MCL Blogs

Ursual Le Guin photo
When I learned of Ursula Le Guin’s passing, my world stopped spinning for a time. I reflected on her influence with a mixture of gratitude, admiration and awe. Ursula’s contributions to libraries, reading, literacy and to our community are immeasurable. She was tenacious, principled and gracious beyond words.

I first read The Left Hand of Darkness as a graduate student in library school, enthusiastically exploring my early feminist righteousness. Ursula Le Guin was a beacon to me then. I would have never imagined that, decades later, I would pass a lovely Portland winter’s afternoon in her home sipping tea, chatting about her life, career, ebooks, politics and her love of Multnomah County Library.

And, oh how Ursula put her library love into action! She was a deep and genuine friend to Multnomah County Library. She offered a list of her favorite works. She was a singular voice in support of issues that matter. She served on the Multnomah County Library Advisory Board in the 1990s, and she shaped how our library addressed issues that are important today. She leaves an impressive body of work, and she remains one of our library’s most popular authors.

For decades, Ursula Le Guin offered Multnomah County Library her unwavering support. She spoke, wrote and acted in support of library funding at every turn. She celebrated our milestones (even writing a poem celebrating Central Library’s reopening in 1997). She took on pivotal issues and daunting opponents: advocating for the rights of authors and artists; affordable library access to ebooks; and the importance of a person’s fundamental and constitutionally protected right to read, think, and pursue knowledge without scrutiny or constraint.

In her 1997 remarks about Central Library, she said, “A library is a focal point, a sacred place to a community; and its sacredness is its accessibility, its publicness. It’s everybody’s place.”

Of the many wonderful memories I have as director of Multnomah County Library, that gray afternoon with Ursula Le Guin is one of my most treasured. I will be forever grateful to have encountered her. May we honor her legacy by embodying who she was and what she stood for, in our own lives and communities.

- Vailey

IRS 1040 form with pen
Multnomah County Library is here to help with tax season. All library locations can access state and federal tax forms and instruction booklets online as they become available. Library staff members are happy to help print what you need. Printing costs 10 cents per page; two-sided printing is available.

Thanks to the AARP, the library will offer filing assistance programs at the Central, Midland, Gresham, Woodstock, and North Portland locations. We can also help refer you to tax professionals.

Federal Hard Copy Forms

This year, libraries will have the Form 1040 and some accompanying instruction booklets. All locations will have reference copies of the 1040 Instructions and Publication 17: Your Federal Income Tax. We can't promise when forms and booklets will be available, or that we won’t run out, but you can always download and print federal tax items from the IRS Forms & Publications page. You can also direct questions to the IRS offices in Oregon. Of special note, neither the 1099 and 1096 forms nor any of the W series (W-2, W-4, etc.) are available for download. Many office supply stores have the 1099 forms or you can contact the IRS directly to have those mailed to you.

State Hard Copy Forms

Public libraries are no longer a distribution center for state tax forms and booklets. If you need Oregon forms or booklets, you can come into the library to print them or do it yourself from the Oregon Department of Revenue page. If you want forms mailed to you, then you can contact the Oregon Department of Revenue via:

Other States

You can stop by the library for assistance printing out tax forms for other states, or you can go to the Federation of Tax Administrators State Tax Forms & Filing Options, which provides links to tax forms for each state.

Dusty adding machine keys
Online Filing

Once the tax season officially opens, both the IRS and Oregon Department of Revenue will have listings for online filing services. Remember, state and federal taxes are due by April 15th this year.

You can find tax preparation assistance through the AARP's Tax-Aide Locator, CASH Oregon and the IRS's Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program.

 

“I’ve always been a computer person.” 

by Sarah Binns

Dennis Pham is one of those people who does it all: “I go to school full time, work part time, then volunteer,” he says. For the past three years that volunteer time has been spent at Midland Library, where he started to earn volunteer hours for school: “Then I met the staff and it just felt right. I’ve kept at it ever since,” he says. Dennis was first a technohost and is now a Computer Lab Assistant. “That’s more my style,” he says of his new position, “overseeing all of it!”

A Woodstock native, Dennis now lives near Pleasant Valley with his family. Having “always been a computer person,” he’s studying for his bachelor’s degree in mechanical or chemical engineering at PSU. He’s also a production operator at Siltronics, a semiconductor manufacturer. Seeing how the machines work and knowing colleagues who’ve been with the company forty or fifty years inspires him: “One day that’s gonna be me!” he laughs.

While he sometimes works as many as 70 hours a week, Dennis says that’s just fine and the job helps him pay for school. It’s a wonder he still finds time to volunteer, but he doesn’t want to give it up, especially since he likes working with computers. “Computers are better than shelving! As a branch assistant there’s lots of the same thing over and over again—with computers it’s a different question every day.”

Midland’s computer lab operates simultaneously and in the same room as the library’s drop in tutoring for adults. Lisa Regimbal, Adult Literacy Coordinator, notes that there is significant crossover between basic computer literacy and literacy. Though Dennis doesn’t volunteer with the adult literacy program, Lisa thinks he is an outstanding partner and is always willing to help with room set-up and computer issues.

Dennis also sings the praises of the library staff.  “I like working with Lisa,” he says. “I think Lisa is amazing for getting that program started there, I look up to her.” He adds he wants to give a “shoutout to Darrel, Jessie, Maureen, Alán,” and the rest of the staff “for making my days awesome. They’re a really good crew, especially the branch assistants,” he says with a beaming smile. Given his commitment and enthusiasm for Midland, it’s easy to see how Dennis keeps coming back—and why the staff call him “an outstanding volunteer” right back!


A few facts about Dennis

Home library: Midland

Currently reading: “Not reading anything right now, just studying.” He does read lots of articles for school and work.

Favorite book from childhood: The Time Machine by H.G. Wells. “He was my favorite author at the time.”

Most influential book: War of the Worlds by H.G. Wells. “It stuck with me. It made me think anything can happen!”

Favorite browsing section: Sci-fi and then WWII historical. “I also like to brush up on nonfiction.”  

Book that made him laugh or cry: Overlord, a Japanese series, made him laugh. But, he says, “I’ve laughed at a lot of books.”

Favorite place to read: “Mostly I just read on my bed after 8pm. I’m a night reader.”

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

19th century marriage certificate

Can’t remember when your divorce was final? Need a copy of your birth certificate? Trying to remember when your parents got married? Looking for your grandmother’s death certificate? These are all examples of vital records: documents related to a person’s birth, marriage, divorce and death.  If you’re looking for any of these, the library is here to help!

There are a few things to keep in mind when searching for vital records at Multnomah County Library:

  • Public libraries don’t keep archives of public records. You can request copies of birth, marriage, divorce and death certificates from the Oregon Center for Health Statistics.
  • The library does have indexes you can use to verify vital records information in Oregon. However, these indexes don't cover all time periods -- and the most recent year is 2008.
  • The library has a wealth of genealogical resources including useful blogs on topics such as finding obituaries and researching house history.
  • Many historical vital records are available from the Oregon State Archives.
  • Library staff are always happy to assist you in your vital records search.  Please call us at 503.988.5123 or email a librarian anytime.

Getting copies of vital records

Most vital records in Oregon are available through the Oregon Center for Health Statistics. Because there are restrictions on who has access to these records, you will need to provide a significant amount of information about yourself and/or the subject of the vital record. Also keep in mind that the Center for Health Statistics charges fees for vital records. The more research they have to do, the higher the fees.

In order to ensure you receive the correct record, expedite your order, and potentially save yourself some money, you can consult the Oregon Vital Records Indexes available at the library. These indexes provide the name(s) of the individual(s), the county in which the event occurred, the date, and the record number. You can use these indexes yourself at the Central Library or contact the library and have a staff person search for you. Should you need vital records for states other than Oregon, check the Centers for Disease Control's list Where to Write for Vital Records for every U.S. state and territory.

Birth records

The state of Oregon began recording births in 1903 but there is no statewide index to birth records. If you need your own or an immediate family member’s birth certificate contact the Oregon Center for Health Statistics.

For genealogists, birth certificates more than 100 years old can be accessed by anyone.  If you need local birth records, you can use the Ledger Index to City of Portland Births which is focused on the years 1881-1917 within the city of Portland. Keep in mind, however, that the city was much smaller then than it is now.

Marriage records

If you need to verify marriage information, Multnomah County Library has the Oregon Marriage Index (1906-1924, 1946-2008). This index is organized by the name of either the groom or bride and is also available through Ancestry Library Edition (accessible only in the library).  To get a copy of your own or an immediate family member’s marriage certificate, contact the Oregon Center for Health Statistics.

For genealogists, anyone can request a marriage certificate more than 50 years old. In Oregon, counties issue marriage licenses, so to find records that are not included in the Oregon Marriage Index you can check the Oregon Historical County Records Guide.

Divorce records

If you need to verify divorce information, Multnomah County Library has access to the Oregon Divorce Index for 1925-2008. Online, Ancestry Library Edition (accessible only in the library) also has Oregon Divorce Records, 1961-1985. If you need a copy of your own or an immediate family member’s divorce certificate, contact the Oregon Center for Health Statistics. If you need the full court record and divorce decree, you will need to contact the issuing court, usually the county circuit court. To help, Multnomah County Archives & Records Management has prepared a handy guide to obtaining divorce records and decrees.

For genealogists, anyone can request a divorce certificate more than 50 years old. If you’re looking for the court records, some counties have all of their circuit court records but others turned over their older documents to the Oregon State Archives.

Death records
Graveyard in Gjemnes, Norway

If you need to verify death information, Multnomah County Library has the Oregon Death Index (1903-2008). This index is also available through Ancestry Library Edition (accessible only in the library). If you need a copy of an immediate family member’s death certificate, contact the Oregon Center for Health Statistics.

For genealogists, anyone can request a death certificate more than 50 years old. You can also search for local deaths before 1903 using the Ledger Index to City of Portland Deaths (1881-1917).

If you still have questions about vital records or other genealogical research questions call or email a librarian to get personalized help. If you’d rather have face-to-face assistance, ask the librarian on duty the next time you visit the library. We're always happy to help!

 

 

Equality and Equity

Looking to learn more about issues of equity, social justice, and activism?  Teaching Tolerance offers lots of free online articles and curriculum. The Southern Poverty Law Center monitors hate groups, and has good information about them. Social Justice in Action: 100 Key Websites and Organizations lists lots of websites that have specific social justice focuses, like civil rights, housing, disability, heath rights and more. And  The Best Teacher Resource Sites for Social Justice shares a lot of websites that are useful for students, educators and classroom activities. 

A Bibliophile
Volunteer Anne Pearson

by Donna Childs

It is not surprising for library volunteers to be book lovers; in fact, it might almost seem a requirement.  But Anne Pearson takes volunteering with books to a new level:  she not only volunteers at the Hollywood Library, she has also served on the Board of the Friends of the Library—as Chair two years—and she works at a local children’s bookstore.

According to the staff at Hollywood, Anne brightens everyone’s day when she comes in to volunteer.  She is “an efficient, reliable, hard-working volunteer [who] is also so nice and fun and always has great reading recommendations and delicious restaurant reviews and recipes to share.”  Furthermore, she’s a good sport who is willing to do whatever needs doing, though her primary task is searching paging lists and pulling holds every Friday morning.  Anne’s motivation for volunteering at Hollywood is a desire to help the library that has brought her much pleasure, as well as finding new books to read and recommend.  And as a lover of cooking, she shares recipes as enthusiastically as she does book recommendations.

A former member of the Friends of the Library Board, Anne served as Chair in 2006-07 and 2007-08. Much of her work involved advocating for passage of a levy to continue library services, and meeting with various groups to discuss the need for the levy.  Her work on the Board reinforced Anne’s belief that those of us in Multnomah County are “lucky to have such an amazing library system.”

Always an advocate for reading, Anne works two days a week at A Children’s Place (Portland’s oldest independent children’s bookstore), where she is in charge of choosing and buying books for the “Good Reads for Moms and Dads” section of the store, which includes books for moms and dads as individuals, not only as parents. Anne has clearly found a place—whether in the bookstore, on the Friends Board, or at the Hollywood Library—where her love of books benefits her and those around her.


Home library:  Hollywood

Currently reading: I just finished A Gentleman in Moscow by Amor Towles—LOVED it!

Most influential book: Les Miserables by Victor Hugo 

Favorite book from childhood: Half-Magic by Edward Eager 

A book that has made you laugh or cry: The Heart’s Invisible Furies by John Boyne

Favorite section of the library: Lucky Day

E-reader or paper book: Paper, although I love the convenience of e-books for travel

Favorite reading guilty pleasure: Janet Evanovich’s Stephanie Plum series—howlingly funny!

Favorite place to read: Any place cozy!

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

 

Inspiration Struck
Volunteer Iggy Peterson

by Sarah Binns

At twenty-five, Iggy Peterson has lived in many places and read many books, but he keeps coming back to Portland and the Woodstock Library. “I started volunteering there when I was 17,” he says, “but then I moved across town and stopped for a few years.” He returned to Woodstock last year and was quickly selected for a 2016 Multnomah County Citizen Involvement Award. As a search assistant (the same position he held when he was a teenager), Iggy processes a list of nearly 250 books to pull from Woodstock’s shelves to fulfill holds for patrons. “It turns out I really enjoy clerical work,” he says with a laugh. “I like that everything is in its place and that there’s a right way and a wrong way to do it.”

Before the clerical work, though, Iggy was in a bit of a quandary. Born in Portland, Iggy and his family lived in Washington state and D.C. before returning to the Eastmoreland area. Growing up, he read a lot, especially sci-fi and fantasy books, but waning interest in school and complications at home meant that he dropped out of middle school. Shortly after this, he remembers thinking, “Hey, I like books! Maybe I’ll work at a bookstore!” But then he passed the Woodstock Library and inspiration struck: he started volunteering there two days a week.

Over time, Iggy has given approximately 350 hours to Woodstock. While he works one day a week now, thanks to a full-time job, his love of books and that “clerical work” encouraged him to apply for a recent access services assistant position with MCL. “Hopefully I can get past the lottery!” he says.

When not volunteering Iggy works as a line cook at local favorite Scottish pub Rose & Thistle, reads, plays video games, and hangs out with friends. When I ask if he wants to stay in Portland he nods. “It would be hard to move away from somewhere where I’m happy,” he says. Here’s to another 350 hours at Woodstock -- and beyond!  


A few facts about Iggy

Home library:  Gregory Heights, “But I usually grab books from Woodstock.”

Currently reading: On Blue’s Waters by Gene Wolfe

Most influential book: Hard to say, but possibly The Dispossessed by Ursula K. Le Guin. “It made me think a lot. How she made an anarchist society work… it was well done.”

Guilty pleasure: Older 60s sci-fi

Favorite browsing section: Fiction

E-reader or paper: Paper

Book that made him laugh or cry: The Last Unicorn by Peter S. Beagle.

Favorite place to read: “My room."

 

Children with little or no preschool have the hardest time starting kindergarten. And their parents may be unsure how to help them.

The Early Kindergarten Transition program helps these families tackle the challenges kindergarten will bring. It’s held before school starts, over two to three weeks in late summer.

A kindergarten teacher leads a class for the kids each day during the program. Once or twice a week, parents attend a class, too. They learn what to expect from school and how to help their kids succeed.

The library has been a dedicated partner in these parent education classes ever since Portland Public Schools started the program seven years ago. The program today includes 43 SUN schools in six districts. Multnomah County librarians are active at all of them.

We model reading aloud to kids with an interactive storytime, and we introduce parents to the library and all the ways we can help — such as homework help, English classes, family programs, and books in their native languages.

This year, in addition to partnering on parent education classes, the library provided about 2,000 gently used books for child care locations at every site. (Child care is provided during parent education classes.)

We also signed up people for library cards and Summer Reading, and gave a free book to each of roughly 600 families.

From one PPS educator: "I know all of our parents that attended the library session were happy about our librarian. I myself enjoyed her way of reading the book to children  — showed us how easy it can be to read to any child. Everyone enjoyed all the takeaways from that session."

Last month the library introduced a set of updated rules for public feedback. We heard and read hundreds of your comments, questions and suggestions. This was valuable input, and we revised the library rules that take effect November 1 as a result.

While most of these rules have been in place for years, people took this chance to reflect on how they think of and use their library. Our community’s feedback centered on access: for children and families exploring a new world of reading and learning and for those with the fewest resources and the most challenging circumstances.

Based on this feedback, we removed the proposed limit on beverage sizes, changed policies around restroom use, clarified wording regarding service animals and improved language to better support the library’s commitment to inclusion.

Each day, 19 Multnomah County libraries are open to serve everyone with a focus on exceptional customer service. We work hard to create a welcoming environment. The library’s rules serve as a foundation for maintaining this environment. We will continue our work, listening and learning how we can improve library service.

On behalf of the more than 600 people who work for the library, I thank you for your engagement, for your support and for your patronage of Multnomah County Library.

Vailey
 

In 1990, former President George H.W. Bush signed the proclamation declaring the month of November as Native American Heritage Month. The proclamation celebrates and recognizes the accomplishments of the peoples who were the original inhabitants, explorers and settlers of the United States of America.

Looking for somewhere to start finding information about a specific tribe? The library has book recommendations and databases that provide historical information about Native Americans including daily life (language, food, shelter, clothing, culture etc.), for readers and researchers of all ages.

Perhaps you want to search an online map with state by state information, or browse a list of tribes to learn about native languages and culture?

Interested in researching your own Native American ancestry? The American Indian Records in the National Archives provides information on how to get started with your research. We also invite you to visit your local library branch to use the genealogy database, or contact the library for individualized booklists or to make a one on one appointment with one of our friendly staff members.

The library will also be hosting programs for all ages throughout the month to celebrate the rich history of the original inhabitants and settlers of the Pacific Northwest.

  • Exploring Ancient Native American Techonology - Try out your own engineering skills while discovering technologies designed by Oregon's first engineers.
  • Native American Indian Storytelling and Drumming - Listen to traditional stories and songs of the Kalapuya people of the Willamette Valley.
  • Dream Catcher Weaving - Participate in a workshop to learn about the history and mystery behind the dreamcatcher while weaving your own.
  • Meet DASH'KA'YAH and COYOTE - Shoshone-Bannock poet and storyteller Ed Edmo will be be sharing stories of DASH'KA'YAH and COYOTE that will delight all ages.
  • Personal Totems - Listen to traditional Native American stories and poems while you create a totem pole that represents aspects of your personality.
  • Native American Jewelry Making - Use traditional items such as bone beads and leather to create one-of-a-kind jewelry.
  • Columbia River Native Basketry - Join Pat Courtney Gould as they discuss and present the timeless artform of twined baskets.
  • Stinging Nettle for Cordage - Learn about sustainable nettle harvesting methods to make cordage or yarn.
  • A Lens on Contemporary Indigenous Art & Culture - Meet contemporary Klamath Modoc artist Ka'ila Farrell-Smith as they share their art practice and philosopy. They will also give a overview of intersectional Indigenous, people of color (POC) artists and collectives.  
  • Ethnobotany of Kalapuya - Learn about the traditional plants and cultural heritage of the local Kalapuya and Chinook tribes.
  • Columbia River Native Women - Learn more about the lives of Columbia River Native Women and their roles in both traditional and modern Native American Indian society.
  • Edible Native American Food Plants - Learn about which berries are edible when you are out hiking, and how Native Americans used food plants like huckleberry, cedar, sweetgrass and other plants for basketry and medicine.

I fell in love with Katherine Roy’s first book, Neighborhood Sharks, because it was as informative as it was beautiful -- exploring the lives of great whites that live in the waters of California’s Farallon Islands, its cover blooming with the (watercolor) blood of a sea

How To Be An Elephant
lion that met an unfortunate fate.

In her latest book, How to Be An Elephant, the author looks across the globe -- to the extraordinary lives of African Elephants and the unique skills a baby elephant learns as he grows into a majestic adult. Illustrated in lush grays, blues and blush tones, we follow a baby elephant from his birth beneath a star-filled savanna sky and into the welcoming trunks of his mother and aunts. Readers will find out just how a baby elephant takes his first steps, “sees” his world by following his nose, playfully explores, and stays in touch with family members miles away by feeling vibrations through the delicate, padded soles of his feet. This richly-illustrated, scientifically accurate book is a sweet exploration of family, community, and love as one elephant herd marches its way across the savanna.

Drawing on the latest scientific research and her own trip to Kenya, Katherine Roy has done another extraordinary job of bringing a unique animal -- and its pivotal place in our ecosystem -- to life for young readers.

Beginning November 1, 2017, Multnomah County Library is updating its library rules.

You can read them here.

The library is proud to be an open and inclusive institution for our community. With 19 locations across the county, we are always striving to balance a wide range of uses, needs and individual circumstances. Library rules are important to ensuring that our staff can continue to provide exceptional service and that our library remains a welcoming place for everyone.

It’s been nearly 20 years since we’ve made significant changes to our library rules, and in that time, we’ve offered countless new services and programs, grown our collection and even opened new library branches. After an extensive and thoughtful review process, we’ve included changes to library policies on food and beverages, threatening behavior, amount of personal belongings, and weapons. All of our rules ensure the protection of individual rights and necessary accommodations.

Thank you for helping make the library a wonderful and vibrant place. I hope you will visit us soon.

Vailey Oehlke

Director of Libraries

Vailey Oehlke, Director of Libraries

1001 Inventions and The Library of Secrets - starring Sir Ben Kingsley as Al-Jazari

The Golden Age of Islam spanned from the mid 8th to the mid 13th century A. D., although recent scholars have extended it into the 15th and 16th centuries. It encompasses the life of the prophet Mohammad and the beginnings of the Islamic religion. Islamic culture in Europe also influenced Western civilization. The Golden Age of Islamic Culture included many innovations in science, medicine, mathematics, astronomy, Hindu-Arabic numerals, and words. It was a time of inventions and exploration by land and sea. The Golden Age ended with the siege of Baghdad in 1258 A.D. and with the rise of religious dogma, discussed here by Steven Weinberg and Neil deGrasse Tyson.

Libby is a new way to read and listen to books from Overdrive, and it's available now. 

Getting started

Libby logo

  1. Go to the app store on your Android or iOS device and search for "Libby, by Overdrive Labs". Or, visit the Libby site and be directed from there;
  2. Once you've installed the app, sign in with your library card;
  3. Search, borrow, read and listen, all from within the app.
  4. Here's a handy how-to guide for Libby.

You can click on "Library" or "Shelf" to move back and forth between the collection and your check outs. Click on a title in the Libby catalog, and you'll be able to read a sample so you can decide if you want to borrow the book.

Logging in

Libby lets you to connect to OverDrive with one easy login. You can also add a library card from another library or from a family member so you can have your loans and holds all in one place.

Prefer reading on a Kindle?

You can set Libby up to default to Kindle for e-books and you can download with few clicks.

Downloading

To download books to your device, tap on the cloud icon after you've checked out, and your e-book or downloadable audiobook will be downloaded. When the download is finished, you will see a check. You don't have to figure out which format you should get—the app knows.

New features

Libby has some great features: you can download titles for offline reading or stream them to save space. Libby will bookmark your place, even if you pick up another device to resume reading. You can choose settings for reading at night, and customize your font -- there's even a font to help readers with dyslexia.  If you're happy with the OverDrive App, don't worry. You can continue to use it, or you can install both apps on your device and see which works better.

 

 

 

I've been overwhelmed and saddened by recent news. It's hard enough talking through it with other adults. I can't imagine having to explain to young children. How do you talk with kids and teens about violence and hatred? Children, even young children, are likely to be aware but not fully understand what has happened. Adults may not be comfortable, but “when it comes to talking to children, experts say diversity and discrimination are subjects that shouldn’t be ignored.” [The American Psychological Association]

Here are a few outside resources that may be helpful for parents and caregivers, along with two booklists.

From the American Psychological Association, Talking to kids about discrimination and Building resilience to manage indirect exposure to terror.

From the Anti-Defamation League, Empowering young people in the aftermath of hate

From Common Sense Media, Explaining the news to our kids

From Fred Rogers Company, Tragic events

Archivist, Librarian, Editor, Writer, Volunteer
Volunteer Kris Ashley

by Donna Childs

One of the first things Kris Ashley did upon moving to Portland was get a library card.  A booklover at heart, she has an MLS (masters degree in library science), as well as experience working in bookstores and in publishing.  While looking for a full-time library position, Kris has taken on two volunteer jobs at Multnomah County Library: on Wednesdays, she is responsible for sorting, pricing, shelving, and organizing the large-print materials at Title Wave Used Bookstore, and on Thursdays, she is one of three volunteers who scan and index items from the library’s Special Collections for The Gallery.

More than 100 years ago, civic leader, merchant, and philanthropist John Wilson bequeathed his collection of more than 8000 books to what would later become the John Wilson Special Collections at the Multnomah County Library.  Although books form the majority of the collection, “Special Collections are more than books,” according to Kris.  Among the items they have scanned are photos, letters, papers, art and craft items, Lewis and Clark Centennial memorabilia, and WPA creations (many of which are at Timberline Lodge). Kris and her fellow volunteers then turn the scans into PDF files to be put on the web.

Kris is well-qualified to do this work: her MLS studies included courses in archival preservation (which she loved), and while living in San Francisco, she created and organized an archive for the Mechanics Institute’s library.  Since moving to Portland, in addition to volunteering at the library, Kris has done editing and photo research for writers, and some freelance grant writing. Fascinated by archives, Kris says her dream job would combine archival and library work with photo research, finding the most appropriate photos for writers to accompany their texts. Although the library may lose an especially knowledgeable, talented, and responsible volunteer when she finds that full-time job, someone will be getting a great employee.


A few facts about Kris

Home library:  Gregory Heights

Currently reading:  War for the Oaks by Emma Bull, An Acceptable Time by Madeleine L’Engle, and The Sin-Eaters Daughter by Melinda Salisbury

Favorite book from childhood:  Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator by Roald Dahl

A book that made you laugh or cry:  The Story of Owen by E.K. Johnston

Favorite section of the library:  641 - Cookbooks!

E-reader or paper book:  "Paper, definitely. I want the feel and smell of a book."

Favorite place to read:  "In an armchair, with my cat on my lap."

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

Gun rights and gun control are topics that come up often these days. It can be hard to find good resources that present multiple viewpoints on issues like this, and provide quotable sources.

An excellent electronic resource is Opposing Viewpoints in Context. It provides links to articles, videos and audio files from multiple viewpoints (you will need a library card # and password in order to access this electronic resource from outside of the library).

 LawBrain covers the legal history of gun control back to the U.S. Constitution. Another good listing is Infoplease’s Milestones in Federal Gun Control Legislation  which covers laws up until 2013.

L.A.R.G.O. Lawful and Responsible Gun Owners and the N.R.A. National Rifle Association both support gun ownership in America. The Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence and The Violence Policy Center both work to reduce gun violence. The Violence Policy Center is also a good resource if you’re looking for statistics related to gun violence (including drive by shootings and suicide).

This Guardian article compares gun crime in individual states and About.com lists Oregon Gun Rights. FactCheck looks at statistics in the media after the Newton shootings, and reports on Gun Rhetoric vs. Gun Facts.  Looking towards changes in the law, gun control is supported by more women than men, and that may have an effect on future legislation.  But right now,  despite repeated pleas for change after every mass shooting, nothing seems to change. 

Need some specific gun facts or laws we haven’t covered? Contact a librarian and we’ll be glad to help

Cover of From the Mixed-up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler
I have two paperbacks which I read so much as a kid they fell apart. One is A Wrinkle in Time with its spine now duct taped and the other is From the Mixed-up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler.

I wasn't exactly fond of visiting museums as a kid but I loved the idea of hiding in a museum. Now that I'm an adult, I love visiting museums. Sometimes I wonder what it was like to wear a suit of armor or sit for hours for a portrait painting. I definitely relish the idea of having a museum gallery to myself, having time to look, no one blocking my view, maybe being able to touch. Claudia and Jamie had the thrill of exploring the Metropolitan Museum of Art after hours--sleeping in a canopied bed, bathing in the fountain, and going behind roped off areas--and found a mystery and eventually Mrs. Frankweiler's files.

Claudia and Jamie only spent a week in the museum, but their story has captivated readers for 50 years! To think it all began with a piece of popcorn on a chair behind a roped-off area in one of the museum's period rooms. That piece of popcorn and curiosity about how it got there inspired E.L. Konigsburg. What public space would you like to have all to yourself?

If you've admired the satisfyingly compact and elegantly designed Field Notes, then you're an Aaron Draplin fan. The author, graphic designer and founder of the Draplin Design Co. has created
Aaron Draplin; photo: Michael Poehlman
 projects for the likes of Timberline Lodge, Woolrich, Patagonia, Nike, and Sasquatch Festival. You can see the range of his work in the eye-candy book, Draplin Design Co.: Pretty much everything.  He is passionate about design and has talked about it on Marc Maron's WTF Podcast. Here's what he has to say about his favorite music for summer:
 
I hide in the summers. I stay out of the sun and avoid the heat as much as I can. Oddly enough, my workload always swells. Each year I say I’m going to take a break in June and July here in Portland. That never happens. And this summer’s been nuts. Like it always is. Up early and down to the shop, watching the sun come up over Mt. Hood. Working late to beat the traffic back up Sandy Blvd to the house. My summer cycle. And there’s always a handful of records that rise to the top of what’s on rotation in the shop. A special category for me: My “Summer Records.” I can look back at each summer and remember the couple records that really got me. And in a lot of ways, helped me get through the warm months. 
 
In my list, I start with “morning records” and work towards "mid-day records” — as things pick up in the shop, the jams get more upbeat. As the day winds down, you get into the darker stuff. Those are the “late night records.”
 
August is still coming up, and I’ll be back home with Mom in Michigan. I’m always adding a couple records a week to my revolving list and am always excited to see what’s coming next to get into the mix. Maybe it’s a gnarly Bob Seger kick, being up in all that Michigan? We’d be down with that!
 
01. Jonathan Wilson, Gentle Spirit
When you look him up, everything talks about some “Laurel Canyon” resurgence. Los Angeles freaks me out, so I’m not tapping too much into any of that. This sounds like something I would’ve heard on the radio in 1979, sitting in the backseat with my little sister, on the way to the beach or something.
 
02. Mark Kozelek, Night Talks EP
As a long-time Red House Painters fan going back to 1993, I have a weird allegiance for Mark Kozelek. Although, he’s a trying artist to keep up with. I just don’t read articles about him, and stick to digging the records.
 
03. Marty Stuart & His Fabulous Superlatives, Way Out West
Just country enough to not make you squirm. Dreamy stuff.
 
04. John Moreland, Big Bad Luv
We love John Moreland. Our buddy. He’s come to the shop a for a couple visits and I’ve seen him play 5-6 times. Such a nice guy, with a big, big voice. I love his records so much. Thank you, John. 
 
More songs about drug deals gone bad, leaving cities and coming back to cities. And I love it. I’d like to meet this guy. 
 
06. Thundercat, Drunk
This stuff is weird! In the best ways. And funny. And really fun. Lots of little things to listen for. And laugh with. This is my favorite record cover of the year!
 
07. Son Volt, Notes of Blue
The first song on this one … that classic Son Volt. That one was enough for me. Over and over again. Rolling, warm and soothing.
 
08. Chavez, Cockfighters
Arithmetic! Math! Long division! Calculus! ‘90s math-y, rock-y heavy hitters, still hit as hard as they did in 1995. Turn it up!
 
09. The Afghan Whigs, In Spades
Dark, brooding, sinister and dark again. I used to associate them with Cincinnati. Now it’s New Orleans. I met the band a couple years back at Greg Dulli’s bar in the French Quarter. This record fits the mystery of that place perfectly, in a new way.
 
10. Mount Eerie, A Crow Looked at Me
Tread lightly here. This is a challenging record to listen to. As beautiful as it is, it’s like going to a funeral. Brave, dark, sad … oddly uplifting stuff.

 

He Volunteers Anywhere He Can Find
Volunteer Ruben Arciniega

by Sarah Binns

The first thing that struck me about Ruben Arciniega was a sense of maturity that far exceeds his years. A long-time member of the Troutdale Library Teen Council, the 16-year-old is already enrolled at Mt. Hood Community College through his high school, achieving high school and college credit for his classes. Pair his challenging coursework with an active volunteering schedule and you have a smart, confident, compassionate young man who is destined to go far--both in the Portland community and beyond.

Ruben initially got involved in the Summer Reading program and the teen council to gain volunteer hours for school. But then, he says, “I started doing more volunteering and realized I really liked it. On Troutdale’s teen council one of Ruben’s roles is to “make everyone feel comfortable,” which led him to create a fun icebreaker to put his peers at ease. He helps the council plan monthly youth-centric events that include everything from an annual Batman party to a visiting game truck, which gives kids who don’t have the resources for video games a chance to play to their heart’s content. “We also do a cyber-bullying event to provide awareness and help for people,” he says. “It’s very fun and rewarding to see how many people are positively affected by what we do.”

Ruben also frequently volunteers at Cherry Park Plaza, an elder care facility, and “anywhere else that I can find,” he says. His community is as impressed with Ruben’s service as I am, and in late June he was honored with a 2017 Volunteer Award from Multnomah County for his involvement in the library.

When I ask what Ruben is interested in pursuing as a career he says he’s undecided, but he finds criminal justice “very intriguing.” For the time-being he has his hands full: “It’s a tough schedule,” he says. “School, volunteering, and trying to find a job. When I do find time to myself I just relax. In the summer I have a lot more time to actually be a kid.” As a fantastic “kid” or an adult, I am confident we will see more of Ruben on the Portland community stage in the future.


A few facts about Ruben:

Home library:  Troutdale

Currently reading:  The Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka. “I was told it would be a good book for me because it’s kind of weird. It’s definitely interesting.”

Most influential book:  “I’ve read a couple of books for my literature class that were interesting and changed my perspective. The Prince by Machiavelli is one. It definitely changed my perspective on leadership.”  

Favorite book from childhood:  The Hungry Little Caterpillar. “It successfully enhanced my creativity as a kid.”

Favorite browsing section:  “Usually if I’m thinking about a certain subject, I’ll just look for that book in the database. I’ll just go in the library and ask where are the books on cooking.”

E-reader or paper:  “Paper, definitely. It feels right.”

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

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