Blogs:

por Donna Childs
Volunteer Elizabeth Cobos
Imagínese venir a un país donde no conoce el idioma, las sensibilidades, la geografía o las costumbres, y tomar la decisión de ofrecer servicios de voluntariado en la biblioteca local. Hay que tener valor, ¿no?

Elizabeth Cobos llegó a los Estados Unidos desde Oaxaca, México, hace ocho años. Ella superó su temor a lo desconocido y fue a la Biblioteca de St. Johns con la intención de convertirse en un gran ejemplo para su hija pequeña, Allison, y por su deseo personal de aprender, de ayudar a los demás y de ser útil.

Elizabeth es una asistente de búsquedas en St. Johns, adonde se dirige semanalmente para ayudar a buscar los materiales que están reservados. Aun cuando desconozca el significado de todas las palabras en un título, ella puede encontrar en el estante el libro que corresponde a la lista, lo cual la ayuda a familiarizarse con palabras nuevas. Aunque todo le resultaba extraño al principio, su trabajo le ha gratificado y le complacen las ocasiones cuando ha podido ayudar a hispanohablantes a utilizar los recursos de la biblioteca. Según uno de los bibliotecarios, Elizabeth ha ofrecido recomendaciones útiles para mejorar los servicios y programas en español de St. Johns. Ahí valoran sus contribuciones y ella le está muy agradecida a la biblioteca por darle esta oportunidad para desempeñarse de manera profesional y poder ayudar a otros miembros de la comunidad.

Deseosa de aprender inglés y participar en la vida de su hija y de la comunidad en general, Elizabeth asistió a una clase para madres e hijos en el prekinder de su hija y a una clase de inglés como segundo idioma (ESL) en Portland Community College; ella trabajó de voluntaria como asistente de maestro en un programa de Head Start bilingüe durante dos años y piensa trabajar como voluntaria en el salón de clase de kindergarten de su hija. También espera comenzar pronto en Mount Hood Community College el programa Transitions/Transiciones, que alienta y prepara a los estudiantes a comenzar o seguir sus estudios profesionales (ella cursó tres semestres universitarios en México). El objetivo final de Elizabeth es hallar un empleo que le permita trabajar con niños o en una biblioteca. Este parece un objetivo muy apropiado, dado su enfoque en la familia y la comunidad, así como su ánimo y determinación.



Algunos datos interesantes sobre Elizabeth

Su biblioteca local: St. Johns.

Lectura actual: a Elizabeth le gusta leer libros ilustrados para niños junto con su hija porque las imágenes la ayudan a aprender inglés, mientras que ayudan a su hija a aprender a leer.

El libro más influyente: El alquimista (The Alchemist) escrito por Paulo Coelho.

Libro favorito de su niñez: el libro infantil favorito de su familia es Un beso en mi mano (The Kissing Hand).

Su sección favorita de la biblioteca: libros de no-ficción y autoayuda o autoestima como Un corazón sin fronteras (A Heart without Borders), escrito por Nick Vujicic.

¿Prefiere libros electrónicos o en papel? En papel. Además, los videos de libros como El principito (Le Petit Prince), la ayudan a aprender palabras desconocidas.

Lugar favorito dónde leer: en cama con su hija y su esposo, o sola en el sofá a la luz de una vela.

Headed to the Macular Degeneration and Vision Expo on Saturday, October 28 at the Doubletree Hotel? In between learning about new adaptive technology options, stop by the library table to check out an audiobook or large print book and learn about our free online content. If you show us your library card (or sign up for one) we’ll give you a prize!

Can’t make it to the event? Learn about the accessibility resources we have for the blind and people with low vision on our website. Check out our large print and audiobook collections. Need some reading suggestions to help you narrow down those choices? We've got you covered. Prefer to access your books online? Learn how to use the Libby App to download ebooks (it's easy to make the font bigger!) and audiobooks. Just ask if you need any help.

 

 

Elly Blue photo by Amanda Lucier

Elly Blue is a writer and bicycle activist. Her previous books include Everyday Bicycling, Bikenomics, Pedal Zombies, and more. She tours annually with the Dinner and Bikes program that she co-founded, and is co-producer and director of Groundswell, a series of movies about people using bicycling to make their communities better. She is co-owner and marketing director at Microcosm Publishing. Catch her pop-up talk with Cynthia Marts at Wordstock.

What books are on your nightstand?

The Hidden Life of Trees by Peter Wohlleben -- the coolest, kookiest, most wonderfully sensitive book about nature and empathy; How to Relax by Thich Nhat Hanh, because I often struggle with this basic life skill; my journal; oh, and Dog Boy by Eva Hornung, which I just bought from Fred Nemo at Black Hat Books. He recommended it to me on the condition that I not read the blurbs before finishing the book, and taped over them to make sure I wasn't tempted.

What authors inspire you?

Rebecca Solnit has a voice and scope that is aspirational for me as a nonfiction writer. As for fiction, the most recent novel I loved was Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie -- it reads like having a deep conversation with a brilliant friend about race, class, countries, and of course hair... but every time you come up for air you realize she's casually doing these incredible literary feats on every page.

What’s the most exciting part of the work you do?

In my publishing work, it's helping authors find their voices and connect with readers. As a writer and editor, producing feminist bicycle science fiction anthologies like Biketopia is especially satisfying. So much of our experience of the world is stories, whether it's the ones we're told on the news or those we tell each other on social media. Science fiction is so powerful because it lets us really push the limits of our imagination in ways that can liberate us from some of the thinking traps in everyday life. If we can imagine a world where we're more free, then it's easier to find the choices and paths that make us actually more free.

What are you looking forward to at Wordstock 2017?

I'll be spending most of my time behind the Microcosm table in the exhibit area, talking about books with people who love books, and that's one of my favorite things to do.

Any tips for biking to Wordstock and/or around Portland?

Yes! I find driving and parking downtown super stressful, but biking is relatively easy.  If you don't have a bicycle, the orange Biketown ones can get you there from anywhere central.  My main advice for biking downtown is to take the lane—that means, ride right in the middle of the rightmost lane that doesn't have train tracks in it. Since the lights are timed to encourage everyone to go about 10 miles per hour, you'll be going pretty much the same speed as car traffic and there's no reason to put yourself in the car door zone off to the right.

Card catalog drawer reading "murder"

 

Something strange in your neighborhood? Bumps in the night? No meddling kids around to help?

Who you gonna call?

We may not have proton packs, containment units or sweet jumpsuits, but your friendly library staff have a few tricks up our cardigan sleeves to assist with your ghostly inquiries.

 

 

Before breaking out your electronic voice phenomena (EVP) recorder, here are a few things to think about:

  • Sometimes you find things. Sometimes you don’t. Sometimes you find things you don’t want to find.

  • Research takes time. Did you know you can book an appointment with a librarian to get you started?

  • Get organized. Create a system that works for you, and be prepared to take notes.

Start with the facts:

  • Was your neighborhood considered part of the city when your house or apartment was built? Check out the City of Portland’s annexation map for more information.

  • How old is your home? Property information records can be found at the City of Portland’s Portlandmaps.com.

  • Was it built before 1933? Your address or street might have changed!

  • Who lived in your home? Our city directories and phone books can get you started. Ask us how.

Into the upside down (and other Stranger Things):

While we may not be able to confirm nor deny the existence of paranormal phenomenon in your home, library staff are here and ready to help with your ghostly research. Armed with facts and your not-so-unbelievable electromagnetic field (EMF) detector, it’s time to dig into the paranormal.

Here’s some more resources that may help. Also don’t forget to contact us with any questions you may have.

 

Boo!

 

 

 

Library Volunteer Building a New CommunityVolunteer Elizabeth Cobos

by Donna Childs

Imagine coming to a country where you don’t know the language, sensibilities, geography, or customs, and deciding to volunteer at the local library. Pretty brave, eh?

Elizabeth Cobos came to the U.S. from Oaxaca, Mexico, eight years ago. She overcame her understandable fear of the unknown, and walked into the St. Johns Library, because she wanted to be a strong role model for her young daughter, Allison, and because of her own desire to learn, to help others, and to be useful.

Elizabeth is a Search Assistant at St. Johns, coming in weekly to look for items on paging lists. Even if she doesn’t know the meaning of all the words in a title, she can match the list with a book on a shelf, and it helps familiarize her with new words. Although everything was strange at first, she has found the work rewarding, and is delighted on the occasions when she has been able to help Spanish-speaking patrons connect with resources at the library. According to one of the librarians, Elizabeth has made helpful suggestions for improving Spanish language services and programs at St. Johns. They value her input, and she is very grateful to the library for giving her this opportunity to feel professional and to help fellow community members.

Anxious to learn English and to be involved in her daughter’s life and the larger community, Elizabeth took a class for mothers and children at her daughter’s nursery school, as well as an ESL class at Portland Community College; she volunteered as an assistant to the teacher at an English-Spanish Head Start program for two years; and she plans to volunteer in her daughter’s kindergarten classroom. And soon, she hopes to begin the Transitions/Transiciones program at Mount Hood Community College, which encourages and prepares students to begin or continue college. (She had three semesters of college in Mexico.) Elizabeth’s ultimate goal is to find a job working with children and/or in a library. This seems like a great fit, given her family and community focus, courage, and determination.


A few facts about Elizabeth

Home library: St. Johns

Currently reading: Elizabeth likes to read picture books with her daughter because the pictures help Elizabeth learn English while helping her daughter learn to read.

Most influential book: El Alquimista (The Alchemist) by Paulo Coelho

Favorite book from childhood: Their family’s favorite childrens’ book is Un Beso en Mi Mano (The Kissing Hand).

Favorite section of the library: Non-fiction self help, or self-esteem, books such as Un Corazon sin Fronteras (A Heart without Borders) by Nick Vujicic

Which do you prefer, E-reader or paper book? Paper. Also, videos of books such as Le Petit Prince help her learn unfamiliar words.

Favorite place to read: In bed with her daughter and her husband, or by herself on the sofa with a candle

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

 


 

 

12-year-old Sunny is taunted by classmates for looking different (her pale skin, yellow hair, and hazel eyes mixed with West African features cause her to stand out) and for being from a different place (New York-born to Nigerian parents, her family has moved back to West Africa… but neither country feels completely like home). In Akata Witch, Sunny discovered that she was one of the Leopard People -- those with magical abilities -- who live among regular folk. She and three friends used their powers to catch a ruthless serial killer who planned to awaken a monster fromAkata Warrior the spirit world.

Now she is back, in a sequel filled with African magic that I have long been waiting for: Akata Warrior. Sunny is stronger, a year older, and many years more fierce. She has been hard at work studying with her demanding mentor, Sugar Cream, and working to unlock the secrets that lie within her powerful Nsibidi, or spell book. But time waits for no one, and Sunny must travel through worlds both visible and invisible to find the mysterious town of Osisi -- where she will meet her destiny and fight a looming and apocalyptic battle to save humanity. Maybe it is the way Nnedi Okofore weaves Nigerian folktales into her magic, or how that magic is so seamlessly drawn into modern-day Nigeria -- but you’ll believe this original fantasy world really could exist.


 

I fell in love with Katherine Roy’s first book, Neighborhood Sharks, because it was as informative as it was beautiful -- exploring the lives of great whites that live in the waters of California’s Farallon Islands, its cover blooming with the (watercolor) blood of a seaHow To Be An Elephant lion that met an unfortunate fate.

In her latest book, How to Be An Elephant, the author looks across the globe -- to the extraordinary lives of African Elephants and the unique skills a baby elephant learns as he grows into a majestic adult. Illustrated in lush grays, blues and blush tones, we follow a baby elephant from his birth beneath a star-filled savanna sky and into the welcoming trunks of his mother and aunts. Readers will find out just how a baby elephant takes his first steps, “sees” his world by following his nose, playfully explores, and stays in touch with family members miles away by feeling vibrations through the delicate, padded soles of his feet. This richly-illustrated, scientifically accurate book is a sweet exploration of family, community, and love as one elephant herd marches its way across the savanna.

Drawing on the latest scientific research and her own trip to Kenya, Katherine Roy has done another extraordinary job of bringing a unique animal -- and its pivotal place in our ecosystem -- to life for young readers.

Now that we're leaning into fall, we at the library are anticipating Wordstock: Portland’s Book Festival presented by Bank of America on November 11. What are we looking forward to the most in this confection of literary culture?

  1. Librarians love book people — not sure if that’s out there? The idea of being surrounded by thousands of people who revere reading — well, that’s just our happy place. Then plop the whole festival down in the middle of the Portland Art Museum, a place we don’t get to nearly enough, and there just aren't enough superlatives to describe this bookish perfection.
  2. Nancy Pearl, our guru of all things readers’ advisory (a fancy way of saying "talking to people about books") will be in attendance, plugging her first novel. She’s so famous in library world, there’s even an action figure of her. We hesitate to guess how many Nancy Pearl action figures live on library desks around the country — we suggest the numbers are brobdingnagian. (Oh, we like words, too.)
  3. A lot of us bike to work and have been following Elly Blue since her early days at bikeportland.org. We love what she has to say about feminism and riding, and the positive economics of biking.
  4. A few of us are moderating panels, and youth librarian Tasha says, “I am super stoked about attempting to wrestle my inner fangirl to the ground while moderating a panel of some of my favorite illustrators and authors in an attempt to not have my interaction with the panelists devolve into a repeated refrain of "I love your work, I just love your work, like, I love your work so much. So much."
  5. Everybody has 5 bucks to spend on books; but what books should you buy? With so many inspiring authors, and a bounty of small press booths, it's a difficult decision. Meet up with one of our My Librarian team and get some one-on-one advice about where to spend your Wordstock dollars — we love the effervescent exchange of good reads with book lovers (not sure if we made that clear before?).

Rainbow flag Photo Credit: Benson Kua  - Creative Commons

October 11 is National Coming Out Day.

Every coming out experience is unique. For some it’s a hesitant whisper; for others, it’s a scream when you are in that “right now” moment. Regardless of volume or location, coming out is about sharing personal identity, being proud and, most importantly, being visible. As the Human Rights Campaign says, Coming Out Day is “a reminder that one of our most basic tools is the power of coming out."

Whether you self-identify as LGBTQAA+ or know someone that does, whatever your connection is to Coming Out Day, Multnomah County Library is a welcoming place for information and book recommendations.

 

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