Blogs:

Photo of pills and bottle (by Sponge, via Wikimedia Commons)Have you noticed that you’re paying different prices for the same medication, depending on where you buy it? Drug prices are not consistent from store to store and it can be really hard to find information on pricing. One resource you can use to find prescription drug prices is called GoodRx.

GoodRx is free to use; the site is funded by advertisements and fees from pharmacies and discount providers. Enter the name of your medication and your city or zip code, and click the Find the Lowest Price button. From the next screen, you can choose whether you’d like to see generic or name-brand prices and you can choose the dosage and the quantity. You can also limit your results by type of pharmacy; do you need a pharmacy that’s open 24 hours? That delivers by mail?

Consumer Reports “Best Buy Drugs” project (a tool that allows you to search by drug or condition, and recommends “best buy” drugs based on their effectiveness, safety, side effects, and cost) tested the GoodRx mobile app (which is available for iPhone and Android devices) and found that it did retrieve the lowest price (of two tested apps) for the cholesterol-lowering drug, Lipitor.

If you need more information about a drug or supplement, have a look at MedlinePlus, the National Library of Medicine’s consumer health information site. You can find information on drug and food interactions with your medication, generic/brand names for a drug, side effects and more.

Information from these sites can help you stay informed, but you should include your health care professional in any medication decisions.

Questions? We are always happy to help!  Just Ask the Librarian.

Breaking Chains book jacketGuest blogger Rae Richen’s short stories, poetry and articles have appeared in anthologies of Northwest authors, in Pacific Northwest newspapers and in Writers’ Northwest Handbook. She has taught junior high, high school students and adults since the ice age, and has always been impressed with the wide-ranging curiosity and the persistent search for answers among her students. Her newest book, Uncharted Territory is written for young adults and adults who enjoy a triumph of life over fear.

Breaking Chains: Slavery on trial in the Oregon Territory, by R. Gregory Nokes is an important addition to Oregon’s history. For three generations, my mixed-race family has known that Oregon’s legal relationship with its African American citizens was rocky, but details were elusive. Much of Oregon supported an apartheid-like atmosphere well into the 1960s. When my children and my students ask for specifics, I can now give a more complete answer. I can offer them Breaking Chains.

This untold part of Oregon’s history came to Nokes’s attention because a former slave was mentioned in his family genealogy. Nokes soon learned that Oregon, though admitted to the union as a free state, also tolerated slaveholding and had a constitution that supported a ban on African Americans. Its citizens voted for pro-slavery politicians, including the first territorial governor. Even when slavery was opposed by white Oregonians, it was often for reasons more self-preserving than selfless.

Nokes’s deep research, his interviews of slave’s descendants and his incisive story-telling style delves into the history of Robin Holmes who, with great perseverance, successfully sued his owner for his freedom, and of Reuben Shipley who was forced to choose between remaining near his enslaved family in Missouri and his tenuous hope of freedom in Oregon. There is a wealth of information about the life of Oregon’s early African Americans in Breaking Chains.

Welcome to the world of banned books.  Use this guide to learn about censorship, the First Amendment, and challenged or banned books. 

Censored StampWhat is Censorship?  According to the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), censorship is when words, images, or ideas are blocked or removed because someone finds them offensive.  When an item is removed, we say it's been "banned".  Banned Books On-Line is an exhibit of books that have been the objects of censorship or censorship attempts.  It includes the classics Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn.  A "challenge" is an attempt to remove or restrict access to books and other materials.

Why do we care if a book is banned?  The American Library Association (ALA) views a challenge or ban as a "threat to freedom of speech and choice", freedoms that are guaranteed under the Bill of Rights.  Watch the video below for a short description of the First Amendment.  To see more short videos about Congress, the US Constitution and the Bill of Rights, check out the Facts of Congress youtube channel or read the Constitution, the Bill of Rights and more at the government archives: The Charters of Freedom.

How does a book get removed?  When a person or group decides that a book is not appropriate, a request is made to the library to remove the book or restrict access to it.  The leaders of the library review the challenge and decide how to respond.  Although many books are challenged, very few are actually removed.  Find lists of challenged books at the ALA's Frequently Challenged Books.

Why does a book get challenged or banned?  The National Coalition Against Censorship says books are challenged, censored and banned for many different reasons.  Some of the most common include:

  • Profanity:  Books are often challenged for the language they contain.  A good example is Captain Underpants and its sequels by Dav Pilkey.
  • Sex:  Parents and schools have challenged books for certain sexual passages.  Works such as It’s Perfectly Normal by Robie Harris and Heather Has Two Mommies by Leslea Newman have frequently been challenged.
  • Violence:  Objections to violent content are often based on the idea that these books make violence okay.  Books challenged as too violent include Scary Stories to tell in the Dark and its sequels by Alvin Schwartz.
  • Religion:  Today, parents and ministers often object to works which discuss topics such as sex, evolution, or witchcraft or occult themes.  An example of this is The Hunger Games trilogy by Suzanne Collins.

Did this get you started?  If you need more help, just ask a librarian!

On October 28, 2013, the governors of Oregon, Washington, California, and the premier of British Columbia announced they had agreed to a set of shared goals for the region to reduce carbon emissions and address climate change, called the Pacific Coast Action Plan on Climate and Energy.

Although the plan is not legally binding, it says that Oregon will, among other things, set a price on carbon emissionsestablish a target for reducing carbon emissions, encourage the use of zero-emission vehicles and the design of "net-zero" buildings. 

In 2012, the Union of Concerned Scientists produced Cooler Smarter: practical steps for low-carbon living, which "shows you how to cut your own global warming emissions by twenty percent or more."

Hank Green of the popular Crash Course and Vlogbrothers series explains five human impacts on the environment:

 

 

MLA Handbook coverDoes your writing assignment require that you follow a particular style of citation, such as MLA, APA, or Chicago? Or are you writing for a particular discipline, industry or audience? Perhaps you are wondering: why are there so many different forms of citations?!?

A style guide (also known as a stylebook or handbook) is a set of standards for writing and document organization. These are used for different kinds of writing - academic, journalism, business, and so on. Each style guide sets out guidelines for writing and documentation of research in the discipline in question, and (perhaps most famously) they tend to be chock-full of really specific rules for formatting and punctuating citations.

Where to turn for authoritative advice on writing style and citation? Try these guides for writing for specific disciplines:

 

Academic writing tends to be guided by either the MLA, Chicago (or Turabian), or APA styles.

The MLA Handbook for Writers of Research Papers is often used for high school and undergraduate students, while the MLA Style Manual and Guide to Scholarly Publishing is geared toward graduate students, writers and researchers in the humanities.

The Chicago Manual of Style, created by the University of Chicago Press, is used in editing and publishing as well as academia. A Manual for Writers of Research Papers, Theses, and Dissertations: Chicago Style for Students and Researchers by Kate L. Turabian (sometimes you'll hear people refer to “Turabian style”) guides undergraduate and graduate student writing, but perhaps more for coursework than for publication. Turabian style is based on Chicago style, and almost identical to it.

The Concise Rules of APA Style is the go-to guide for students and researchers in the social and behavioral sciences, particularly above the undergraduate level and for published work.

 

There are also style guides for different professional writing disciplines.

The Associated Press Stylebook and Briefing on Media Law is the standard used by newspapers and the news industry in the United States.

The Gregg Reference Manual is the style guide for business, both for professionals and students.  

The Elements of Legal Style is a handy guide to legal writing, based somewhat on Strunk and White’s classic text on writing style (see below). Citation in legal writing is complicated, because different courts have different requirements for citation. Most of the various forms of legal citations are based on the Bluebook system, which is described in the book Legal Writing Citation in a Nutshell, by Larry L. Teply.

The Yahoo Style Guide for the Web is a great resource if you’re writing for the web.  

 

Not sure what you need, or perhaps your classes require that you use different citation formats… a guide that covers the different styles might be useful to you:

A Writer’s Reference by Diana Hacker contains extensive advice about grammar and academic writing style, in addition to citation guides for MLA, APA, and Chicago style.

Cite Right: A Quick Guide to Citation Styles--MLA, APA, Chicago, the Sciences, Professions, and More by Charles Lipson focuses on citations, including many different styles.

Last but definitely not least, try out the OWL - Online Writing Lab from Purdue University. It’s a free online resource that covers academic citations formats (MLA, APA, Chicago) as well as a wealth of information about general writing, grammar, research, job search writing, ESL, and more. In short, it’s rather amazing.

 

Above I mentioned Strunk and White's classic guide to writing, The Elements of Style,​ which is a guide to language usage and form (not citations). It continues to be a great resource, and is freely available online via Bartleby. For other guides to writing, grammar, and composition, see our blog post about improving your writing skills.


As always, please feel free to ask a librarian if you have questions - we’re always happy to help with research, citations, and writing projects!

The City of Portland's Bureau of Planning and Sustainability is developing the Comprehensive Plan, a long-range plan for the growth and development of Portland through 2035. The public review draft of the Comprehensive Plan is being published in two parts. Working Draft Part 1 was published in January 2013 and contained the draft goals and policies. Working Draft Part 2 is now available for public review and consists of two products:

  1. The online Map App, an interactive series of maps showing the geography and location of various policy proposals. For example, the “storm water areas of concern” mapshows areas that have both a potential for new development and significant stormwater management constraints.

  1. The Citywide Systems Plan, a 20-year, coordinated infrastructure plan for the City of Portland. It updates the City of Portland’s Public Facilities Plan, which was last done 24 years ago in 1989.

All Multnomah County Library locations, except for Gresham, Troutdale and Fairview, have been given a binder which contains a one-page overview of this Map App and a copy of the Citywide Systems Plan. This binder is available for public review and the Bureau of Planning and Sustainability are accepting comments until December 31, 2013.

More information on the Comprehensive Plan, as well as how and where to give feedback, can be found on the Bureau of Planning and Sustainability website.

Have you ever wanted to be invisible? What if you didn’t want to be invisible and you were? That’s what happens to Clover Hobart. One morning she wakes up and she is invisible.

It doesn’t help that she is 55-plus woman and already invisible in society’s eyes. Even her family is oblivious to the fact that she is invisible. The only one who notices is her best friend, who tries to help Clover in her non-visible adventures.

Calling Invisible Women is a clever and hilarious new book by Jeanne Ray. It’s a thought-provoking look at women of a certain age in our society and one of my favorite novels.  

Kids these days. Back in the day we walked to school and didn't have cell phones to call home and report, "mom, come get me - there's a zombie following me!" But that was okay, because zombies back then could only shamble along at a mile an hour and it was easy to outrun them. And the vampires? They were a lot more polite back then. They'd only come into your house if you invited them, and what dork would do that?
 
The Coldest Girl in Coldtown jacketFiend bookjacket
Nowadays, you have your fancy schmancy running zombies and your political activist-type vampires. The undead just aren't what they used to be. Don't believe me? Take a look at this list of hipster horrors.
 
Tana wakes up at a party to find all her friends dead and her boyfriend infected with vampirism, necessitating a trip to Coldtown, home of vampires and their infected human pets.
Some people look on the zombie apocalypse with horror, but for meth-head Chase, zombies are just one more impediment to getting that next fix. One reviewer calls it Trainspotting for the Walking Dead crowd.
 
In the early days of the zombie apocalypse, a family stumbles upon a dead mother and her baby, also dead - undead, that is. Defying all mythological convention, baby Stony starts to grow and as he does, causes awkward situations for the family that adopted him.
 
Teenage angst, uptight parents and family dysfunction are all so much worse when you have to hide your true nature.
 
Like other zombies, R. feeds on humans, not only for sustenance but to absorb their memories. When he eats the brains of a teenaged boy, heHusk bookjacket falls in love with the boy's girlfriend. This is a book for those who wonder what zombies think about. And hey, if nothing grosses you out, it's also a movie.
 
Boyfriend troubles, an empty bank account, and several auditions gone disasterously wrong, but that's the least of Sheldon's troubles. How will he get his big break when he's falling apart - literally.

The Oregon Museum of Science & Industry (OMSI) is currently hosting the International Exhibition of Sherlock Holmes. We here at the library love Sherlock Holmes! He’s detail-oriented and excellent at making connections - some of our favorite traits - and his amazing tales have brought the love of reading to hundreds of thousands of people all over the planet!

It all began with Arthur Conan Doyle back in 1886 and more than 120 years later, Holmes is still going strong. Not only are tales of his adventures found in novels, but also in comics, movies, television shows and even the Broadway stage.

We’ve created a reading/watching/listening list for all Sherlock fans (or soon to be fans) and we would love to hear about your favorite Sherlock stories in the comments.

Want more recommendations of stories involving famous sleuths (or anything else)? Go ahead and ask a detail-oriented and connection-making librarian!

Elizabeth T. Kinney (from Smithsonian collection)Now that I have a niece, I have become even more aware of the amazing female role models that can inspire her to learn and succeed in whatever way she chooses. Women have been instrumental in the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) since ancient times (Hello, Hypatia!). Children have survived leukemia because of the work of Nobel Prize winner Gertrude B. Elion. Mathmetician Katherine G. Johnson calculated the flight trajectory for the first American to go into space in 1959. You wouldn’t be reading this blog if not for the work of Grace Hopper, who advanced computers beyond binary. Yet we still tend to think of the accomplishments in these fields as belonging almost exclusively to men.

Ada Lovelace Day, happening this year on October 15, 2013, aims to change that. Named after early programmer Ada Lovelace, Ada Lovelace Day is an international celebration of the achievements of women in science, technology, engineering and mathematics. This year’s events include lectures, meet-ups, and a Wikipedia Edit-a-thon to edit and create Wikipedia entries on women who have made significant contributions to the STEM fields.

In honor of my niece and all of the other young girls (and boys) in my life who might design the vaccine or software that changes the world, I am celebrating this week by learning and spreading the word about women in STEM past and present. The Anita Borg Institute has some fascinating profiles of women in technology; Eastern Illinois University rounds up biographies of women in science and Agnes Scott College brings us bios of women mathematicians through history; and I can’t get enough of this amazing set of photographs of women in science from the Smithsonian.

And I definitely got schooled watching this epic rap battle between Rosalind Franklin and Watson and Crick. (Don’t miss the shoutout to Shirley Anne Jackson at 2:27!)

Want to learn more? Check out the incredible reads below or contact a librarian. And let us know about your favorite woman in STEM in the comments!

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