Blogs

For those of us who love classic literature, Multnomah County Library is a great resource. There are ongoing Classics Pageturners book discussion groups at Hillsdale Library and Hollywood Library, plus a Quarterly Classics group at Capitol Hill Library.  Copies of the books will be available two months in advance of the discussions.  Please call the branch to confirm.  Following that are lists of Western and non-Western literature from every era.

Here are the Classics book group schedules:

Hillsdale Library Classics Pageturners,

Second Saturdays, 3-5 pm

 

September 8, 2018, Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, by Frederick Douglass

 

October 13, 2018, Hamlet, by William Shakespeare (This is a different edition than we will be reading)

 

November 10, 2018, Palace Walk, by Naguib Mahfouz

 

December 8, 2018, The Scarlet Letter, by Nathaniel Hawthorne

 

January 12, 2019, The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym of Nantucket, by Edgar Allan Poe. (Different edition than we will be reading)

 

February 9, 2019, Selected Poetry, by John Donne (Various editions will be read)

 

March 9, 2019, The Hunchback of Notre Dame, by Victor Hugo. (Different edition than we will be reading)

 

April 13, 2019, The Social Contract, by Jean-Jacques Rousseau. (Different edition than we will be reading)

 

May 11, 2019, Adam Bede, George Eliot. (Different edition than we will be reading)

 

June 8, 2019, Civilization and Its Discontents, Sigmund Freud

 

 

Hollywood Library Classics Pageturners,

Third Sundays, 2-4 pm

 

September 16, 2018, The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin

 

October 21, 2018, Don Quixote, by Miguel de Cervantes

 

November 18, 2018, The Romance of the Rose, by Guillaume

 

December 16, 2018,  Wide Sargasso Sea, by Jean Rhys

 

January 20, 2019,  The Conference of the Birds, by Farīd al-Dīn ʻAṭṭār

 

February 17, 2019Autumn of the Patriarch, by Gabriel García Márquez

 

March 17, 2019,  Lelia, by George Sand

 

April 21, 2019, The Red and the Black, by Stendhal

 

May 19, 2019,  Go Tell It On the Mountain, by James Baldwin

 

June 16, 2019The Golden Notebook, by Doris Lessing

 

Capitol Hill Library Quarterly Classics

Second Wednesdays, 1:30 pm, October 2018, January, April & July 2019

 

October 10, 2018, The Dubliners, by Dubliners by James Joyce

 

January 9, 2019, A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, by Betty Smith

 

April 10, 2019, The Warden, by Anthony Trollope

 

July 10, 2019, My Ántonia, by Willa Cather

“I want to get kids excited to read.”

by Sarah Binns

Good books have long been a part of Earl Dizon’s life: “When I was really young I was reading an Agatha Christie mystery at the library and forgot to go home that evening. Luckily, my stepfather thought to check there to find me.”

Earl’s early love of literature set the tone for a lifelong pursuit of literacy volunteerism. Since moving to Portland in 2008 he has been a search assistant at three MCL locations, a board member for Friends of the Library, and he currently volunteers with Every Child Initiative, an outreach program providing books to low-income families, as well as readers and literary materials for pre-Kindergarten children.

Growing up in the Philippines, Earl first read Agatha Christie novels and the Encyclopedia Brown series, which inspired him to want to become a detective. After reading Christopher Pike’s Remember Me trilogy, though, “I closed the book and said ‘I want to write, I want to make people feel the way I feel when I finish a book like this,” he says. He currently has four picture book manuscripts in the works and blogs about children’s books at The Chronicles of a Children’s Book Writer. He says he wants to write books that reflect his experiences as an immigrant and as a gay man. “We need books that represent ourselves, books where we can see ourselves,” he says.

On Earl’s first day in Portland he came to the Central Library and used its computer lab find an apartment. He later took citizenship classes at the library, so he sees his volunteerism as an act of gratitude for a system that has helped him along the way. “I get so much joy from volunteering,” he says with a smile.  

In addition to his voracious library work, Earl also promotes literacy as a bookseller at Green Bean Books on Alberta, where he’s worked for the past six years. “I love being a bookseller. If I can get kids excited to read at a young age, that’s my purpose.” He enjoys the clientele at the shop, all of whom are book enthusiasts. “I love being a part of this community of writers and readers. The more you read, the kinder you are, and we need more of that in the world.” With the work that Earl does for Every Child and Green Bean Books, it’s easy to see how young readers are made: one children’s book at a time!


A few facts about Earl

Home library: Central. “It was my first Portland library.”

Currently reading: Just finished Agatha Christie’s The Witness for the Prosecution and Other Stories and I’ll Get There. It Better Be Worth The Trip, by John Donovan, one of the earliest LGBTQ YA novels.

Most influential book: Christopher Pike’s Remember Me trilogy. “They made me want to be a writer.”

Favorite book from childhood: Letters to a Young Poet, by Rainer Maria Rilke. “I get something different every time I read it.”

Guilty pleasure: YouTube. “I always think I could be productive if I wasn’t watching funny ‘Golden Girls’ moments on YouTube.”

Favorite place to read: A shady tree on the deck in front of Green Bean Books.

E-reader or paper? Paper! But second favorite is audiobook: “It gives me incentive to walk. Once a book was so good I kept walking and when it ended I didn’t know where I was.”

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

Sustainability at Work Award

Central Library in downtown Portland and Albina Library in Northeast Portland are among a growing list of businesses and nonprofits in Portland increasing their commitment to sustainable practices. Each library has earned City of Portland Sustainability at Work gold certification.

As a public service organization built on sharing resources for the benefit of the community, the library is committed to sustainability practices. But operating 19 individual library branches across Multnomah County requires a more conscious effort to engage staff in sustainability practices and further environmental benefits.

“We felt strongly that there was a better answer than going along with all the waste we were creating,” said Greta G., administrator at Central Library. “We knew there was a way to incorporate sustainability solutions into day-to-day problem solving.”

Run by the City of Portland, the Sustainability at Work program began in 2007. The program offers three levels of certifications, with gold being the highest level of achievement, that recognize businesses for the number and type of sustainability features and processes that they implement.

Albina and Central libraries incorporated more than 45 individual actions into their operations, which aim to improve sustainability in the workplace. Before the process began, the two libraries were already doing a number of sustainable actions, such as installing LED lights, printing on recycled paper and not purchasing plastic water bottles.

To begin working toward their certification, Central Library staff focused on small, detailed efforts. They created simple, visual signage to help others sort various types of specialty plastics for recycling that weren’t allowed in the county’s mixed recycling container.

Plastics sorting at Central Library

“It can be difficult to divert some plastic packaging materials from landfills because many vendors no longer accept them,” said Library Facilities Specialist Dan S. “Library staff did extensive research to identify new vendors who would accept the materials and then worked to educate others on the proper sorting so we could ensure they’d be recycled.”

In addition to implementing a more robust recycling plan, Central Library staff partnered with Dan and Multnomah County Sustainability Coordinator Sara M. to make more robust facilities improvements, such as installing water-saving, low-flow faucets in staff restrooms (they’re already installed in public restrooms).

Central Library faucets

Across the library system, a dedicated group of staff also organized an Environmental Team to help individual library locations make improvements in their overall footprint. The team also pushes for systemwide changes, such as switching to a Vitamin C based, non-toxic receipt paper and investing in green cleaning products.

“Libraries have an important role in the community to provide information and resources— organizing these sustainability efforts allows us to lead by example and put our best foot forward,” said Lili R., an access services assistant at Albina Library and lead organizer of Albina’s efforts to reach gold certification.

At Albina Library, staff partnered with neighbor Whole Foods to further their environmental efforts.

“Albina Library is a leased space, so we weren’t able to add a weekly compost pickup service, but thanks to an agreement with Whole Foods, staff can take a compost bucket from the lunch room over to the grocer for proper disposal in their larger composting bin,” said Lili.

Another notable area both libraries excel is in transportation, with a significant portion of staff at each location commuting with alternative methods such as walking, biking, carpooling or taking public transportation. To add additional incentive for staff to bike, Albina Library purchased a bike repair kit and spare lock to keep at the branch for anyone that needs to use it.

Biking to work

“I’m really proud of this award, and I’m proud of my coworkers,” said Lili. “None of this stuff matters if nobody does it. I could be doing backflips trying to make everything as green as possible but if your coworkers don’t support it, then it doesn’t really matter.”

While the certification is a notable milestone for the two libraries, staff noted it’s important to stay informed of sustainability challenges and changes in the world and to advocate for action.

“We’re never going to be able to make change in our overall waste stream without working from the ground up,” said Greta.  

Lili says that individuals can help by making small swaps that have a big impact:

“An easy change would be to focus on bringing your own reusable travel mug when going to get coffee. Disposable eating supplies are not recyclable so using the staffroom dishware for meetings and small events can go a long way.”

In addition to incorporating green efforts in buildings, the library offers several free, environment- and sustainability-focused classes and programs:

Central Library Eco-Roof Tour
Weatherization Workshop
Seed Saving for Gardners
Upcycled Art

Two other Multnomah County buildings have received the City of Portland Sustainability at Work certification: the Multnomah Building and Inverness Jail. And, thanks to Multnomah County facilities standards, advocacy from the Library Environmental Team, and support from the Office of Sustainability, many libraries, and other county buildings, already meet several of the requirements to receive Sustainability at Work certification. Dan and Sara are looking forward to helping more buildings earn the certification in the future.

To learn more about the City of Portland Sustainability at Work program and certification process, visit portlandoregon.gov/sustainabilityatwork.

Two library employees at the Pan African Festival 2017
Going to the Pan African Festival on Saturday, August 11 at Pioneer Courthouse Square? Make sure to stop by the library table, where we’ll be signing people up for library cards, giving out library prizes, and promoting some of of our fun events. (You may also run into us in line at the delicious food booths or in the audience for the fashion show!)

Below you’ll find just a few of our favorite books by contemporary African authors. Want to find more? Ask a librarian!

 

Pageturners book groups will welcome several authors during the 2018-19 season. You don’t have to sign up — just read the book, then join us to discuss with the author.

 

Andy Fisher
Big Hunger book cover

Big Hunger

Hillsdale Library

Tuesday, September 11, 6:30-7:30 pm

 

 

 

 

Julia Stoops
Parts Per Million book cover

Parts Per Million

Kenton Library

Tuesday, September 18, 6:30-7:30 pm

Albina Library

Tuesday, October 16, 7-8 pm

 

 

 

Molly Gloss
The Jump-Off Creek book cover

The Jump-Off Creek

Hollywood Library

Thursday, September 20, 6:30-7:45 pm

 

 

 

 

 

Kenneth R. Coleman
Dangerous Subjects book cover

Dangerous Subjects

Capitol Hill Library

Thursday, October 4, 1:30-2:30 pm

Tuesday, October 9, 6:30-7:45 pm

North Portland Library

Tuesday, October 16, 6:15-7:45 pm

 

Omar El Akkad
American War book cover

American War

Midland Library

Tuesday, October 16, 6:30-7:30 pm

Holgate Library

Saturday, November 17, 10:30 am-12 pm

 

 

Patricia Kullberg
On the Ragged Edge of Medicine book cover

On the Ragged Edge of Medicine

Gresham Library

Thursday, December 6, 2-3 pm

Sellwood-Moreland Library

Tuesday, January 15, 6:30-8 pm

Midland Library

Wednesday, April 17, 1-2:15 pm

Rockwood Library

Friday, June 21, 10-11:30 am

 

 

Joyce Cherry Creswell
A Great Length of Time book cover

A Great Length of Time

Rockwood Library

Friday, December 21, 10-11:30 am

St. Johns Library

Tuesday, March 12, 1-2:30 pm

 

 

Check at your library to see whether a book group copy of the book is available during the month before each meeting.

Pageturners is supported by a generous grant from the Friends of the Library.

Are you a hiker, tracker, or hunter?  If so, you've probably used 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 historical USGS maps of Oregon, Washington and California. 

The newest USGS topographical maps (published 2009 or later) are created to be used in a digital environment, though it is also possible to print them out.  If you want your own paper copy of a new map and you don't want to print it yourself, 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.

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 then either hit the "enter" key, or click on the name "Waldport, Oregon" when it pops up.

Now you'll see a map of the Waldport area.  There is a marker in the part of the grid marked "Waldport," with a little popup box next to it.  Click on the "View Products" button to see the maps that are available for that spot. 

You'll see a variety of maps in the popup list -- new maps, older maps, and maps that cover at different scales.  To download a nice, high-definition pdf of the map you want, just click on the "View pdf" button for that map.  

Have fun browsing and downloading maps from the USGS!

 

  Questions? Ask the Librarian.

 

 

Committed to education and Listos
Volunteer Guillermina Garcia

by Donna Childs

In these days of immigration in the news, let me introduce you to Guillermina Garcia.  Guillermina came here in 2005 from Oaxaca, Mexico, determined to get an education. She began with ESL classes. Then, since she had been unable to complete high school in Mexico, she earned a GED, no small feat for a recent arrival new to the language and culture.  When her older son started school, Guillermina began volunteering as a teacher’s aide in his classroom. She did that throughout his elementary school years and is still continuing in her younger son’s classroom, while also helping at the older son’s middle school. In addition, she is now enrolled in a year-long program at Mt. Hood Community College to become a licensed teacher’s aide. And that isn’t all. She has volunteered for five years in the Listos para el kínder program at the Midland Library.

Listos is a program for Spanish-speaking children, ages 3-5, and their parents. Twelve to fifteen families, parents and children, come to the library together for 12 weeks. The program is taught in Spanish, and uses Latino cultural references. Children learn such basics as ABC’s, writing their names, and following directions, while parents see how children learn, how to support their child’s learning at home, and what to expect of their children, thereby becoming more confident in their ability to help them learn. According to an independent evaluation of the program, Listos graduates not only have acquired skills, but they are also more enthusiastic about school and more likely to read outside of school. In 2016-17, 37 Listos families checked out more than 2000 books from the library.

As a Listos volunteer, Guillermina helps organize materials for the sessions, assists the teacher throughout, and is solely responsible for the children in the 15 minutes of each session when parents and children meet separately.  Her dedication at the library, in her sons’ classrooms, and to her own learning has earned Guillermina an award from her son’s school and a scholarship to Mt Hood Community College. Talk about walking the walk: she acts on her belief in education. As she said, she hopes to be a good role model for her sons and to continue learning while helping children.


A few facts about Guillermina

Home library:  Midland

Currently reading:  Mind in the Making, by Ellen Galinsky, about child development

Favorite book from childhood:  my school history book in 5th grade

Most influential book:  children's books

Book that made you cry:  Como agua para chocolate by Laura Esquivel and Sarah, Plain and Tall  by Patricia MacLachlan

Favorite browsing section:  Spanish cooking books

E-reader or paper?  paper books

Favorite place to read:  the library

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

 

Nadia A., lead contact center representative
In January 2017, the library streamlined services and fast and reliable library help with the introduction of a new contact center. Previously, tracking down the right staff person to get a question answered may have involved calling individual library branches, an account services number, or a reference line. Now, a call to the library means you’re likely to reach Nadia, who together with 14 of her colleagues, answers nearly 400-500 patron calls coming into the library each day.

"Having the contact center has really improved service for our patrons. They don’t have to worry about tracking down the right person or branch to get the item they need or to get an issue resolved," says Nadia.

As a lead contact center representative, Nadia answers, and trains other library staff on answering, hundreds of patron inquiries each day that come in via phone, email, and text message— everything from account related questions and brief reference questions, to hold requests and digital technology help. Along with other staff, she refers patrons to other Multnomah County services or to a team of Multnomah County librarians dedicated to answering in-depth research questions.

"The moment between the phone ringing and the person stating what they need is the moment of anticipation where it could be literally anything," she adds.

Before starting at the library, Nadia would wander Central Library with her three young children. Having decided she needed a change from her career as an elementary school teacher, she saw the library staff and knew that helping connect others to information was the job she was seeking. While finishing her Master of Library Science degree online from San Jose State University in 2013, she began working for Multnomah County Library as an on-call library assistant. In that role, she worked at nearly all library branches helping patrons before coming to her current position in the contact center— a job that she says was “tailor made” for her.

"It’s been very gratifying helping people connect with the library even if they aren’t coming into our branch," says Nadia. “Just recently, I helped a woman in her 90s who was determined to read ebooks. I talked her through downloading the app and checking out her first ebook. And she did it! I was so pleased to help her get to that special “aha” moment and connect with the library in a new way."

As the contact center helps more and more patrons access library services, Nadia looks excitedly toward the future:

"As the ways people access information have changed, the library has changed too. The world is becoming increasingly digital, and the library has to bring people along and help address disparities in digital literacy. The contact center has been an exciting next step in serving patrons, while giving us the opportunity to identify better ways we can continue to evolve our service and make it more consistent. The library is a place where people come to learn their whole lives, and I’m thrilled to be a part of helping others on that journey.

Hillsdale Library Teen Space

Just in time for summer, Hillsdale Library opened its newly constructed teen space. The new space features power outlets with USB ports; a dry erase table; comfortable furniture; a collection of teen games, magazines, and graphic novels; and flexible space for future displays of artwork or other teen items.

The project was led by Hillsdale Youth Librarian Barbara H., who saw the potential for a space that could serve teens in the community. The library had inviting work and study spaces for adults, and reading and play spaces for children and families, but no welcoming areas for teens.

"We really wanted teens to know that they are a priority and part of our community,” said Barbara. “Before, all we had was a small corner with bean bag chairs. It was popular with teens after school, but the area was surrounded by children’s nonfiction books and was often in use by young children with their parents."

Library staff gathered input from teens in the community, including from students at nearby Wilson High School and Robert Gray Middle School, about what features they’d like in the space. Then, the staff worked with Hillsdale’s Teen Council — a group of teen volunteers that select programming and organize events, build teen displays and consult on decisions that affect teens using the library — to make detailed selections for furniture and carpet colors.

Staff reconfigured the area, including removing shelving, and built the teens a comfortable and flexible space to gather, read, do homework and collaborate on projects.The space complements the “teen lounge” at Gresham Library that opened in October 2017.

This summer, the new teen space will be put to good use as Hillsdale welcomes more than 40 teen volunteers to assist with the annual Summer Reading program.

Tangerine

Bollywood dancing

Join us all summer for family-friendly live music performances. Here's the lineup:

Music & Movement with Aaron Nigel Smith (North Portland and Holgate libraries)

Experience the World of Ghana with Chata Addy  (various libraries)

Build Your Rhythm with Chata Addy (Rockwood and Gresham libraries)

Choro da Alegria Plays the Beautiful Melodies of Brazil with Choro da Alegria (Gresham Library)

Bollywood Family Dance Party with Bollywood Dreams Entertainment (Gresham Library)

Didgeridoo Down Under with Didgeridoo Down Under (Fairview-Columbia Library)

African Song and Dance with Habiba Addo (Midland Library)

Latin American Music and Myths with Inka Jam (Hollywood Library)

Songs, Dances and Stories from Latin America with Inka Jam (Northwest Library)

Lucky Diaz y su banda / Family Jam Band with Lucky Diaz and the Family Jam Band (various libraries)

Family Dance Party with Micah And Me (Gresham Library)

The Children's Music Show with Micah And Me (Fairview-Columbia Library)

Geology Rocks! with Mikey Mike the Rad Scientist (various libraries)

Summertime Concert with Peanut at Sweetly Spun Music (various libraries)

Peter and the Wolf with Portland Columbia Symphony (Woodstock and Northwest libraries)

Red Yarn's Old Barn with Red Yarn (various libraries)

Wake Up & Sing with Red Yarn (Capitol Hill Library)

Music in Action! / Música en acción! with Rich Glauber (various libraries)

Building a Better Zombiepocalypse with Rick Huddle (Albina Library)

The Great American Songbook with William Spillette (Gregory Heights and Hillsdale libraries)

 

Check out the other fun activities at the library this summer, too. And while you're here, don't forget to sign up your family for the Summer Reading game so the kids go back to school ready to learn this fall. Summer Reading is made possible by gifts to The Library Foundation.  

 

 

The Parker Inheritance book jacket
When I was a kid, I remember spending a lot of time outside playing kick-the-can and hanging out at the public pool, but when I wasn’t getting a tan, I was inside enjoying the stack of books I had checked out from my local library.  I had no idea that reading my Trixie Beldens and Nancy Drews over the summer was helping me to not fall behind in school the next year. I was just happy to be solving mysteries alongside my favorite teen dete
The Whydah book jacket
ctives.

This spring, I read a ton of great new(ish) books for youth in anticipation of summer reading questions.  From Baby Monkey, Private Eye and Dude! to The Parker Inheritance and The Whydah, here’s what I, and other youth librarians, have enjoyed and want to share with you.  Happy reading and don’t forget to play Multnomah County Library’s Summer Reading game!


2018 great summer reads for grades K and 1
2018 great summer reads for grades 2 and 3
2018 great summer reads for grades 4 and 5
2018 great summer reads for grades 6, 7 and 8

If you would like further suggestions, please check out our My Librarian service!

 

 

Josh R, selections and acquisitions clerk
For Josh, helping library patrons is all about getting the materials they want into their hands in the shortest amount of time. As a part of the selections and acquisitions team, he’s been a part of several changes that are impacting how the library purchases and distributes materials. 

"Today, libraries are competing with Amazon and other entities. Our patrons want the newest materials and quickly. We have to adapt."

A few years ago, the library’s Collections and Technical Services Team re-designed their workflow to help meet the demand. Materials used to sit in the receiving building for 4-6 weeks after they were purchased. Each part of the process — unboxing, sorting, cataloging — taking too much time. Thanks to a new workflow, patrons now get materials in three days or less.

"We’re constantly changing our work and changing the way we think about our work. It’s an exciting time to be at the library. We are re-examining what it means to build a collection in the age of modern libraries."

Josh has a passion for literacy and working with people. While attending a technical high school in Portland, he lost interest in his automotive major but found his way into the school library, where he became a teaching assistant. Directly after high school, he joined Multnomah County Library as a page (now called Access Services Assistant), checking in books and shelving holds.

He wanted to get to know more about each neighborhood, so he began subbing at different library branches, meeting the community and staff at each location. With a curiosity to know more about the technical work of the library, he transitioned from working at a branch to his behind-the-scenes position on the Technical Services team.

Day-to-day, Josh diligently focuses on being a good steward of the library’s resources and helping manage the collections budget. He orders materials from book and media vendors, ensuring the library is getting the items needed, at a good price, and when possible, having them pre-processed so they can get into the hands of library patrons as quick as possible. He is constantly evaluating any changes in how collections budgets are spent and determining whether there are collections that needs attention. He also provides internal customer service, buying materials for the library’s youth and adult outreach programs, such as Books 2U, Summer Reading, and the Every Child Initiative.

"I enjoy feeling connected to the library, even though I don’t interact with the public as much as I did working in a branch. I’m proud that our library works hard to deliver the materials that patrons ask for. We respond directly to people and let them know if their suggested items were purchased, and if they were, how to place a hold on the item. Every time our library makes a change to improve our system for the better of our patrons, it’s gratifying. I know we’re making a difference."

Kids enjoying the summer lunch program at Gresham Library
Multnomah County Library will offer free lunches for youth 18 and under this summer at Gresham, Midland, and Rockwood libraries.  Youth are not required to have a library card to receive the free lunch.

The lunches are available Monday through Friday during the following times:

Gresham: Monday - Friday, 12:30 pm – 1:30 pm (June 18 through August 17)
Midland: Monday, Tuesday and Friday, 11 am – 11:30 am (June 18 through August 24)
Rockwood: Monday - Friday, 12 pm – 1 pm (June 25 through August 10)

The summer lunch program is made possible through partnerships with Department of County Human Services (DCHS), Partners for a Hunger Free Oregon, Gresham Barlow School District, Reynolds School District, and the David Douglas School District.

Multnomah County Library offers many free summer activities for children and teens, including the Summer Reading program. For more information, visit the event calendar or call 503.988.5123.

On car trips, my husband and I used to pretend that there was a noise-proof window between the front seat and the back. One of us would hit an imaginary button on the dashboard, and-- in our minds-- the window would close, so we couldn’t hear our little darlings squabbling and shrieking in the back seat at all-- except that sadly, we could still hear them, due to the unfortunate imaginary nature of the window.

I wish that we’d discovered audiobooks for the car ages ago! A whole lot of library users have apparently wised up to their usefulness in the past few years;  I've been asked frequently lately for audiobook suggestions for family car trips. So I’ve made some lists of great audiobooks that can be enjoyed by listeners of various ages, one in CD format and one in downloadable. You might also consider consulting two excellent lists a  colleague of mine made: this list of classics on audio and this one for very young listeners.

It’s amazing how much kids will settle down when they’re involved in a story. I tried to find audiobooks that would be interesting and involving for the adults in the car, as well. So go ahead-- plan a summer getaway. Just don’t forget the audiobooks.

Or the barf bags. (But that’s another story.)

New for 2018!

High school readers can register and track reading online over the summer. You can, like last year, do more and different things than just read. Check out How to Play for ideas. If you choose any of the creation challenges from the How to Play section of the site, you can share your stuff for a chance to win $100 collage gift certificate

Need challenge cards? Stop by any library starting June 15 to get yours! Just keep track of the hours you read until you get your cards, then transfer them to the first challenge card.This year's Summer Reading program is June 15 - August 31.

Are you heading to the NW Pride Festival this weekend? If so, stop by the Library table on Sunday June 17th at the Multnomah County Booth. We'll be signing people up for library cards, checking out some of our favorite LGBT+ books and giving out prizes! Can't make it to the festival? Celebrate Pride from anywhere by reading a great LGBT+ book! Check out the lists below for inspiration or ask a librarian for a personalized pick.

Net neutrality discussion

Multnomah County Library is joining Oregon elected officials, community organizations, business leaders and students in voicing resounding support for the call to restore net neutrality.

In late 2017, the Federal Communications Commission voted to repeal the law that restricts internet providers’ ability to speed up or slow down access to certain content or products. The rollback is set to go into effect June 11.

“Staying connected in today’s world shouldn’t be reserved for those who can afford access. Too many people are on the wrong side of the digital divide, being shut out of jobs, services, health information and vital connections with family and friends,” said Multnomah County Director of Libraries Vailey Oehlke.

On Friday, May 25, the Multnomah County Library Hillsdale branch in Portland, Ore. hosted a discussion led by Oregon Senator Ron Wyden and Congresswoman Suzanne Bonamici about the urgent need to recognize net neutrality as a key equity issue that will have lasting impacts for everyone.

“In the 21st Century, an open and fair internet isn’t a privilege – it’s a necessity,” said Congresswoman Suzanne Bonamici. “We must stop the Federal Communications Commission from rolling back important Net Neutrality protections. . .I urge everyone who cares about protecting fair and open access to information to make their voices heard.”

The U.S. Senate voted on May 16 to reinstate net neutrality rules but now the issue moves to the House. Congresswoman Bonamici is joining in the fight to force a vote on the legislation.

High school students are also weighing in. One student noted that net neutrality joins gun control as one of the top issues high schoolers are discussing today. Julia Young, a senior and student body president at Wilson High School in Portland, Ore. added:

“As I go into college, I will be studying Applied Biology in Global Resource Systems, which involves sustainability and environmental innovation. It is absolutely crucial that my classmates and I have access to transparent environmental data, and if internet providers are able to choose what information I can access quickly without extreme costs, then my academic career and later work experience will be compromised.”

Complementing the effort to protect net neutrality, Multnomah County District 1 Commissioner Sharon Meieran highlighted an effort to expand broadband in Multnomah County. “Access to reliable high-speed internet is needed for basic equity and inclusion. Kids and families need internet access to file a job application or complete required school homework. That's why the Multnomah County Board of Commissioners just approved funding to study the feasibility of providing publicly owned high-speed internet services at cost to our community.”

Multnomah County Library, Oregon’s largest provider of free internet sessions, is also a member of the Digital Inclusion Network, a regional group of organizational partners committed to reducing barriers to digital access and getting devices into the hands of those who need them most.

“Libraries have a role at the forefront of the discussion about net neutrality and digital equity,” said Oehlke. “We can give patrons free access to internet in our libraries, but to truly make change, we need to ensure everyone in our community can connect and participate in our digital world from anywhere.

More than 700 adult library patrons are homebound due to age, illness or disability. Because they can’t visit the library, we bring the library to them. Adults who are homebound may have their materials mailed to them or delivered by library staff. Another program called Words on Wheels pairs a patron with a volunteer who takes time to visit when delivering materials. All three services are free.

Many home delivery patrons have no access to a computer. More than a third of these patrons call us to ask about what to read next. We ensure they always have books they haven’t read before.

“It is amazingly helpful to get suggestions and choices that energize my thinking and make the world more alive,” said one books-by-mail patron who responded to a recent survey. “A wonderful program that encourages and stimulates my mind so that I feel alive and young at 93!”

Van delivery patron with staff

A patron on our van delivery route echoed this: “You saved me from a lonely, narrow life. You bring the world to my door with helpful, cheerful people who are always on time and never miss a delivery. “

Reading, said another patron, keeps me alive.

A recent survey of Words on Wheels patrons shows that the program reduces isolation.

“Arthritis has made me homebound for several years. It is profoundly isolating. The social contact with someone who loves to read as much as I do helps! When arthritis made it impossible for me to carry 30 books home on Trimet, Words on Wheels saved my life!” 

Said another: “I look forward to my volunteer’s visits. Not only does that mean a supply of books tailored to my interests, it means I have a visit from this lovely woman who brightens my day. I very seldom leave my home, so visitors are quite welcome. We have lots to discuss — all those books I read.”

Patron and volunteer talking

The numbers of aging and disabled older adults in our community is expected to grow significantly in the next 15 years, according to Multnomah County's Aging, Disability and Veteran Services Division. In fact, the number of aging baby boomers will soon surpass those of all other segments of the population. An estimated 30 percent will become disabled at some point.

The library’s outreach services ensure that patrons who are homebound can still connect.

Two library staff prepare outreach materials

“Your service is a double blessing to all of us who are disabled. It opens up a giant window on the world,” said one patron.

Another patron, homebound due to a debilitating illness, said, “Thanks so much for a service I never anticipated needing. I am homebound. I thought at my age — 69 —  I would not read again, study our past and learn once more. You have given me hope again. I love you all.”

To refer an adult for free home delivery, call Library Outreach Services at 503.988.5404 or email us (lib.adult.outreach@multco.us).

 

In March 2018, a scrap yard fire in Northeast Portland destroyed homes, forced some community members to stay indoors and forced others to evacuate the area due to the smoke and air

quality. Concerns and questions over the lingering effects are still on the minds of some community members. The Multnomah County Health Department has compiled a list of community questions with responses provided by government agencies.

The document is comprehensive and covers questions regarding next steps, air quality, health, soil and water, emergency response and clean up.

Anyone who is a resident of Multnomah County, and that is in need of health care can seek care at county clinics, including people with a low income and who have no health insurance. Medical, dental, and mental health care is available at low or no cost, and interpretation services are always free. Residents should call 503-988-5558 for appointments.

To stay up to date on Multnomah County emergencies, the county advises that residents sign up for PublicAlerts. The service sends landline phone, mobile phone, text, and email alerts in English, Spanish, Vietnamese, Chinese, Russian, Somali, Romanian, Ukrainian, Japanese, Arabic, and Laotian.

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