“Help! I’ve fallen and I can’t get up!” We’ve all seen and heard that ad on TV. But if you decide to get a medical alert device, or are helping an older friend or relative get one, you might be ready to scream “Help! I need a device but can’t decide which one to get!”

Here’s some tips to make things easier. First, make a list of features you want the medical alert to have. The Federal Trade Commission has some good advice about things to consider. An article called “Personal Emergency Response Systems” from CRS – Adult Health Advisor (June 2012) also gives a checklist of possible concerns [ Note: to read the article, you may have to enter your library card number and PIN]. This blog post from Huffington Post, Post 50 examines three major designs and providers of each kind.

It’s hard to find unbiased reviews. For example, AARPseems to recommend ADT Companion Service, offering a discount to members, but if they are profiting on these sales, their endorsement might not be unbiased. 

Luckily, Consumer Reports did this unbiased online comparison in 2015. And in 2014, Consumer Reports Magazine also published some unbiased information in their articles "Should You Buy a Medical Alert System?" and "How to Pick a Medical Alert System."  [ Note: to read these articles, you may have to enter your library card number and PIN]. 

Also, Lawserver Online RatingLab’s comparison of medical alerts provides product reviews, advice about comparing them and a ratings chart. You can also go to the Better Business Bureau and do a search for “medical alarms” limited to your zip code, to find how they’ve rated local services.

If you are trying to help an older person who lives out of state, you might also want to find out what is available to them locally. You can use this eldercare locator to find agencies where they live, that can help you.

Be wary of phone salespeople, and online ads; there are lots of scams out there. The resources we’ve listed should help you find a reliable device that will work for you.  Need more help? Contact a librarian and we'll be glad to help. 


Chinese staff波特兰华人服务中心将于八月二十二日举行一年一度的亜裔社区义诊活动,你会到场吗?穆鲁玛郡图书馆将会在场参与,提供有关促进身心健康的资源及书籍,並有华语职员为大家解答有关图书馆各类活动的资料。欢迎各位到图书馆的摊位与我们見面,让我们为你介绍最热门的健康食疗、运动新书及影带。亜裔社区义诊活动在8/22 上午十一时至下午四时于3430 SE Powell 街华人服务中心举行。

Ah, the lost art of letter writing. I still find myself checking my mail hoping that there will actually be a personal letter mixed in with the credit card applications. But alas, I can’t recall the last time I received a real letter. When I want to immerse myself in the beauty of letter-writing, I shall open up Shaun Usher’s, Letters of Note: An Eclectic Collection of Correspondence Deserving of A Wider Audience

Letters of Note bookjacket

Shaun Usher loves letters (and lists too. His second book, Lists of Note includes such wonders as Michelangelo's illustrated shopping list and Marilyn Monroe’s New Year’s resolutions written when she was 29-years-old.).

But back to the pleasures of letters. Usher has collected 125 letters from far and wide and long ago to more recent times. Many of the letters are from well-known figures but some are from everyday folks. All of the letters have a short introduction to put them into historical context and a good share of them include a reproduction of the letter itself. The effort and creativity that went into these letters - a 13-year-old boy at a school for the blind wrote in Braille to President Eisenhower. The sadness - Virginia Woolf’s note to her husband before she committed suicide. Witty, funny, artistic ones. Beautiful, heartfelt, poignant letters. They’re all here.

If you’d like to peruse even more letters, take a look at Shaun Usher's website where he has posted a whopping 900 letters; they’re indexed in various ways so one could spend weeks reading all of them. Or take a look at some of these books that are chock full of letters. I, however, think I’ll go write a letter to a friend.

RoganGoshMcCarthyArtDark Horse Comics' The Best of Milligan & McCarthy is a gorgeous and (almost) exhaustive compendium, collecting the duo's legendary runs like "Paradax!," "Rogan Gosh," and the previously unavailable "Skin."  Both Milligan and McCarthy went on to forge distinctive careers, but the work collected in this collection is explosive, bewildering, and immediate - completely ignoring the careerist ambitions and institutional strictures both artists eventually had to confront and contend with . 

The comics are all over the place (sometimes head-wreckingly so) but they're always readily situated in the catastrophic top-spin of Thatcher-Reagan economic/social tachycardia.  McCarthy's artwork is typically hyper-active and color-saturated, pushing the physical boundaries of panel and page (the exception being the provisionally censored "Skin" - which is wrought in unique pastel colors by the always incredible Carol Swain). Milligan's writing winds a loose balance between non-linear and scabrous - taking very little seriously - but capable of surprising moments of tenderness and expansive vision.

Their work can definitely jolt - and possibly offend (especially "Skin" - which tells the sad angry, and brief tale of a thalidomide-deformed skinhead in the 1980s UK).  But it's heavily recommended for fans of politically-charged comics that explore the horizons and possibilities of graphic narrative and page art (see Grant Morrison, Alan Moore, Sandman-era Neil Gaiman).


World War Two posterSecond World War- Spitfire - cut out viewAt the end of the Great War (as World War One was called at the time), people thought that such a large-scale conflict could never happen again.  Treaties were signed, the League of Nations was formed, new countries were created and Germany was heavily punished for its part in the war.  These measures did nothing to prevent a war from erupting twenty years later and, in fact, caused resentment in Germany that led to new German aggression.  In 1939, another conflict began in Europe that became World War Two.

For summary information and timelines, check out these two websites:
The History Place provides a timeline of World War II events. Many of the events have links to more detailed information and photographs. In its WWII section, BBC Education online explores secret service, presents radio reports the days before Britain declared war and sound clip memories of evacuees, and various photos from the war. The BBC also features a site for primary school students about children’s experiences during the war.  For a visually interesting site, see The Imperial War Museum’s page on WWII. It includes short essays, photos and film clips on everything from “How Alan Turing Cracked the Enigma Code” and “How Radar Changed The Second World War” to “11 Amazing Home Front Posters from the Second World War”.

For primary sources, take a look at Yale University’s World War II documents. This site provides the text of major documents including armistice agreements, Nuremberg War Crimes Trial sources, German and Japanese surrender documents, and more. The University of Washington also has links to primary sources from WWII and the era including photos of ration cards and posters, diaries, films and a WWII image bank with photos from the Netherlands, and much more.

photo of raising the flag on Iwo JimaFor resources about the involvement of the United States in the war, check out some of these sites:
A People at War highlights the contributions of thousands of Americans, both military and civilian, who served their country during WWII. The Pictures of World War II site from the National Archives includes about 200 photographs divided into a wide variety of categories; everything from "Japan Attacks" to "Rest & Relaxation". The National Archives website also includes links to World War II records including sections on America on the Homefront, Japanese American Internment and Relocation Records, and photographs of African Americans during World War II.  The National WWII Museum has a great collection of images and oral history interviews.  The U.S. Navy has a website devoted to WWII including information on Pacific battles, Pearl Harbor and the invasion of Normandy. PBS and Ken Burns created a televsion series entitled The War that is "the story of the Second World War through personal accounts of a handful of men and women from four American towns." You'll find lots of information from the series and links to other media and sources on this website

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!

It can be frustrating, if you are a kid or teen, to find answers to questions you have about your own health. Sometimes you feel shy about asking someone else questions. And when you look on the Internet, there are so many articles, it’s hard to tell what to read and believe.

Try using KidsHealth and TeenHealth, to look up stuff about yourself, and for homework assignments about health, disease and the human body.

The library database Teen Health and Wellness has good articles about health and disease, (also great for homework), as well as links to teen help hotlines (including info on getting free mobile apps for hotlines). Articles here can be instantly translated into dozens of common languages other than English too. You will need your library card barcode number and PIN number to use this.

This list from MedlinePlus connects to lots of different articles about teen health you might also find useful.

Need more information? Contact a librarian to be sure you get what you need.



Human bodies need vitamins and minerals to function well. What’s the difference between the two? Vitamins come from organic sources (plants and animals), while minerals are inorganic and come from the soil and water. This chart tells you what each nutrient does, and how much a teen needs each day.  The best way to get vitamins and minerals is naturally, through eating foods that contain them. Vegetables and fruits are loaded with nutrients. It can help to have a chart that tells you what each food contains.

If you take vitamin or mineral supplements, what is the recommended daily allowance (or RDA)? This article explains why, as with any medicine, you should be careful of what you take, and also be sure to take the right dose for your age.

Need more information? Contact a librarian to be sure you get what you need.


Hollywood movies and TV shows are full of stereotypes. To find the truth, you need to do good  research.

When I start my search, I make a list of all the names I know that might be good to search. Many tribes have both their own name and an anglicized name (for example, Diné  and Navajo) and it’s good to search under both. For more general searches, search multiple terms such as: Indian, Native American, First People or First Peoples,or try searching ”culture”  and “indigenous” with the geographical area, for example American indigenous culture.

When doing online research on Native Americans I check not only what the website says, but who is providing the information. Techniques for Evaluating Native American Websites provides good tips on what to look for. Does the website present a view that the people it describes support? Is the information current? Does the information come from Native Americans themselves? Many new age sites and commercial websites that are trying to sell you something take Indian culture and rewrite it for their own needs. If the website is created by an institution like a museum, or government agency, remember that it might represent that institution’s perspective, but not necessarily the perspective of Native peoples.

When looking at historical issues of newspapers, like The Historical Oregonian I have to consider that many of those stories will include racism and one-sided views that were common at the time.”Historic Newspaper Accounts of Oregonian Native Americans” provides some good insight into the slant of these articles over time, both good and bad.

Need more help? Contact a librarian to be sure you get what you need.



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