The Story of One Summer Reading Volunteer
by Donna Childs
Atticus Wilson is an intelligent, thoughtful, and sincere young man who knows himself and is willing to make the most of his opportunities. A freshman at Jefferson High School, he volunteers with the Albina Library’s Summer Reading program and has since he was old enough to qualify, the summer before he started sixth grade. When asked how he knew about the Summer Reading program, he said a librarian from the Albina Library had visited his classroom to encourage young readers - his kindergarten classroom! She had so inspired Atticus that he signed up to volunteer five years later.
He took her words about reading to heart as well, often reading several books at one time: he is currently in the midst of five books! In addition to Summer Reading, Atticus attends a Dungeons and Dragons camp every summer, and that is only the tip of his D&D iceberg. Despite being a new freshman, he founded a D&D club at Jefferson, and he is creating his own D&D campaign (adventure). When finished, he plans to test it and then send it to the company that makes the game.
Atticus chose to attend Jefferson, despite its being three miles away, because the closest school to him, Grant High School, is slated to be remodeled, sending its students even farther away. Furthermore, Jefferson has several appealing programs. For example, he is one of fifty students chosen, in a rigorous process, for a biotech program, through which he will be eligible for internships, other learning experiences, and jobs at OHSU after his sophomore year. And, thanks to Jefferson, he will also be able to take classes at nearby Portland Community College, for free. This year at Jefferson, Atticus also took a television production class, with both field and studio components. He conducted and produced a three-minute interview with one of his teachers, and the class as a whole produced a student-run Jeopardy-type program. (Some previous student productions are available on YouTube at Jefferson Demos.JTV.) Although his favorite subject is math, and he is interested in technology, Atticus also likes studying history and literature. He is a well-rounded young man, thanks to all that reading, perhaps?
A few facts about Atticus:
Home library: Albina
Currently reading: Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfus; Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli; Reality Boy by A.S. King; Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare; Still Life with Tornado by A.S. King
Most influential book: Unknown; they all influence me in different ways.
Favorite book from childhood: Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss
A book that made you laugh or cry: Hollow City: The Second Novel of Miss Peregrine's Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs
Favorite section of the library: teen fiction
E-reader or paper: Paper books are better.
Favorite place to read: locked in my room, holding my dog
Thanks for reading the MCL Volunteer Spotlight. Stay tuned for our next edition coming soon! Read last month's Volunteer Spotlight.
Are you heading to the NW Pride Festival this weekend? If so, make sure to stop by the Library table at the Multnomah County Booth. We'll be signing people up for library cards, checking out some of our favorite LGBT+ books and giving out prizes! Can't make it to the festival? Celebrate Pride from anywhere by reading a great LGBT+ book! Check out the lists below for inspiration or ask a librarian for a personalized pick.
Understanding and mutual respect for people with diverse histories, cultures, and religions is essential to a functioning democracy. If you're curious about Muslim beliefs and the cultural heritage associated with Islamic civilizations. here are some lists and resources to get you started. Many of these resources we put together through a joint project of the American Libraries Association and the National Edowment for the Humanities.
The My Librarian team loves to spend time searching for the perfect book for you, dear readers; but when summer comes, we like to indulge ourselves with books that hit our sweet spot. Here are the titles we're excited about.
I love a good 'long walk' book, so when Cheryl Strayed recommended Flâneuse: Women Walk the City in Paris, New York, Tokyo, Venice, and London, I immediately put it on my 'to be read' list.
My eight-year-old and I are having a blast with Andy Griffiths's outrageously silly series starting with The 13-story Treehouse. It's inspired us to build our own treehouse this summer. We plan to skip the shark tank, but are still hatching plans to simulate Andy and Terry's ice-cream serving robot- Edward Scooperhands
If you love Jane Austen, are intrigued by the idea of time travel, and find yourself looking for something on the lighter side, let yourself get swept away to Regency England by Kathleen A. Flynn's The Jane Austen Project. Be warned, dear reader: it's a very difficult book to set down.
As someone who is deeply interested in Communism, and a massive fan of China Miéville's fiction, I'm stoked to read October: The Story of the Russian Revolution, his take on the early months of the Russian Revolution.
I was taken by this unusual debut by Paula Cocozza, How to be Human. Set during the summertime in London, this is a whole new look at obsessive love.
Summer is the perfect time to be entertained by David Sedaris. I can't wait to read his innermost thoughts in Theft by Finding: Diaries (1977-2002).
In Martha's Vineyard, Island of Dreams, Susan Branch uses her uniquely decorated diaries to illustrate one year spent in a one-room cabin on Martha's Vineyard. A perfect book to read during the long warm days of summer- especially if you need some inspiration.
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. 8, 2-4:30 pm, Central Library U.S. Bank Room, 801 SW 10th Ave. Register by August 4.
For 6th-12th grade educators: Gotta Read This! online booklists
- Select the subjects of greatest interest to you. Register by August 4, 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 4, and we’ll notify you when this online workshop is available.
Contact School Corps with any questions!
“I feel like I'm a better person when I'm at the library.”
by Sarah Binns
Like most of our Spotlight volunteers, Heather Reed is many things: full time worker, full time student, and full time dog mom to her dachshund, Artemis. But unlike other featured volunteers who fit the library around their careers, Heather hopes the library will be her career. She is currently working toward a computer science degree at PCC, but afterward she'll apply to graduate school programs for a Master's in Library and Information Science (MLIS). “I'm hoping to go into archival work,” she says.
Heather has always been a reader. Growing up in Detroit, Michigan, she was taken to the library by her parents read for hours. . “That was the place I felt most at home,” she says. Heather translated her love for reading into a job, working for two years as a page clerk in Arizona before moving to Portland last year. “A hundred and ten degrees was just too hot for me!” she says about the move from the Southwest.
Heather “does a little bit of everything” as a branch assistant at Midland Library. She processes holds, shelves books, and works on the paging list. Best of all is the occasional interaction with patrons: “I like when I'm able to help people find things. I'm not able to help them a lot, but when I do it's really rewarding.” She can only fit in one shift a week between school and work, but wants to do more. “When you enjoy something that much, it doesn't feel like work. I feel like I'm a better person when I'm there.”
When I ask about her hobbies, she laughs like it's a foreign concept, given her busy schedule. She does collect antique teacups, though, and has about thirty, ranging in origin from Imperial Japan to England. “I like hand-painted ones,” she says with a smile, “those are the most unique.”
Getting her MLIS is Heather's goal, all inspired by her childhood at the library. “I feel like the library is the best place on earth. You should go in there and get the resources you need. If I can bring that to other people—what else can I ask for?”
Home Library: Midland
Most influential book: The Vampire Hound by Jim Hunt. “It's the book that got me into reading and it sparked my love for fantasy books.”
Favorite book from childhood: See above!
Currently reading: The Wheel of Time series' second book, The Great Hunt. “I hear everyone talk about Game of Thrones and I'm sure it's good, but I say 'Have you read this?! It came first!'”
Guilty pleasure: Manga.
Book that made her laugh or cry: “Probably the Harry Potter series is one of the most emotional” for her.
Favorite library browsing section: True crime. With her other favorite, fantasy, “Everything is pretty and interesting, but with true crime you find out about something you never knew happened.”
E-reader or paper: Both.
Favorite place to read: Outside. “Sometimes the wind will blow and it will match up to something in a book and it's hard to get that experience inside.”
Thanks for reading the MCL Volunteer Spotlight. Stay tuned for our next edition coming soon! Read last month's Volunteer Spotlight.
High schoolers, you can just read for an hour to mark off each spot on your Summer Reading challenge cards. But there are a lot of cool other things you can do, too! Optional challenges are below. If you choose any of the creation challenges from the first list below, share your stuff for a chance to win $100 collage gift certificate! You can email a file to Summer Reading Coordinator Seana Lane or post on Twitter or Instagram and tag with #MultCoLibTeen (if your profile is set to public — if it’s not, just send via email).
Need challenge cards? Stop by any library between June 16 and August 31 to get yours! Just keep track of the hours you read and challenges you complete until you get your cards, then transfer them to the first challenge card.
Share your creation for a chance to win $100 collage certificate (see above)
- Create an alternative book cover for the last book you read.
- Write and perform a rap inspired by one of your favorite books.
- Write fanfiction and share it — think about a book you wish hadn't ended, and create the next chapter.
- Make a zine or blog post listing resources for at-risk teens in your community facing challenges: homelessness, LGBTQ+, bullying, abusive relationships, eating disorders, immigration, scholarship needs.
- Instagram a video book review and share with your friends (and enter in the contest above).
- Create art inspired by a book — a comic strip or graphic novel version, draw a character as you see them, or paint a landscape described.
- Find a recipe from a different culture than yours, and make it for your family or friends. Take a picture of your feast.
- Volunteer in your community (maybe even at your library!) Or try VolunteerMatch or Hands On Greater Portland for opportunities.
- Send a letter or an email to an elected representative about an issue you are passionate about.
- Spend time with kids younger than you — read to them, play with them, talk with them.
- Teach a new technology to an adult -- Twitter, Instagram, streaming music
- Attend a teen maker program at your library or at Rockwood Makerspace.
- Use the chat feature on the library's website to ask something you can't find out from Google.
- Make a booklist. Create a theme (strong female characters, alternative reality, vampire fiction) and post to GoodReads or the library’s site.
- Write a book review on the library’s (or any other) site.
- Take our quick survey.
Explore, try and learn stuff
- Learn or practice a language through Mango Connect languages on the library's website.
- Watch a video to learn a new skill — cooking, changing a tire, making a tie dye shirt, origami, rapping, mixing music.
- Stream some world music through the library's Hoopla app or check out a CD.
- Download Zinio, the library's magazine app, and flip through different magazines. What would you like to see in Zinio? (You can always suggest a purchase through the library website!)
- Find news or opinion sources from the opposing side of an issue you are passionate about. Talk with friends or family, or write a blog post, about what you learned — or didn't.
- Go to ted.com/talks to understand more about world issues.
- Try our new database Lynda.com to teach yourself a creative or technology skill.
- Use the library's genealogy tools to start learning about your family tree.
Read different stuff
- Read a biography about someone who beat the odds or changed the world.
- Read a different genre of book than you normally do: graphic novel, nonfiction, historical fiction, science fiction, realistic fiction.
- Read a book with a main character from a different culture or ethnic background than yours — here are a couple of lists:
- Read a book that won an award in the last 5 years.
- Read a book translated from another language.
- You saw the movie. Now read the book.
- You read the book. Now see the movie.
- Read a nonfiction graphic novel.
- Read a book set in another country.
- Read a book set in Oregon.
When my kids were younger, I was always on the lookout for children’s books that stood up against stereotypes of all kinds. In King and King, a prince falls in love with another prince, not a princess. In bell hooks' Happy to Be Nappy, a little girl celebrates the beauty of her natural African-American hair. My Princess Boy tells the story of a little boy who loves to dress in pink, sparkly clothes. These titles are all classics of the anti-bias genre, and they still deserve to be read.
But a couple of weeks ago, a library patron asked me to suggest some anti-bias books that have been published more recently, and I discovered some real gems that I wish had existed when my kids were still the right age for picture books. It might not be too late for your kids, though, so check out this list! And let me know if you have more titles that should be included on it.