A Resourceful Potential Librarian

by Donna Childs, MCL volunteer

After completing an undergraduate program, Jason enrolled in the Masters in Library Information Science (MLIS) program at the University of British Columbia, with the goal of pursuing a career as a librarian. Such positions are hard to come by.  As Jason searches for permanent library employment, they found a variety of “library-adjacent jobs,” sorting, cataloguing, organizing, and digitizing information, while also volunteering at the Hollywood Library.

Since May of 2016, Jason has volunteered at Hollywood Library, checking in, scanning, and shelving holds on Saturdays. Hollywood librarians comment on Jason’s “good humor and adaptability” and an “eagle eye” that allows them to notice details and fix them. With luck, Jason’s resourcefulness, computer prowess, attention to detail, diligence in pursuing opportunities, and experience corralling information will lead to a permanent library job.

Virtually all of the jobs Jason has undertaken—before and after getting an MLIS degree—center on making information more accessible:

  • An internship digitizing the 30,000+ items in the William Stafford collection at Lewis and Clark College, where they earned a Bachelor of Arts degree
  • An internship at the California State Library sorting through uncatalogued boxes of random historical information, ranging from junk to formerly top-secret memos from Boeing and McDonnell Douglas executives
  • Cataloging materials in the Donald E. Long Juvenile Detention Home library in Portland
  • Staffing tables at various events, including one at which they met the featured speaker, Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor
  • Working with records in diverse places such as the office of John Deere and the Multnomah County Sheriff’s Office 

Now, Jason works as a Document Management Specialist at The Standard, digitizing, sorting, and organizing the information on insurance claims.


A Few Facts About Jason

Home library: Hillsdale

Currently reading: The Fifth Season by N.K. Jemisin

Favorite book from childhood: Dinotopia by James Gurney

Favorite section of the library: Fantasy/Science Fiction

E-reader or paper book?  paper

Favorite reading guilty pleasure: binging hundreds of chapters of Chinese webnovels

Favorite place to read: anywhere with blankets and tea

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Talk Time Host

by Donna Childs, MCL volunteer

Talk Time is a library program for people from around the world to practice English conversation.  For 11 years, Daniel Friedman has hosted such Monday afternoon conversations at Central Library. What keeps him coming back all these years?  According to Daniel, it’s the people he has met, and their patience, warmth, and generosity with each other, and their inspiring optimism and courage.  Talk Time has helped Daniel shed his own stereotypes and taught him more about the world. Most importantly, he believes this is a way to effect small changes and to feel more hopeful; though, he admits to understandable fury at the cruel treatment many immigrants currently receive in the United States.  

According to Daniel, Talk Time attracts people with a wide range of conversational abilities, from those not literate in their native languages to PhDs with good English skills:  “a day laborer from Guatemala to a post-doc from Iraq.” Some participants have attended language schools and want to supplement their grammar and vocabulary lessons with conversation, such as one attendee, a bus driver from Budapest, Hungary, who attends Talk Time when he visits Portland every couple years.  

Daniel sees his chief objective as encouraging everyone to speak. Sometimes the program begins with a theme or a conversation-starting question; other times, attendees talk about themselves. He uses a computer and an overhead projector to search a new word or place that arises in conversation and share it with everyone.  Daniel also projects vocabulary words and then emails the list to participants. The number of attendees at the 90-minute sessions has ranged from about seven to more than 20. There are two hosts each program, so the group divides in half when needed, to allow everyone to talk.

Although Daniel began volunteering with digital literacy classes for older adults and tutoring at the library, Talk Time is a natural fit for him. A retired professor of psychology, he is comfortable leading conversations, and he has long been interested in the immigrant experience. In fact, he made an award-winning film about four teens from India in Atlanta, which has been used in many college classrooms.  In these times of such difficulty for many immigrants, it is encouraging to know that those who attend Talk Time sessions find support in Daniel and his fellow hosts. For more information about the library's Talk Time program, please visit multcolib.org/events/talk-time.


A few facts about Daniel

Home library: Central

Currently reading:  Uncivil Agreement: How Politics Became Our Identity by Lilliana Mason

Most influential book:  Practical Ethics by Peter Singer

Favorite book from childhood:  Mad Magazine

A book that made you laugh or cry:  Where’d You Go, Bernadette by Maria Semple. 

Favorite section of the library:  Social Science

E-reader or paper book?  My Huawei Mediapad X2 tablet: a nine-ounce branch library in my backpack!

Favorite reading guilty pleasure: American Splendor by Harvey Pekar

Favorite place to read:  On a bench in Jamison Square park

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

“It’s fun to see kids get so excited about reading.”

by Sarah Binns, MCL volunteer

The first thing that struck me about library volunteer Jordan “Jordy” Pardo was his order of a cold brew—it’s not every day I meet a thirteen-year-old who embraces coffee! But Jordy, soon to enter Franklin High School as a freshman, is one of those delightful people who embraces everything with gusto—including his longtime position as a Summer Reading volunteer at Holgate Library

For many young readers, Multnomah County Library’s Summer Reading program is the highlight of summer break. The program encourages all youth, from birth through high school, to read. To participate, participants track the number of days they read (or are read to) and record them on a game board to win prizes. Jordy learned about the program at age four when his older sister started volunteering. “She’d take care of me and I’d go with her [to the library]. It fascinated me. I thought, ‘When I’m old enough, I want to do that.’” In the summer before fifth grade Jordy was accepted to the program—“I’ve been doing it ever since.” 

Jordy’s favorite part of volunteering is giving participants their game boards. “It’s fun to see kids get so excited about reading and then get rewarded for reading,” he says. Book-wise, Jordy enjoys mysteries, especially Scooby Doo. “It keeps me interested, and I always want to figure out who did it in the end.” He typically ends his day with a book: “Reading is my melatonin,” he says, laughing. 

In his free time, Jordy hangs out with his sister and friends all over Portland, which he navigates by bus. With his friends, he says, “We could go look at a tree. As long as you’re with people you love and people who love you, it’s fun.” He applies the same philosophy to school, where he enjoys math and language arts. “I like solving for x or y,” he says—just like solving his mystery novels. 

When I ask if he’s excited for high school he says, “I just want to get started, graduate, and be successful!” Given his passion for learning and curious nature, it’s easy to see that Jordy will be successful at anything he puts his mind to. 


Home library: Holgate

Currently reading: Schooled by Gordon Korman

Most influential book: The House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros. 

Favorite section to browse: Teen or kids books. “It’s nice to read a shorter book sometimes, it’s a change of pace.”

Favorite book from childhood: The Rainbow Fish by Marcus Pfister. “My mom would read me that book at night. I couldn’t go to sleep without being read to.” 

Favorite place to read: On a couch. “I’ll sit and drink coffee while reading.”

E-reader or paper: Paper. “The point is you’re taking time away from your phone and technology!”

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

Listening to the Readers

by Donna Childs, MCL volunteer

The Read to the Dogs program is one of many ways the Multnomah County Library promotes reading. Dog-and-person teams are available at several neighborhood libraries to soothe and encourage hesitant young readers.

At Hollywood Library, dog Archi and his partner, Emily Rogers, devote one and a half hours twice a month to listening to kids read. Does Archi understand the books? Probably not, even though kids often choose books about dogs, and Emily said he has a huge vocabulary. But he does understand his connection with the kids who pet, hug, and cuddle with him.  

A certified therapy dog, Archi took six six-week classes: regular puppy and then therapy training. Archi was certified by Pet Partners, a nonprofit organization that pairs people with therapy animals to help people with differing needs in a variety of situations. Archi must be recertified every two years. While most dogs pass the tests and earn certification by age three or four, Archi passed at thirteen months! 

Children sign up for 20-minute sessions, reading to and petting the dog, which often helps to calm the child’s anxiety. Archi and Emily are one of three teams at Hollywood Library. The sessions take place in a quiet, glass-walled room for child, dog, and owner. Parents remaining in the library can easily see their children. Occasionally a sibling comes too, and once a girl came in who was a good reader, but afraid of dogs. She ended up hugging Archi! Whole families have participated over the years as each child begins to read.   

In addition to Read to the Dogs, Archi and Emily have volunteered at such places as the Tigard Public LibraryPortland Children’s Museum, Portland State University during finals week, and with adults adapting to a new computer system.  

Emily pointed out that although their 36 weeks of training was focused on Archi, she had to learn to communicate with, guide, and redirect him when necessary. Emily works full-time in philanthropy and is not an expert in teaching reading, but she is so committed she attended a four-hour training with a reading specialist. Emily and Archi clearly take their responsibilities to young readers seriously, to everyone’s benefit.

 


A few facts about Emily

Home library: Hollywood

Currently reading: Good Omens by Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman

Most influential book: The Harry Potter books!

Favorite section to browse: Historical fiction  

Favorite book from childhood: The Dragons are Singing Tonight by Jack Prelutsky

Book that made you laugh or cry: Uncle Shelby’s ABZ Book by Shel Silverstein

Guilty pleasure: Outlander by Diana Gabaldon

Favorite place to read: My balcony

E-reader or paper: Paper book!!!

 

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

At home at Rockwood Library
Volunteer Ethan Wood

by Donna Childs,  MCL volunteer

Smart, busy, an enthusiastic learner, Ethan is a charming young man—an independent learner with an infectious love of learning and a commitment to encouraging others. He is currently a high school junior and looking ahead to college. Although he lives in Damascus, he travels to Rockwood Library to volunteer. Despite the commute, it is clearly the place for him: Ethan loves science, technology, and making things, and Rockwood is the only area library with a makerspace. Ethan came to Rockwood as a Summer Reading volunteer six years ago, before the makerspace was created. After Summer Reading, he moved on to helping students with homework and assisting patrons with the library’s computers. He recalls that one especially gratifying experience was helping a patron find an apartment online.

When the makerspace opened, Ethan was recruited by Rockwood’s “awesome staff” to volunteer there. He learned CAD (Computer Aided Design) and how to use the equipment and has been an avid makerspace volunteer since.

The makerspace is a collaborative learning environment for students in grades 6-12 to learn real-life technology and engineering skills. Librarians and volunteers like Ethan offer workshops and guide students in the use of innovative technology tools like laser cutters and 3D printers. The goal is for students to become comfortable with technology and to learn by experimenting, while honing problem-solving and critical thinking skills.

Ethan loves experimenting and making things, and he strongly believes in the importance for kids of learning technology: “they will need it later.” Among his potential college majors are mechanical and electronics engineering, though he also loves astronomy and the space program.

As a high school junior, Ethan is enrolled in the Summit Learning Charter School’s Early College Program, through which he can take both high school and community college classes and earn college credit, with Summit paying his tuition. In addition to taking high school and college courses and volunteering at Rockwood, Ethan is a Boy Scout, working to become an Eagle Scout, and a member of Summit’s Robotics club; he also takes guitar lessons and serves as a communications assistant—doing newsletters and social media—for the East Metro Youth Advisory Council whose mission is to encourage STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts, and math). The Council meets at Rockwood Library.


A few facts about Ethan

Home library:  Rockwood

Currently reading:  He is not currently reading a book, but enjoys science fiction.

Most influential book:  He could not think of a specific book that has influenced him however, one of his favorite books is Psion Beta by Jacob Gowans.

Favorite book from childhood:  "I love all the Harry Potter books."

Book that made you cry:  Where the Redfern Grows by Wilson Rawls is a tear-jerker.

Favorite browsing section: Fiction and science nonfiction

E-reader or paper?  Paper book

Favorite place to read: "My room, because it is quiet and comfortable."

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

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