Blogs

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

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

For K-5th grade educators: Watch part 1 and part 2 of the Gotta Read This K-5 recorded webinar.

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

 

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

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

 

Talking Equity and Social Justice: School Corps librarians share quick booktalks on titles that address these topics, in this recorded webinar. A list of all the books and other resources mentioned in the talk can be found below the videos on YouTube.

Contact School Corps with any questions!

While reviews on online shopping and crowd-sourced review sites are often helpful, the average person doesn’t purchase and compare five vacuum cleaners at once. The reviewer that does do that is Consumer Reports, which accepts no advertising and is known for editorial integrity. The library subscribes to the paper issues at all 19 locations, which you can browse whenever you visit the library.

Image of Consumer Reports and Annual Buying Guide

But did you know that there is also a way to access Consumer Reports  from home?


The Consumer Reports website has limited coverage if you aren’t a subscriber; you can see that a particular product was reviewed, but not the review itself. However, you can read the full text of the reviews, and see the illustrations of the ratings in chart form, with your library card through MasterFILE Premier. Go to MasterFILE Premier, click "Publications" at the top of the screen,  and type "Consumer Reports"  in the Browsing:  MasterFILE Premier -- Publications box. Once you click on Consumer Reports, you can either browse by issue date, or search within the publication for your topic.

If you use “search within this publication,” add your search term to the JN "Consumer Reports” that the database has already filled in, for example, JN "Consumer Reports" and mattress. The results default to “Relevance,” so change that drop-down box to “date newest” to see the most recent reviews.

You can also search in the Consumer Reports Buying Guide by starting in the library catalog; select the “Click here to access title” link on the right of the page to access the content of the guide.

Consumer Reports isn't the only source out there, though!  Here are some other well-regarded product review sites:

Wirecutter:  Reviews of technology, appliances, home goods, etc. from the staff of the New York Times. If you hit a paywall, some Wirecutter content is in the New York Times (1980-present) database (log in with your library card number and PIN/password).

Good Housekeeping:  GH has been testing consumer products and awarding the Good Housekeeping Seal of approval since 1900. Focuses on domestic products like kitchen appliances, toys, cleaning products and personal care items like cosmetics and bras.

CNET: Primarily reviews of technology (phones, streaming services, laptops), but also some non-tech items like mattresses and meal kits.

The Strategist:  From New York magazine, focusing on online shopping. Also has lists of recommendations on a theme (books by genre/reader) as well as traditional reviews by topic (pillows, picture frames, etc).

Specialty Reviews

If there’s a magazine or website for a particular hobby or interest, chances are they review products for that hobby. For example:

Image of Cooks Illustrated, Runner's World and Car and Driver magazines
Cooks Illustrated can recommend an air fryer or bakeware.

Runner’s World tests running shoes, athletic clothes and earbuds that won’t fall out while you do laps.

Car and Driver is another source besides Consumer Reports to look for automobile recommendations.

How to evaluate a review or shopping site

Not sure if that mattress review site is independent, or a fake that only posts positive reviews of the products sold by the website? Here’s some things to look for:

  • A review site should have an “about us” page that tells you who owns it or funds it, and should describe its editorial policies. 
  • You won’t necessarily get wrong information from a site that sells products to consumers, but a site that wants to sell you office supplies or mattresses will probably not be willing to evaluate a product it carries as “unacceptable” (like Consumer Reports occasionally will).
  • Any site that allows customers to review products or services without verifying purchases (for example, Amazon, Yelp, Tripadvisor) can be manipulated, and it’s worth reading these reviews with a degree of caution or skepticism.

Happy shopping!

 

El Día Internacional del Migrante es muy significativo para mí porque hace más de veinte años, sin entender mucho de las implicaciones de dejar nuestro país natal, mis hermanos, mis padres y yo nos despedimos de todo lo que sabíamos hasta ese momento. Conscientes del cambio que significaría para nuestra familia emigrar a Estados Unidos, mis padres optaron por trasladarnos a un lugar donde pudiéramos tener una vida mejor. Si bien los desafíos que enfrentamos como extranjeros nos dejaron cicatrices que siempre nos recordarán lo difícil que fue este cambio, la inmigración a este país nos llevó a un futuro donde había espacio para metas personales y profesionales. Metas por las que los mienbros de mi familia han trabajado incansablemente.

Sin embargo, no podría contar mi historia de inmigración sin agradecer a mi padre por arriesgar tanto en su búsqueda de horizontes más prometedores. Sin muchas garantías pero obligado por las consecuencias de las políticas internacionales, decidió emprender un viaje hacia una vida mejor. Pero compartir cómo me convertí en inmigrante no estaría bien si omitiera el papel de mi madre en esta decisión. Desde su primer viaje a los Estados Unidos, mi madre sabía que tendríamos refugio en este país. Y una vez que mi padre entró a Estados Unidos como trabajador agrícola, confirmó la lista de posibilidades a las que podíamos acceder, muchas de ellas imposibles de lograr en México. Si bien la transición entre sus deseos y sus logros no fue fácil, hoy mis hermanos y yo hemos logrado hacer realidad ese sueño que tenían para cada uno de nosotros.

woman standing tall

 

International Migrants Day is very significant for me because more than twenty years ago, without understanding much of the implications of leaving our native country, my brothers, my parents, and I said goodbye to everything we knew up to that moment. Aware of the change that immigrating to the United States would mean for our family, my parents chose to move us to a place where we could have a better life. While the challenges we faced as foreigners left us with scars that will always remind us of how difficult this change was, immigration to this country led us to a future where there was room for personal and professional goals. Goals my family members have worked tirelessly for.

However, I could not tell my immigration story without thanking my father for risking so much in his search for more promising horizons. Without much guarantee but forced by the consequences of international policies, he decided to undertake a journey to a better life. But sharing how I became an immigrant would not be well told if I omitted my mother's role in this decision. From her first trip to the US, my mother knew we would have refuge in this country. And once my father entered the United States as an agricultural worker, he confirmed the list of possibilities that we could access, many of them impossible to achieve in Mexico. While the transition between their wishes and their achievement was not easy, today, my brothers and I have managed to make that dream that they had for each of us come true.

When David Shine, an English teacher with the Multnomah Education Service District, and Multnomah County Library (MCL) Program Specialist Jody Redifer teamed up, their goal was to bring the youth at Donald E. Long (DEL) Juvenile Detention Center together for a national songwriting competition. The library’s outreach work at DEL is made possible by a longstanding partnership between the library and Multnomah County’s Department of Community Justice.

The songwriting competition, held by BreakFree Education, supports the organization's mission to “radically improve education in the juvenile justice system.” 

Microphone and audio equipment on shelf at library

For Jody, who has been facilitating a music production class in the library at DEL since late 2020, it was exciting to have English teacher David Shine approach him to collaborate on this competition.

During his time teaching the music production class, Jody has recorded over 200 songs by more than 50 youth. With the combination of David and Jody working together, students at DEL were thrilled to have this project underway. David took lead on the writing, and Jody managed the production and engineering. 

Through the songwriting competition youth not only explored music, but also the specific themes pertaining to each song. It is this lesson plan component that allows the youth to grow introspectively, while gaining new musical skills. 

BreakFree Education’s mission for this program is that "through this initiative, students explore policy issues that impact their lives. Students harness the power of music to create, produce, and share songs that address issues related to juvenile justice reform.” The songwriting competition is the result of this work, and through it the organization “amplifies the voices of youth justice.”

Students at DEL put their all into the songwriting and performances. This is something which may sound practical, but is not always easy in a detention environment. They expressed their perspective on social conditions and the struggles they and other youth face.

As a result of the hard and thoughtful work the youth put in and the collaboration between MESD and MCL, two of the units at DEL finished in the top 10 nationwide, with unit A2 taking 3rd place on October 28, 2021!

Students at DEL, David and Jody are excited for the prospect of more partnerships like this. In the immediate future, the next collaboration looks to be the publication of works of fiction and non fiction by the students at DEL with the help of MCL. With David working on the writing aspect, and Jody on the publication side, this is bound to be a successful venture! Again bridging the creative ideas of youth, into hands-on and constructive skills.

Article written by BCLA Program Specialist Jody Redifer, with support from Communications Specialist Paty Rincon

Every year, we create a beautiful page of the best books of the year -- the ones our staff and volunteers have loved. Whether you're a fan of picture books that celebrate bravery, suspense stories that keep you guessing, or books centering the voices of Black, Indigenous and people of color, we have you covered. 

Check out our favorite books for 2021. 

Want to see what we've recommended in past years? Explore the links below:

Best Books 2020

Best Books 2019

Best Books 2018

Best books 2017

Best Books 2016

Looking for personalized book recommendations? Ask the My Librarian team.

 

From what I heard not too long ago from my kids about sex education at their schools, children in the Portland area are getting abbreviated, inadequate information about sex in these classes. Studies show that kids are probably also getting plenty of information from Internet porn. Neither of these options are very good.

I want them to know things that are never talked about in sex ed class-- that sex is supposed to feel good for girls, too. That pornography almost always presents an insanely stylized, but also unimaginative version of sex, and that real sex won’t and shouldn’t look like that. There’s a whole host of conversations to have about our culture’s weird over-sexualization of girls. And what if our kids are different from the norm? Representation matters for young people who are LGBT or gender-nonconforming, for young people with disabilities or bodies of different shapes and sizes.

Clearly, we need to talk to our kids about sex, even though it is perhaps not their favorite subject for a chat with parents. For the questions they would never ask you, there’s a great sex-positive website called scarleteen you can point them to. And, of course, library books can help, too, so I created this list of really good books for kids of all ages.

What is speculative fiction? Well, that depends who you ask. 

Some see speculative fiction as an umbrella term for any fiction with supernatural, futuristic, or fantasy elements. Others see it as books that ponder questions like, "what if this happened?' and "what if the world were this way" -- in other words, speculate. And still others see it as a  mish and mash elements from multiple genres that break the mold. I like this last definition, myself. In the past year I've seen so many books published lately that fit into sci-fi, fantasy, or horror, but bend the genres and include pieces that make them hard to categorize. The librarian in me wants to categorize them -- here's your fantasy, here's your horror -- but the reader in me delights in the unexpected mix of elements, often in a book I first took for just one thing. Though is any good book just one thing? 

Take Akwaeke Emezi's Pet as an example of what I mean: a novella set in a near-world society much like our own, except that it has rid itself of monsters (utopia). Teenage Jam meets a terrifying creature from another world named Pet, who emerges from a painting when a drop of Jam's blood is spilled on it (fantasy). Pet's come to hunt a monster... and the monster is in Jam's house (horror). So there you have utopia, fantasy and horror mixed together in a novella and which genre, my dears, do we set that inside? (the library places it simply on the fiction shelf, which makes things a lot simpler.)

This list includes just a few of my favorites in speculative fiction. Curious to learn more? This Book Riot article is a great introduction to the history and more recent definitions -- Margaret Atwood and Ursula K. Leguin had a famous debate about it -- of speculative fiction. 

ATS stands for Applicant Tracking System and many employers utilize it these days. Basically, it means a computer will scan your resume first. If it is not readable or doesn’t have the proper information it may be passed over. Here a just a few tips for making your resume “ATS Friendly”:

  • Keep your format simple. Avoid graphics, embedded tables and columns.
  • Avoid using headers and footers.
  • Make sure your resume is in an acceptable file format. PDF is often best but .doc and .docx can also be acceptable. Check the application instructions for the job you are applying to.
  • Most importantly, the ATS is looking for keywords that match the job description. Look for words and terms used often in the job description and apply them to your resume in your job duties, skills and education as appropriate.

For more details, check out these articles from LinkedIn and Indeed about writing ATS friendly resumes.

Get Help from the Library

We can help you review and improve your resume. Email a copy to workplace@multco.us and one of our volunteers will review it to provide feedback in a virtual consultation.

We have books to help you create and improve your resume too!

 

a group of kids help pick up trash at a park
Winter is a wonderful time to give back to the community.  Did you know that you can volunteer with your kids?  It's true!  Many local organizations allow young people to volunteer alongside the adults in their lives.  Read on for community service opportunities where your whole family can make an impact.  

Start with a Short-Term Project.  Hands On Greater Portland, a volunteer program of United Way of the Columbia-Willamette, connects thousands of volunteers to projects every year.  There are short-term (2 hours maximum) and long-term opportunities with a variety of organizations.  Start with the Volunteer with Your Kids page for their calendar of upcoming family-friendly projects.  

Help Fight Hunger.  Check with Oregon Food Bank or Sunshine Division, which rely on volunteers in getting food and other necessities to families and individuals who need them the most.  

Gather Supplies for Shelters. Spend a few hours collecting and distributing items needed for shelters that serve people experiencing houselessness.   Organizations in need of supplies include: Portland Family Homeless Solutions, Blanchet House, JOIN, CityTeamPortland Rescue Mission, and Transition Projects.  Check their websites for their most urgent needs.

Deliver Meals and Groceries. Bring your kids along to drop off meals or food baskets to people who cannot easily leave their homes.  Volunteer with Meals on Wheels People and Store to Door of Oregon

Get Outdoors.  Plant trees, get rid of invasive weeds, and help maintain school, community and public gardens!  Check out Zenger Farm, Portland Fruit Tree Project, Friends of Trees, City of Gresham, and Portland Parks and Recreation for outdoor, nature-based opportunities.  

Give Books! Collect used children's books in your community or neighborhood to donate to kids in the area who may not have access to books at home or at a library.  Children's Book Bank is a local organization that distributes books to local Head Start programs and other community organizations in need of books.  

Do you know of additional family-friendly service opportunities that we should include here?  Please let us know and we'll add it to the list.  

This article was written for our Family Newsletter, available in English and Spanish. Please sign up here and you can email us at learning@multcolib.org with any questions.

1. What do you think of Jacob’s style of art? Would the story have been less or more effective with a different style?

2. Have you ever read a graphic novel or illustrated memoir? How do the illustrations help the reader to understand the relationships between characters?

3. How do the big historical events described in the book tie in with the storyline of Jacob’s life -- do they advance the story? Setting aside that this is a memoir, could a plot without reference to national events have been as effective?

4. How does the relationship between Mira and her son serve to underline the themes of the book? How are Z’s questions different from those an adult might ask, and how do they change our understanding of the author’s narrative?

5. Jacob includes many conversations around skin color and how that shapes her marriage opportunities. How did she first learn that “dark meant ugly” within her Indian culture? How does she connect and contrast that colorism to the choices she makes and her relationships with family?

6. As a first generation American, Jacob’s personal and romantic life contrast with those of her family, who expect her to marry an Indian man. How does she navigate the cultural divide? How does she explore issues of sexuality?

7. The title Jacob chose is sometimes said at the end of a difficult conversation. How is that common usage played upon in the memoir?

8. Think about your own life and the conversations that you might include in your own memoir. Why were these conversations significant? Were there any important conversations about world events? Is there a common theme among them?

9. Here are some more topics for further discussion: Relationships between generations and cultures; immigrants parenting first generation Americans; unconscious bias and microagressions; the role of religion in politics.

Learn about Everybody Reads and upcoming events.

Everybody Reads 2022, a community reading project of Multnomah County Library, is made possible in part by gifts to The Library Foundation with author appearance made possible by Literary Arts.

Imagen de dinero y birrete

Préstamos federales para estudiantes. El préstamo federal para estudiantes está solo a nombre del estudiante. Estos préstamos tienen cantidades limitadas, tasas de interés y tarifas de apertura generalmente razonables. Para una licenciatura de cuatro años, la cantidad máxima que el estudiante puede pedir prestada es de $27,000. Para calificar para el préstamo federal para estudiantes, el estudiante debe completar la FAFSA (Solicitud Gratuita de Ayuda Federal para Estudiantes) que está disponible a partir del 1.º de octubre. 

Cómo completar la FAFSA paso a paso. Este video contiene información importante de cómo completar el formulario FAFSA. 

Si los padres del estudiante no cuentan con número de seguro social. La ciudadanía de los padres del estudiante no afecta la capacidad del estudiante para completar el formulario FAFSA. Si los padres del estudiante no tienen SSN (Número de Seguro Social), deben ingresar 000-00-0000 cuando el formulario FAFSA solicite sus SSN. Si los padres del estudiante no tienen SSN, no podrán crear una FSA ID (Identificación y contraseña en el sitio web para la Ayuda Federal para Estudiantes) y por lo tanto, no podrán firmar el formulario FAFSA electrónicamente. El estudiante o sus padres tendrán que imprimir la página de firma del formulario FAFSA en línea para que los padres puedan firmarlo y enviarlo por correo a la dirección indicada.

Más respuestas a otras preguntas relacionadas con el tema.

Solicitud de ayuda estatal de Oregón (ORSAA). Los estudiantes elegibles indocumentados o bajo el programa de DACA (Acción Diferida para los Llegados en la Infancia) en Oregón, pueden completar esta solicitud para recibir ayuda estatal incluyendo la Beca de Oportunidad de Oregón (Oregon Opportunity Grant) y la beca Promesa de Oregón (Oregon Promise).

Esta beca también está disponible desde el 1.º de octubre. 

Becas y ayuda que no tienen que reembolsar. El gobierno federal y los gobiernos estatales otorgan becas por varias razones, desde la necesidad financiera hasta el desempeño académico o deportivo. Con una sola solicitud, los estudiantes pueden postularse para la mayoría de estos programas de ayuda.

Ayuda Financiera de Oregón. Un portal para varias solicitudes de ayuda financiera y becas. Los estudiantes pueden ver la descripción de cada una de las ayudas financieras y becas. 

Becas Federales Pell. Estas subvenciones no son préstamos por lo que no es necesario pagarlas. Los estudiantes pueden recibir una Beca Federal Pell por 12 semestres o menos tiempo, pero no más.

Becas para estudiantes hispanos o latinos. No existen leyes federales ni estatales que prohíban a mujeres y hombres indocumentados presentar solicitudes, inscribirse y graduarse de instituciones de enseñanza superior públicas o privadas. Sin embargo; al ser clasificados como extranjeros, los estudiantes indocumentados pierden la capacidad de ser elegibles para recibir asistencia financiera federal y tarifas de matrícula reducidas para residentes estatales. Este sitio tiene información sobre becas para estudiantes extranjeros.

Becas para estudiantes mexicanos que viven en los Estados Unidos. El Gobierno de México, a través del Instituto de los Mexicanos en el Exterior (IME) y los Consulados de México en Estados Unidos de América, entrega recursos a las organizaciones e instituciones educativas que participan en la convocatoria y se comprometen a aportar fondos complementarios que al menos dupliquen los recibidos por parte del Gobierno de México, y así aumentar las becas disponibles para los estudiantes mexicanos. Los estudiantes tienen que pasar por el proceso de selección que tenga cada institución educativa para el otorgamiento de las becas.

 

Mother and child in kitchen making a salad with letters, zucchini and peppers
November is Diabetes Awareness Month and that got us thinking about how to support children with chronic illness.  

Maybe you know a child with a chronic illness directly or maybe you just want to support them in spirit. Certainly you’ve seen fundraisers to help families with a sick child. We can’t tell you where to send your money, but a real, concrete action you can take is to get yourself vaccinated for Covid-19Medically fragile and immunocompromised children need herd immunity.  

Also, get your healthy children all their regular immunizations! Children with chronic illness are more susceptible to diseases of all kinds. They often can’t get immunized themselves and need the rest of us to provide a line of defense against outbreaks of diseases like measles or whooping cough. If you don’t have insurance for regular well child check ups and vaccinations, you can get childhood vaccinations through the Multnomah County Primary Care Clinics at low or no cost, or get vaccines and other health care for K-12 students through the Student Health Center at your child’s school at no cost.  

Cancer is awful and thinking about a child you know being diagnosed with cancer can be devastating. In this One Bad Mother podcast episode, the hosts talk with Jessica Phillips Lorenz, mother of a pediatric cancer survivor, about the experience of having a child diagnosed with cancer and how friends and family can help. Often, it’s by stepping up to help with really practical stuff like house cleaning, caring for siblings, and food delivery. She suggests doing these things without having to be asked and continuing to do these things over the long haul of the illness. 

If you have a child with a chronic illness, the diagnosis definitely requires you to level up on your parenting skills. Children’s Hospital of Colorado offers advice on parenting a child with a chronic illness. The Swindells Resource Center at Providence offers resources to families with children experiencing many sorts of disabilities and chronic illnesses. They have a lending library and offer many events and webinars available to anyone, not just Providence members. Take care of your own mental health with a support group or counseling. All health insurance plans will cover mental health care - it’s the law! Call 211 if you need low or no cost suggestions or referrals.

If your child is coming back to school after a long illness with conditions they need to manage, these tips from The Mighty will be helpful. You’ll develop a plan with your school to provide your child with the support they need to get through their day. This is called a 504 plan. Understood.org is a great website with extensive information for parents to guide you through the process of getting a 504 plan and working with schools.  

And here are a couple more resources, if you'd like to investigate further:

This article was written for our Family Newsletter, available in English and Spanish. Please sign up. You can email us at learning@multcolib.org with any questions.
 

For folks who choose to go to college, university or trade school, we know it's stressful and expensive. Here are some resources to help you with planning and paying for college. 

Oregon Goes to College
Information for families with high school students and the steps to take toward college, including how to pay for university studies, links to more than 100 colleges, universities and trade schools in the state of Oregon and resources for undocumented students.

Oregon’s Office of Student Access and Completion
This website helps Oregon students plan and pay for college. It is a portal for various financial aid and scholarship applications. You can see the description of each and also directly apply. Be sure to check out the Oregon Opportunity Grant, Oregon's largest state-funded, need-based grant program for college students. As well as Oregon Promise, a state grant that helps to cover tuition costs at any Oregon community college for recent high school graduates and GED test graduates. Complete multiple applications to get money for college here. 

FAFSA or ORSAA?
Use the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) to apply for federal grants, work-study, and loans. ORSAA is an alternative to the FAFSA for Oregon residents who are undocumented, including students who have DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) status. Both the FAFSA and the ORSAA open on October 1 each year. If you are not sure where to start, use this filter tool to find out which one is appropriate for you.

The Ford Family Foundation 
A foundation that helps high-need individuals in Oregon better their lives and the lives of their families through education beyond high school. They have scholarships available including the Ford Scholars, to assist students who otherwise would find it impossible, or at least very difficult, to obtain a college degree. 

CollegeBoard CSS Profile
Some colleges also require students to fill out the CSS Profile to receive financial aid. In Oregon, Lewis & Clark College and Reed College require it. Check with out-of-state schools to see their requirements.

More information from the library:

This article was written for our Family Newsletter, available in English and Spanish. Please sign up here and you can email us at learning@multcolib.org with any questions.

Babies and toddlers have mental health needs, too. How do they let us know they are hurting?

We have heard much about the increase in anxiety, depression and other mental health issues in adults, teens and school-age children during times of illness and uncertainty. And thankfully, many professionals have shared practical advice on how to cope and to gradually recover our feelings of safety and hope as we find our bearings in this new-normal world. The library has even written a few posts to help, including:

But how do our youngest family members, our babies and young toddlers, let us know that they have also been affected by stress and by changing family dynamics? They don’t have the words, yet, to express their confusion and insecurity. Just like adults and older children, babies have different levels of resiliency - some will roll with the changes and thrive, while others may be more anxious and clingy. What is infant and early childhood mental health? And how do they let us know they are hurting? 
 
What is Infant and Early Childhood Mental Health
According to the Michigan Association for Infant Mental Health (MI-AIMH), “an infant, toddler and young child’s mental health is every part as important as their physical health. Mental health matters for the growth and maturity of the brain and body and for the social and emotional development of a person — now and for the whole lifetime.” But how do you know if your infant is struggling? Especially when they are not talking yet? The following is a list of behaviors you might notice and want to report to your child’s healthcare provider, from the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC):

  • A decrease in appetite, changes in bowel movements, and/or changes in sleep patterns
  • A marked change in activity level (less curious or engaged; more lethargic and disinterested; unable to sit still; full of unfocused energy)
  • A marked change in level of engagement (reduced ability to pay attention, turning or looking away; more listless, roaming attention)
  • A reduced tolerance for frustration, which may present as fussiness, whining, or irritability
  • More aggression or anger in a toddler with little or no provoking; a response that is out of proportion to any apparent trigger
  • An increase in seeking comfort and attention from a parent or trusted caregiver, such as wanting to be held more than usual
  • An increase in self-soothing behaviors, such as thumb-sucking or rocking
  • Developmental regression, such as a 2-year-old who was successfully using the toilet for several months but has recently had several accidents, or an 18-month-old who was adding new words to their vocabulary daily but is talking less and using gestures instead

What can we do as caregivers?
Here are a few suggestions for ways to support everyone’s mental health when stress levels are rising from NAEYC:

  • Focus on joy. One of the best antidotes to anxiety and stress is doing something that brings you delight, makes you smile or laugh, and gets the endorphins flowing. 
  • Really tune in to your little one. Practice ‘serve and return’ by repeating back their facial expressions and sounds. 
  • Talk often with babies and toddlers even if they can’t answer back. Talk about feelings and sing comforting songs. Hold little ones close and sway and dance.
  • Be honest. There’s no point in pretending everything is normal and we’re all fine. It’s not, and we’re not. Commit with family and friends to practice managing your own mental health and to touch base with each other when you need a wellness check.
  • Be gracious. When everyone is feeling stressed and anxious, we find ourselves more irritable, less patient, more forgetful, and less kind and charitable. Remind yourself often that everyone is doing the best they can.
  • Ask for help. As Mr. Rogers once said, “Look for the helpers.” Commit to building a mental health safety net for yourself and your extended family. That means knowing who you can call on for informal as well as professional support.

Get more information. 
Several online sites offer support and suggestions for combating stress. These include:

This Mental Health Moment article was written for our Family Newsletter brought to you by Learning Support and available in English and Spanish. Please sign up here and you can email us at learning@multcolib.org with any questions.
 

Al crecer en México nunca pensé ni me asimilé como mujer latina, sabía que vivía en un país latinoamericano, pero nadie me dijo que aparte de ser mexicana era latina. Inmediatamente después de mi llegada a este país, las categorizaciones de los formularios que teníamos que llenar me hicieron saber que mi mexicanidad no era suficiente. Ahora, como mujer conciente, educada y profesional, entiendo que mi herencia y mi identidad van más allá de lo que un sistema dicta para mí. Comparto por primera vez libros de la colección en español en los que me he refugiado y reconectado con quien soy y a quien represento como una mujer extranjera de piel morena, que abraza con orgullo su latinidad, sus ideales y su lucha por la justicia social aquí en los Estados Unidos

cover of Hershel and the Hanukkah Goblins by Eric Kimmel, illustrated by Trina Schart Hyman
Winter is a wonderful time to cuddle up and read with the young people in our lives.  We asked library staff to share favorite stories that highlight winter weather, traditions, delicious food, lights, celebrations and festivals.  Here’s what they have to recommend:

“Every winter when it is Hanukkah time, I pull out Hershel and the Hanukkah Goblins [by Eric A. Kimmel] a favorite from my childhood about how you can outsmart what scares you and celebrate what matters,” says Rebecca from Gresham Library.  “The artwork [by illustrator Trina Schart Hyman] is beautiful and timeless.” 

“The book that says winter and home to me is Tarde de invierno / Winter Afternoon, by Jorge Luján,” shares Sally from Rockwood Library.  “It makes me think about waiting for special people, and the happiness of seeing them again.”

Natalia at Midland Library absolutely loves The Little Christmas Tree by Loek Koopmans, which has been translated into many languages.  At this time the library has Маленькая Ёлочка, the Russian language edition, available.  “I used this book for almost every outreach storytime I had during the Holiday season,” she recommends.  “This is a great story about learning that the grass is not always greener on the other side.”  

The Snowman by Raymond Briggs is a classic book-without-words that elicits all the cold weather snowy adventure feelings,” recommends Rebecca from Virtual Services.  

"One of my favorite holiday books that is always a joy to read aloud is Too Many Tamales / Qué montón de tamales! by Gary Soto," says Lucy from Youth Services.  "It's well loved by so many Mexican families because it brings them back to how they celebrate the holidays. I'm not Mexican but as a Latina and Puerto Rican I can relate because like in the story I used to get together with my uncles, aunties and cousins and have a big fiesta/family reunion."

“I really love the illustrations in Snow Rabbit, Spring Rabbit by Il Sung Na,” shares Barbara from Hillsdale Library.   “I also love the illustrations in this wordless book The Snow Rabbit by Camile Garouche.” 

Natasha from Hollywood Library recommends Red & Lulu by Matt Tavares.  “It takes place at Christmas and is set in the Christmas tree that is set up in Rockefeller Center,” she says, “but is more about the birds being separated and finding one another again than the actual holiday and features some gorgeous birds-eye perspectives of the trip into the city and the tree itself.”

“There's so much to love about Patricia Palocco's interfaith celebration of generosity and community, The Trees of the Dancing Goats,” says Rachel from Youth Services. “The rich colors of Palocco's art, and her gifted storytelling, make for a cozy book for the whole family, regardless of the holidays you celebrate.”   

“I really love The Shortest Day by Susan Cooper, not only for the writing but the absolutely gorgeous illustrations by [local illustrator] Carson Ellis,” recommends Carolyn from Woodstock LibraryErika from Central Library agrees. “It is just stunning, and Susan Cooper’s themes of darkness and light really resonate for me.” 

Erika also recommends Emmet Otter's Jug-Band Christmas by Russell Hoban, “an old favorite of mine, which I remember my mom reading to me, perhaps because the place we lived was a lot like the setting of the book. It's about hard times and making ends meet in a snowy backwoods town, and taking comfort in the company of friends and family when you've got little else. It might be a little grim for today's kids - Dad has died! Everyone's getting laid off! No one has electricity!   But then again, it's been a  hard year for a lot of people, and Emmet and his mother do have some good luck in the end. I think this was made into a Muppet special that I haven't seen.”  (editor's note: here’s a link to check out the Muppet special

“A favorite around my house is the beautiful Christmas story in Toot & Puddle: Let it Snow, by Holly Hobbie,” recommends Darrel from Central Library.  “It celebrates the true spirit of gift giving and calls out some universal truths about love and friendship.”

cover of Too Many Tamales by Gary Soto and Ed Martinez
Thanks to the Animals by Allan J. Sockabasin beautifully shows a Passamaquoddy family winter migration,” recommends Holly from Midland Library.  “Along the way, the baby falls off the conveyance, but the animals help out.  This shares a snapshot of Native American/First Nation practices along with how the people and the animals are interdependent.”

Holly also recommends A Little Bit of Winter by Paul Stewart, a favorite from when her children were small.  “It is a wonderful story of Rabbit finding a way to share winter with his friend, Hedgehog, who hibernates during the cold.  The illustrations are very sweet, and the friendship message tied into a story about accessibility and shared experience is lovely.”

“Once our kids became teens, our holiday traditions changed a bit,” remembers Brianne from the Woodstock Library.  “For years, we listened to Elaine Stritch's fantastically gravelly narration of The Best Christmas Pageant Ever.  Now we also read aloud David Sedaris' "Santaland Diaries" (from Holidays on Ice).  They are both hilarious.”

“I wish I could find a book about one of my favorite winter events from my childhood,” shares Ekatrina from the Holgate Library.  “Slaviq (also called Slaavi, Slaaviq, or just ‘starring') is, for lack of a better term, a carolling tradition among Alaska Native Orthodox Christians -- people follow elaborately decorated spinning stars representing the star of Bethlehem from house to house.  Songs in Yup'ik, Aleut, Cupik, Slavonic, and Ukrainian are sung, and there are prayers for the departed and for the people living in each house.  Food is served, and small gifts are given to adults (think socks, soup bowls, wash cloths) and the kids get candy.  In my mom's village it takes days -- sometimes all week -- to get to all the houses signed up to have the star visit them. It's a lot of fun.  But I don't see that anyone has written a juvenile title about it.  I would buy one if they did!”

Do you have a winter celebration that has yet to be written about?  We would love to hear more about it.  Just in case you’d like to also write a book about it, next year The Library Writers Project plans to accept a new round of submissions for both youth and adult books.  Someday, in a future edition of Season’s Readings, we hope to share favorite books about Slaviq and many other celebrations that we’re not able to read about in our holiday collections (yet).  

This article was written for our Family Newsletter, available in English and Spanish. Please sign up here and you can email us at learning@multcolib.org with any questions.

 

I understand your hesitation.

I thought about making preserved lemons for years before I actually did it. You have to pack them into jars, then let them sit and ferment for weeks before you can cook with them. Who plans like that?

I do, now. Once I made them, using Eugenia Bone’s recipe from the book Well Preserved, I found that I can’t live without them, especially after I discovered this kale Caesar salad. Sadly, I do think you have to make your own. I bought a couple of different brands from my favorite Middle Eastern market, and the purchased ones tasted like a cleaning product.

Use Meyer lemons, which are in season right now-- they’re a little sweeter and have a delicious floral quality. And really, all you need are lemons and salt and some clean jars. You quarter the lemons and stuff them in a jar with several tablespoons of salt, then pour in enough fresh-squeezed lemon juice to fill up the jars. There’s no need to process them. Just let them sit on your counter for three or four weeks until the sour, salty, faintly funky magic happens. You eat the whole lemon-- the peel is especially delicious. Eugenia Bone suggests a couple of great ways to use them in this book, but I mostly use them in that kale salad and in tuna salad.

You can find a recipe for the lemons here, but do take a look at the book. Bone has ideas for lots of very special things to preserve in small batches, perfect for a novice or an experienced canner. The way things are going, it feels like the end times are nigh. Perhaps we'll enjoy them more with some nice things to have on our toast, with fancy cocktail cherries, or with bright, salty lemons.

heading from an early page of the Ledger Index to City of Portland Deaths

Have you ever had trouble finding an obituary for a Portland ancestor who died around the turn of the last century?  You’re not alone!

In the 19th century and even in the early 20th, newspapers often put obituaries in with the regular news, making them hard to find.  This was also before it was common for Portland newspapers to include a "Daily city statistics" section listing the names of people who had died in the city recently.  So it’s no wonder that it can be a big challenge to find Portland obituaries from before about 1910.  

But I have good news for you: if your ancestor was a Portlander, and if they died within city limits 1881-1917, their death was probably recorded in the Ledger Index to City of Portland Deaths.

What is the Ledger Index?

The Ledger Index to City of Portland Deaths is a long list of people who died in the city of Portland 1881-1917.  It’s quite a bit more robust than most modern death indexes -- in addition to the name and death date of each person included, it includes details like the address or name of the place where the person died, their cause of death, and (in some years) the name of the cemetery where they were buried.  This additional information makes the Ledger Index a pretty decent substitute for obituaries.  

Here’s what the Ledger Index actually looks like.  The library has a microfilmed copy, which is why it’s white text on a black background.

Finding your ancestor

The Ledger Index is arranged by date of death -- because of this, it’s sometimes referred to as the “Chronologic Index.”  If you know the date your ancestor died, simply go to that date and hopefully you’ll find them!

If you don’t know your ancestor’s date of death, try looking for their name in the Oregon State Archives’ Oregon Historical Records Index.  This index includes most records from the Ledger Index to City of Portland Deaths.  If your ancestor is listed, their date of death should lead you to the correct page of the Ledger Index.

Racial classification in the Ledger Index

There are some challenges to using the Ledger Index.  The information in the Index is a primary source, created a full century ago, and it is a government record reflecting the mainstream standards and ideas of its time.  There is no context or commentary to interpret the index for you -- you will have to provide your own analysis.  

One thing these records show us is the unexamined racism of the past.  The Ledger Index states the race of each person listed, often using terms that are decidedly not used in polite speech today: “Chinese,” “Colored,” “Half-Breed,” “Mulatto,” “White,” and possibly others.  Some of these terms appear on the zoomed-in image from January 1882 at left.  In later years, single-letter abbreviations are used.  There is no key showing what the abbreviations meant, but I’ve guessed that “C” stands for “colored” (meaning Black or African-American); “W” for “white;” and “Y” for “yellow” (meaning Asian or Asian-American).   

Causes of death in the Ledger Index

This detail from a January 1882 Ledger Index page shows some familiar-sounding causes of death: “still born,” "consumption," “scarlet fever.”  But read if you read through a few pages worth of deaths, you'll also find unexpected causes like “softening of spinal marrow.”  If you find your ancestor’s death has officially been recorded due to something that doesn’t sound like it would kill a person, be prepared to draw gentle, careful conclusions.  And remember, you may need to do some research to discover what a cause-of-death term meant in the past. 

Portland deaths only

Another thing to beware of when using the Ledger Index to City of Portland Deaths is that it mostly only includes people who died within the city limits of Portland.  And the city was quite a bit smaller 100 years ago than it is now!  (A few people whose bodies were cared for by a Portalnd undertaker or whose bodies travelled through Portland are also included.)

Fortunately, the Portland Bureau of Planning & Sustainability has a very helpful map showing historical annexations to the city of Portland (pdf), which you can look at to get a sense for where city limits were during your ancestor’s lifetime.  

Of course, people are mobile.  The Ledger Index lists people who died in Portland, not people who lived there.  Your ancestor who lived in Linnton or East Portland or St. Johns could well have died within Portland city limits, particularly if they died in an accident or in a hospital.

Using the Ledger Index, and getting help with it

You can consult the Ledger Index to City of Portland Deaths at Central Library.  Ask at any reference desk, and the librarian on duty will help you get the volumes you need.  To read it, you’ll need to use one of Central Library’s microfilm machines -- read more about that in my colleague Ross B.’s post Microfilm at the library.

But you don’t have to visit the library to tap the riches of this great resource --  librarians are always happy to help.  Just get in touch with us by phone or email, and we’ll do our best to answer your questions or help you plan your research. 

In the meantime, happy researching!

 

Need a Resume? Here are some ways to create your resume online.

Google Docs Resume Templates

Google Docs has resume templates that can be filled in, updated, and saved in your Google Drive so you can access it from any computer connected to the Internet. You will need a Gmail account to use the templates.


Microsoft Word

Microsoft Word is available on all library desktop computers. You can create a Word document using resume templates. You can save your document on a flash drive. You can also attach it to an email to yourself.

Learning Express Library Resume Builder

Another option for creating a resume is LearningExpress Library. The resume builder will lead you one section at a time through the process to fill in your information.

Books and Ebooks

The Library carries many resume writing books with tips and examples. Here is a list of books selected by librarians to get you started writing your resume.

One-on-One Appointments

Library staff can provide a One-on-One appointment to help you get started with your resume and use the different tools described above. Contact us to set up an appointment or talk to staff at your local library branch.

Classes

The library regularly offers resume related classes. See the library events page for a schedule of upcoming classes. Worksource Oregon also offers monthly classes for resume writing. Check out this blog post for the most up to date information.

Resume Review

Volunteers with Human Resources (HR) experience are available to review your resume with you to help you improve and update it. See our Jobs and Careers page for more information and to sign up.

Related Resources

You can use Glassdoor to search jobs and send your resume out.

A Room of One's Own by Virginia Woolf
What do writers need? Virginia Woolf famously said that “a woman must have money and a room of her own if she is to write fiction” (in the essay A Room of One’s Own). Writers need time, and space to pursue their craft. Writers need support, which can take the form of opportunities to read aloud, or to hear other writers talking about writing, or a community of supportive critical readers.

There are lots of organizations in the Portland area that offer resources for writers! Some are free, others are cheap (though not all). They involve various commitments of time. Here are some local organizations, roughly grouped  - but you’ll see that they are hard to categorize… 

Writing groups, workshops, and classes

The Attic Institute presents workshops, classes, and individual consultation about writing projects.

Lewis and Clark Northwest Writing Institute offers classes for community members.

The Mountain Writers Series presents monthly readings and writing workshops. The links section of their webpage connects to a huge number of other local organizations!

The Multnomah Arts Center offers some wonderful literary arts classes.

Portland State University has a few different academic programs in creative writing.

VoiceCatcher is a nonprofit connecting and empowering women writers in Portland.

Write Around Portland offers free creative writing workshops in social service settings, and creates publication and reading opportunities for workshop participants.

Cultivate Writing and Meditation Retreats for women. Twice annually, Hood River.

Membership organizations

The Independent Publishing Resource Center (IPRC) offers resources and workshops related to printing and book-making. They also have certificate programs in creative nonfiction/fiction, poetry, and comics/graphic novels.

Oregon Poetry Association, Oregon’s oldest and largest literary organization, offers community, contests, and conferences.

Oregon Writers Colony offers community, conferences and workshops, and the use of a beach house writing retreat!

Rose City Romance Writers, the Portland, Oregon chapter of Romance Writers of America, educates, supports, and mentors published and unpublished romance writers.

Willamette Writers hosts regular meetings for the exchange of ideas related to writing and craft.

Reading series

Literary Arts’ programs include Portland Arts and Lectures, Writers in the Schools, the Oregon Book Awards and Fellowships, and Delve Readers Seminars.

There are many different reading series in Portland! You could head out to hear writers read their work at the Free Range Poetry series at the Northwest Library,  Mountain Writers series, the Spare Room series,  the submission reading series, Burnt Tongue, Unchaste Readers, or The Switch... you could catch a reading when the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America (FWWA) Pacific Northwest Reading Series has a Portland event...  or you could see one of the many readings at Powell's Books! The Notable Portland column on The Rumpus lists select awesome events, mostly literary oriented.

Local Publishers

The Northwest is home to a vibrant publishing world. Here are just a few:

  • Ooligan Press -  is a student-run trade press dedicated to cultivating the next generation of publishing professionals. Ooligan works with the library to publish selections from The Library Writers Project.
  • Microcosm Publishing - Microcosm specializes in nonfiction DIY (Do-It-Yourself) books, zines, and decks that focus on the reader and teach self-empowerment.
  • Forest Avenue Press - publishes literary fiction on a joyride and the occasional memoir. Our titles are infused with a fresh, complex, sometimes nutty, and often-wondrous approach to storytelling.
  • Sasquatch Books - publishes books by the most gifted writers, artists, chefs, naturalists, and thought leaders in the Pacific Northwest and on the West Coast.

To connect to more publishers and keep up with Northwest book news, especially indy stores and authors, check out the Pacific Northwest Booksellers Association.

Other stuff

Although temporarily closed due to pandemic restrictions, Multnomah County’s Central Library offers the Sterling Room for Writers, where writers can find a quiet work space in close proximity to all the resources the library has to offer. Interested writers must submit an application and be approved to gain access to the room.

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