Blogs

Image of adult male showing adult female how to cut wood on a table saw
Apprenticeship can be a great path to a career. Apprenticeships are usually programs that train you in a trade or craft while doing the job. There are many ways to get started and learn more about apprenticeships.

Oregon Apprenticeship is a group of organizations working to connect you to Registered Apprenticeship. They can help you explore careers, learn about application guidelines and search job openings.

The Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries (BOLI) can help you find a program and answer your questions about apprenticeship programs.

Oregon Career Information Systems has lots of information about different careers and the education and skills required, including apprenticeships. A library card is needed to sign in.

Portland Workforce Alliance can help connect students to apprenticeships and pre-apprenticeships to improve students’ career readiness.

Portland Community College and Mount Hood Community College both offer several different apprenticeship programs and can help you learn more about them.

The Workplace Team can help you do research about apprenticeships and other career paths. Contact us to ask questions or book a One-on-One appointment.

Almost every week parents come to the reference desk at my library asking for children’s books about new babies. They want picture books to start getting expectant siblings ready for the world-overturning event that is to come. It always gives me a moment of pause, though, because so many new sibling books lead with the problems. While there might be problems, you don’t want to present books to toddlers or preschoolers that talk about how tired and distracted their parents will be, or that the new tiny humans will need so much attention that there won’t be any of it left for them. A new baby is a miracle. The first books that you give the big brother- or sister-to-be should be about how miraculous it is to have a new little person joining their family. They should expect to celebrate!

 

So I made this list of celebratory picture books. And later, if there are problems to work out? Definitely come see us at the reference desk. We can help with those, too. But in the meantime, congratulations!

 

February is Black History Month, a time to celebrate influential people, events and actions contributing to Black History in the United States. Each year, the Association for the Study of African American Life and History selects a theme for Black History Month to focus the attention on one specific aspect of the Black experience. In 2022, the theme is “Black Health and Wellness.”

“I absolutely love the theme and focus on health and wellness,” said Lana Sweeting (pictured), Black Cultural Library Advocate (BCLA) at Rockwood Library. “It’s a topic that often gets swept under the rug, but to take this time to bring attention to self-care, and taking a step back when we can, is perfect.”

Lana Sweeting, BCLA at Rockwood Library

Each library location is finding their own way to celebrate Black History Month and connect with their local communities, offering book recommendations, activities, library displays and more, around the theme of Health and Wellness. 

At Hollywood Library, BCLA team members Tamara Stigler and Kariisa Allen are highlighting lesser-known African-Americans who made a large impact for the civil rights movement. Some examples include Diane Nash and Dorothy Height, women in the civil rights movement who were behind the scenes fighting along other more well known civil rights leaders. As part of her display, Tamara is sharing information about the National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC) and how to visit the museum virtually. 

Tamara Stigler and Kariisa Allen, BCLAs at Hollywood Library

The Black Cultural Library Advocates team “creates programs and services that, from the foundation, are by and for the community,” said Sonja Ervin, Multnomah County Library Equity and Inclusion Manager. “This gives folks the opportunity to know that the library is a space for them, and this is why the BCLA position is so vital in connecting with the community.” 

The library has intentionally and rapidly expanded the team over the past few years, with an increase of 33 BCLA positions between 2019-2021. The total number of BCLA staff is 38. Currently, 14 libraries have dedicated Black cultural staff positions: North Portland, St. Johns, Kenton, Hollywood, Albina, Midland, Central, Capitol Hill, Hillsdale, Sellwood, Gregory Heights, Gresham, Fairview-Columbia and Rockwood libraries. 

“There is so much knowledge and resources that should be afforded to everyone, and representation matters," said Tamara. "I am a native Portlander, and I remember going to the school library, but I don’t recall going to the local library. When I had my son, we encouraged him to go. The library opened up so many doors for him to explore and to learn, and in part because of these experiences he is now a Computer Engineer.”

The BCLA team has a mission to “leverage Multnomah County Library’s platform and resources to preserve and strengthen Black communities.” Part of this is through displays, programing, book selections, storytimes, and community outreach.

“This year we are adding a display of children’s books for Black Children’s Week that are just stories of kids being kids,” said Melanie Boyd (pictured), BCLA at Kenton Library. “There are so many books out there that focus on how people of color are different from white people. These stories show Black children as worthy of love and fun.”

Melanie Boyd, BCLA at Kenton Library

Kenton Library’s Black History Month selections range from stories of Afro-Latino families, to culturally sensitive and relatable children’s books:

  •  Just Like Mama, focusing on relationships between a caregiver and child.
  • Time For Bed, Old House, about a boy who is afraid to go to sleep at his grandpa's house because of the noises made. But once his grandfather goes to sleep, he knows it is okay and he is safe there.
  • Sharing a Smile, a relevant and timely children’s book of a girl who is worried she cant see people’s smiles because of masks. 

Many library locations will have a Black History Month display, Black Resource Book List and Black History Month giveaways - including free books to take home!

Take a look at these events and more to celebrate Black History Month:

The BCLA team's work brings our larger community together so that we can continue to include materials, programs and services that match what the community wants and needs. “We want to create spaces where people can ask questions,” said Lana. “With this dedicated role, we are able to find ways to connect people with resources, and make the library a safe space.” 

Check out other reading recommendations from the Black Cultural Library Advocates:

The national theme for Black History Month 2022 is Health and Wellness for the Black Community

Join these virtual programs

It’s Black Storytime Live
Wednesdays at 5:15 pm • February 2, 9, 16 and 23

Peace of Mind: Navigating, stress, anxiety, school & COVID
with ZaDora Williamsz
Tuesday, February 8 • 6–7:30 pm
For teens

Stones, Bones and Black Eyed Peas
with Chefs Michelle Guinn and Sable Askew
Thursday, February 10 • 6–7:30 pm
Live event with recipe cards

Music and Movement for Children
with Nikki Brown Clown
Saturday, February 19 • 10–10:45 am

What’s Going On? A barber shop talk series
with James McKenzie, Nick Herrick and Cary Pratt Jr.
Wednesday, February 23 • 7–8 pm

Mental Wellness for the African American Community: Trauma-informed care
with Javelin Hardy
Tuesday, March 1 • 6–8 pm

Explore these related collections

We Had Jazz Exhibition
February–March 2022 • Collins Gallery, Central Library, 801 SW 10th Ave.
Highlights Albina and North Portland community’s jazz scene – 30 photos

National Museum of African American History and Culture — Searchable Museum
A place to explore history and culture through an African American lens.

For more information, visit library events or call 503.988.5123

All abilities are welcome. For disability accommodations, call 503.988.5123 or email help@multcolib.org 2-3 days before a program.

English | Español | Tiếng Việt | Русский | 简体中文


Every year during tax filing season, the library is ready to help— whether that be books, workshops, referrals to tax help, or printing out the forms you need, we're here for you!

Look for Upcoming Events, Programs and Blog Posts on our site for the most up-to-date information.

The deadline to file federal and state tax returns is  Monday, April 18, 2022. Though the COVID-19 pandemic has made it difficult to get help in person, you can still get tax preparation assistance and support in the following ways.

Paper copies of tax forms or instructions

Tax return preparation assistance

Other tax assistance

File your taxes online for free

Still have questions?

Call the library at 503.988.5123, send us an email or chat with us. Library staff cannot prepare returns, advise on tax matters, or interpret tax law.

Nearly every house history researcher wants to see old photographs or drawings of their house.  Who wouldn't, right?  Unfortunately for Portland-area house history buffs, this can be one of the hardest bits of house history ephemera to track down!  But don't despair; there are surviving photographs of some houses and it is possible (sometimes) to find them. 

The challenge is that there has never been a comprehensive house-portrait project in Portland -- or any other city or town in our area -- so there is no treasure trove of photos of local homes that you can dig through.  You might wonder, if there's no big archive of house pictures, where should you start?  There are a few possibilities:

First, ask your neighbors or the people in your neighborhood association.  People who live on your street may have their own old photographs of family events, parties, or other occasions which include your house in the background.  And a bonus -- when you find that long-time resident and photo-saver, they may share stories about past residents of your house or other interesting neighborhood lore!

Houses sometimes appear in the background of photographs taken to record activity on the street.  The city of Portland has a lot of photographs of infrastructure and maintenance work they've done over the years. 

Many of these images are carefully preserved in the Portland City Archives collection. These images usually show city workers doing something in the neighborhood (such as repairing the sewer like in the photo at left) or were taken in connection with city planning work, like a street scene before the installation of a new traffic light.  You can search for records (including photographs) using the Archives' catalog, Efiles, and some have been published on the archives's Vintage Portland blog -- see below for more about that! But, most photographs in the collection aren't available online.  To look at original photographs in person, you'll need to visit the Archives reading room downtown (1800 SW 6th Ave., Suite 550; 503.865.4100).  

NOTE: As of March 2021, the Portland City Archives is closed to the public due to the coronavirus pandemic.  Contact them to see what services they can offer remotely.

The Oregon Historical Society library is another treasure trove for house history researchers.  Their collection includes more than 2.5 million photographs and negatives of people, communities, commerce, and life in the Pacific Northwest -- the photograph collection doesn't have a section devoted to house portraits, but you may find photographs of your street, or photographs indexed under the name of a former owner of the house.  Some of the library's photographs have been digitized and are available through OHS's Digital Collections website, but many, many images are available only by visiting in person (1200 SW Park Ave.; 503.222.1741).  

Another potential source for house portraits and street scenes is the Vintage Portland blog, run by the Portland City Archives.  Every weekday the site features a different historical photograph (or sometimes a map or drawing) of Portland.  The posts are sorted into categories for neighborhoods, street names, time periods, and topics.  For example, if you are curious about the development of your neighborhood as well as the history of your house, you might want to look at the blog's many aerial photographs; or you might try looking at a neighborhood street like Foster Rd., Powell Blvd., or 82nd Ave.

If the house you're researching happens to be in the Albina district, you may find a photograph of it in The History of Albina, by Roy E. Roos.  The book begins with a brief a history of the district (and former city), but it also includes brief architectural history for a selection of houses and other buildings that are representative of different eras in Albina's development.  Many of the brief house histories are illustrated with contemporary photographs or have no pictures, but some have historic photographs or drawings.

Have fun hunting for a historic photo of your house!

 

  Questions? Ask the Librarian.

Reforzar la educación de nuestros hijos en el hogar es una gran oportunidad para ayudarlos a avanzar al siguiente nivel académico. Esta lista de recursos incluye sitios web donde pueden practicar actividades de diferentes materias escolares, recursos de ayuda con las tareas y consejos para padres. 

Recursos para seguir reforzando la educación de los estudiantes: 

Ayuda con las tareas en vivo: Tutor en vivo por medio de chat, ayuda personalizada en vivo de 2 p.m. a 10 p.m. diariamente. Se ofrece ayuda en español y en inglés. Necesita una tarjeta de la biblioteca para acceder al servicio. Pasos para usar el servicio.

Consejos para padres: 10 consejos para apoyar el aprendizaje de los estudiantes en el hogar

Cursos sin costo para estudiantes de la preparatoria: Estos cursos son excelentes opciones para estudiantes de preparatoria. 

Khan Academy en español: Es un recurso excelente para que usted vea en su idioma lo que su hijo debe aprender por grado o para aprender algo totalmente nuevo.

Khan Academy: Práctica de matemáticas. Un programa totalmente gratuito. Abajo de la página se encuentran todos los temas de matemáticas por grado.

Khan Academy: Práctica de lectura e Inglés como materia. De la misma manera, desplácese hacia abajo de la página para ver los temas por grado.

Mantener a los niños comprometidos y aprendiendo: Recursos para ayudar a los niños a mantenerse comprometidos y aprendiendo. 

Oregon Starting Smarter: Aunque los estudiantes no presentarán los exámenes estatales este año escolar, este recurso le da ideas de las preguntas que vienen en los exámenes. Desplácese hacia abajo de la página para ver todos los recursos. Si prefiere ver la página en inglés, cambie en la parte superior derecha. 

Otros recursos para toda la familia: Recursos de educación, salud, comida, tecnología y seguridad para toda la familia. 

Tutoría virtual en la Biblioteca: El programa de tutoría virtual es para estudiantes en los grados K-12 que necesitan apoyo en lectura, escritura, matemáticas, ciencias naturales o ciencias sociales.

 Tres niños, enlace a el artículo Evaluación del Dominio del Idioma Inglés
¿Qué es la Evaluación del Dominio del Idioma Inglés (ELPA)?

La ELPA mide el conocimiento del idioma inglés de los estudiantes en las áreas de lectura, escritura, expresión oral, comprensión auditiva y comprensión escrita. La ELPA se lleva a cabo en línea y está diseñada para ser interactiva e incluye preguntas que reflejan escenarios del mundo real. Su objetivo principal es calificar a los estudiantes para que reciban los servicios lingüísticos adecuados e informar y orientar a las escuelas para que apoyen mejor las necesidades de los estudiantes.

El estado de Oregón es miembro de la Evaluación de Dominio del Idioma Inglés para el siglo XXI (ELPA21), un grupo de estados comprometidos a apoyar a los educadores, administradores escolares y comunidades a medida que adoptan e implementan los nuevos Estándares de Dominio del Idioma Inglés (ELPA, por sus siglas en inglés) y los estándares para la universidad y carreras profesionales.

¿Qué incluye la Evaluación del Dominio del Idioma Inglés (ELPA)?

Incluye elementos de escritura, comprensión auditiva, expresión oral y preguntas de respuesta abierta para que el alumno demuestre su conocimiento crítico sobre el tema que se le presente.

¿Quién toma la prueba ELPA?

Cualquier estudiante que califique para los servicios de Inglés como Segundo Idioma (ESL por sus siglas en inglés) o que haya salido del programa de ESL en algún momento durante el año escolar. Hable con el maestro para saber si su estudiante toma esta prueba y para saber en qué nivel se encuentra. Las escuelas envían los resultados de la prueba de su estudiante una vez al año por correo postal.

¿Qué mide o evalúa esta prueba?

La evaluación sumativa de ELPA se basa en los nuevos estándares de Dominio del Idioma Inglés de Oregón y mide los cuatro dominios del lenguaje: lectura, escritura, comprensión auditiva y expresión oral. Estos dominios también se conocen como habilidades de comprensión lectora, producción escrita, comprensión auditiva y producción oral. Para obtener más información sobre lo que se incluye en esta prueba visite https://www.elpa21.org/about-us/

¿Cuándo se administra esta prueba?

Por lo regular, ELPA se administra a fines del invierno o en la primavera. Los estudiantes tienen la oportunidad de tomarla una vez al año hasta que salgan del programa de ESL. Llame a la escuela de su estudiante para informarse de las fechas exactas en que tomará la prueba. 

¿Cómo se administra ELPA?

Las evaluaciones se administran a los estudiantes a través del Sistema de Evaluaciones del Estado de Oregón (OSAS, por sus siglas en inglés). Este es el mismo sistema en línea que se utiliza para otras pruebas que administra el Departamento de Educación del Estado de Oregón (ODE, por sus siglas en inglés), como las pruebas de ciencias y artes del lenguaje inglés y matemáticas.

Este es el tiempo estimado para realizar la prueba de acuerdo al grado en que se encuentre el estudiante:

K​​ y 1.º grados: 1 h

2.º y 3.º grados: 1.5 h

6.º y 8.º grados: 3.25 h

9.º y 12.º grados: 4 h

¿Cómo se usan los resultados de la prueba?

Los resultados de las pruebas se utilizan para medir el conocimiento del idioma inglés de los estudiantes y determinar si un estudiante está listo para salir del programa de ESL. Los resultados también se utilizan para cumplir con las responsabilidades estatales y federales del departamento de educación.

Los resultados se envían por correo a las familias una vez al año, a finales del verano o principios del otoño. Los maestros también pueden compartir los resultados con las familias durante las conferencias de padres y maestros y otras reuniones. Asegúrese de pedir los resultados de la prueba y conversar con el maestro de su estudiante acerca de cómo ayudarle a mejorar su proficiencia en el idioma inglés. 

¿Quién lo requiere?

El estado lo requiere. Los estudiantes desde el kínder hasta el 12.º grado, cuyo idioma materno no es el inglés, deben ser evaluados en el dominio del idioma inglés de acuerdo a la Ley Federal y Estatal de Oregón. En Oregón, se usa la prueba ELPA.

¿Tiene la evaluación ELPA componentes para apoyar a los estudiantes con discapacidades o necesidades especiales? 

Sí, la prueba ELPA tiene varios componentes para ayudar a los estudiantes con discapacidades o necesidades específicas de aprendizaje. Hable con el maestro de su estudiante para mayor información.

 

¿En dónde puedo encontrar más información acerca de ELPA?
Contacte al Representante de la ELPA21 en Oregón: Ben Wolcott, 503-947-5835, ben.wolcott@ode.state.or.us. O llame al Departamento de Educación de Oregón, 503-947-5600. 

O en este volante de la ELPA21

 

También puede comunicarse con el maestro de su estudiante.

the cover of vol. 1 FullMetal Alchemist
Curious about the library’s collection of manga (Japanese-style comics and graphic novels)?  Wondering which manga series are right for you?  Looking for a new series to try?  Whether you are new to manga or already deep into it, we’re here to help.   Elle from Central Library has compiled a few booklists full of their favorite manga series.  For beginners, they created First Stop: Manga, which is full of recommendations for those who are new to manga.  For fans of Jujutsu Kaisen by Gege Akutami, Elle shares the best of the shounen genre in this booklist.  

Looking for more?  We asked library staff who read a lot of manga to share their favorites!  We hope you find plenty to read and explore.  Here’s what they have to recommend:  

Sailor Moon by Naoko Takeuchi

“The classic manga about teen girls who discover they're reincarnated Sailor Guardians who protect the universe continues to be a fun read about friendship, hope, courage, and talking cats. Sprinkled with some references to astronomy, mythology, and mineralogy mixed with humor and romance, read this under the moonlight.” -Kimberly, Central Library

Laid-back Camp by Afro

“A group of girls revive the school camping club, dust off the old supplies, and head out to the forests and lakes in the foothills of Mount Fuji.  Along the way, the girls form lasting friendships.  Reading about their trips made me fall in love with camping all over again and now I always plan for an instant ramen lunch or dinner when I spend a weekend outdoors. File under cute, cozy, and low key.”  -Karen M., Gregory Heights Library

FullMetal Alchemist by Hiromu Arakawa

“How would you react if you were handed a series of unexpected outcomes? What if your actions only made the situation worse?  FullMetal Alchemist deals with these very injustices. Two brothers work through their trials as well as develop to understand that other members of their community are also dealing with difficulties too.”  -Juan, St. Johns Library

Delicious in Dungeon by Ryoko Kui

“If you find yourself dreaming of food while watching anime or playing D&D then Delicious in Dungeon will satisfy your appetite. Monsters, dragons, and dumplings, oh my!”  -Erica, Technical Services

Witch Hat Atelier by Kamome Shirahama

“It's gorgeous, and I got caught up in the growing mystery of what's really going on with learning magic in and outside of magic school!”  -Natasha, Hollywood Library

a shelf full of manga series books
Uzumaki by Junji Itō

“If you like horror at all, you owe it to yourself to check out the works of Junji Itō. All his books and short stories are chilling, but Uzumaki is the perfect place to start.  A twisted tale in the vein of H.P. Lovecraft, about a quiet coastal town that slowly spirals into madness.  It's guaranteed to shock, terrify, and leave you hungry for more.”  -Ophelia, Belmont Library

Golden Kamuy by Satoru Noda

"I'm not usually a fan of westerns, but my favorite ongoing series has all the hallmarks of a Sergio Leone cowboy movie, with a unique eastern perspective.  Set in the early 1900s, the series follows an unlikely alliance between a grizzled Japanese war veteran and a young indigenous Ainu huntress as they journey across snowy Hokkaido, fighting vicious killers and dangerous creatures in pursuit of a hidden gold fortune. The series has all the bloody action and colorful characters you want from a Shonen manga, with a surprising amount of comedy and cooking tips. But my favorite part is its rich depiction of the Meiji Restoration, when Japan's push towards modernity began to engulf the ancient traditions of its native people. A real page-turner; my only complaint is that there isn't more yet."  -Ophelia, Belmont Library

This article was written for our Family Newsletter, available in English and Spanish. Please sign up here and you can email us at learning@multcolib.org with any questions.

Young kids in line at school getting temperatures taken by a teacher
Dear families, we know you have been through the wringer for almost two years and it doesn’t seem to be ending anytime soon. As we start 2022, we find ourselves once again having to worry about school closures and remote learning. And we are still trying to figure out how to get tested for and vaccinated against Covid-19. Here are some resources to help support you and your family during this difficult time. 

Testing information

Vaccination information

Finding masks

School closure information

Remote Learning resources

And remember, the library is here to help. We can help you find something good to read, watch or listen to while you are isolating. And you should contact us if you have holds ready for pickup, but are not able to get to the library due to Covid. 

This article was written for our Family Newsletter, available in English and Spanish. Please sign up here and you can email us at learning@multcolib.org with any questions.

child brushing teeth in bathroom
Dental health is an important part of our overall health. Two of the best things we can do for our children’s dental health are regular dental checkups and helping them develop a daily toothbrushing habit. Learn more about children’s oral health at the CDC.

If you need dental insurance, Multnomah County can help you apply.

Ever wondered why dental insurance is separate from the rest of your health insurance? Find out why in this Sawbones podcast episode.

It is odd, right? Our teeth and our mouths are just as much part of our bodies as our arms or stomachs. They’re also part of our sensory systems, so children with sensory processing issues often have sensory problems with oral care. If your child has a poor tolerance for tooth brushing, see if any of these strategies help. Communicate with your child’s dentist about sensory processing issues ahead of time to talk about strategies to create a successful dental visit, such as mitigating noise, getting used to the reclining chair, or being sensitive to your child’s cues.  A social story, such as one from this list or from your dentist, explains the dental visit step by step so that your child knows what to expect.

Another good idea? Books of course! Here is a link to books for kids about the dentist and another about taking care of yout teeth

This article was written for our Family Newsletter, available in English and Spanish. Please sign up here and you can email us at learning@multcolib.org with any questions.

sad person covering head with sweatshirt hood
If you, or your child, feel a sense of fatigue and sadness when summer ends and the weather changes to a pattern of continuous cloudy or rainy days, it may be more than just a case of the ‘winter blues.’

Some people experience a regular low period when the seasons change. Doctors have a name for it - Seasonal Affective Disorder, or SAD. It is more common in adults, and more so in women, but children and teens can sometimes be affected, as well. 

SAD is a type of depression that can appear when there is less sunlight. Unlike other types of depression, SAD symptoms seem to arrive as winter arrives and then fade away as spring approaches. Like other depressions, Seasonal Affective Disorder can be mild, or it can be more severe. 

Why does this happen? In most cases, SAD seems to be related to the loss of sunlight. Researchers have found that reduced sunlight can affect the body in ways that could contribute to Seasonal Affective Disorder. These include: Circadian rhythm (biological clock) – the decrease in sunlight could disrupt your body’s natural rhythms. There may also be a drop in vitamin D levels and in the brain chemical, Serotonin, that affects our mood. These changes can lead to depression.

Symptoms of SAD may include:

  • change in appetite, especially craving sweet or starchy foods
  • fatigue
  • sleeping more than normal
  • difficulty concentrating
  • irritability and anxiety
  • increased sensitivity to rejection
  • avoidance of social situations
  • loss of interest in the activities you used to enjoy

If you or your child are experiencing some of these symptoms your doctor can help determine the best way to cope and feel better.

And here is an article written for teens about SAD from Nemours KidsHealth (also available in Spanish). 

This article was written for our Family Newsletter, available in English and Spanish. Please sign up here and you can email us at learning@multcolib.org with any questions.

Attention educators! Did you miss our summer educator workshops this year? They are a great place to learn about the latest and greatest materials to use in the classroom. Don't worry; we now have booklists and videos available to share.

Gotta Read This: New Books to Connect with Your Curriculum: This workshop highlights new books you might integrate into your language arts, social studies, math, science and arts curriculum.

For K-5th grade educators: Watch part 1 and part 2 of the Gotta Read This K-5 recorded webinar.

For 6th-12th grade educators: This booklist is broken down by subject, so you can choose the topics most relevant for you.

 

Novel-Ties (for 4th -8th grade educators): Discover hot, new fiction to use in book discussion groups and literature circles. 

Watch the Novel-Ties videos (and feel free to show them to students, too).

 

Talking Equity and Social Justice: School Corps librarians share quick booktalks on titles that address these topics, in this recorded webinar. A list of all the books and other resources mentioned in the talk can be found below the videos on YouTube.

Contact School Corps with any questions!

While reviews on online shopping and crowd-sourced review sites are often helpful, the average person doesn’t purchase and compare five vacuum cleaners at once. The reviewer that does do that is Consumer Reports, which accepts no advertising and is known for editorial integrity. The library subscribes to the paper issues at all 19 locations, which you can browse whenever you visit the library.

Image of Consumer Reports and Annual Buying Guide

But did you know that there is also a way to access Consumer Reports  from home?


The Consumer Reports website has limited coverage if you aren’t a subscriber; you can see that a particular product was reviewed, but not the review itself. However, you can read the full text of the reviews, and see the illustrations of the ratings in chart form, with your library card through MasterFILE Premier. Go to MasterFILE Premier, click "Publications" at the top of the screen,  and type "Consumer Reports"  in the Browsing:  MasterFILE Premier -- Publications box. Once you click on Consumer Reports, you can either browse by issue date, or search within the publication for your topic.

If you use “search within this publication,” add your search term to the JN "Consumer Reports” that the database has already filled in, for example, JN "Consumer Reports" and mattress. The results default to “Relevance,” so change that drop-down box to “date newest” to see the most recent reviews.

You can also search in the Consumer Reports Buying Guide by starting in the library catalog; select the “Click here to access title” link on the right of the page to access the content of the guide.

Consumer Reports isn't the only source out there, though!  Here are some other well-regarded product review sites:

Wirecutter:  Reviews of technology, appliances, home goods, etc. from the staff of the New York Times. If you hit a paywall, some Wirecutter content is in the New York Times (1980-present) database (log in with your library card number and PIN/password).

Good Housekeeping:  GH has been testing consumer products and awarding the Good Housekeeping Seal of approval since 1900. Focuses on domestic products like kitchen appliances, toys, cleaning products and personal care items like cosmetics and bras.

CNET: Primarily reviews of technology (phones, streaming services, laptops), but also some non-tech items like mattresses and meal kits.

The Strategist:  From New York magazine, focusing on online shopping. Also has lists of recommendations on a theme (books by genre/reader) as well as traditional reviews by topic (pillows, picture frames, etc).

Specialty Reviews

If there’s a magazine or website for a particular hobby or interest, chances are they review products for that hobby. For example:

Image of Cooks Illustrated, Runner's World and Car and Driver magazines
Cooks Illustrated can recommend an air fryer or bakeware.

Runner’s World tests running shoes, athletic clothes and earbuds that won’t fall out while you do laps.

Car and Driver is another source besides Consumer Reports to look for automobile recommendations.

How to evaluate a review or shopping site

Not sure if that mattress review site is independent, or a fake that only posts positive reviews of the products sold by the website? Here’s some things to look for:

  • A review site should have an “about us” page that tells you who owns it or funds it, and should describe its editorial policies. 
  • You won’t necessarily get wrong information from a site that sells products to consumers, but a site that wants to sell you office supplies or mattresses will probably not be willing to evaluate a product it carries as “unacceptable” (like Consumer Reports occasionally will).
  • Any site that allows customers to review products or services without verifying purchases (for example, Amazon, Yelp, Tripadvisor) can be manipulated, and it’s worth reading these reviews with a degree of caution or skepticism.

 

For more tips and strategies, please see How to evaluate a website. And happy shopping!

 

El Día Internacional del Migrante es muy significativo para mí porque hace más de veinte años, sin entender mucho de las implicaciones de dejar nuestro país natal, mis hermanos, mis padres y yo nos despedimos de todo lo que sabíamos hasta ese momento. Conscientes del cambio que significaría para nuestra familia emigrar a Estados Unidos, mis padres optaron por trasladarnos a un lugar donde pudiéramos tener una vida mejor. Si bien los desafíos que enfrentamos como extranjeros nos dejaron cicatrices que siempre nos recordarán lo difícil que fue este cambio, la inmigración a este país nos llevó a un futuro donde había espacio para metas personales y profesionales. Metas por las que los mienbros de mi familia han trabajado incansablemente.

Sin embargo, no podría contar mi historia de inmigración sin agradecer a mi padre por arriesgar tanto en su búsqueda de horizontes más prometedores. Sin muchas garantías pero obligado por las consecuencias de las políticas internacionales, decidió emprender un viaje hacia una vida mejor. Pero compartir cómo me convertí en inmigrante no estaría bien si omitiera el papel de mi madre en esta decisión. Desde su primer viaje a los Estados Unidos, mi madre sabía que tendríamos refugio en este país. Y una vez que mi padre entró a Estados Unidos como trabajador agrícola, confirmó la lista de posibilidades a las que podíamos acceder, muchas de ellas imposibles de lograr en México. Si bien la transición entre sus deseos y sus logros no fue fácil, hoy mis hermanos y yo hemos logrado hacer realidad ese sueño que tenían para cada uno de nosotros.

woman standing tall

 

International Migrants Day is very significant for me because more than twenty years ago, without understanding much of the implications of leaving our native country, my brothers, my parents, and I said goodbye to everything we knew up to that moment. Aware of the change that immigrating to the United States would mean for our family, my parents chose to move us to a place where we could have a better life. While the challenges we faced as foreigners left us with scars that will always remind us of how difficult this change was, immigration to this country led us to a future where there was room for personal and professional goals. Goals my family members have worked tirelessly for.

However, I could not tell my immigration story without thanking my father for risking so much in his search for more promising horizons. Without much guarantee but forced by the consequences of international policies, he decided to undertake a journey to a better life. But sharing how I became an immigrant would not be well told if I omitted my mother's role in this decision. From her first trip to the US, my mother knew we would have refuge in this country. And once my father entered the United States as an agricultural worker, he confirmed the list of possibilities that we could access, many of them impossible to achieve in Mexico. While the transition between their wishes and their achievement was not easy, today, my brothers and I have managed to make that dream that they had for each of us come true.

When David Shine, an English teacher with the Multnomah Education Service District, and Multnomah County Library (MCL) Program Specialist Jody Redifer teamed up, their goal was to bring the youth at Donald E. Long (DEL) Juvenile Detention Center together for a national songwriting competition. The library’s outreach work at DEL is made possible by a longstanding partnership between the library and Multnomah County’s Department of Community Justice.

The songwriting competition, held by BreakFree Education, supports the organization's mission to “radically improve education in the juvenile justice system.” 

Microphone and audio equipment on shelf at library

For Jody, who has been facilitating a music production class in the library at DEL since late 2020, it was exciting to have English teacher David Shine approach him to collaborate on this competition.

During his time teaching the music production class, Jody has recorded over 200 songs by more than 50 youth. With the combination of David and Jody working together, students at DEL were thrilled to have this project underway. David took lead on the writing, and Jody managed the production and engineering. 

Through the songwriting competition youth not only explored music, but also the specific themes pertaining to each song. It is this lesson plan component that allows the youth to grow introspectively, while gaining new musical skills. 

BreakFree Education’s mission for this program is that "through this initiative, students explore policy issues that impact their lives. Students harness the power of music to create, produce, and share songs that address issues related to juvenile justice reform.” The songwriting competition is the result of this work, and through it the organization “amplifies the voices of youth justice.”

Students at DEL put their all into the songwriting and performances. This is something which may sound practical, but is not always easy in a detention environment. They expressed their perspective on social conditions and the struggles they and other youth face.

As a result of the hard and thoughtful work the youth put in and the collaboration between MESD and MCL, two of the units at DEL finished in the top 10 nationwide, with unit A2 taking 3rd place on October 28, 2021!

Students at DEL, David and Jody are excited for the prospect of more partnerships like this. In the immediate future, the next collaboration looks to be the publication of works of fiction and non fiction by the students at DEL with the help of MCL. With David working on the writing aspect, and Jody on the publication side, this is bound to be a successful venture! Again bridging the creative ideas of youth, into hands-on and constructive skills.

Article written by BCLA Program Specialist Jody Redifer, with support from Communications Specialist Paty Rincon

Every year, we create a beautiful page of the best books of the year -- the ones our staff and volunteers have loved. Whether you're a fan of picture books that celebrate bravery, suspense stories that keep you guessing, or books centering the voices of Black, Indigenous and people of color, we have you covered. 

Check out our favorite books for 2021. 

Want to see what we've recommended in past years? Explore the links below:

Best Books 2020

Best Books 2019

Best Books 2018

Best books 2017

Best Books 2016

Looking for personalized book recommendations? Ask the My Librarian team.

 

From what I heard not too long ago from my kids about sex education at their schools, children in the Portland area are getting abbreviated, inadequate information about sex in these classes. Studies show that kids are probably also getting plenty of information from Internet porn. Neither of these options are very good.

I want them to know things that are never talked about in sex ed class-- that sex is supposed to feel good for girls, too. That pornography almost always presents an insanely stylized, but also unimaginative version of sex, and that real sex won’t and shouldn’t look like that. There’s a whole host of conversations to have about our culture’s weird over-sexualization of girls. And what if our kids are different from the norm? Representation matters for young people who are LGBT or gender-nonconforming, for young people with disabilities or bodies of different shapes and sizes.

Clearly, we need to talk to our kids about sex, even though it is perhaps not their favorite subject for a chat with parents. For the questions they would never ask you, there’s a great sex-positive website called scarleteen you can point them to. And, of course, library books can help, too, so I created this list of really good books for kids of all ages.

What is speculative fiction? Well, that depends who you ask. 

Some see speculative fiction as an umbrella term for any fiction with supernatural, futuristic, or fantasy elements. Others see it as books that ponder questions like, "what if this happened?' and "what if the world were this way" -- in other words, speculate. And still others see it as a  mish and mash elements from multiple genres that break the mold. I like this last definition, myself. In the past year I've seen so many books published lately that fit into sci-fi, fantasy, or horror, but bend the genres and include pieces that make them hard to categorize. The librarian in me wants to categorize them -- here's your fantasy, here's your horror -- but the reader in me delights in the unexpected mix of elements, often in a book I first took for just one thing. Though is any good book just one thing? 

Take Akwaeke Emezi's Pet as an example of what I mean: a novella set in a near-world society much like our own, except that it has rid itself of monsters (utopia). Teenage Jam meets a terrifying creature from another world named Pet, who emerges from a painting when a drop of Jam's blood is spilled on it (fantasy). Pet's come to hunt a monster... and the monster is in Jam's house (horror). So there you have utopia, fantasy and horror mixed together in a novella and which genre, my dears, do we set that inside? (the library places it simply on the fiction shelf, which makes things a lot simpler.)

This list includes just a few of my favorites in speculative fiction. Curious to learn more? This Book Riot article is a great introduction to the history and more recent definitions -- Margaret Atwood and Ursula K. Leguin had a famous debate about it -- of speculative fiction. 

ATS stands for Applicant Tracking System and many employers utilize it these days. Basically, it means a computer will scan your resume first. If it is not readable or doesn’t have the proper information it may be passed over. Here a just a few tips for making your resume “ATS Friendly”:

  • Keep your format simple. Avoid graphics, embedded tables and columns.
  • Avoid using headers and footers.
  • Make sure your resume is in an acceptable file format. PDF is often best but .doc and .docx can also be acceptable. Check the application instructions for the job you are applying to.
  • Most importantly, the ATS is looking for keywords that match the job description. Look for words and terms used often in the job description and apply them to your resume in your job duties, skills and education as appropriate.

For more details, check out these articles from LinkedIn and Indeed about writing ATS friendly resumes.

Get Help from the Library

We can help you review and improve your resume. Email a copy to workplace@multco.us and one of our volunteers will review it to provide feedback in a virtual consultation.

We have books to help you create and improve your resume too!

 

Pages