Blogs: Current events

Come say hello to the library at the 29th annual Fix It Fair!  The first fair is this Saturday (11/21) at Parkrose High School from 9:30am-3:00pm.  Want to learn more about the Fix It Fair?  Check out their website including the brochure for Saturday's event. With workshops on Health, Home Repair and Utilities, Finances and Gardening there is something for everyone!

We'll have library resources for you to check out (Gardening Projects for Kids, DIY Solar Projects, Making Healthy Food Taste Great and much, much more), information about library programs and library staff experts ready to answer your questions.  See you there!

Celebrate your freedom to read on Saturday, Oct. 3, 2015 from 2:00 to 3:30 at Midland Library by attending Censorship by Omission: The Diversity Deficit.  Moderated by author Swati Avasthi , three amazing local teen authors Stacey LeeIsabel Quintero, and Tess Sharpe will discuss why books with characters and stories outside the dominant culture are often the most challenged and least published.  They'll talk about getting published, why diverse books matter, and their current books. 

Made possible by The National Endowment for the Humanities Fund of The Library Foundation.


Want to know more about the books most often challenged in 2014 (the most current information available)?  Take a look at this cool chart created by the American Library Association: 2014 Book Challenges Infographic.

2014 Book Challenges Infographic describing the books on the 2014 most challenged list from the ALA.

It's Banned Books Week from Sept. 27 - Oct. 3rd!  Celebrate your freedom to read by reading a book that's been challenged.  Take a look at one of the ALA Challenged Books lists.  Pick one of the books and read it...because you can!  Each of the books on these lists have been "challenged" several times for being inappropriate in some way.  Remember that a challenge is the first step in having a book banned or removed from a library.  So when you read a challenged book, you are supporting your right to choose what you want to read!

What is gentrification?

Gentrification is the process by which neighborhoods undergo a rapid increase in value as properties are purchased and improved upon by wealthier people than those currently living in the community. This most often occurs in poor and working-class urban neighborhoods resulting in the displacement of those residents. In recent years the signs of gentrification in Portland are easily identifiable and abundant. Properties are purchased and improved upon or torn down and rebuilt, rents go up dramatically, wealthier people move into the neighborhood, and area businesses become more upscale. All this means that less wealthy, long-time residents can no longer afford to stay.  In fact, a 2015 study by Governing Magazine found that Portland, Oregon has experienced this gentrification process more severely than any other U.S. city since 2000. This has had a profound impact on many Portland neighborhoods as housing costs continue to rise.  More and more people are unable to remain in long lived in neighborhoods and some are unable to find affordable housing within the city limits at all.

What causes gentrification?

Gentrification can happen in any neighborhood where property values suddenly rise as newer, wealthier residents move in, invest in improvements and/or new construction then displace those who have previously lived there. Often, gentrification is a legacy of past policies that restricted people of color to certain neighborhoods and denied them access to financing. This process occurred through redlining. This excerpt from the documentary Race: The Power of an Illusion illustrates how redlining worked:



In Portland, African Americans were largely restricted to North and Northeast Portland, so it is no surprise that those are two parts of the city undergoing the most rapid gentrification. The Oregonian’s “Roots of Gentrification” series provides an excellent overview of the changes in the city that have greatly contributed to the gentrification of North and Northeast Portland.  Also, the city’s State of Housing in Portland report provides a good overview of the scope of the problem.


What has been the result?

While gentrification has affected areas across the city, among the most impacted has been North and Northeast Portland, the long-time center of the city’s African American population. The impact on that community has been profound. Largely priced out of their homes, the city’s black residents are increasingly moving into east Multnomah County where housing is less expensive. This has meant there is far less diversity in traditionally black neighborhoods. Gentrification also contributes to the rapid increase in rent. A recent study showed Portland's rents rose at  the nation's sixth-fastest rate over the last five years.


What is the solution?

That all depends on who you ask, but because gentrification is not the result of a single, simple cause, there is likely no single, simple solution. It is an issue intimately tied to other challenging social problems surrounding race, class, and economic opportunity. The City of Portland has prepared a study of gentrification risk that identifies different strategies to address the issue. Recently, the Portland Housing Advisory Commission recommended a significant increase in the amount of public money spent on affordable housing. In August 2015, city leaders announced new projects in Northeast Portland to provide jobs and subsidized housing. A coalition of community groups has recommended a comprehensive 11-point plan to combat gentrification but still recognize that there is “no silver bullet” that will solve the problem. To address the issue of high rent, the Portland Renters Assembly organizes meetings across the city and would like to take direct action against the rising cost of rent. Clearly, a variety of tactics are needed to ease the most damaging effects of gentrification. It is impossible to know now what will ultimately be the result.

Mayor Charlie Hales at National Night Out - City of Portland photo

Are you thinking of planning a block party this summer? In early August for the last 30 years, communities and neighborhoods have been getting together to meet, celebrate, and have fun as part of the National Night Out celebrations. These events were started to promote safe neighborhoods and crime prevention initiatives by solidifying partnerships between law enforcement and communities. These events are generally free and family-friendly. A continuing feature of local celebrations is that groups can request to have police officers and firefighters show up at their party. And who knows, your neighborhood could throw a party and maybe even the Mayor will show up!

I know my neighborhood party will have grills and hot dogs and some games for the kids, but each party is a little bit different. Some are small affairs with a handful of neighbors potlucking, while others occupy the better part of a city park. Thinking of planning your own party? The Office of Neighborhood Involvement in Portland has a variety of National Night Out party planning resources to help you get started that should assist planning for everything from a small potluck picnic with chalk out for the kids to a big bash with a live band that shuts down the street. There is a brief National Night Out page for Gresham and a National Night Out page for Fairview, each with a contact person for more information. The message from the experts is to start early--it's not too early to plan for next year! 

The official date of National Night Out is the first Tuesday in August, but there are so many parties happening in Multnomah County, they can't all take place on the same day. The City of Portland compiles a list of parties submitted to them for publicizing. In Gresham, call 503-618-2567 to find out where there's a party near you and in Troutdale call 503-665-6129. Learn more about Fairview's party on their National Night Out web page

We've compiled a list of books to get you planning your party, meeting your neighbors and thinking about community. See our picks for National Night Out celebrations. 

You might see your Library at a National Night Out party. We can't hit all the parties (we'd be so tired!), but where you see us, you can guarantee that we'll be talking about all the great books, services, and resources the Library can provide to you.  Below is a list of neighborhood parties and which location's staff will be attending. Come say hi!

Cully - Tuesday, August 4, 4:00-8:00
6723 NE Killingsworth St.
Gregory Heights Library staff

Downtown Friday, August 7, 6:30-8:30pm
Lovejoy Fountain Park, 
1990 SW 4th Ave
Central Library staff

Fairview - Tuesday, August 4, 5:00-8:00
Community Park, 21600 NE Park Lane
Fairview Library staff

Foster/PowellTuesday, August 4, 6:30-8:30
Kern Park, 
SE 67th Ave & Center St
Holgate Library staff
Mill ParkTuesday, August 4, 5:00-8:00
Mill City Park, SE 117th Ave & Mill Ct
Midland Library staff
Rockwood Tuesday, August 4, 5:00-8:00
Vance Park, 1400 SE 182nd Ave
Rockwool Library and systemwide staff
South BurlingameTuesday, August 4, 5:00-8:00
Burlingame Park, SW 12th Ave & Falcon St
Hillsdale Library staff

Link to whatslegaloregon.comIn November 2014 Oregon voters approved Measure 91, allowing the possession and sale of cannabis by adults 21 and older for recreational use. (Here is the full text of Measure 91.) Deciphering the details of the law can be tricky, especially if you are considering starting a marijuana-related business.

The most reliable source of information about the laws surrounding recreational marijuana is the Oregon Liquor Control Commission (OLCC). Their What’s Legal? Educate Before You Recreate site lays out what you can and cannot do starting July 1, 2015.

The OLCC Rules Advisory Committee & Subcommittees on Recreational Marijuana are having a series of public meetings in their main office at 9079 SE McLoughlin Blvd. in Portland. For questions about accessibility or accommodations for persons with disabilities, please call 503-872-6366 or email You can look up agendas and listen to audio of past meetings online.

If you are considering starting a marijuana-related business, start with the OLCC’s frequently asked questions on marijuana licensing. The OLCC will not be accepting applications for recreational marijuana licenses until January 4, 2016, and the rules are still being written; to stay up-to-date, subscribe to receive email alerts from the OLCC.

Measure 91 has no impact on Oregon’s Medical Marijuana Act. You can apply for a Medical Marijuana card through the Oregon Medical Marijuana Program (OMMP), or apply to be a medical marijuana dispensary through the Medical Marijuana Dispensary Program.

To stay informed, you can find the OLCC's updates on Twitter and Facebook and subscribe to receive OLCC updates by email.

Link to Legalization of Marijuana booklistIf you’re curious about how Oregon’s recreational marijuana plan compares to those in Colorado and Washington, here’s a side-by-side comparison (pdf). If you’re interested in looking at the broader issues surrounding the legalization of marijuana, check out this blog post on legalizing marijuana that my colleague Cathy wrote before the election.  And here are some books that go more in depth into the pros and cons of marijuana legalization and medical use.

Always use caution when searching for information and make sure your sources of information are credible; the Southern Illinois University Law Library has a great guide to Evaluating Websites and Other Information Resources. And remember, you can always ask a librarian for help; we love questions!

This library was very excited to have a table at the Portland Pride Festival and Parade again this year.

We had lots of great titles on display that folks could check out, including Lambda Literary Award winners, lots of great teen and New Adult novels, and children’s picture books! And let's not forget all the great films we can offer you, whether they be DVD, Blu-Ray or streaming!

We’ll also highlighted some of our awesome digital resources, both for your research needs and just for fun!

Folks walked away knowing something new about the library that will help make their lives better, found a great new book to read, and picked up some fun library swag.

Didn't make it to our table at Pride, but still want to find that next great read? Get in touch with My Librarian Matthew, whose personal favorites include LGBT fiction and non fiction.

Or is it a tricky question you need help answering? Ask a librarian anytime via email, chat, text, phone or book an appointment.

President Obama and former President Clinton at the White House, September 2014In May 2015 the Obama Foundation announced that the Barack Obama Library and Museum will be located on the south side of Chicago with a winning bid from the University of Chicago.  Presidential libraries are generally established in a city that is significant in the life of the President and the Obama Presidential Library will be no exception.  The Obama Library is planned where First Lady Michelle Obama grew up and where the President began his political career as a community organizer. The Barack Obama Library and Museum will be the 14th Presidential Library administered by the National Archives and Record Administration (NARA). 

Presidential libraries do more than just house the papers of former Presidents, they also act as monuments to the men and seek to shape their legacies. The earliest Presidential Library administered by NARA is that of Herbert Hoover, the 31st President of the United States. The Hoover Presidential Library & Museum is all inclusive, from Hoover’s birthplace cottage to his and his wife’s final resting place. This isn’t unusual. In all, nine American presidents are, or will be buried on the grounds of their Presidential libraries.

Entrance to the Richard Nixon Presidential Library and MuseumThe Presidential Library system itself began in 1939 when President Franklin D. Roosevelt donated his Presidential papers and other historical materials to the federal government.  Before that time all Presidential papers were considered the personal property of the President after they left office. As one would expect many materials have since been lost or were even intentionally destroyed such as the personal papers of Calvin Coolidge and the correspondence between Martha and George Washington.

Today in addition to the NARA administered Presidential libraries, older collections have sometimes been successfully brought back together digitally if not physically. The Theodore Roosevelt Center is one such example, whose mission it is to digitize copies of Roosevelt’s personal and Presidential papers wherever they may physically be. They are available online for all to access and include both film clips and audio recordings.

Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation and Library Presidential SealPresidential libraries are spread across the country. If a grand road trip to each location isn’t an option, you can often access selected parts of their collections online. For example, the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum has an online collection of Historic Speeches that can be watched or listened to and the George W. Bush Presidential Library and Museum has a 360 degree artifacts Presidential Gifts collection . You can access a full lineup of Presidential Libraries websites and print resources on the topic in the Multnomah County Library’s Presidential Libraries resource list.  Do not hesitate to contact us if you would like additional help.


Outline of the U.S. and image of a camera lens, with the words "CHOOSE PRIVACY" beneath them.What does privacy mean to you? Is it a place where no one is watching you or listening to what you say? Thanks to our ever-connected gadgets (our phones, computers, televisions, e-readers) such places are becoming more and more scarce. Every digital breath we take is noted, collected, and recorded for future marketing or security purposes.

Should we care? After all, we get many benefits by giving up our privacy: we receive recognition from others, we can easily share and communicate with groups of friends, we get free email. But a world without privacy is also a world where you are not free to ask questions or seek information without being monitored.

Libraries care about privacy, and the American Library Association has declared the first week of May to be Choose Privacy Week. Why? “Because the freedom to read and receive ideas anonymously is at the heart of individual liberty in a democracy” (from ALA's "Why libraries?" webpage). 

To learn more about online privacy, attend one of the library's upcoming Privacy and Safety Online classes. You can also take a look at Portland Community College’s Privacy Online guide: it includes videos and links about the ways that privacy is compromised online, and tips for how you can protect it.

Book cover for Intellectual Privacy by Neil RichardsIf, like me, you’re more of a book person, I’ve made a reading list called “Privacy? What’s privacy?” - it includes current books that will help you start to answer that question. If you’d rather get your dystopia in a make-believe format, another reading list, “Surveillance stories and privacy parables,” includes books and DVDs about the privacy-less society that we just might be headed toward.

Are you taking steps to protect your privacy? Or have you already given up on the notion of privacy? Leave your comments below (and please feel free to do so anonymously).


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