Blogs: Community Services

A Proud Advocate for the LibraryVolunteer Jack Tan

by Mindy Moreland

When most of us hear the word “library,” we picture tall shelves of well-ordered volumes, or maybe a quiet place to sit and read. But as Jack Tan has learned over the past four years, books are only the beginning of what the library has to offer. Jack grew up in Taishan, in China’s Guangdong Province, and moved to Portland four years ago. When he arrived,he spoke little English, so his uncle suggested a trip to the Rockwood Library, near his family’s home. Jack started taking English classes at Rockwood and using the library. “That’s how I fell in love with the library,” he says. “And I use the library so much, why not give back?” 

Jack became a Summer Reading volunteer at Rockwood, helping young readers to select books, choose prizes, and complete their game boards. He especially enjoyed seeing young children learning to read, and the encouragement and support their parents provided. “Jack utilized his every minute here. He never sat still; he always looked for something to help out with,” writes Reid Craig, the volunteer coordinator at Rockwood. “As such, we thought he would make an excellent Computer and Homework Helper. This is a pilot program in the Rockwood Library where we match trained volunteers with children that need help with their reading and homework.” When Summer Reading ended, Jack transitioned into this new volunteer opportunity. “It has been thrilling to see Jack at work helping so many youth,” Reid continues. “There are folks in the community that come to the library especially to get help from Jack.” 

After his first year studying accounting at George Fox University, Jack has taken on a new role and a chance to understand more of how the library system as a whole operates. In the summer of 2014, he is a Communications Intern as part of the Multnomah County Office of Diversity and Equity’s summer mentorship program, working on several different research and media projects. This position fits Jack well, since he is a proud advocate for the library’s array of resources and opportunities. “The most fascinating thing about libraries is the social services they provide,” Jack says. “They make people feel thankful, and make them feel a sense of home.” As Jack would tell you—and as his own experience proves—libraries are indeed about much more than books. 


A Few Facts About Jack 

 

Your home library is: Rockwood Library

What are you reading now? I don't reading any book now, but the last book I read was call The Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell.

What book has most influenced you? The Greatest Salesman in the World by Og Mandino 

When you were a child, what was your favorite book? My Childhood by Maxim Gorky
 
What is your favorite section of the library to browse in? Adult non-fiction
 
Which do you prefer--e-reader or paper book? Paper book

What is your reading guilty pleasure? All of the pleasure, and none of them is guilt. Because I believe books are magic portal to another dimension, out there you will left everything behind you, and just enjoy that moment while you have it.

Where is your favorite place to read? In my bed. Right before I go to sleep.
 

Extraordinary Volunteer and ScholarVolunteer Julia Yu

by Donna Childs

 

Each year,  1000 high school seniors across the country receive prestigious Gates Millennium Scholarships.  This year, out of 21 recipients from Oregon, nine are from Portland, and two 

are volunteers at a Multnomah County Library.  One of those, Julia Yu, is a recent Franklin High School graduate who will attend Emory University in Atlanta in the fall.  (The other volunteer, Enat Arega, is the sister of library volunteer Melaku Arega, who was featured in a previous Volunteer Spotlight in August 2013.)

Julia is a charming, hard-working, talented young woman who has volunteered at the Holgate Library since 7th grade, for a total of almost 500 hours.  She started because she loved reading and because the library was a refuge after school while her parents worked.  Over the years, she has helped with Summer Reading, worked as a branch assistant, and served on the Teen Council, spending as many as four days a week at Holgate Library in the summer.

Not only is she a top student and library volunteer, but Julia was very active in her school’s Key Club, Red Cross chapter, and National Honor Society.  A natural leader, Julia was Key Club Secretary, Preparedness Coordinator at the Red Cross, and Vice President of the National Honor Society.  She initiated several events to improve the Honor Society, increasing membership from 70 to over 180 students.

There isn’t space in this brief profile to list everything this impressive young woman has accomplished already.  She wrote eight essays for her Gates application, before school began in September. She worked for six months as an intern at OHSU, all day every Saturday, which included lectures and lab research on proteins. She plans to major in biology at Emory and pursue a career in medicine. She works in the summers with the Gear-Up college preparatory program and has been president of the math club at Franklin.  Keep an eye on this young woman - she will go far!


A Few Facts About Julia

 

Your home library is: Holgate Library
 
What are you reading now?  Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison

What book has most influenced you? Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher and Brave New World by Aldous Huxley

What is your favorite book from childhood? the Twilight Series by Stephenie Meyer
 
A book that made you laugh or cry: Thirst by Christopher Pike
 
What is your favorite section of the library to browse in? Science fiction and teen romance
 
Which do you prefer--e-reader or paper book? Paper book

What is your reading guilty pleasure? Supernatural reads such as The Vampire Diaries (L.J. Smith), Thirst (Christopher Pike), and The Walking Dead (Robert Kirkman)

Where is your favorite place to read? In my room on my comfy bed.
 

Job search image

If you're looking for work and aren't sure where to start, consider these top sites that will help you begin your job search, network with others find out when jobs in your area of interest open up.
 
OregonLive: Best Local Jobs
Take a look at the Oregonian’s online employment classified section.
 
Craigslist isn't just for getting a couple of bucks for selling that old futon in your basement - you'll also find lists of local jobs in a wide-variety of categories. Here's a great article on getting the most out of Craigslist for your job search.
 
Craig isn't the only one with a list - this is a newsletter and website that posts jobs, internships and volunteer opportunities from hundreds of Portland Metro and greater Oregon non-profits, public agencies, and private employers. It also offers a resource page with recommended books, career coaches and more.
 
LinkedIn is a profession-focused network that allows you to link to people you know and network with those who know them. Its job board allows you to post your resume and it also includes a browser toolbar widget that can help connect you with your targeted employer. Still not sure what LinkedIn is or how it can with your job search? Take a look at LinkedIn's job searching tips and here are some tips from Forbes that LinkedIn won't tell you.
 
Indeed allows you to set up searches and have the results emailed to you daily and/or pushed to you via RSS. Easy to limit to a particular location. As with LinkedIn, this site also lets you post your resume.
 
Search for jobs throughout the state - use the advanced search to limit to a wage per hour, occupational group and more.

Energetic Volunteer

by Donna ChildsVolunteer Carol Lidberg

Carol Lidberg is a dedicated, high-energy volunteer at the Capitol Hill LibraryShe often begins her 2-hour shift before the library opens and races through her list of 130-200 hold requests, challenging herself to find them all in under two hours.  Not only is she a swift and accurate book searcher, she often manages time to check them in to trigger holds, tag them for the library to which they will be sent, and put them in the appropriate crates. Whew!

Carol’s career as a library volunteer began in 7th grade, when she helped at her local library, and continued through college with a work-study job in the college library.  After several years of working full-time, she resumed her library volunteering in 2008 when she left her job to begin an unpaid career in “family management,” caring for her husband and son.

In addition to her weekly stint at Capitol Hill Library, Carol also volunteers at her son's school library at Capitol Hill Elementary. There she checks out books for classes visiting the library and shelves books for the next visit.  She has worn many hats at Capitol Hill School, spearheading various projects and fundraisers, serving on the PTA for several years, helping in the office—whatever needed doing.

Although Carol previously took summers off from her volunteer jobs to be home with her son, now that he is growing up, she will be working at Capitol Hill Library this summer.   And she won’t be alone:  her son is going to begin his library volunteer career working in the Summer Reading program at Capitol Hill.  Like his mother, he is starting young.  


A Few Facts About Carol

Home library: Capitol Hill Library
Currently reading: When Darkness Falls, by James Grippando.
Favorite book from childhood: Nancy Drew and Boxcar Children books.
A book that made you laugh or cry: Any Spenser novel by Robert Parker makes me laugh.
Favorite section of the library: Mysteries and travel.
E-reader or paper book? Paper book, at least until my arthritis gets too bad.
Favorite guilty reading pleasure: Peanuts comics.
Favorite place to read: On the couch with an afghan and a cat.

See last month's Volunteer Spotlight.

 

"Reading is a gift for life."

Volunteer Pam Jacobs

by Mindy Moreland

For Pam Jacobs, seeing a young child’s face light up at the prospect of a new story is a delight that never fades. Books, kids, and fostering literacy were the guiding passions of Pam’s career as preschool and Head Start teacher, and these same passions continue to inspire her as a volunteer. Today she donates her time and energies to several literacy organizations, including SMART (Start Making A Reader Today) and a read-aloud program at an assisted living facility, as well as two library programs.

When she first contacted the library in 2009 to inquire about becoming a volunteer, Pam recalls, her branch needed help with the Summer Reading program. She happily signed on, using her love of children’s literature and her early childhood education background to connect with parents and children eager to choose prizes and advance on their game boards. She’s delighted by their excitement and eager to encourage a love of reading, Pam says. She has helped with Summer Reading every year since, amassing a stack of Summer Reading t-shirts in the process. She enjoys the chance to get to know the library staff as well as the community she serves. “Volunteering is great,” she says.

Pam also volunteers year-round with Every Child, the early childhood outreach program, helping to sort, sticker, and prepare library materials for distribution. She works on projects such as assembling the library gift bags sent home with each new baby born in a local hospital.These contain a board book and information on storytimes and early learning programs. She’s proud to be able to help Every Child, developing young learners who will soon be excitedly completing their own Summer Reading game boards. “We want to keep them on that path,” Pam says. “Reading is a gift for a lifetime.”

 

A Few Facts About Pam

Home library: Hollywood Library

Currently reading: The Bartender's Tale, by Ivan Doig. Doig's style captures me. He is a real old-fashioned story teller.

Most influential book: The Good Earth. This book began an ongoing interest in the works of Pearl S. Buck and a fascination in other cultures. The Sound and the Fury by William Faulkner. A college instructor made Faulkner's work come alive. Other authors that have touched my life in later years are Barbara Kingsolver, Louise Erdrich, and Alice Hoffman.

Favorite book from childhood: The series about the Bobbsey twins (Laura Lee Hope) and later, Little Women (Louisa May Alcott).

A book that made you laugh or cry: Kent Haruf's books make me do both. So do the books of Anne Lamott.

Favorite section of the library: Definitely, the children's section!

E-reader or paper book? I prefer the feel of a paper book.

Favorite guilty reading pleasure: Mysteries of all kinds.

Favorite place to read: In my bed, at a coffee shop, and most of all...at the beach!

 

Elizabeth Blackwell - first woman physicianLadies! Your health issues are different from those of the males in your life. Luckily, there are lots of resources around to help you learn more about your health.  

Did you know that the Food and Drug Administration has a page devoted to women? You can find information about medicine and pregnancy, heart health and women (did you know that women can experience the signs of a heart attack in different ways than men?) and much more.

The National Institutes of Health includes an Office of Research on Women’s Health (ORWH), which partners with the other 27 National Institutes and Centers to “ensure that women’s health research is part of the scientific framework at the NIH—and throughout the scientific community.”

The ORWH has partnered with the National Library of Medicine to create a women’s health resources portal that links to many resources, including information for women veterans, the ORWH’s Primer for Women’s Health, alcohol, tobacco and substance abuse resources, information on exercise and fitness, and much more.

Womenshealth.gov is a site created by the US Department of Health and Human Services Office on Women’s Health (OWH). Follow the OWH blog for up to date news and thoughts on womens’ health, search for information, or browse health topics A - Z. This site is also available in Spanish.

OWH also maintains a site for girls ages 10 - 16. At girlshealth.gov, girls can learn about health, fitness, nutrition, bullying, and more.

MedlinePlus, the National Institute of Health’s consumer website, is a great place to go for health information. The site contains a wealth of information about women’s health, including information on specific conditions, stages of life, prevention, and more. The site is also available in Spanish, and contains information about women’s health in Chinese (traditional) and Korean.

Multnomah County has a women’s services page, too, as well as a pregnancy resources page.  

Many-Talented VolunteerPicture of Grace Ramstad

by Donna Childs

Grace is a mature, gracious, and responsible high school sophomore and multi-purpose volunteer at the Troutdale Library. A lover of books, Grace began as a Summer Reading volunteer before 9th grade, but she has greatly expanded that role since.  

The best relationships are often ones in which everyone benefits. Grace and Troutdale Library have that kind of relationship. With the end of summer, and Summer Reading, Grace searched for other ways to be involved, which led her to Storytime and Teen Council. In the words of librarian Deborah Gitlitz, Grace “quickly demonstrated such warmth, quick thinking, and ability that I recruited her to join the Teen Council, serve as Storytime Assistant at Pajama Time, and this year to serve as one of our Summer Reading Leaders.”   

Grace spends 10-15 hours a week helping to organize everything, keeping track of toys and prizes, doing data entry and anything else that needs doing. For Storytime, she leads activities, sets an example of good behavior, helps set up and put away props, books, chairs. To quote Deborah Gitlitz again, she is “an enormous help in helping kids to get involved and feel welcome... she can even make name tag interactions into literacy moments.” At Teen Council, she helps design activities to attract young readers, advises librarians, and serves as liaison between youth and library staff.  

Grace’s commitment to volunteerism doesn't end at the library. She is a member of her high school debate team, participating in meets with other schools, and is active in her school’s Future Business Leaders of America. One of five children (two older, a twin brother, and a younger sister) Grace has a full, active, and useful life, happily for her and for the Troutdale Library.

 

A Few Facts About Grace

Home library: Troutdale Library

Currently reading: Unbroken (Laura Hillenbrand)

Most influential book: The Boxcar Children (Gertrude Chandler Warner)

Favorite book from childhood: The Boxcar Children 

A book that made you laugh or cry: The Fault in our Stars (John Green)

Favorite section of the library: The YA section

E-reader or paper book? Paper book

Favorite guilty reading pleasure: Corny romance books

Favorite place to read: On my couch

 

See last month's Volunteer Spotlight.

Holding HandsBecoming a caregiver is a life-changing event. Maybe it starts gradually, with a bit of household help now and again, or maybe it starts with the sudden shock of a phone call in the night. Whatever your situation, take heart in knowing that you are not alone. A wealth of resources is available to support you.

Multnomah County

When you don’t know where to turn first, the Multnomah County Aging & Disability Resource Connection (ADRC) Helpline is a good place to start. Information and assistance is available to seniors, people with disabilities, and caregivers 24 hours a day. Call 503-988-3646 Monday - Friday, 8am-5pm, to reach the most knowledgeable staff. Through this same number, you can contact the Family Caregiver Support Program, which offers services that can take some of the burden off unpaid caregivers.

Elders in Action is another great local resource. Through their Personal Advocate Services, trained volunteers help older adults and link individuals to community resources. They focus in the area of housing, healthcare, crime, and elder abuse. Personal Advocate volunteers assist older adults in Multnomah, Clackamas, and Washington counties.

Oregon

The Aging and Disability Resource Connection is a resource directory for Oregon families, caregivers, and consumers seeking information about long-term support and services. Here you will find quick and easy access to information about resources in your community.

National

The American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) knows that caregiving can be overwhelming. Through their Caregiving Resource Center, you can connect with caregiving resources both local and far away. Topics covered include Planning & Resources, Benefits & Insurance, Legal & Money Matters, Care for Yourself, Providing Care, Senior Housing, End-of-Life Care, and Grief & Loss. Caregiving Tools include a Care Provider Locator, a Long-Term Care Calculator, and even a Caregiving Glossary.

Caregivers for persons with Alzheimer’s and dementia face special challenges. The Alzheimer’s Association Caregiver’s Center can help arm you with the information you need to handle those challenges, whether you’re facing them now or need to be preparing for the future. Also through the Caregiver’s Center, you can locate local support groups, which can become an indispensable source of information and emotional support.

The Family Caregiver Alliance provides information on all aspects of caregiving, from public policy and research to practical tips on caregiving. Fact sheets on multiple issues are available in English, Chinese, Korean, Spanish, and Vietnamese.

Caregiver’s Magazine is an online magazine for, about, and by caregivers. Here you will find first-hand stories of others’ caregiving journeys, as well as an online bookstore and tips on resources and strategies.

There are 65.7 million family caregivers in the US--29% of the adult population--and caregiving affects the whole family. The National Alliance for Caregiving is a non-profit coalition of over 50 national organizations focused on family caregiving. The organization identifies new trends and sheds light on the varying needs of caregivers nationwide.

Caregiving is challenging enough when Mom is next door. What if she’s in Chicago? Or Boston? Having an ally on the ground to help you assess the situation can be exactly the extra bit of assistance you need to make sure that all goes well. The National Association of Professional Geriatric Care Managers can help you locate a professional Geriatric Care Manager, a health and human services specialist who helps families who are caring for older relatives.

If you’re a primary caregiver, or if you’re coordinating care at a distance, no doubt you know what it’s like to feel as if you don’t have enough hands, or enough hours in the day, to do everything that needs to be done. Lotsa Helping Hands harnesses the power of community and links it through an online service to provide help when it’s needed. You can create your own community and ask for help, without having to make a dozen phone calls or feel that you’re putting friends on the spot.


Finally, don’t forget to take care of yourself! The stories of other caregivers and how they’ve handled their challenges may give you the ideas you need to take care of yourself.

Contributed by jennyw

Whatever Needs to Be Done

Picture of Sachiko Vidourek

by Mindy Moreland

“Quietly doing tremendous good” is a fitting description of Library Outreach Services, which brings library service to our community’s homebound, homeless, and incarcerated populations. Sachiko Vidourek is one of many volunteers helping this department to thrive; her dedication and flexibility have made her a valued part of the LOS team. Sachiko works with the adult literacy coordinator and the library outreach specialists, with a job description that could read  “whatever needs to be done.” Each week she performs tasks ranging from data entry and preparing materials for citizenship classes to shelving materials and labeling shelves. Sachiko also helps the staff with more abstract problems, brainstorming issues of process, organization, and programming. “Sometimes I might suggest something ridiculous, but it gives a different perspective,” Sachiko says with a warm smile. “When someone has an idea, even if it’s the wrong idea it helps give clarity to the problem.”

 

"If I was a librarian, I'd want to work for LOS."

Sachiko has been drawn to libraries since she was a child. Growing up in Ohio, she used to walk three and a half blocks (an epic journey at the time, she recalls) to visit the local library, where she participated in Summer Reading and was fascinated by the pre-digital checkout machines. As an art history student in college she loved spending time in the cozy art and architecture library, and even considered a career as a librarian. Today she manages the gourmet chocolate shop Cacao, and enjoys the serenity of her volunteer hours in the Library Outreach as a respite from her bustling customer service job. She takes great satisfaction, she says, in the balance of the concrete progress and philosophical problem-solving that volunteering at the library affords. Perhaps most importantly, she adores working with the LOS team, who she describes as quirky, fun, and deeply dedicated to the amazing work they quietly do. “I feel really appreciated there,” she says fondly. “If I was a librarian, I’d want to work for LOS.”

 

A Few Facts About Sachiko

Home library: Hillsdale Library

Currently reading: Technically I'm in between books. I just finished The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss. A good friend gave me Neil Gaiman's Ocean at the End of the Lane for Christmas, and I think that's next. But I also have in-hand-and-waiting Lost Japan (Alex Kerr) and the start of the latest series by Jacquline Carey. I find that my list of books to explore grows faster than I can read, and I often get sidetracked on my way to a particular book.

Most influential book: Books by Alistair MacLean shaped me the most growing up in middle school. Also influential was Setting the Table (Danny Meyers) which sounds like a cooking book but is really about hospitality. Others titles include Lessons in Service from Charlie Trotter (Edmund Lawler) and Joy of Cooking (Irma Rombauer et al.).

Favorite book from childhood: Only one?! I loved Dr. Seuss, Encyclopedia Brown (Donald J. Sobol), and Key to the Treasure (Peggy Parrish), but what I still have on my shelves as an adult are The King and His Friends (Jose Aruego), Max (Rachel Isadora), and A Pair of Red Clogs (Masako Matsuno). Just couldn't give 'em up.

A book that made you laugh or cry: Press Here (Herve Tullet), The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian (Sherman Alexie) and Dog Heaven (Cynthia Rylant)

Favorite section of the library: Usually Young Adult

E-reader or paper book? Paper, paper, paper! (But I might say e-reader later when I need bigger fonts and my glasses aren't enough.)

Favorite guilty reading pleasure: Jacqueline Carey & fantasy in general

Favorite place to read: On the couch with the dog!

See last month's Volunteer Spotlight.

Data Guru

by Donna Childs

Picture of Peter Reader

Peter Reader has made a career of helping people find and use information. Information is only useful if it can be accessed and organized—and that’s where Peter comes in. Renaissance man, Peter grew up in Nome, Alaska, and majored in music in college. Music has been a lifelong love—he plays the accordion and sings with the Bach Cantata Choir. Peter lived in an Eskimo village and worked as a realtor. He started his 30-year career in Alaska and the continental US with the Bureau of Land Management and later moved into administration. He became fascinated with computers in the 60’s, long before the personal computer, and discovered that he loved programming. Among other things, he helped build a payroll system for Bonneville Power Administration. After retiring in 1994, he volunteered at his local NE Portland police precinct, building a database since they had none. This led to a dozen years of running his own consulting business. 


When he retired a second time, he approached the Multnomah County Library to offer his skills. June Bass, Program Manager in Volunteer Services, put him to work on the volunteer database containing hundreds of volunteers from all 19 library branches. For the past 7 years, Peter has worked two days a week on the volunteer database, transferring and tweaking information, creating reports, entering volunteer information, and deleting anything redundant or outdated. The library has substantially overhauled its database twice during these years, keeping Peter especially busy. In 2009 he received a county-wide volunteer award for his work with the new database. June Bass says, “I cannot imagine any volunteer program implementing a new database without a person like Peter...” Aptly named, Peter Reader is also an enthusiastic reader, especially of science fiction. He and his wife have a library of more than 2000 books, in addition to an extensive collection of classical music CDs.

A Few Facts About Peter

Home library: Albina Library

Currently reading: I just finished Rick Atkinson’s trilogy on World War II.

Most influential book: No one book, but Tolkien blew me away in the 60’s.

Favorite book from childhood: A Treasury of American Folklore, ed. by B.A. Botkin (I have used up four copies.)

A book that made you laugh or cry: H. Allen Smith—anything by him.

Favorite section of the library: Science fiction

E-reader or paper book? Paper 

Favorite place to read: In my room

See last month's Volunteer Spotlight.

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