Blogs:

I read a lot of books last year and kept a little list as I finished each one and gave them a point rating.  As the year closed I sorted them by rating looking for some really good titles I hadn't yet recommended. I finished out last year with the Grey Walker series by Kat Richardson.  Set in modern day Seattle, the series features Harper Blaine, a P.I. who develops the ability to move through the Grey after dying for a couple of minutes and being revived.  The Grey is the the realm of ghosts, vampires, witches, and magic that exists between our world and the next. Aside from this ability she's a very human and real-feeling character.  

Harper is possessed of human flaws and foibles.  She's touch too self centered: at one point when she has someone gunning for her, she hides out at the house of friends who have a little child.  She does keep trying though, and learns from her mistakes eventually. The secondary characters are also well-developed.  I'm really looking forward to seeing what happens to a certain major secondary character whose background and family history has been gradually revealed.  (I fear giving out the secondary's character name would be too much of a spoiler for early books in the series.) Sadly, now I've got to wait until August 2013 for book 8.  This is now one of my top ten favorite urban fantasy series.

Speaking of character driven urban fantasy, I'm currently enjoying the second season of Alphas.  In the short first season the viewer is introduced to a small group of characters who all have super-human ability, and a shrink who is studying/helping them.  None of the characters strike me as being very likable but they're all so very interesting that watching the unfolding story was one of my viewing highlights last year, not counting Game of Thrones of course!

Bridging Cultures is dedicated to promoting understanding and mutual respect for people with diverse histories, cultures, and perspectives within the United States and abroad.  Its most recent effort is the Muslim Journeys Bookshelf, a collection of books, videos and other resources  addressing both the need and the desire of the American public for trustworthy and accessible resources about Muslim beliefs and practices and the cultural heritage associated with Islamic civilizations.  

Another feature of the Bookshelf collection is access to a library resource tool, Oxford Islamic Studies Online (OISO).  With your library card number and PIN, use this resource to access thousands of reference entries, chapters from scholarly and introductory works, Qur'anic materials, primary sources, images, maps, and timelines. This resource provides a first stop for anyone needing information and context on Islam.

The Bridging Cultures Bookshelf: Muslim Journeys is a project of the National Endowment for the Humanities, conducted in cooperation with the American Library Association. Support was provided by a grant from Carnegie Corporation of New York. Additional support for the arts and media components was provided by the Doris Duke Foundation for Islamic Art.

When faced with a blank page, how do you begin a new writing project? Sometimes just getting the pen moving or keyboard clicking feels like the toughest aspect of creative writing.

Writing prompts or exercises can help you create an entry point into your work, provide a little momentum, and release the pressure of the scary expanse of white page. Whether you’d like to write a novel, short stories, poetry, memoir or other nonfiction, you have to start somewhere.
 
There are some great books that offer advice about the craft of writing, advice about the writing life, as well as offering prompts to get you started. A few web resources also offer writing prompts, including Poets & Writers magazine and LitBridge.
 
Of course, writers and other artists find inspiration in all sorts of places. Perhaps a visit to browse the shelves at your favorite library will turn your eye to something that makes you want to write!

Portland City Archives: A2001-004.94 : 219 N Cherry StNearly every house history researcher wants to see old photographs or drawings of their house.  Who wouldn't, right?  Unfortunately for Portland-area house history buffs, this can be one of the hardest bits of house history ephemera to track down!  But don't despair; there are surviving photographs of some houses and it is possible (sometimes) to find them. 

The challenge is that there has never been a comprehensive house-portrait project in Portland -- or any other city or town in our area -- so there is no treasure trove of photos of local homes that you can dig through.  You might wonder, if there's no big archive of house pictures, where should you start?  There are a few possibilities:

First, ask your neighbors or the people in your neighborhood association.  People who live on your street may have their own old photographs of family events, parties, or other occassions which include your house in the background.  And a bonus -- when you find that long-time resident and photo-saver, they may share stories about past residents of your house or other interesting neighborhood lore!

Houses sometimes appear in the background of photographs taken to record activity on the street.  The city of Portland has a lot of photographs of infrastructure and maintenance work they've done over the years.  City of Portland Archives, Oregon, A1999-004Many of these images are carefully preserved in the Portland City Archives collection. These images usually show city workers doing something in the neighborhood (such as repairing the sewer like in the photo at left) or were taken in connection with city planning work, like a street scene before the installation of a new traffic light.  You can search for records (including photographs) using the Archives' catalog, Efiles, and some have been published on the archives's Vintage Portland blog -- see below for more about that! But, most photographs in the collection aren't available online.  To look at photographs in person, you'll need to visit the Archives reading room downtown (1800 SW 6th Ave., Suite 550; 503.865.4100).  Be sure to read the Archives' policies and tips for researchers before you visit!

The Oregon Historical Society library is another treasure trove for house history researchers.  Their collection includes more than 2.5 million photographs and negatives of people, communities, commerce, and life in the Pacific Northwest -- with a focus, of course, on Oregon.  A few of these images are available online in the library's photograph gallery, but most are available only by visiting in person (1200 SW Park Ave.; 503.222.1741).   Again, be sure to read the library's policies, hours and tips for researchers before you visit!  (And a note: Multnomah County residents can use the Oregon Historical Society library for free if they show picture i.d.; most others must pay an admission fee.)

Another potential source for house portraits and street scenes is the Vintage Portland blog, run by the Portland City Archives.  Every weekday the site features a different historical photograph (or sometimes a map or drawing) of Portland.  The posts are sorted into categories for neighborhoods, street names, time periods, and topics.  For example, if you are curious about the development of your neighborhood as well as the history of your house, you might want to look at the blog's many aerial photographs; or you might try looking at a neighborhood street like Foster Rd., Powell Blvd., or 82nd Ave.

If the house you're researching happens to be in the Albina district, you may find a photograph of it in The History of Albina, by Roy E. Roos.  The book begins with a brief a history of the district (and former city), but it also includes brief architectural history for a selection of houses and other buildings that are representative of different eras in Albina's development.  Many of the brief house histories are illustrated with contemporary photographs or have no pictures, but some have historic photographs or drawings.

Have fun hunting for a historic photo of your house!

 

  Questions? Ask the Librarian.

(This is a guest blog post from the Portland Urban Forestry Commission’s Arbor Month Committee.)

You’ve probably heard of Earth Day, but April holds another important earth-friendly holiday you may not have heard of: Arbor Day! Dedicated to planting and celebrating trees, Arbor Day was first honored more than 140 years ago through the dedicated efforts of tree-lover, newspaper editor, and Secretary of the Nebraska Territory, J. Sterling Morton. Morton worked his entire life to promote the beauty and benefits of trees, and Arbor Day has stood the test of time: it’s spread from Nebraska to every US state and more than 30 other nations and is a testament to the widespread love of trees we share as humans.

From “Stump Town” to Tree City USA, Portland has a tremendous forest legacy. We are lucky to enjoy the benefits of mature trees, even as we plant young trees in an act of stewardship and goodwill to future generations. The library has many books to help you learn about the trees in your community and the world: you can go on a tour of remarkable trees right here in Portland with Phyllis Reynolds in Trees of Greater Portland. In The Collector: David Douglas and the Natural History of the Northwest, join Jack Nisbet for the story of an adventurous and dedicated Scottish botanist and imagine the Pacific Northwest before Portland was ever conceived. Finally, in American Canopy, Erik Rutkow explores our national heritage, detailing the link between an immense forested continent and the rise of the modern American nation. Find these as well as recommended tree ID books and books about trees for children on a booklist of recommended “Tree Reads” from your Neighborhood Tree Stewards.

In Portland, we can’t fit our love of trees into one day. There will be an Arbor Day Festival in Portland on April 20, 2013, but also be sure to come celebrate the urban forest with us all month long!  Learn how to use a tree ID book, go on a TREEsure hunt of heritage trees in Portland, take a bike-tour of the urban forest, or get dirty planting. This April, you can touch your heritage and leave a legacy.

Literary Arts' 26th annual book awards ceremony puts the spotlight on Oregon's literary community.   Award categories named for Oregon authors such as Ken Kesey and William Stafford include fiction, poetry, drama, nonfiction, young adult and children's books.  Most of the finalists live in the Portland area, but Ashland, Eugene, Salem and Waldport are home to creative types.  It’s always fun to scan the list of publishers --  small presses are well-represented:  Black Ocean, Traprock Books and Small Doggies Press, to name a few.

Oregon has a rich literary heritage that goes back to the early 1800’s.  The publication of the journals of Meriwether Lewis and William Clark in 1814, followed by exploration, travel and pioneer accounts dominated the first years of  literature.  If you’d like to embark on a survey of Oregon’s literary history, start with Literary Oregon, 100 Books 1800-2000, a booklist created by the Oregon Cultural Heritage Commission and the Oregon State Library.  

The Oregon Center for the Book at the State Library maintains the impressive Oregon Authors Website.  It's easy to use!  Browse by author's name, city, genre and year published.  It also includes a very complete list of Oregon publishers.

More than a stodgy directory of government officials, the online Oregon Blue Book includes an Oregon Authors Book Guide.  Click on an author's name and view a preview of their best-known book - nifty!   Find more in-depth biographies of Oregon authors in the Oregon Encyclopedia.  Don’t see the author you’re looking for?   Write an entry and OE staff will add it to the knowledge universe.

Looking for Oregon authors in the library catalog?  Be prepared to do some creative searching.  Because the subject heading Authors, American – Northwest, Pacific includes Oregon and other states (Washington, Montana, Idaho and British Columbia), do a keyword search for Oregon author (or Portland author) to zero in.   Cross-check your search with the Oregon Authors Website's listings or use Literature Resource Center to verify an author’s place of birth or residence.  

Sample works by the 2013 Oregon Book Awards finalists and discover some new authors to follow.

You can find lots of detailed information about your neighborhood, your street, or even your house from maps.  The maps below have historical information about property ownership, building footprints, old out-of-date addresses, and more! 

Digital Sanborn Maps. Library resource containing digital versions of Sanborn fire insurance maps for Oregon, Washington, and California, for various dates. Compiled for insurance companies, these maps show the location and composition of buildings.  They also note potential fire hazards like gas stations, lumber mills, movie theaters, bakeries, and show the location of steep slopes, water mains, and other infrastructure details.   Maps for Gresham, Troutdale, and Portland are in this collection, as are maps for the former cities of St. Johns, Albina, and Multnomah (now all part of the city of Portland).  Be ready to enter your library card number and PIN; this is a special library resource! (If this collection doesn't have what you need, take a look at the Portland Bureau of Planning & Sustainability's list of Sanborn Insurance Maps Covering Portland, Oregon that are owned by other libraries and archives.)

The Portland Block Book. Two-volume book of maps of the city of Portland, circa 1907, showing ownership of residential property and other real estate information.  You'll need to know a property's legal description -- the name of the addition/subdivision and the block and lot numbers to use this book.  You can usually get the legal description of a property from PortlandMaps (see below).  Visit Central Library to use this two-volume set in person.

Metsker's Atlas of Multnomah County, Oregon. Atlases showing the names of property owners (for larger lots), lot lines and street names. The library has Metsker atlases from 1927, 1936, and 1944, as well as atlases for Clackamas, Washington and most other Oregon counties.  Visit Central Library to use the Metsker atlases in person.

Historic Resource, Reference, and Historical Maps. Digital images of historic maps from Portland's Planning & Sustainability Bureau. Includes the General Land Office cadastral (survey) maps of Portland from 1852, an 1894 map showing the methods of pavement in use throughout the city (detail at left), a 1955 aerial photo of the central city, a 1943 streetcar map, and many more.

PortlandMaps. Maps and current property information for Portland and much of the surrounding area, including maps, tax information, crime data, school and park information and more.

 

  Questions? Ask the Librarian.

7 Reasons Your Grant Proposals Are Being Rejected

  1. You don't write for your audience.
  2. You aren't proofreading enough.
  3. You aren't thorough enough.
  4. Your proposal contains too much fluff.
  5. You have a goal but no plan.
  6. You aren't providing enough data.
  7. You are using unreasonable budgets.

Read the entire article at Non-profit2point0.com!

Professional genealogists say you start your family tree with YOU. You find the records for YOUR birth, for YOUR education, YOUR travels, YOUR relationships and family AND your photos.

Do you need a copy of your birth certificate? a marriage or divorce record? a death record? If you were born in the United States or one of our territories, you can find the sources for these records at Where to Write for Vital Records.

When you are doing genealogy on other people in your family, if the event (the birth, marriage, divorce, death) occurred in the U.S., this will help you find out where the information you need may be found (and costs associated with obtaining it.)

As you look through your papers, the family file cabinet, the attic or other storage places for your records, keep an eye open for documents that will help you know where and when the important life events for other family members occurred.

If you find information for other family members, ask their permission to copy it. You will be able to use it as you move on to research the generations before you.

 

 

Nutrition is an important component of a healthy lifestyle. On this page we have gathered some resources to help you learn more about diet and nutrition for you and your family.

Organizations are often a useful resource for information. The National Dairy Council, The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, and Oldways: Health Through Heritage, are all examples of organizations from which you can find lots of current, practical information about what to eat! For instance, Oldways provides recipes based on cultural traditions and heritage. Their mission is to support eating as a family and cultural heritage, and to promote the "old ways" of eating. The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (formerly the American Dietetic Association) has a section for the public that offers articles about eating right for healthy weight, allergies, and other conditions. The National Dairy Council also offers recipes as well as a special section on child nutrition.

Many general health and medical web resources include nutrition information too. MedlinePlus, one of our favorite all purpose health sites, includes a section on food and nutrition. The Mayo Clinic, a well-respected medical institution, offers a section on healthy living which includes articles about nutrition and healthy eating. Nutrition.gov is a comprehensive resource for nutrition information for all members of the family and includes everything from medical information to shopping, cooking and meal planning.

The library subscribes to databases of journal and newspaper articles that focus on specific topics, such as health. Health and Wellness Resource Center is one of the most "user-friendly" databases. Type a search term into the box, or choose from a selection of tabs to find what you need. Alt Health Watch focuses on non-Western medicine, including articles that discuss diet and nutrition. Health Reference Center Academic has a nice subject guide search to help you find articles about diet or nutrition (and any other health or medical subject).

Enjoy browsing some of these consumer friendly resources about nutrition and diet and then check the library's catalog for some great books we have on these topics.

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