Blogs: Do it yourself (DIY)

Divorce, estate planning, landlord/tenant issues, immigration, arrests and citations... Life is full of legal questions. How do you search for answers without being taken for a ride? We can suggest some excellent resources that can help you out.
 
A good place to start is Oregon Legal Research, maintained by law librarians. Learn how to research the law and represent yourself in court; find the answers to frequently asked questions (When can I leave my kids home alone? Where can I get a free power of attorney form?); and more. They also maintain a comprehensive Oregon Legal Assistance Resources guide (pdf) that can help you find local organizations that specialize in legal areas including disability rights, bankruptcy, political activism, bicycle law and crime victims' rights.
 
Link to Legal Aid Services of OregonOregon Law Help provides free and verified legal information for Oregonians. There are articles in many languages to get you up-to-speed on your rights and resources when it comes to your home, your job, government benefits and more. The site also helps you find a Legal Aid office near you.
    
The Multnomah Law Library in downtown Portland provides legal reference assistance and more six days a week. You can access various legal forms and complete NOLO legal reference books on common legal topics online, 24/7, through their website. The State of Oregon Law Library's online resources include free access to Fastcase, a legal research tool that lets you search sources of law from Oregon, the U.S. Government and many other western states. 
 
The Oregon State Bar public information page has user-friendly legal information, assistance in finding and hiring a lawyer, links to low cost legal help and more.

The Oregon Judicial Department can help you file a case, find a legal form and represent yourself in court. Check out their page devoted to family law for assistance with child custody and support, divorce, domestic violence, and parenting plans. The Multnomah County Circuit Court website can help answer your questions about Family Court.

If you have questions about your rights as a renter, you might want to contact the Community Alliance of Tenants. This statewide, grassroots, tenants-rights organization provides renters' rights information online; if you can't find the information you need, call the Renters’ Rights Hotline at 503-288-0130.

Link to Oregon Council of County Law Libraries.You can always contact us at the library and we can help you locate resources that might be helpful, or visit your local county law library for a wider range of materials.
 
Though we are always happy to help you locate resources and give you search tips, it is against state law for library staff members to engage in any conduct that might constitute the unauthorized practice of law; we may not interpret statutes, cases or regulations, perform legal research, recommend or assist in the preparation of forms, or advise patrons regarding their legal rights.

 

hands

Hands are hard to draw. So are feet, and faces! If you enjoy the challenge of drawing the human form, you might find some great images to work from in the Central Library picture file collection. Many files contain clippings focused on people, and classified by subject (according to library tradition). You’ll find specific folders for each of the following categories (among many others):

men's faces

For work focused on the human form and those tricky parts to draw, you might like to look at the picture files for Hands, Feet, Facial studies, Nude studies, and Portrait studies.

babyIf you’re trying to draw a person at a particular stage of life, you might find helpful images in the folders for Babies, Children, Adolescents, Couples, College life, Families,​ and Aged [people].

To draw a particular sort of character, you might seek inspiration in the files for Angels, Madonnas, Magicians, Gypsies, Pirates, Mermaids, and Jesters.

crowd of men

Is your subject a group? There are picture files for Crowds, Dancing, Demonstrations, Happenings...

Other potentially useful folders for finding images of people include: Biography (this section is huge, with many sub-categories of specific people, occupations, etc.), Boy Scouts & Girl Scouts, Caricatures, Duels, Labor, Occupations, Pageants, Peace Corps, Poverty, Sports, Theater, U.S. - Manners & customs, Utopias, and the Women’s movement.

As with the other images in the picture file collection, these were clipped from magazines, books, and other print materials between approximately 1920 and 2008. In addition to being a resource for images of the human form, they are also a view into how people were represented in American publications and visual media during this span of time. Browsing through them can be a candid trip through history.

Other posts in this Picture File Sampler blog series can be found here: Vintage FashionArtist's WorksBicycles & Tricycles.

collageMCL Makers is a DIY series that highlights Multnomah County Library Staff who make things in their spare time. In the past we have featured soapmaking with Anne and handspinning with Donna. Our next featured MCL Maker is Library Assistant Laura Simon.  When she's not using her talents at her branch to create lovely bulletin boards, flyers, and displays, Laura likes to make mixed media collages and handmade books, among other crafty things. Here she shares with us about mixed media collage.

How long have you been making mixed media collages?

I feel like I've been making collages my whole life! My mom taught me to see the creative potential of every tiny scrap, shiny bit and broken shard. She saved these things in a giant cupboard in our garage. That Craft Cupboard was my boredom buster. My sister and I could spend hours slathering glue onto old buttons, tissue paper, sequins and sticks.

How did you learn to collage?

As an adult, art wasn't really a part of my life. I realized how much I missed the process after I celebrated my 40th birthday by taking a mixed media class at Collage on Alberta. I went straight home and started my own Craft Cupboard, now an entire Craft Room, filled with all sorts of inspiring junk.

Have you used any resources from the library to further develop your craft? 

The strongest connection between the library and my artistic endeavors has always been the creative people I work with. There are so many makers in the library community! Of course there are also some amazing books that have passed through my hands over my  years working in libraries. A few of my favorites are 1,000 Artist Journal Pages: Personal Pages and Inspirations by Dawn DeVries Sokol; Pretty Little Things: Collage Jewelry, Trinkets, Keepsakes by Sally Jean Alexander; and Collage Discovery Workshop by Claudine Hellmuth.

Have you taught others how to collage or shared your skill in any way?

I have regular get togethers with a couple of my crafty librarian friends. For me, the process of creating while spending time with close friends is very therapeutic. I am often surprised by the artistic result. 

What advice do you have for the new crafter just starting out?

Don't overthink it! Jump in, get messy, embrace the chaos. 

For more information on mixed media collage and other creative exploration, check out this curated list

 

Feeling creative?  Needing inspiration?  Check out the OMSI Mini Maker Faire this weekend!  

Who are these makers, anyway? As the OMSI website says. "Makers range from tech enthusiasts to crafters to homesteaders to scientists to garage tinkerers.  They are of all ages and backgrounds.  The aim of the Maker Faire is to entertain, inform, connect and grow this community."  

At the library we are big fans of makers!  We have programs, books and other resources to support our maker community.  We even have a Makerspace at our Rockwood Library for teens.  Because we love makers so much, we'll have a booth at the Maker Faire from 10am-5pm on Saturday (9/10) and Sunday (9/11).  And we're bringing a lot of cool stuff with us!  Stop by to sign up for a library card or to make a rubberband helicopter!

Hope to see you there!  If you can't come, make sure to check out the booklists below for some creative inspiration.

 

Multnomah County Library loves zines!  And that's why we will be at the Portland Zine Symposium on Saturday (July, 9th).  Come see us at this annual extravaganza celebrating small presses, DIY culture and the wonderful zinsters of Portland and beyond!  Oh, and did we mention it's free?

Stop by to sign-up for a library card, check out a zine or snap a photo with our giant library card.  Can't make it?  You can check out some fabulous zines from the library anytime that we're open.  Take a look at some of the lists below to get started.

Dana and John are the masterminds behind Minimalist Baker, a Portland blog dedicated to simple, plant-based and gluten-free cooking. Dana is the recipe developer, and John handles all-things technical. We asked Dana a few questions about books, reading and food, and here's what she said:

The cookbook I can’t live without is ...

I am honestly not a big cookbook user and typically search for recipes online. However, the one I find myself going back to is My New Roots by Sarah Britton. It has so much helpful information about how to soak grains, nuts and seeds, and how to handle and prepare foods on a very foundational level. Plus, the recipes are seasonal and gorgeous!

If I could have dinner with any author it would be...

Anne Lamott. I’ve read most of her books and they’ve taught me so much about life, writing and faith.

I would serve...

I think I would serve my Mediterranean Baked Sweet Potatoes from the blog. They’re a classic, so filling, and entirely plant ­based! One of my all­ time favorites.

The last thing I learned from reading was...

That I should wear a sleep mask to improve the quality and the amount of sleep I get (from the The Body Book by Cameron Diaz).

My guilty pleasure book is...

I don’t know that I have a guilty pleasure book, but I’m always reading up on health and diet and my favorite among that group is Rich Roll’s Finding Ultra: Rejecting Middle Age, Becoming One of the World's Fittest Men and Discovering Myself.

My favorite thing about the library is....

The smell. Ha! I love the smell of books. I also love that there is so much knowledge at my fingertips when I’m there.

National Bike Month has just concluded, and Pedalpalooza is now upon us. Do you need inspiration for your art bike, your cycling costume, or your bike party invitation? Look no further than the Central Library Picture File collection, which contains among its thousands of files one with the heading Bicycles & Tricycles. In it you’ll find images clipped from a variety of sources, from a variety of eras, for your bicycle art needs. If visual art collage and the serendipity of browsing appeal to you, this might be your resource.

Other Picture Files that begin with the letter B include Babies, Bahamas, Bali, Balloons & Dirigibles, Bandstands, Bangladesh, Banks (Buildings), Barbados, Barns, Bathhouses, Belgium, Bells, Bermuda, Bhutan, Bible, Biography (there are many Biography files, with subheadings such as Authors, Cartoonists, Designers, Popes, Scientists…), Biology, Birds, Boathouses, Boats, Bolivia, Bookbinding, Bookplates, Books, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Botany, Boy Scouts, Brazil, Brickwork, Bridges, Bronzes, Bulgaria, Burma, Business, and Buttons.

Picture File clippings - bikes

For more about the Central Library Picture File collection, see:

The Picture File Collection at Central Library

Picture File Sampler: Vintage Fashion

Picture File Sampler: Artist’s Works

Please feel free to get in touch with us to inquire about this unique resource!

 

And for a selection of books about biking in Portland, see Matt's excellent reading list.

 

Donna with her Kuchulu spindle.MCL Makers is a DIY series that highlights Multnomah County Library staff who make things in their spare time. Our first MCL Maker in the series was Anne Tran who taught us about all things soapmaking. Our second MCL Maker is Library Assistant Donna Cain. Donna is active in the fiber arts community and shared with us about her craft. 

How long have you been handspinning fiber into yarn? 

I've been spinning for about 25 years.

How did you learn how to spin?

In the beginning, I bought a used Ashford spinning wheel and took an eight week class at the Multnomah Center for the Arts. I've been happily turning fiber into yarn ever since. I'm a member of the Aurora Colony Handspinners' Guild, and am always learning new things about the craft. Handspinning is one of those crafts that you can learn in a day but take years to truly master. Luckily, every step along the way is a joy. 

Have you used any resources from the library to further develop your craft?

I've checked out hundreds of craft books, including books on spinning, from the library over the years and we have a good selection. Even better, the library has great DVDs on various aspects of hand spinning. How cool to check out a DVD and learn a new technique from a nationally known expert. You'd have to travel and pay a substantial fee to learn from someone like that in person!

Have you taught others how to spin or shared your skill in any way? 

A Kuchulu spindle with multicolored yarn.

I love bringing new spinners into the craft and have taught lots of people, mostly one on one. Currently, Librarian Judy Anderson and I are teaching spindle spinning (Drop Spindle Basics) as a library program.

What advice do you have for the new spinner just starting out? 

I would encourage anyone interested in handspinning to start by taking a class. We continue to offer Drop Spindle Basics through the library. I am also available to teach drop spindle or wheel spinning at the Belmont Knit Fix program. In addition, classes are available at some yarn shops and through the Aurora Colony Handspinners' Guild. Another great beginning (activity) is to attend a fiber festival. They are listed on the Guild's website. It's a great way to see lots of spinners in action and experience the wonders of the fiber world. 

For more information on all things handspinning, be sure to check out this curated list. Happy crafting!

 

 

She's cute, she's clever, but she sure is trouble! 

Cesar Millan, you're great and all, but I can't quite master 'no touch, no talk, no eye contact' with Meri. Come on, look at that face! 

So she likes to steal things from the coffee table and runs out the dog door with them...What kind of things you ask? A pair of eyeglasses, a pair of sunglasses (this dog is costing me a fortune), letters, pencils, earrings, a friend's wallet (mostly recovered apart from the chewed bank card--sorry!)...and basically anything else she can put in her mouth. 

Also, I taught her to speak and now she really likes the sound of her own voice. 

And I taught her to give me a hug when I get home and now she thinks it's okay to jump up on visitors. 

Teoti Anderson's The Dog Behavior Problem Solver  to the rescue!
 


 

Picture file drawer - costume

Fashion designers, stylists, and makers! Perhaps you find inspiration in browsing images of fashion from times past, and you want to go a little deeper than the same top hits that everyone else can find on a Google image search. Perhaps you like the feel of paper. You probably know that you can page through old issues of magazines such as Vogue at the library, and of course we have many excellent books on vintage fashion. But did you know that we have files upon files of image inspiration for your projects?

In the Picture File Collection at Central Library, there are many folders containing clippings of women’s fashions: at least one for each year from 1900-2005. And that’s just a fraction of the files with subjects related to clothing! Other files contain examples of traditional dress around the world, children’s clothing, men’s fashions, school uniforms, and accessories such as spectacles, shoes, and underwear. One file is all about men's coiffure, including beards. Another focuses entirely on the American "Pioneer Mother" style of dress. There's a file for Norse (Viking) costume, one for the stock pantomime characters Pierre & Pierrot, and another for Scottish tartans. There is a folder of swimwear clippings for each decade in the twentieth century... and so on! The files in the Picture File Collection are assigned library subject headings and subheadings, much like books and other library materials. The library subject heading that encompasses these fashion clippings is Costume, with subheadings like Costume - 20th c. - 1963.

Women's fashion clippings 1963

1963 is an excellent year for women’s fashion, I think. There’s sophistication and grace, and also the Tweter (a sweater for two, which apparently was invented by novelist Beth Gutcheon)!

If this piques your interest, you might be interested to know that following the many Picture Files with the heading Costume come the folders with these headings: Couples, Courthouses, Covered Wagons, Crete, Crime, Croatia, Crowds, Cuba, Curaçao, Custom Houses & Ellis Island (buildings), Cyprus, Czechoslovakia, Dairies, Dams, Dancing, Day Care Centers, Demonstrations, Denmark, Deserts, Design, Devils, Disabilities, Domes, Dominican Republic, Drawings, Driftwood….

The many file drawers that contain the Picture File Collection are in a staff-only area of the library. To access the Picture Files, and to browse a traditional library card catalog file of the subject headings, please visit the reference desk at the Art & Music room on the third floor of Central Library. Images from the Picture File Collection can be checked out, too - up to 50 individual clippings. Please feel free to contact us with any questions you may have about this unique and historical collection!

 

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