mental Health - Publications - Easy to Read

Articles about mental illness written in easy to understand language,  for both native and non-native speakers of English.

 

Here are some resources to help you find information about prescription and non-prescription drugs, including supplements.  You can look up side effects, what foods and drugs to avoid while taking a medication, and even find images of a drug.

  • Drugs.com provides information about more than 24,000 prescription drugs, over-the-counter medicines and natural products.  You can find side-effects, dosage, use of a medication during pregnancy, drug interactions and a pill-identifier.
  • Graedon's People's Pharmacy is geared for consumers and produced by Terry and Joe Graedon, authors of the print publication of the same name.  There is detailed information about home remedies: side effects, drug alerts and a page where readers can share their own stories. 
  • MedlinePlus includes a section about drugs and supplements. Use it to find information about effectiveness, dosage and safety of herbal remedies and dietary supplements. Also find information about prescription and over the counter drugs. 
  • NeedyMeds is a non-profit organization that helps people who cannot afford medicine or healthcare.  You can find drug coupons and other services at reduced costs, or free of charge.
  • The Office of Dietary Supplements of the National Institutes of Health produces comprehensive fact sheets about dietary supplements that include information about historic uses, side effects, interactions with drugs and clinical studies being done.
  • The Partnership for Prescription Assistance provides information about free or low-cost health clinics in your area.  You can use an online tool to determine your eligibility for a variety of patient programs and assistance, including Medicaid, Medicare, Patient Assistance Programs and co-pay programs.
  • Pharmacy Checker.com collects rates and compares credentials, prices and customer feedback regarding pharmacies that operate online and through mail-order and fax.  Includes Canadian businesses too.
  • RxIsk was founded by David Healy, author of Pharmageddon and other books.  This well-researched site by a team of international scientists and researchers, also uses MedWatch data.  You can search for drugs by various adverse effects, such as suicide or violence.  You can also use the interaction checker to see if your drug interacts with other drugs or food.
  • The U.S. Food and Drug Association is responsible for testing and final approval of drugs on the market in the United States.  They are also responsible for many other regulatory activities.  Their site is continuously updated, informative and easy to use.  You can find information about buying medicines over the Internet, drug recalls and and other important information for consumers.  This is the home of MedWatch, where you can report adverse drug reactions. 

Is it going to snow? Will we beat the record for most days of rain? What was the high temperature on February 28, 2010? This page includes great resources to answer all of those questions, and more.

Forecasts and Observations

Weather Records

Weather Trends

Looking for resources on global warming?

Weather History

Extreme Weather

World Weather

 

 

Storytime is most rewarding when you find just the right song and book that can captivate a child’s attention, elicit laughter and bring out joy from having so much fun!

The following songs and book, with the theme Fingers and Toes, have proven to do all three for me in actual storytimes at Multnomah County Library.

This mini storytime also incorporate Talking, Singing, Reading and Playing - four of the five activities to prepare your child for reading.

Start out by waving and wiggling your fingers and count them one by one. Your child may already be mimicking your actions by this point, otherwise encourage him/her to do the same. Once all fingers are wiggling start singing the Finger Family song and do the actions accordingly:

 

Finger family’s up (wiggle fingers up in the air)

And finger family’s down (wiggle fingers down)

Finger family’s dancing all the around the town (wave and wiggle fingers all around)

Dance them on your shoulders (wiggle fingers on shoulders)

Dance them on your head (wiggle fingers on head)

Dance them on your knees (wiggle fingers on knees)

And tuck them into bed (quickly, move wiggling fingers and tuck them into underarms – left hand into right underarm and vice versa)

Barbara Allyn copyright SOCAN

 

Here’s a great video of the song created by the King County Library System

 

Now, hold out those hands and you can even play peek-a-boo (an activity that is always a hit with babies and toddlers!)

Tell your child that in addition to fingers we also have toes. If you can be bare foot bring out those toes, wiggle them and count them too. Then sing one of my favorite songs, Everybody Knows I Love My Toes and point to each body part accordingly:

Everybody knows I love my toes

Everybody knows I love my toes

I love my eyes, my ears, my mouth & my nose

And everybody knows I love my toes

You can use this song to sing about other body parts that you and your child also love, i.e. tummy, elbow, etc.

Here’s a sample of the song

A lovely and fun book that ties the Fingers and Toes theme together is Ten Little Fingers and Ten Little Toes by Mem Fox. Add your own style and pizzazz as you read together and the fun will naturally emerge.

Requests to repeat the songs or book is a reflection of how much your child enjoys storytime with you so feel free to "sing/read it again" as many times as you like!

From an observant, slightly snotty, artistic, dramatic hat designer comes this story of an escape from Hitler's Vienna. The human emotions are very real, though not always admirable. 

I felt like I was right there inside the story, eating in elegant cafes and attending fashion shows in Paris; and after Hitler's tanks rolled into Austria, plotting to leave Vienna; and staying awake nights, planning and scheming to bring elderly parents to the safety of London. I even envisioned the nightly German bombing raids beginning and then the trip down to the shelters.  
 
A story of courage, perseverance and resourcefulness,  Some Girls, Some Hats and Hitler is a glimpse into one woman's extraordinary survival during World War II.
 
Published in 1984 as a self-published edition, Trudi Kanter's memoir of her life as a hat designer was soon out of print and nearly forgotten until Virago Press edited and republished it. Virago Press has been unable to trace the copyright holder and "would be pleased to hear from anyone with any further information." 

All you want to do is put your feet up and settle in with a good book. But with so many choices, how do you find that one good read that fits your mood? We can help, and we love to talk about books.

Drop in to any of our libraries and ask us for some suggestions, and together we'll find you something exciting to read. Do you want to ask for reading recommendations from the comfort of home? Just fill out this form to let us know what kind of books you most enjoy, and we'll send you a personalized list of books to read next. You can also call us at 503-988-5234, or chat with us online.

Ask us about novels, non-fiction, books for teens and kids, comic books, anything that interests you. We read good stuff, and we love to share, so drop us a line!

Are you a hiker, tracker, or hunter?  If so, you've probably used the United States Geological Survey (USGS) maps in your outdoor activities.

They are nice, big maps showing lots of topographical detail, physical characteristics of the land, and the names of roads and communities and bodies of water. Sometimes they're called "topo maps," "7.5 minute maps" or "7.5 minute quadrangles" (because they show 7.5 minutes of lattitude/longitude). You can visit Central Library's map room (on the third floor) and consult the library's collection of USGS maps for the western states.  If you want your own copy, you can usually buy them in outdoor-oriented sporting goods stores.

But did you know that the entire collection of USGS maps, for the whole country, are now available free online? Here's how to get to the USGS topo maps online:

Start at the Map Locator & Downloader (you can browse to this site from the main USGS website: www.usgs.gov > Map Locator & Downloader).

This tool allows you to find maps with a simple search for a place name. For example, if you are looking for maps of the area near Waldport on the Oregon Coast, just type waldport into the search box and click the "Go" button.

Now you'll see a map of the Waldport area.  The map has a grid superimposed on it, with the names of the different USGS maps in each square of the grid.  And, there is a red marker in the part of the grid marked "Waldport." Click on this marker and a little popup shows the maps that are available for that spot.

(If the red marker isn't in quite the right part of the map, click on the map in the spot you want and you'll get a new marker, which will pop up a list of maps for that area.)

To download a nice, high-definition pdf of the map you want, just click on the link that shows the file size. (In the case of the 2011 Waldport 7.5 minute map, the link says "18.1 MB.")

You'll see other maps in the popup list -- older maps and maps that cover a larger area.  And there is usually a link to related maps that focus on topics like mineral resources, elevation, hazards, etc.

 

  Questions? Ask the Librarian.

Have fun browsing and downloading maps from the USGS, and share your observations in the comments!

 

We added 29 new Pageturners To Go titles on Dec. 2. You’ll find them at the beginning of the Pageturners To Go list, ending with Delta Wedding. We’ll be adding new titles once a year from now on. You can leave a comment or tip for discussion — click on the title and then "add comment."

Pageturners To Go is sponsored by the Friends of the Library. More about Pageturners To Go.

How to search the new Library Catalog for music:
Top | Authors | Authors with Common NamesTitles | Keywords


Multnomah County Library has the largest collection for music of any public library in Oregon, and is one of the largest on the West Coast. This guide shows you how to find music books, scores, CDs and DVDs in the new Library Catalog, including:

  • scores with piano accompaniment on CD
  • DVDs to learn musical instruments or singing
  • complete works and indexes of major composers
  • 33,000+ music scores for beginners to professional musicians

Choose the catalog version you prefer: Bibliocommons(New Catalog) | Classic Catalog

In the Multnomah County Library network of libraries, Central Library has the largest collection of books, music scores, CDs, DVDs and videos. Request delivery to the Neighborhood Library that is most convenient for you.


Ask a Question:
Looking for something specific? Contact us.

As with the old saying "you can't tell a book Music Online Alexander Street Press Online Resource from Multnomah County Libraryby its cover" about books, the contents of the Library's online resources are often not fully apparent from the title. Music Online is just such a resource, consisting of not one online collection but eleven different thematic libraries of recordings, videos, books, and scores. You can use Music Online to look for something specific. But another way is simply to explore its astonishing content through the various collections. Here is a way to start:

Login with your Multnomah County Library card barcode and pin number. The box "Select Collections"  expands when selected to show the various libraries to explore, some consisting of books, others of recordings, videos, or scores. The "Advanced Search" at the top of the webpage is another good way to start, if you would like to search for a specific piece of music, composer or performer.



Example: Smithsonian Global Sound
This is a collection of folk and traditional music, from the Folkways Records and Smithsonian Folkways Recordings, with cover art and liner notes.  Try it out: log in to Music Online with your Multnomah County Library barcode and pin number, and select Smithsonian Global Sound or one of the other collections. A good way to explore this collection below is to select one of the links in the BROWSE section.

Smithsonian Global Sound from Alexander Street Press

You can save tracks to playlists, and return to them each time by creating an account and logging in each time you use Music Online. Follow the sign in link at the top of each screen to create an account and log in.

Questions? Please let us know if we can assist you,

Beverly
Central Library Reference Librarian


 

Have you ever wondered why some picture books make children giggle uncontrollably or they are so engrossed that they begin to talk directly to the book itself as a one-on-one conversation? Or maybe why she holds on to her security blankie for dear life but still wants you to keep reading even though she is peeking through their fingers?  Well have you…huh?

Fortunately, I have been lucky enough to experience all of the above both as a youth librarian who does storytime and as a mother of two rambunctious readers, ages 7 and 8. Somehow after the first few pages you just know when a picture book is the most perfect-est, out of this world, fantabulous, read it to me again and again and again mommy, puh-leese!!!, type of picture book. 

Although you may think these great picture books are few and far between they are not as rare as you would think. They can actually happen quite often when you, the reader, commit to reading a good picture book the bestest way (yes, bestest is a technical term) you can.  Here, allow me to explain…

Look at the illustrations - what is the book about and what sort of emotions do the characters evoke? Are they excited, scared, curious or grumpy? Is there a loud race car vroom vrooming or a roller coaster whooshing by? Is there a bird chirping loudly or a child whimpering softly? And can you try to read the words and pictures in a way so that your child will feel the book?  In most good picture books the emotions will tell the story, and if you read the story with the umph of those emotions each turn of a page will surely be a cliff hanger for your young listener.  And chances are if the book is a cliff hanger for your young listener, if they can put themselves in the book because of how you read it to them, then they will probably want you to read it again and again.   And if you read the book to them again and again and again chances are you are fostering a love of books and reading in your young listener that will last a lifetime all because you read with a little umph.

 

A pro at this type of umph reading is the most wonderfulest Australian Author Mem Fox. Check her out reading the beloved Koala Lou and tell me you didn’t have to dry a tear when Koala Lou comes in second! 

I’m pretty sure that each and every one of us has odd culinary preferences that we only indulge when we’re alone. I often make a never-the-same-twice dish that very loosely resembles fried rice, created from various leftovers and my lazy determination to only dirty one pan; I indulge my sweet tooth with impromptu desserts made of various combos of peanut butter, honey, chocolate chips and raw oats. When I cook for myself I am both less thoughtful and more inventive than when I cook for others.

Alone in the Kitchen with an Eggplant: Confessions of Cooking for One and Dining Alone (edited by Jenni Ferrari-Adler) is an irresistible window into the many different ways we approach cooking for and eating by ourselves. “A is for Dining Alone ...and so am I, if a choice must be made between most people I know and myself,” M.F.K. Fisher admits, as she writes about learning to make and serve herself delicious meals; other writers talk about the ritual of dining out alone. Steve Almond, on the other hand, hones his cooking skills only “in the abject hope that people would spend time with me if I put good things in their mouths;” Rattawut Lapcharoensap laments that recreating the meals of his native Thailand can “reinforce rather than eradicate feelings of dislocation and homesickness” when there’s no one to share them with him.  Some people talk about the joys of eating the same meal day after day without any diminished pleasure:  Ann Patchett admits happily eating Saltine crackers for dinner many nights in a row; Jeremy Jackson finds comfort in black beans and cornbread; Phoebe Nobles proudly eats asparagus every day for two months. And while Erin Ergenbright admits that dining alone feels wrong to her, Holly Hughes, a mother of three, fantasizes about the delicious meals she would eat if she only had to cook for herself. Writers proudly include their recipes for everything from Yellowfin Tuna with Heirloom Tomatoes to White-on-White Lunch For When No One is Looking.

I have read this collection three times now, and each time I am once again comforted and amused by all of the ways we find sustenance when no one is watching. As Laurie Colwin says in the first essay, “People lie when you ask them what they eat when they are alone. A salad, they tell you. But when you persist, they confess to peanut butter and bacon sandwiches deep fried and eaten with hot sauce, or spaghetti with butter and grape jam.”

So what do you eat when you are alone, really?

*From the essay “Alone in the Kitchen with an Eggplant” by Laurie Colwin.

Did you ever play with one of these as a kid?


(photo by Collin Allen)

Today’s toy phones often look more like this:

But whether it’s a rotary or a flip, did you know that when your child plays with a toy phone he is gaining skills he needs to get ready to read?  Maria Montessori, the Italian educator, famously said that “play is the work of the child.”  By definition play is fun, but for young children it isn’t just fun.  It’s actually the most important way they learn.  

So how does playing with a phone lead to reading?   In the first couple years of life, when your baby or toddler plays with a phone it will most likely look something like a real phone.  As she grows older, though, around two or three years old, you might find her picking up a block and pretending that the block is a phone.  Then around four or five years of age she might even pretend the air between her fingers and thumb is a phone.  

This progression in the development of children’s play is an example of an important concept called symbolic representation.  They start out with something very similar to a phone (the plastic phone) representing a real phone.  They graduate to something that only vaguely resembles a phone (the block) and finally reach a point where they can picture the phone in their imaginations.  Learning to read requires a very mature sense of symbolic representation.  Readers have to understand that the black squiggles on the page represent real objects and ideas.  That’s no easy task!  

Imagine being a baby, just learning about what a cat is.  You hear the family’s cat purring.  You feel its soft fur when it rubs against you.  You see it as it jumps down from the bed.  You love that cat so much that for your first birthday someone gives you a plush cat toy.  It doesn’t purr or jump, but it is soft, and you recognize it by its four legs, tail, whiskers and cat-like face.  Later, in preschool, your teacher reads Kitten’s First Full Moon.   Of course that cat isn’t even soft, but by now you have learned to recognize the image of a cat, even in its two-dimensional form.  In fact you have the image of a cat in your head, and when you play house with your friends you “feed” your pretend cat, even though there is “nothing” there.  Finally, when you are in school, learning how to read, you learn that these squiggles - cat - represent three sounds (kuh-ah-t), and that when we put those sounds together they make a word - cat! - and that word represents the sweet, purring ball of fur you know so well at home!

So enjoy playing with your child, and as you play together know that you are helping her on the long and glorious path called “learning how to read!”

The Brigton, a 1962 house design from the Aladdin Co. [via Flickr user Ethan]You may have heard a rumor that your house was "bought by mail order."  What does that mean, you might wonder?  Or you might have noticed that there are twins of your house dotted around your neighborhood.  Were all those twins built by the same company? 

It might be that your house was built from a mail-order plan -- or it could be that your house was bought fom a mail-order company that supplied the plans and a complete set of building materials cut to size and ready to assemble.   Mail-order houses like these are the ancestors of modern manufactured homes, but they were built on-site by carpenters using traditional techniques, just like architect-designed houses of the same historical period. 

The websites below showcase archives of house plans from mail-order home companies. They show exterior views of each house (some in color), floor plans, and prices.  Since most mail-order house companies also sold a multitude of cabinetry, fancy trim, plumbing and lighting fixtures, and furniture, you can sometimes get an idea for popular interior design of the period as well.

I should also remind you, the library has books with old mail-order floor plans in them too!  Check out the great list below for some examples. 

Questions? Ask the Librarian!  We'd be glad to offer you some personalized help with your research project.

One of the tougher skills for many folks new to computers is using a mouse.  Luckily, there are a lot of online mousing tutorials to help:

  • Palm Beach County Library has a mousing tutorial that is perfect for the new computer user and they include practice exercises and games
  • Love playing solitaire? World of Solitaire let's you have fun while your practice your clicking and drag-and-dropping skills
  • Geek Girl's Plain-English Computing covers how to properly hold a mouse, what's the difference between left and right clicks and what to look for when buying a mouse

More and more services online requires an email address - don't have one or want to get a new one for job applications? There are lots of free email services to choose from - take a look at reviews from Consumer Search and About.com to see which free email service works best for you - maybe you need unlimited storage or maybe you want service that offers additional features like a place to store your documents or chat integration. Try one or try them all - they're free! Here's some help for the top two free email services at the moment:

All Multnomah County Libraries offer free wi-fi access to all visitors, but if you're out and about and not near a library, here are some other ways to track down free wi-fi:

  • WiFiPDX: Just type in your address, zip code or landmark and find your closest free wi-fi hotspots, along with descriptions and if they have coffee
  • Yelp: You can filter your searches to those that only offer free wi-fi

Short Nights of the Shadow Catcher: The Epic Life and Immortal Photographs of Edward Curtis byTimothy Egan

Just finished it this morning and find myself in the sweet afterglow of my favorite book of the year. My thoughts haven't become solid matter yet and I blather on to friends the random, out-of-order pieces that come tumbling out.

I knew almost nothing about Edward Curtis. I knew a tiny bit about the history of photography. And pretty much all I knew about Native Americans came from my limited education on the Iroquois Confederacy, the result of my Western New York roots. I am blown away by something on almost every single page of this book.

It is glorious, velvety-rich history, fascinating in its details. Clearly, Egan had some amazing access to primary sources, including the Mazamas, the Rainier Club in Seattle where Curtis lived for years, the papers of Edmond S. Meany, and on and on. There are photos in the book but you'll want to see more.

The book is held gently in the hands of the first and last chapters. How did Egan do it? Make them paired so perfectly together, about two completely different people, the subject and the photographer, yet one and the same at the end of their lives? Astounding.

If you were to give one book this year as a holiday gift to the nonfiction reader in your life, you should give this one. Then get your game face on for next year, because you will have a reputation to uphold. 

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