Blogs:

Couple taking selfieOnline privacy and security can seem daunting and confusing. We've broken it down into a few topics we thought would be most helpful. Have more ideas? Let us know in the comments.

Get the privacy you want on social media

How to protect yourself on public wi-fi

7 ways to identify a phishing scam

Email phishing scams and how to avoid them

 

 

mother and son on beachWhat is too much information on social media?

Ask yourself whether the information could be used against you. For example, if you share vacation photos while you're away, someone could break into your empty house knowing you're gone. If you share photos when partying hard, those photos may be seen by a future potential employer. If you make a new phone number available, your ex may find it. 

Here are some tips to maintain the privacy that you want on your social media accounts:

  • Use strong passwords.
  • Update your accounts regularly.
  • Don’t accept people you don’t know as friends.
  • Keep personal things personal and limit sharing to the people you want to see them rather than making everything “public.”
  • Be wary of strange messages or links from friends. People can pretend to be a friend, or maybe your friends’ account has been hacked.

Here are some useful links:

Information from The Center for Identity on privacy settings

Facebook privacy settings

Facebook privacy settings video

Messenger privacy settings

YouTube privacy settings

Instagram privacy settings

Twitter privacy settings

SnapChat privacy settings

 

More ways to protect yourself online.

Signs that say Hope and Despair.When you are seeking help, it can be overwhelming to figure out where to start. This is a selective list of social service organizations and places that offer housing, shelter, mental health counseling, escape from abusive situations and other basic needs for people who are homeless, jobless or going through personal transitions. If you have any questions or need assistance finding services, contact us and we'll be happy to help!

When in doubt, start here: 211info

211info is a comprehensive support hub for referrals to food, shelter, housing, foreclosure assistance, health care, and much more. Calls are confidential, anonymous and free. Certified Information and Referral Specialists assess the situation and refer callers using a locally managed database of over 4,200 programs in Oregon and Southwest Washington. Telephone interpreters are available for help in more than 150 languages. Dial 211 from any phone; text your zip code to 898211; send an email to help@211info.org; or search resources online.

Other resources:

Cascadia Behavioral Healthcare

Cascadia provides mental health counseling for people with psychiatric and substance use challenges. They provide crisis intervention, addictions treatment, and housing services for people who are very low-income. Their website includes addresses and phone numbers for services as well as links to additional behavioral health resources.

Multnomah County Mental Health & Addictions Services

Provides mental health services to adults, children and families. They serve Oregon Health Plan members enrolled in Health Share of Oregon/Multnomah Mental Health as well as people who have no insurance or resources. Their Mental Health Call Center is staffed 24 hours a day, seven days a week; call 503-988-4888, 800-716-9769 (toll free) or 503-988-5866 (TTY).

Northwest Pilot Project

Provides housing and other supportive services for seniors ages 55 and older who are homeless or at risk of becoming homeless. Help finding housing, transportation help, advocacy and referrals to other resources and services. NW Pilot Project recommends calling 503-227-5605 before coming in.

Outside In

Outside In is a community resource for homeless youth.  They provide health services, counseling and shelter, as well as programs and education.

Call to Safety

Offers 24 hour telephone crisis counseling for victims of domestic and sexual violence; call 503-235-5333 or 888-235-5333. The organization also offers support groups and direct service counseling for victims of domestic violence and childhood sexual abuse.

Rose City Resource

Street Roots publishes this very comprehensive directory of services for people experiencing homelessness and poverty in Multnomah, Washington, and Clackamas counties.  It is updated twice a year.

Transition Projects

This organization can help with a variety of services including shelter, showers, food box vouchers, clothing, laundry services, Trimet tickets, information and referral, and housing search assistance.

Diary of a Bookseller book jacketSometimes I get in a reading rut where I realize that the last ten books I've read have been British police procedurals or chapter books featuring third graders, but I am rarely in a reading slump where I drift from book to book starting chapters only to abandon them a few pages in (even though they were books I placed on hold and was desperate to read - before I got them).  This spring, however, I hit a major slump and it was only when I picked up The Diary of a Bookseller by Shaun Bythell that my reading juices got flowing again.  Bythell is the owner of The Bookshop - the largest used bookstore in Scotland - and for a year he kept a diary noting the dramas small and large in a bookseller's life.  I read it quickly and frequently laughed out loud at stories of staff and customers. I have now put in a request to my Scottish sweetie that we visit Wigtown - the book town where Bythell's shop resides - sometime in the next year or so.  After reading Bythell's book, I moved on to more memoirs, anecdotes, romance and other fiction about bookstores, and my spring reading slump is a thing of the past (although I am now, perhaps, in a bookshop reading rut)!  Check out this list for some entertaining and engrossing books about bookstores.  Happy spring reading!

 

Library staff providing a tour of the libraryOn a late afternoon in early April, a small group is quietly gathered in a meeting room at Midland Library. Terhas is watching as Corinne stands smiling at the front of the room, pointing to a slideshow projected on the board. Speaking in short sentences, Corinne goes over the various types of education in the United States; she pauses and then waits. Terhas and the other students in the classroom turn attentively to the person next to them, their translator.

The room fills with chatter and animated discussion in Arabic, Rohingya, Kinyarwanda, and Tigrinya. 
 
Terhas is attending a cultural orientation session organized by Catholic Charities for newly settled refugees. During the sessions, refugees learn the basics of navigating transportation, banking, employment, health services, education, and thanks to a partnership with Multnomah County Library — they also learn all about the library.
 
When Corinne finishes, she introduces Elena Gold, a library assistant at Belmont Library and Gesse Stark-Smith, a community outreach librarian, to talk about the library and distribute gifts to each of the refugees — Oxford Picture Dictionaries. 
 
The dictionaries were purchased as part of the staff-led library innovation program, Curiosity Kick! Each year, staff submit ideas for new services or programs that cost under $15,000 and could help the library better serve the community. Library staff vote and select the top ideas to move forward as fully funded projects. Last year, staff selected the dictionaries project as a winner. 
 
“The library is here to help people live their lives as they wish, and library staff are very perceptive at identifying changing community needs. The Curiosity Kick! Program has been an encouraging model to introduce new services while supporting staff innovation and problem solving,” said Vailey Oehlke, director of libraries.
 
Elena and Gesse make their way around the room, handing out the new dictionaries along with forms to sign up for a Multnomah County Library card. 
 
“The dictionaries have been a wonderful gift to the refugees during these sessions. They’re getting so much information in a short period of time so the ability to have something tangible to keep and hold on to and learn from is very meaningful,” said Corinne. 
 
In addition to partnering on the cultural orientation sessions and handing out free dictionaries, the library offers ongoing support and services, including English conversation classes, citizenship classes and one-on-one adult tutoring, which can help adults studying for a degree or professional certification.
 
Until the allocated funding runs out, the library will continue to provide dictionaries to refugees through Catholic Charities and two other local refugee resettlement agencies. The project team is currently looking for ways to continue the program after the Curiosity Kick project ends. 
 
After receiving their new dictionaries, the group follows Elena and Gesse out for a tour of the light-filled Midland Library. Delighted with her new library card, Terhas pulls an item off the shelf and heads straight for the self-checkout machine, eager to check out her first book.

 

Leading the Readers

by Donna Childs

To say high school sophomore Nasra Ali participates in the Follow the Reader program at Gregory Heights Library is a significant understatement. Nasra was introduced to Follow the Reader by a friend and she quickly became not just a participant, but an enthusiastic leader and advocate. She distributes flyers, recruits and tutors budding readers, and recommends ways to expand and improve the program, like including foreign language reading.

Follow the Reader matches younger readers in grades K-5 with older students who have been trained to help with reading. Tutors generally meet one-on-one with three children each Saturday for a half hour each, between 4:00 and 5:30. Invested in her young readers, Nasra takes pains to encourage them, choosing books based on their interests, and missing them when they move on. When asked what she likes most, she promptly replied, “watching a child improve and become excited by reading!”

Nasra is an impressive student herself. A sophomore at Franklin High School, she earns As in Advanced Placement classes, which entails college-level work that is usually reserved for juniors and seniors. “No Bs for me; to me, Bs are like Fs,” she insisted. Not surprisingly, she has been accepted into a summer program at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C., which will allow her to live on campus and take more college-level courses. Meanwhile, she participates in a college preparatory program for high school students in Portland on Saturdays. Afterward, she volunteers with her readers at the library. This year, Nasra’s science fair project won first place, not only for Franklin but also for all Portland Public School students. She moves on to the state competition later this month.

“Nasra brings heart and enthusiasm” to Follow the Reader, according to the librarian who oversees the program. Describing herself as “a middle child between two older brothers and two younger brothers” (though happily there is now a baby sister as well), Nasra credits her love of reading to seeking a quiet escape. While she might treasure the occasional sojourn into the world of a good book, escape is not the word many who know her would associate with the energetic and involved Nasra Ali.


A few facts about Nasra

Home library:  Gregory Heights and Hollywood

Currently reading:  Does My Head Look Big in This? by Randa Abdel-Fattah and Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer.

Favorite book from childhood:  I’ve read so many books over time, I cannot choose just one.
 
Most influential book:  Does My Head Look Big in This? It shows the struggle of a young Muslim teen overcoming social obstacles in high school.

Book that made you laugh or cry: The Night She Disappeared by April Henry.

Favorite section of the library: teen section

E-reader or paper?  Paper; it’s just more traditional

Favorite place to read:  In my bedroom
 
Thanks for reading the MCL Volunteer Spotlight. Stay tuned for our next edition coming soon! Read last month's Volunteer Spotlight.

Geoff BrunkLibrary Outreach Services Coordinator Geoff Brunk has been with Multnomah County Library for 21 years, but his library career started halfway across the world in Taipei, Taiwan.

Geoff, who is fluent in Mandarin, has a degree in Asian Languages and first went to Taiwan to study for what he thought would be one year — it actually turned out to be ten. There, he started working at the National Central Library in international exchange, contacting libraries from around the world and exchanging books with them. His passion for libraries continued as he made his way to Oregon and began working for Multnomah County Library.

Today Geoff continues his work with diverse communities. As part of the library’s Outreach Services team, he helps people across Multnomah County access library materials through several programs: Words on Wheels, a volunteer-supported library program that matches specially-trained volunteers with homebound patrons; a lobby service program that provides library materials to senior living communities each month; and through outreach to 50 organizations that assist people without permanent housing.

Each of these programs is meaningful for Geoff because of the opportunity to connect with patrons who may not make it into a library branch:

"I love hearing from community partners how Multnomah County Library’s shelter program improves their guests’ and clients’ lives. It’s fun visiting the senior communities, seeing residents from different cultures poring over books and movies in their native languages, then catching up with our staff and one another at these library-focused gatherings. And I enjoy playing matchmaker, going along with Words on Wheels volunteers on their first visits to their patrons’ homes. It amazes me how often the pair have things in common."

As part of the library’s effort to connect the houseless community to library services, Geoff manages library donations to local shelters and organizations. Last year, with delivery help from volunteers, the library donated 15,000 materials in English and Spanish, from books for leisure reading to titles on GED test preparation, substance abuse and recovery, parenting, and mental health.

During his outreach, Geoff meets a variety of patrons, young and old, English-speaking and non-native speakers. In recalling a special moment, he remembers a Mandarin-speaking patron, a woman in her 80s, who called asking for United States citizenship information.

"After checking with our resident expert on naturalization, Lisa Regimbal, MCL’s adult literacy coordinator, I sent this patron exactly what she needed. A few months later, when we visited her apartment building, she came over to thank me. She’d just gotten her citizenship and was excited and grateful for the information the library provided. It was wonderful to have helped a person become a proud new US citizen."

 

Cover and link to report, From Awareness to Funding 2018We know that for most human beings, perception is reality. For most of their existence, libraries have relied on a simple equation: If books = important; and library = books; then libraries = important. But similar to the Toys“R”Us brand, the “books are us” brand is losing its perceived value and relevance. Among other forces, both libraries and Toys“R”Us have been deeply impacted by rapidly evolving and increasingly broadly valued technology. A recent report provides some insight.

The report, From Awareness to Funding: Voter Perceptions and Support of Public Libraries in 2018 (FATF), an update to a report from 2008, was produced by OCLC Research, in partnership with the American Library Association (ALA) and its Public Library Association (PLA) division. The report’s findings are both affirming and cause for concern. They call for urgent action.

Think about our world 10 short years ago. The iPhone and the App Store, Kindle, and Netflix all launched around then–right around the time the original From Awareness to Funding report was released.

About 10 years ago:

  • Google did about 365 billion searches; in 2016 Google did over 2 trillion searches
  • 24% of the US population was using social media; in 2017 81% was using it
  • 11% of Americans were using smartphones; in 2017 81% were using them

According to the recently released 2018 Tech Trends report by Amy Webb and The Future Today Institute, the next decade will bring continuing and unprecedented change, including a “new era of computing and connected devices which we will wear and will command using our voices, gestures and touch….[which] will forever change how we experience the physical world.” (p.8). It’s hard to believe that within the span of 20 years the smartphone as we know it will have come and gone. To state the obvious, the world and the communities in which our libraries exist are dramatically different than they were the year FATF was first released. And these changes are impacting the perception people have of public libraries--their value and relevance.

Given all this, it is no wonder that, according to the updated report, the perception that “the public library has done a good job of keeping up with changing technology” dropped from 60% in 2008 to 48% in 2018. And in spite of, or perhaps because of, this it is imperative that libraries continue to prioritize their role in digital equity. Where else can those among us with the fewest resources and opportunities find free, quality access to and assistance in effectively using the technology increasingly imperative for thriving in our world?

Technology’s relentless evolution isn’t the only trend to which we must constantly adapt. The demographic shifts we see demand investment to ensure that everyone has equal opportunity and access. A widening opportunity gap presents critical challenges for people who are new to this country and others who might be left in the margins. According to Pew, “by 2055, the U.S. will not have a single racial or ethnic majority. Much of this change has been (and will be) driven by immigration.” It is heartening, then, to learn that in the 2018 report there was a 10% increase in the number of participants who acknowledge that the library “provides classes, programs, and materials for immigrants and non-English speakers.”

Of concern, there was a 20 point drop in the number of respondents who are likely to see the library as a resource for children (71% in 2008; 51% in 2018). Support for early literacy and school success have long been a cornerstone of the library’s value. No doubt, technology is a factor in this shift. Not only do most folks now turn to Google and the internet for their basic information needs (including homework), but more and more people, especially youth, seem to prefer digital entertainment (YouTube, Spotify, Snapchat) over reading. According to Flurry Analytics, the average U.S. consumer spends over five hours a day on a smartphone and, from 2016 to 2017, media consumption on mobile devices jumped 43%. According to a 2015 Common Sense Media report, US teens “use an average of nine hours of entertainment media per day” and tweens “use an average of six hours a day, not including time spent using media for school or homework.”

Other findings that were hard to read, but vitally important, include a decline in respondents’ enthusiasm about library staff. There were notable drops from the 2008 findings in “having the right staff to meet the needs of the community” as well as the perceptions that staff are friendly and approachable, true advocates for lifelong learning, knowledgeable about my community, understand the community’s needs and how to address them through the public library, and have excellent computer skills. All of this likely contributed to a decline in the library’s perceived value and relevance to the community. In 2008 73% of respondents agreed that “having an excellent public library is a source of pride.” In 2018 that percentage dropped to 53%. Additionally, in 2008 71% agreed that “if the library were to shut down, something essential would be lost.” In 2018, only 55% of respondents felt this way.

It would be natural for librarians to respond to all of this with defensiveness and/or despondence. And while that’s certainly understandable, neither response is constructive. I would encourage us to assign a sense of urgency to these results. We’ve known for years that the ways in which the world is changing will impact how we do what we do. These sorts of findings provide us direction in charting our future. I think we can all agree that libraries are in an increasingly unique position to improve the lives of those we serve and build stronger, more resilient communities. How we do that may be different than it was decades ago, but it is no less important. In fact, our communities need us now more than ever. Fortunately, the percentage of respondents that agreed their local library is “a place for people in the community to gather and socialize” increased from 35% in 2008 to 44% in 2018 and more people believed that to be an important role for the library–a fact that sets us up nicely for serving as conveners and facilitators of the important conversations and connections our communities need.

Franklin Delano Roosevelt once said, “libraries are essential to a functioning democracy.” In his new book, The People vs. Democracy, Yasha Mounk writes that “over two-thirds of older Americans believe that it is extremely important to live in a democracy; among millenials, less than one-third do.” If all of that is true, then we have an obligation to ensure that America’s public libraries are strong, relevant and responsive. And we need to do the work to ensure that our communities believe they are. It’s up to us.

So how about a new equation? If libraries = democracy; and democracy = important; then libraries = important. So let’s roll up our sleeves and get to work!
 

Attention educators! Are you tired of using the same old books with your students every year? Attend one of our summer educator workshops to learn about the latest and greatest materials to use in the classroom.

 

Gotta Read This: New Books to Connect with Your Curriculum

Come to this workshop to learn about new books you might integrate into your language arts, social studies, math, science and arts curriculum.

For K-5th grade educators:

  • Tuesday, Aug. 7, 2-4:30 pm, Central Library U.S. Bank Room, 801 SW 10th Ave. Register by August 3.

For 6th-12th grade educators: Gotta Read This! online booklists

  • Select the subjects of greatest interest to you. Register by August 3, and we’ll notify you when the online booklists are available.

 

Novel-Ties (for 4th -8th grade educators)

  • Discover hot, new fiction to use in book discussion groups and literature circles. Register by August 3, and we’ll notify you when this online workshop is available.

 

Contact School Corps with any questions!

Getting online at the library, a coffee shop or a hotel is convenient, but what about security and privacy?

Anyone who is up to no good can monitor your activity on public wi-fi. Hackers easily get software that makes this possible. Your personal information, private documents, contacts, photos, even your login credentials can be seen. This information can be used to access your accounts, impersonate you or steal your identity.

Public wi-fi includes open networks (which don’t require a password) and semi-open networks (which do, but anyone can log on).

Take precautions

  • If possible, wait until you can use a network you know is secure to check email or do online banking or shopping. They all involve sending passwords and personal information.
  • When you do use public wi-fi, check that you are connecting to the correct network. A coffee shop’s wi-fi may be named espresso1, but someone could have set up a false wi-fi and named it freecoffee. If you login to freecoffee, all your information will flow through the hacker’s computer.
  • Look for https in the address bar. This means that the site is encrypted. A hacker can still intercept your information, but it will now be harder to read and use. Every page of a website should be encrypted. If you find yourself on an unencrypted page, log out right away.
  • Change your computer’s wi-fi settings to public and turn off file sharing.
  • Limit your time. Stay logged into wi-fi only while you need it.
  • Sign out of accounts. Log out when you are done.
  • Keep your computer and security software up to date. Pay attention to warnings that a site is unsafe.
  • Do not use the same passwords for different websites. If someone gains access to one of your accounts, they won’t have access to your other accounts.
  • Consider changing settings so your mobile device does not automatically connect to wi-fi.
  • Your phone’s cellular data is much more secure than public wi-fi. If in doubt use cellular.

VPN

If you regularly access online accounts through wi-fi hotspots, using a virtual private network (VPN) may be a good idea. VPNs encrypt traffic between your computer and the internet, even on unsecured networks. You can get a personal VPN account from a VPN service provider. Some organizations create VPNs to provide secure, remote access for their employees. VPN options are also available for mobile devices; they can encrypt information you send through mobile apps.

More resources

Tips for Using Public Wi-Fi Networks (Federal Trade Commission) 

VPN Beginner's Guide (The Best VPN) 

More topics

More ways to protect yourself online.
 

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