Statue of Roman godGreek and Roman mythology share many of the same gods and goddesses in their stories, but most often the names are different. It can be difficult to keep straight who is who when referring to them with either their Greek or Roman name. Is it Zues or Jupiter? Is it Hera or Juno? Is Aphrodite or Venus? Encyclopedia Mythica has a great list of major Greek deities and their Roman counterparts. When we are reading Percy Jackson we are working with the Greek names, but our planets are named for the Roman Gods and Goddesses.

When studying Greek and Roman mythology consider using some of the library’s databases. Using the “Reference Center” in World Book Encyclopedia can expand your study on the subject. Search for “Greek and Roman divinities,’ and you will get another chart matching up Greek and Roman counterparts with links to learn more about the individual deities. Gale Virtual Reference Library (GVRL) is another online resource that will lead you to a variety of online e-books full of mythological information.

If you are trying to keep track of who is related to who in the Pantheon (all the gods of a people or religion collectively), Greek Myhtological Link has great geneology charts as well as maps. Kidipede also has brief descriptions on the differient gods as well as book suggestions for further reading, many that you will find here at the library. Check out some of our reading suggestions too.

The weather is starting to cool down, kids are back in school, leaves are falling from the trees. It’s fall! My favorite season. Favorite not so much because of the gorgeous cool weather and the explosion of fall colors, but because fall equals my favorite holiday. Halloween! The costumes and parties, the Halloween decorations, the haunted houses, the corn mazes, the pumpkin patches. I love it all!
Trick 'r Treat DVD coverFor me, Halloween is a month long celebration that I like to kick off by watching one of my all time favorite horror flicks, Trick 'r Treat. This anthology of five Halloween themed horror stories opens with a suburban husband and wife getting ready for Halloween night. The husband loves the holiday while the wife detests it and can’t wait for the night to be over. She later pays for her wanton disregard for Halloween traditions in the most gruesome way. The tales that follow include the story of a murderous school principal, a terrible and terrifying high school prank, a college virgin who meets the man that she has been waiting for, and a cantankerous Halloween hating man who enjoys scaring away trick-or-treaters. This collection of horror stories at first seem fairly disconnected except for one common element, a creepy child-like character wearing grubby orange pajamas and a burlap sack over its head. So, horror fans and holiday ghouls, grab a friend, pop some popcorn (or bake a batch of pumpkin seeds) and cozy up for this delicious Halloween horror treat. 

We are such a serious people. Eavesdrop on one of today's conversations, and it goes something like this:

"I never listen to the news, it's always bad." 

"You are so right!"

"The middle class is disappearing, climate change is accelerating, and in-filling is destroying my neighborhood."

"The final blow for me personally? They went and cancelled Leverage!"

Whoo-sah! Can I have a time out?

Like Ron Weasley said, "Why is it always spiders? Why can't it ever be butterflies?"

Here are a few of my Calgon, take me away faves...

Dies the Fire by S.M. Stirling is set in an apocolytic Northwest centered on Portland, Corvallis and the foothills of the central Willamette Valley. Why pike around with worrying about the end of life as we know it? Stirling drops you headfirst into a tale of survival that will shiver your bones while delighting you with crafty Oregonians who have the last laugh on civilization. Spoiler note: the Lord of the Rings trilogy is featured.

Gideon the Cutpurse is all about imagination, loyalty and friendship. When did we as adults forget that funny and stupid are not synonymous? Might it not be fun to move out of your comfort zone, stretch your capabilities, and maybe discover a new you?

This list contains names that make me smile. Because when the good guys blow stuff up and win, the universe is in balance. To get in the mood, I just suspend the social training that says this world is a awful place and wait for the one-liner that says 'You're adorable!'

Awkward book jacketAh, back to school! The crisp fall days, football on Friday nights, challenging classes, and the absolute terror of starting at a new school! I switched from public to private school in 8th grade and, fortunately for me, the students were really friendly and welcoming.  I bonded with a couple of girls right away over soccer and disco, and even though our main teacher was a bit intimidating, I managed to get along with her despite being sent to the library for talking to a pal during a boring film.

Penelope (aka Peppi) has a pretty rough start when she begins classes at a new middle school.  On the first morning of the first day, she manages to trip in the hallway and scatter books and papers everywhere.  When Jaime, a kind, but nerdy boy, attempts to help her and the mean kids laugh at them, she screams at him to leave her alone.  She almost instantly regrets her action, but can't seem to find a way to apologize and avoids him like the proverbial plague.  Peppi finds friends among the Art Club and things are going pretty well, but then - horror of horrors - the science teacher assigns Jaime to be her tutor!  What's a girl to do?  Skip the sessions and flunk science or just face the music?  Maybe art can meet science and have something positive emerge.  You'll have to read Awkward by Svetlana Chmakova to find out.

Are you heading back to class or just wanting to relive those days? If so, check out these graphic novels about the school experience...they've got to be more fun than a calculus textbook!

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!

Multnomah County Library provides books to a number of community led literacy programs. On such program is Street Books. We had an awesome opportunity to sit down with Street Books founder Laura Moulton. Here is what she had to say.

Hello Laura, for those who may not know, please describe what Street Books is all about.

Street Librarian Diana Rempe shows off new bike library donated by Splendid Cycle

Street Books is a bicycle-powered mobile library serving people who live outside in Portland. We serve people who might not access Multnomah County’s library system, for a variety of reasons. We serve different parts of the city, 3 times a week, and have a regular group of faithful patrons.

How/why did you start Street Books?

We got a grant from the Regional Arts & Culture Council, and the first shifts launched in June of 2011. That initial funding was so important to making the project happen. I think the reason behind starting it was that I am a lover of books and good stories, and I saw a group of people at the margins who weren’t accessing books. I think one original inspiration for the project comes from an encounter I had with a man named Joe in the late 90s. He lived outside, and frequented the neighborhood where I lived. We had a long talk about books, and discovered a shared affinity for books about the west, particularly books like The Big Sky by A.B. Guthrie. I wound up getting him a sack of paperbacks from Powells, and I think that might have been an early gesture that planted the seed for Street Books. 

Describe a typical Street Books patron...does that even exist?

What our patrons have in common is that they live outside or are in vulnerable places (living in a car, shelter, etc.). Beyond that, it would be impossible to define a “typical” patron. There is an enormous diversity of readers, and every summer their requests help illustrate this point. This summer I have filled requests at the Workers’ Center on MLK Blvd. for Spanish-speaking authors ranging from Gabriel Garcia Marquez to Eduardo Galeano to a manual on fixing computers (still searching for the last one). James Patterson is a perennial favorite at our other shifts, but so is Ray Bradbury, Ursula LeGuin and Barbara Kingsolver. Another commonality is the appreciation for a good conversation about books and reading. So many of our patrons linger to talk about their experience growing up (with or often without) books, their favorite authors, whether the film was better than the book, etc. And the fact that this sometimes occurs between our patrons and people who have houses, who have stopped to admire the bike library, is all the better.

How long has Street Books been around?

It was founded in 2011, so this summer marks our 5th anniversary!

Street Books relies on community donations including books from Multnomah County Library. Explain what these donations mean to the existence of Street Books.

Street Books exists because the citizens of Portland said YES to a street library for our city. They supported the Kickstarter campaign in the fall of 2011, and they have continued this support in different ways ever since. I am proud of the fact that we are scrappy and don’t have to fundraise for a brick and mortar to hold us. The Ecotrust building donates downstairs space for our library, and Ryan Hashagan with Portland Pedicabs has given us extremely reduced rent to store our bike library in his China Town garage. Multnomah County’s Outreach Services department donates 2 boxes of books every month. So we have formed important partnerships over time that help sustain us. But we need donations to operate. All money that we are able to raise from tax-deductible donations goes directly to providing services to our patrons, to supporting street librarians and to maintaining our bike library. We don’t have fancy letterhead or soirees, but we are steady and after 5 years, still going strong.  

For more information feel free to contact Laura and her team at .

Artist's drawing of D.B. Cooper.It was a hot day in Central Library. The air conditioner was busted, the doors were propped wide open, and, thanks to the latest forest fire out on the eastside, the air was about as smoky as the Virginia Cafe circa 1975. I thought about lighting up myself since it couldn’t make things much worse in here, but then I remembered that I quit smoking 20 years ago. Something bad was going to happen, I could feel it.

Mercifully, this is not the actual condition in the library at the moment! Everything is just fine. But if this scene appeals to you for some reason, maybe you should be reading more Portland crime fiction.

Did I leave something important off this list? Let me know!

I Read Banned BooksYou’ve probably seen the bumper stickers, buttons and T-shirts and other paraphernalia. But why do books get banned? For a variety of reasons -- political views, offensive language, sexual content, or content that for various reasons is felt to be “inappropriate” for children, to name just a few.

But books are not the only things that get banned. Music has its own long history of being banned. For instance, the works of many composers were banned in Nazi Germany and in the Soviet Union during the reign of Joseph Stalin.

The banning continues in the Twenty-First Century. About a year ago, the New York Youth Symphony commissioned a new work by the talented young Estonian-born composer Jonas Tarm. The Photo of Jonas Tarmpiece, entitled Marsh u Nebuttya (March to Oblivion), which was to run about 9 minutes in length, included a couple of quotations from other musical works. The most controversial of these was a 45-second quote from the Horst Wessel Song (listener discretion advised) -- the unofficial anthem of the Nazi Party.

The work’s debut at Carnegie Hall was cancelled. The orchestra’s executive director said that the instrumental quotes from the Horst Wessel Song and the Ukrainian Soviet national anthem were offensive, even though the composer insisted that the piece was dedicated to “the victims who have suffered from cruelty and hatred of war, totalitarianism, polarizing nationalism -- in the past and today.”

It’s a classic case of judging a creation by its parts rather than its overall artistic merits. I look forward to the day when I can hear this piece and make my own decision.

Celebrate Banned Books Week later this month, September 27-October 3.

small weaving loomsThis summer I am trying my hand at weaving. I found a vintage Weave-it loom online last year, but never tried using it until I noticed the book 100 Pin Loom Squares at the library a few weeks ago. I checked out the book, followed the instructions, and started weaving four-inch squares. The squares can be joined to create bags, coasters, scarves, or articles of clothing. I hope to make a small purse with the squares I’ve made.


Weaving may seem intimidating since it often requires some type of loom, but in reality weaving can be simple enough that children can do it; some basic weaving projects do not even require a loom. I decided to use a pin loom for my project since it is small, and I thought it would be simple enough to figure out on my own.

Interested in learning how to use a loom? A basic internet search for “DIY loom weaving plans” will bring up results for many different kinds of looms. You can also check out the accompanying book list for more help with your project.

There are some images that stay in our minds forever and the picture of "the Afghan Girl" is one of them. Those sea-green eyes captivated the world when we saw her portrait for the first time on the cover of National Geographic magazine in 1985.
Steve McCurry, a National Geographic photographer, made famous the face of this girl when it appeared on the cover of the magazine, and later on the cover of his book, Portraits. The intention behind the picture was to document the Afghan refugee camps in Pakistan during the Soviet occupation. While walking through the camp, the photographer asked for the teacher's permission to take the photo. He never imagined those amazing eyes would become a global symbol of wartime. McCurry didn't ask her name; seventeen years later he decided to search for her as revealed in the documentary, Search for the Afghan Girl.
In 2002 he came back to Pakistan searching for the nameless girl. After many challenges and with the help of a team of experts including the FBI, he found her. Her name is Sharbat Gula and surprisingly her identity was revealed through her eyes, with the use of iris recognition technology. Her sea-green eyes matched the characteristics of that first and only picture. Learn more about McCurry's work by exploring this list.


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