Hello, library blog reader! I’m typing this post to you from the air-conditioned confines of my carpeted library cube, quiet save for the [•hum•] of the computer and the sounds of other librarians at their other computers: [clickity-click], [clickity-click], and the occasional sniffle or private exclamation. 

Photo of Ross holding a copy of Horrorstor\\ Why am I typing this? \\ Sending this digital blog bottle out into the big Internet ocean? (That is an excellent question.) There is a type of book that I want you to know about. It doesn’t have an official name™, at least none that I know of, but I’ll call it the book as thing, or BAT*.

Most of the world’s books take their book-ness for granted. They line up their letters and words in comfortably normal columns on perfectly(1) numbered(2) pages(3), and you read them and say to yourself “Oh what a fine story.” But the BATs don’t conform to such literature societies' niceties. They chop up their sentences and paragraphs and strew them about, they dye their letters in garish colors, they go up-side down. They’re the punks and iconophiles of the book world, and they shout in your face:


Photo of Ross holding a copy of Ship of Theseus.And you, my dear computer-screen confidante, are forced to acknowledge:

I am this book’s reader.

Suddenly the act of reading has become a little more intimate, a little more personal. The walls between fictional world and your world have gotten a little more not-there. Creepy books become creepier. Weird books become weirder. Real books become real-er.

Where can you find a BAT in the wild? It's not easy. They might be hiding under the subject heading "experimental fiction" or "marginalia -- specimens." Helpful, I hope, will be a list that I have made for you called "Multcolib My Librarian Ross: The book, the thing," which will provide you with some specimens for your consideration.

Photo of portion of Ross's foot and The Familiar.When you’ve finished a BAT, you can close it up and put it back on your bookshelf, or back through the steel door of the library book drop. [•clank•] But unlike other books where the story is more tidily stored between the covers, it won’t be easily forgotten. Because this book isn't just a container for the story, it’s the story itself. It’s got your fingerprints all over it.


{*: Inspiration for this appellation - book as thing - should probably be credited to the wonderful, the amusing, The Thing The Book.}


Multnomah County Library's Lucky Day service includes books for kids, teens and adults.  Lucky Day copies are available for spontaneous use and are not subject to hold queues.  Nobody can place holds on these items; it's first come, first served.  That means you might not have to wait at all for the most popular new titles!  You never know what you might find at your neighborhood library - it just might be your Lucky Day!

Searching for information on Native American tribes and Native nations? These big web sites may be able to help you.

You can search tribes alphabetically to learn about them, and learn about native languages as well as native culture. Try putting the name of the tribe you are looking for in the search box to see what other information they list, or scroll down to find the names of tribes listed alphabetically.

If you would rather search by location using a map, you can find state-by-state information, covering historic and contemporary information, languages, culture and history.

If you still need more help, contact a librarian to be sure you get what you need.


Photo of Bob's dad in 1944In November of 1943, my Dad joined the US Navy at the age of 18. After basic training in San Diego and electrician training at Kansas University in Lawrence, he was assigned to service aboard an attack transport ship. He has often made light of this assignment, likening the captain and crew to that of the 1960s comedy McHale’s Navy. Sure, there were ships that experienced combat more directly. But just being in the South Pacific during those years left one under continuous threat of enemy attack. For instance, his ship once had to take evasive action to avoid hitting a mine; they fought off a kamikaze attack; and on April 1, 1945, his ship was one of the first ships in to debark troops for the final major battle of the war -- Okinawa. I’ve always been very proud of my Dad and his service to our country.Photo of Bob and his dad in 2015

So August marks the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II. Although it was thought that the war would only end with an all-out invasion of Japan, Iwo Jima and Okinawa ended up being the final fights with men against men; this was, of course, because of the atomic bombs being dropped on the cities of Hiroshima on August 6 and Nagasaki on August 9.

Interested in reading about the closing days of the war? Here is a list of books on the two final battles and the catastrophic events that brought the war to a sudden end.

What was that book we read for the Capitol Hill Library Pageturners book group two years ago?  I want to recommend it to someone but can't remember the title. 

Capitol Hill Library Pageturners, 2013 - 2014


September: The Great Divergence: America's growing inequality crisis and what we can do about it, by Timothy Noah


October: The Secrets of Mary Bowser, by Lois Leveen


November: The Swerve: How the World Became Modern, by Stephen Greenblatt


December: The Sisters Brothers, by Patrick deWitt


January: Radioactive : Marie & Pierre Curie, a tale of love & fallout, by Lauren Redniss


February: My Beloved World, by Sonia Sotomayor


March: Last Night I Sang to the Monster, by Benjamin Alire Sáenz


April: The Worst Hard Time: The Untold Story of Those Who Survived the Great American Dust Bowl, by Timothy Egan


May: When Women Were Birds: Fifty-four Variations on Voice, by Terry Tempest Williams


June: The Crying Tree, by Naseem Rakha


July: The Rook, by Daniel O'Malley


August: The Tiger's Wife, by Téa Obreht

Capitol Hill Library Pageturners, 2012 - 2013


September: Waxwings, by Jonatan Raban


October: We're with Nobody Two Insiders Reveal the Dark Side of American Politics, by Alan Huffman


November: State of Wonder, by Ann Patchett


December: The Elegance of the Hedgehog, by Muriel Barbery


January: Atlantic: Great Sea Battles, Heroic Discoveries, Titanic Storms, and A Vast Ocean of A Million Stories, by Simon Winchester


February: Ten Little Indians: Stories, by Sherman Alexie


March: The Warmth of Other Suns: The Epic Story of America's Great Migration, by Isabel Wilkerson


April: If on A Winter's Night A Traveler, by Italo Calvino


May: Food, Inc., How Industrial Food Is Making Us Sicker, Fatter, and Poorer-- and What You Can Do About It


June: Salmon Fishing in the Yemen, by Paul Torday


July: Salt: A World History, by Mark Kurlansky


August: Spiderweb, by Penelope Lively

Capitol Hill Library Quarterly Classics, 2013 - 2014


October: Don Quixote, by Miguel de Cervantes


January: American Pastoral, by Philip Roth


April: The Great Gatsby, by F. Scott Fitzgerald


July: Things Fall Apart, by Chinua Achebe

Capitol Hill Library Quarterly Classics, 2012 - 2013


October: Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, translated by Simon Armitage


January: The Picture of Dorian Gray, by Oscar Wilde


April: Medea, by Euripedes


July: Mrs. Dalloway, by Virginia Woolf

Capitol Hill Library Pageturners, 2011 - 2012


September: Last Call: The Rise and Fall of Prohibition, by Daniel Okrent


October: Mink River, by Brian Doyle


November: March, by Geraldine Brooks


December: The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, by Rebecca Skloot


January: The Imperfectionists, by Tom Rachman


February: The Girl Who Fell From the Sky, by Heidi W. Durrow


March: Palace Walk, by Najīb Maḥfūẓ


April: Packing for Mars: The Curious Science of Life in the Void, by Mary Roach


May: The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, by Mark Twain


June: Death With Interruptions, by José Saramago


July: Bretz's Flood: The Remarkable Story of A Rebel Geologist and the World's Greatest Flood, by  John Robert Soennichsen


August: Angels in America: A Gay Fantasia on National Themes, by Tony Kushner

Capitol Hill Library Pageturners, 2010 - 2012


September: Lean on Pete, by Willy Vlautin


October: The Daughter of Time, by Josephine Tey


November: The Forger's Spell: A True Story of Vermeer, Nazis, and the Greatest Art Hoax of the Twentieth Century, by  Edward Dolnick


December: The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, Mary Ann Shaffer


January: River of Doubt: Theodore Roosevelt's Darkest Journey, by Candice Millard


February: The Other Wes Moore: One Name, Two Fates, by Wes Moore


March: The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, by Stieg Larsson


April: Moby Dick, Or, The Whale, by Herman Melville


May: The Things They Carried: A Work of Fiction, by Tim O'Brien


June: The Absolutely True Diary of A Part-time Indian, by Sherman Alexie


July: Fordlandia: The Rise and Fall of Henry Ford's Forgotten Jungle City, by Greg Grandin


August: Arthur & George, by Julian Barnes


The Storm of the Century:Tragedy, Heroism, Survival, and the Epic True Story of America's Deadliest Natural Disaster

by Al Roker

Weatherman Al Roker of the Today Show tells the gripping tale of the hurricane that swept throughGalveston, Texas in 1900 leveling the city and killing thousands.

The Road Not Taken: Finding America in the Poem Everyone Loves and Almost Everyone Gets Wrong

by David Orr

David Orr, the poetry columnist for NYT Book Review, presents a cultural biography of Robert Frost's iconic poem and how it is recognized and used around the world.

Mess: One Man's Struggle to Clean Up His House and His Act

by Barry Yourgrau

The author, a severe hoarder, humorously tells his struggle with getting rid of his clutter and the myriad of therapies he tried to help him overcome his mess.

Take a bite of an apple. Chew, swallow, and then presto, it comes out the other end! But how does it happen? How do our bodies turn an apple into fuel that helps us play sports, breathe, walk, and talk? The digestive system is the body system responsible for this process. The basic process is well understood by scientists but new research is coming out all the time changing the way we understand the inner workings of our guts.

Image of the organs of the digestive systemThere are many resources on the Internet and through the library that can help you learn about the digestive system. Visit KidsHealth or TeensHealth to find information in English and Spanish for kids and teens including videos, articles, and puzzles to help you learn all about the digestive system and other health topics. Ask a Biologist lets you ask a real biologist science related questions. Ask a Biologist also has lots of great information about microbes and the role they play in our digestive systems.

The Multnomah County Library has science databases where you can search for topics, view videos and print pictures to help with school reports. Today's Science is a database that can help you answer questions like, "What is the latest research on the roll of bacteria in our guts?" or to ask more general questions such as, "how does the digestive system work?" For help using Today's Science, the library provides this useful handout.  If you need to look up basic facts about the digestive system, but can't use Wikipedia, try using Grolier Online, a science encyclopedia. Here you will find information for elementary, middle and high schoolers, great for writing school reports.

When you use the library databases outside of the library, you will need to log in with a library card. Try using key words like: "Digestive System," and "Body Systems." Topics that might include the Digestive System are "Human Anatomy & Physiology," "Nutrition," and "Health."

Check out this video from KidsHealth about the Digestive System from KidsHealth:

If you want to explore this topic more, or if you have more questions about any of this, Ask a Librarian! We’ll be happy to talk more about it.

Here are summer delights recommended by a few of my favorite people. No names,  just a few salient traits. Click on the list to find the associated character trait!

You may not be able to tell a book by its cover, but can you match a reader with her/his favorite book of Summer 2015?

Guess away, which is whose favorite? Sorry, the winner only gets bragging rights. Hint: All pics below are Avatars, chosen by me.

Willy Wonka asks if you write poetryIf you are trying to teach others about writing poetry, how should they get a start? Will they set out to rhyme? Will they rely on imagery?  Will they make a list of words they have to use? Will they use magnetic poetry as a tool? Will they be offended if their funny poem doesn't make anyone laugh?

If you can make the time, there are several poetry-building tools for your perusal. For example, Read Write Think is a top-notch resource for accessible activities. One of their most popular games is Word Mover-- a bit like using magnetic poetry, with the capability of resetting a word bank and including our own vocabulary. Other options include ReadWorks' lesson on rhythm for 1st grade and LearnZillion's learning-to-read poetry post for 3rd grade. For reluctant readers, try the PBS Haiku game or the Fun/Games page on the Shel Silverstein websiteFor specific lesson plans, try using Poetry Archive or the National Education Association

And if students don't finish writing their poems, there is always the Paul Valery quote, "A poem is never finished, only abandoned."



Christina Hammett and Troutdale: A Perfect Match

by Donna Childsvolunteer Christina Hammett

In the best relationships, each believes they got the better deal. That is clearly the case with Christina Hammett and Troutdale Library. Christina thinks the staff and patrons at Troutdale are terrific, and library staff has the highest praise for her artistic know-how, her shining attitude, and her unflagging readiness to help. 

Thanks to fond memories of participating in Summer Reading as a child, Christina began at Troutdale as a Summer Reading volunteer; now she is also a Branch Assistant and a Youth Program Assistant. She has really shone with youth programming, designing whimsically creative, interactive storyboards—often a couple a month--for the youth librarian to use in her storytime presentations. Because she is such a talented artist, the library has also asked her to make displays for other activities: Summer Reading, Lucky Day books, and the Lego group, for example. 

Christina studied journalism at Mount Hood Community College, where she was editor-in-chief of the student newspaper; she has also been a sports reporter and photographer at the Gresham Outlook. However, with the decline in print journalism, plus the tight job market for new grads, Christina is now taking stock and trying to figure out what to do, whether to go back to school and what to study. Meanwhile she has a retail job and the Troutdale Library where she feels useful and connected to her community. She loves the people at the library, working with books, and interacting with people who read and talk about books. 

Every Wednesday, Christina goes through her 10-15 page list of holds requests. Like many volunteers, she finds this task a terrific way to discover new books she might not otherwise have known about. 

Christina may be unsure of her future path at the moment, but her intelligence, poise, creativity, and cheerful enthusiasm will make her an asset anywhere. Meanwhile, Troutdale benefits from her many talents.

A Few Facts About Christina

Home library: Troutdale Library

Currently reading: The works of Agatha Christie and A Comedy of Errors by William Shakespeare

Most influential book: The Diary of Anne Frank

Favorite book from childhood: The Giver by Lois Lowry, The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster, and Johnny Tremain by Esther Forbes

A book that made you laugh or cry: The Green Mile by Stephen King

Favorite section of the library: Fiction and mystery

E-reader or paper? Paper

Favorite reading guilty pleasure: A Song of Ice and Fire (series) by George Martin and anything by Agatha Christie

Favorite place to read: My bed

Thanks for reading the MCL Volunteer Spotlight. Stay tuned for our next edition coming soon! See last month's Volunteer Spotlight.


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