Blogs: Parents

Bored? Tired of being home? Try a scavenger hunt to explore the library website and catalog. Discover some new resouces and learn a bit about the library. How many languages does TumbleBooks offer books in? What app can you use to learn a language? When did your neighborhood library open? Try all or some of the questions. Click here for the questions and, when you're ready, here are answers and how to find them.

Schools are closed, the library’s closed, and playdates are cancelled. How will you keep your children active, engaged and learning? How can you find a way among all the websites and social media ideas? Fortunately, Multnomah County Library has you covered with books, databases, and streaming audio and video available beyond our walls. Youth services staff also found and selected other resources  to help parents and students.

Learning resources

Connect to our learning resources list for links to access e-books, tutoring help, language learning, digital magazines, and educational videos available through Multnomah County Library. 

Activity ideas

Need activity ideas? Overdrive Kids has e-books for kitchen science, learning to knit, folding paper airplanes, Lego creations, and a few joke books to help you from hearing the same joke again and again.

Unlimited movies and shows

Visit Kanopy and click on Kanopy Kids on the right of the top bar for a curated collection of movies and shows for preschoolers to middle schoolers. Kanopy Kids provides unlimited plays so your kids are free to explore educational and entertaining content.

Comics and  graphic novels

For your comics and graphic novel reader, Hoopla has a kids mode with Garfield, Nate the Great, Phoebe and Her Unicorn, and graphic novel adaptions of titles such as Anne of Green Gables and The Graveyard Book. Hoopla also has music and movies for the whole family.

Home learning

For links to homeschooling information, virtual field trips, reading, art and science, check out our Home Learning & Engagement website suggestions. If you’re curious what Multnomah County educators are sharing, we put together a list with school district links

 

The library buildings may be closed, but your library is much more than a building and we are here to help.

The library may be closed and people are staying home, but it doesn't mean parents are alone in trying to keep their children feeling safe and keeping anxiety at bay. There are several resources to help parents navigate talking with their children about the coronavirus, school closures, and no playdates. The Child Mind Institute, a national nonprofit whose focus includes children and families struggling with mental health, has suggestions to help.

  • Don’t avoid talking about the coronavirus since most children will already have heard something about it.
  • Share developmentally appropriate information and take your cue from your child. What does your child know, what questions do they have, how are they feeling.
  • If you're anxious, it's not the right time to talk with your child. What can you do to alleviate your own worries?
  • Be reassuring.
  • Routine is important. 
  • Keep talking.

Visit Talking to Kids about the Coronavirus for more in depth suggestions as well as their Supporting Families during COVID-19 page with other tips such as how to make home feel safe and how to avoid passing anxiety on to your kids. Information is also available in Spanish.

Here are other resources to help you talk with your child.

Coronavirus: A book for children by Elizabeth Jenner, Kate Wilson and Nia Roberts, illustrated by Axel Scheffler and with Professor Graham Medley, Professor of Infectious Disease Modelling, serving as consultant. The book is aimed at elementary school children.

Talking to Children about the Coronavirus: A Parent Resource. From the National Association of School Psychologists; available in multiple languages

Coronavirus video from BrainPOP. An entertaining, basic explanation of COVID-19 and needed precautions for elementary age children and young teens.

Comic from NPR. Basic information for youth in a graphic format that can be read in the Blog or downloaded and folded into a zine.

COVID-19 Time Capsule. Created by artist Natalie Long to help families with children during this time. Children can record how they're spending this time as well as how they are feeling. 

Oregon YouthLine. Teens helping teens. Resources on their website as well as open daily from 4p-10p via text, chat, or call. 

Coronavirus: What Kids Can Do. Kids Health has information on COVID-19 for children in English and Spanish and available in audio.  Other sections of their website have information for parents.

Coronavirus Social Story. Little Puddins Blog has a nice, English language "Coronavirus Social Story."

Multnomah County Library has digital resources for you and your child. Below are stories about worrying and resources about practicing mindfulness that may help during this time. For more, check out our E-books and more page.

Find Out What's Available

Trinity college
It's never too early to start looking for scholarships. The best time of year to start looking is in the summer or early fall. This lets you find programs before their deadlines have passed, and gives you enough time to complete a well-planned application. Many scholarship programs require an essay and recommendations from teachers or other adults who know you, and these take time to prepare.  

There are many scholarships, grants, fellowships, internships and work-study jobs available. You'll likely encounter some common eligibility criteria. These include which state you live in, if you've performed military service, whether you have minority status or a particular nationality or ethnic background, a religious affiliation, or if any of your family members belong to a national or local organization or civic association. If you fit the eligibility criteria, be sure to consider applying! 

Researching

The library is a great place to get started as you research scholarships. Whether you are looking for a scholarship in the humanities, the sciences, the social sciences, or sports, we can help you discover ways to find scholarship awards for higher education. 

The Scholarship Handbook is organized by common eligibility criteria. It lists scholarships based on which state you live in, whether you have performed military service, if you have minority status or come from a particular nationality or ethnic background, if you have a religious affliation, and whether any of your family members belong to a national or local organization or civic association. Each scholarship program is described by eligibility, basis for selection, application requirements, amount awarded, application deadline, and contact information.

 

"Billions of dollars in scholarships, grants and prizes." The Ultimate Scholarship Book organizes awards into categories such as humanities, social science, science and general. You don't need a perfect GPA or financial need to win a scholarship. There are plenty of awards that have none of these requirements.

 

 

College help for teens: More resources for financial aid, admissions, guides, and Study Abroad.

From Albina to Kenton to Troutdale, each of our 19 neighborhood libraries has a social story to help prepare for a visit. A social story uses photos and simple text to show children on the autism spectrum what to expect and how to behave in unfamiliar social settings. Knowing what to expect can help children with autism cope but the stories can be helpful for others too. Maybe you’re new to Multnomah County and unfamiliar with our libraries. Maybe you haven’t visited a library for a while and want to bring your child, but don’t know what your neighborhood library is like. Perhaps you’re a teacher helping your class prepare for their first visit to a library. Whoever you are, Multnomah County Library social stories walk you through the door, share what you can find in different areas, introduce the storytime presenters, and show where you can get a library card and check out materials.

social story page showing the Sensory Accommodation Kit available at each library
You can find your neighborhood library's story on the website by going to "Locations," clicking on the location from the list of libraries and looking for "My Library social story." The stories are pdfs on the website and ready for printing.

Also for children on the autism spectrum, our libraries each have a Sensory Accommodation Kit with tools to use during your visit to help with noise and distractions, and to help calm. Preschool Sensory Storytimes at the Fairview-Columbia, Hollywood and Woodstock libraries are especially welcoming storytimes for children on the spectrum and families who are looking for a smaller, more adaptive library experience.

ChIldren sitting on floor

Will your child be 5 years old by September 1? If so, sign up for kindergarten now so they can start school this fall. Sign up at your neighborhood school by June 1 to give your child a good start, connect to summer activities, and get access to free resources. School offices close for the summer, so don’t wait! 

To identify your school, call 2-1-1 or email health@211info.org. Help is available in many languages.

Mother and child reading together
It can be hard to find the right book for a beginning reader. But the library makes it easy. We divide all beginning reader books into four categories, and they are color-coded.

Starting Out (Yellow Reader)

Building Skills (Blue Reader)

Reading More (Red Reader)

On My Own (Green Reader)

To make it even easier, we put together Welcome to Reading bags. Each bag has five books in one of these categories. Getting books that are at the right reading level will help your child love reading and want to read more! Check out a bag from your local library.

Made possible by gifts to The Library Foundation.

In the face of tragedy and violence, it can be hard to know what to say to kids. How do you answer your child’s questions while reassuring them that you will keep them safe? The American Psychological Association says, "It is important to remember that children look to their parents to make them feel safe. This is true no matter what age your children are, be they toddlers, adolescents or even young adults."

Here are three resources that can help parents and caregivers:

Helping your children manage distress in the aftermath of a shooting. From the American Psychological Association.

The National Child Traumatic Stress Network has several resources about mass violence available on their website including Talking to Children about the Shooting and Tips on Media Coverage

Irie Page is about to turn 14. Instead of, say, a birthday sleepover, she has planned a gift for her community, a free event featuring Mike Domitrz, the founder of the Date Safe Project and a consent educator for kids, teens and adults.  The funny, interactive presentation that he gives to teens and adults is called "Can I Kiss You?", which is also the title of his book. It focuses on how to have healthy, safe relationships and how to both avoid sexual assault and avoid sexually assaulting someone else. Her family raised money online to pay Domitrz's speaking fee, and after the story was covered on the local news, they got all the funding they needed. The event will take place at 7 p.m. on Thursday, November 9th in the Lincoln Recital Hall at Portland State University. PSU has waived the rental fees in support of Irie’s event.


I first met this remarkable young woman at the reference desk at my library when she was just a little kid signing up for our Read to the Dogs program. We book lovers who work at the library always notice the passionate readers, the ones who leave with huge stacks of books they’re obviously eager to dive into, and that was Irie. When she was old enough, I suggested that she volunteer for our Summer Reading program, giving out prizes to kids for reading, and she brought huge enthusiasm to this as well. When she told me last summer about the event she was planning, we decided to put together a book display. Irie chose all the books herself. If you can’t get in to see the display, here’s the list.

“After I saw Malala speak, I was inspired to do something for my community,” Irie told me. She originally wanted actress and feminist Emma Watson. "That's not going to happen," her mom told her, and then suggested Domitrz. When Irie happened upon a book here at the library about philanthropy parties, her idea took off.

“I’ve always seen things in the world and thought, ‘That’s messed up. I want to change that,” said Irie. Like Malala, the Pakistani advocate for girls’ rights to education, she decided she could make a difference. She chose to start here, in her own city. 


***EDITED to update Irie's story. This event was a huge success. There was so much community interest that Portland State University gave them a bigger theater in which to hold it, and it was still standing room only, with more than 500 in attendance. I took my middle school-age son and we both found it interesting and inspiring. I was delighted last week when I ran into Irie in the library and she told me she's one of two state honorees for the Prudential Spirit of Community Award. This is a very big deal! She's won $1000, a silver medallion, and a trip to Washington, D.C. At a ceremony in D.C., five national honorees will be chosen from among the state award winners. The staff at my library, who has known Irie for so long, is rooting for her to win the national award, which comes with even more honors and with cash awards for her and for the charity of her choice. We're so proud of her.

 

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?

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