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"Maybe this is why we read, and why in moments of darkness we return to books: to find words for what we already know." - Alberto Manguel

Talking with people about books is a shortcut to knowing them -- what they think, value and love. Talking together about books builds understanding and community. Get started with these resources to find, join and sustain book groups.

People reading and talking online
Finding a book group

The library is currently focused on providing online book groups for youth. Find listings for these book clubs, as well as one time events by searching for Book Clubs and Discussion Groups under “type of event” on the library’s events page.

Everybody Reads is the library’s community wide reading project, taking place each year from January to March. Check the Everybody Reads page for details about book discussions and related events.

Mt. Hood Reads - Every year, Mt. Hood Community College invites students and members of the community to join them for discussions around a book or books.

Noname Book Club is an online/irl community dedicated to uplifting POC voices by highlighting two books each month written by authors of color. Here is a list of their past picks available from Multnomah County Library.

Indigenous Book Club is a digital book club for reading Indigenous authored books and books about Indigenous people. All are welcome, with special respect and centering of Indigenous people.

Science Friday book club - Science Friday runs this online book club for those interested in reading and exploring science. 

BookBrowse Online Book Club offers a curated resource of contemporary fiction and nonfiction, with an emphasis on books that not only engage and entertain but also deepen our understanding.

Delve Reader Readers’ Seminars, via Literary Arts - There is a cost to participate in these discussions featuring canonical books.

Sustaining a book group

Finding books that appeal to everyone can be challenging, but we have resources to help. Check out our Pageturner to Go kits that include 10 copies of popular book discussion titles.

Do you need help with ideas for you next read? Ask our My Librarian team - we can provide customized lists based on the tastes of your group, and help you place holds on multiple copies. We can also help with books in Spanish.

If you’re primarily using digital titles, check out this  "Always Available" e-book collection from OverDrive, made up of some 3000 classic titles.

Here are the most popular available e-books - this link updates automatically to available titles. 

Is your question about book groups still unanswered? Contact us for more information.

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.

 

This is a long post showing meal resources in Multnomah County (and beyond). We start with school districts and then move to community orgranizations we know of that are helping the community. Please let us know if you need further assistance.

Para ver esta información en español, haga clic en Recursos de alimentos para familias. To see this information in Spanish, click Recursos de alimentos para familias.

Multnomah County School Districts

Multnomah County school districts continue to provide meal assistance during the summer. The SUN Service System also has information on accessing food.

We have done our best to provide current information. Please confirm meal availability through the links shared below.

Centennial [updated 9/30/21]

Every Wednesday from 4:30 to 6:00 pm, there is a food pantry at Patrick Lynch Elementary School's cafeteria, 1546 SE 169th Pl, Portland. Bring your own bags and pick up 3-5 days' worth of free food for your family.

Food For Families will have distribution events on the second and fourth Wednesdays of each month (second Wednesday only in December and March) during the school year, 4:00 pm to 5:30 pm at Centennial High School, 3505 SE 182nd Ave, Gresham. An Authorized Representative form is required (en español).

Corbett [updated 9/15/21]

CSD students on free and reduced lunch, and families who are struggling, lunch pick-up is on Mondays from 9:00 to 1:00 at the door by the kitchen in the MPB.   We are trying to limit the lunch pick-up days to once per week to decrease the exposure of staff.  If you need lunches delivered, or these times do not work for you, please contact Seth Tucker at stucker@corbett.k12.or.us

David Douglas [updated 9/15/21] 

There are food pantries located at the following David Douglas school buildings. These are for families to pick up free groceries, not grab-and-go meals. Check the link for a calendar that shows times and any closures.

  • Cherry Park Elementary: 1930 SE 104th Ave. Mondays, 3:45 p.m. to 5:15 p.m.
  • David Douglas High South Building: 1500 SE 130th Ave. Thursdays, 3:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. 
  • Earl Boyles Elementary: 10822 SE Bush St. Tuesdays, 4:00 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. 
  • Floyd Light Middle: 10800 SE Washington St. Mondays, 4:00 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. 
  • Gilbert Heights Elementary: 12839 SE Holgate Blvd. Fridays, 9:15 a.m. to 10:00 a.m.
  • Gilbert Park Elementary: 13132 SE Ramona St. Wednesdays 4:00 p.m. to 5:30 p.m.
  • Menlo Park Elementary: 12900 NE Glisan St. Thursdays, 2:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m.
  • Mill Park Elementary: 1900 SE 117th Ave. Tuesdays, 4:00 p.m. to 5:30 p.m.

Gresham-Barlow [updated 11/10/21]

Food pantries are located at the following schools:

  • East Gresham Elementary: 900 SE 5th St., Gresham. Tuesdays, from 3:00 pm to 4:30 pm
  • Highland Elementary: 295 NE 24th St., Gresham. 2nd Wednesday from 3:15 pm to 5:15 pm

Other community food box information can be found at The Sunshine Division and Snowcap Community Charities

Parkrose [updated 11/3/21]

There is a community pantry located at Shaver Elementary School, 3701 NE 131st Pl. Wednesdays, 3:00 pm to 4:30 pm.

Portland 

Reynolds [updated 9/13/21]

    Public food pantries are being held at the locations listed below. It is recommended that you arrive early as supplies run out quickly. Masks are required. Click here for more information and closures.
    • Glenfair Elementary School: 15300 NE Glisan St. Tuesdays, 3:45-5:15 pm
    • Reynolds High School: 1698 SW Cherry Park Rd, Troutdale. Last Tuesday of the month, 2:30 pm
    • Alder Elementary School: 17200 SE Alder St. Wednesdays, 2:30-4:00 pm
    • Reynolds Middle School: 1200 NE 201st Ave., Fairview. Fridays, 4:00-5:30 pm
    • Wilkes Elementary School: 17020 NE Wilkes Rd. First Friday of the month, 3:00-4:30 pm
    • Davis Elementary School: 19501 NE Davis St. Second Friday of the month, 3:30-5:00 pm
     

    Agencies, Community Organizations and Restaurants

    Information may change so please check their websites if a link is provided.

    C3 Pantry (NE): 6120 NE 57th Ave., Portland. Tuesdays, doors open at 11:30am, shopping is 12-1pm.

    Mainspring Food Pantry (NE): 3500 NE 82nd Ave., Portland. An open air, farmers market, self select, walk/roll-in food pantry every Tuesday from 8:30 a.m.-11:30 a.m. They make every effort to serve everyone in line. Please bring bags for your food if you have access to them since they have a limited supply. You may access the food pantry once a month. 
     
    Meals 4 Kids: serves qualified children and families within the City of Portland. Please visit their website to complete a request form.
     
    Northeast Emergency Food Program (NE): 4800 NE 72nd Ave., Portland. Open Thursday and Saturday, 12-3 pm. Food boxes are prepared in advance for walk or drive up pick up.
     
    Portland Adventist Community Services (NE): 11020 NE Halsey St., Portland. Offering prepacked food boxes for pick up,  Monday – Friday 9am– 11am. They also provide a mobile food pantry service to some neighborhoods.
     
    One Hope Food Pantry (NE): Located at 5425 NE 27th Ave., Portland 97211. Open for drive-through and pickup Saturdays, 11 am - 1 pm. Food boxes are available each week and a hot meal is served on the 2nd and 4th Saturdays.
     
    Sunshine Division (SE):  free emergency food boxes to pick up or be delivered. They are located at 12436 SE Stark St, Portland, OR 97233. For hours and more information, please visit sunshinedivision.org or call 503.609.0285.
     
    William Temple House (NW): 2023 NW Hoyt St., Portland. Offering a walk-in pantry, Tuesday-Thursday, 11 am-2 pm. A guide to the pantry can be found here.
     
    Lift Urban Portland (SW):  Located at 1838 SW Jefferson St., Portland 97201. Food pantry hours of operation are Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays, 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm. A random number lottery takes place 5 minutes before opening to determine your place in line.
     
    Portland Open Bible food pantry (SE):  Located at 3223 SE 92nd Ave., Portland 97266. Pick-up food boxes, information can be found here. Pick-up times are Tuesdays 5:00 p.m. to 6:30 p.m. and Thursdays 11:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
     
    For more information about access to food for families including the Oregon Food Bank, please call 211, or  text "FOOD" or "COMIDA" to 877-877 for Meals locations. or visit oregonfoodfinder.org.
     
    Self Enhancement Inc also has a list of community food resources that includes sites in Multnomah, Clackamas, Washingon and Yamhill counties in Oregon and Vancouver, WA area schools.
     
     
     

    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 https://bookriot.com/what-is-speculative-fiction/ 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!

     

    a group of kids help pick up trash at a park
    Winter is a wonderful time to give back to the community.  Did you know that you can volunteer with your kids?  It's true!  Many local organizations allow young people to volunteer alongside the adults in their lives.  Read on for community service opportunities where your whole family can make an impact.  

    Start with a Short-Term Project.  Hands On Greater Portland, a volunteer program of United Way of the Columbia-Willamette, connects thousands of volunteers to projects every year.  There are short-term (2 hours maximum) and long-term opportunities with a variety of organizations.  Start with the Volunteer with Your Kids page for their calendar of upcoming family-friendly projects.  

    Help Fight Hunger.  Check with Oregon Food Bank or Sunshine Division, which rely on volunteers in getting food and other necessities to families and individuals who need them the most.  

    Gather Supplies for Shelters. Spend a few hours collecting and distributing items needed for shelters that serve people experiencing houselessness.   Organizations in need of supplies include: Portland Family Homeless Solutions, Blanchet House, JOIN, CityTeamPortland Rescue Mission, and Transition Projects.  Check their websites for their most urgent needs.

    Deliver Meals and Groceries. Bring your kids along to drop off meals or food baskets to people who cannot easily leave their homes.  Volunteer with Meals on Wheels People and Store to Door of Oregon

    Get Outdoors.  Plant trees, get rid of invasive weeds, and help maintain school, community and public gardens!  Check out Zenger Farm, Portland Fruit Tree Project, Friends of Trees, City of Gresham, and Portland Parks and Recreation for outdoor, nature-based opportunities.  

    Give Books! Collect used children's books in your community or neighborhood to donate to kids in the area who may not have access to books at home or at a library.  Children's Book Bank is a local organization that distributes books to local Head Start programs and other community organizations in need of books.  

    Do you know of additional family-friendly service opportunities that we should include here?  Please let us know and we'll add it to the list.  

    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.

    1. What do you think of Jacob’s style of art? Would the story have been less or more effective with a different style?

    2. Have you ever read a graphic novel or illustrated memoir? How do the illustrations help the reader to understand the relationships between characters?

    3. How do the big historical events described in the book tie in with the storyline of Jacob’s life -- do they advance the story? Setting aside that this is a memoir, could a plot without reference to national events have been as effective?

    4. How does the relationship between Mira and her son serve to underline the themes of the book? How are Z’s questions different from those an adult might ask, and how do they change our understanding of the author’s narrative?

    5. Jacob includes many conversations around skin color and how that shapes her marriage opportunities. How did she first learn that “dark meant ugly” within her Indian culture? How does she connect and contrast that colorism to the choices she makes and her relationships with family?

    6. As a first generation American, Jacob’s personal and romantic life contrast with those of her family, who expect her to marry an Indian man. How does she navigate the cultural divide? How does she explore issues of sexuality?

    7. The title Jacob chose is sometimes said at the end of a difficult conversation. How is that common usage played upon in the memoir?

    8. Think about your own life and the conversations that you might include in your own memoir. Why were these conversations significant? Were there any important conversations about world events? Is there a common theme among them?

    9. Here are some more topics for further discussion: Relationships between generations and cultures; immigrants parenting first generation Americans; unconscious bias and microagressions; the role of religion in politics.

    Learn about Everybody Reads and upcoming events.

    Everybody Reads 2022, a community reading project of Multnomah County Library, is made possible in part by gifts to The Library Foundation with author appearance made possible by Literary Arts.

    Imagen de dinero y birrete

    Préstamos federales para estudiantes. El préstamo federal para estudiantes está solo a nombre del estudiante. Estos préstamos tienen cantidades limitadas, tasas de interés y tarifas de apertura generalmente razonables. Para una licenciatura de cuatro años, la cantidad máxima que el estudiante puede pedir prestada es de $27,000. Para calificar para el préstamo federal para estudiantes, el estudiante debe completar la FAFSA (Solicitud Gratuita de Ayuda Federal para Estudiantes) que está disponible a partir del 1.º de octubre. 

    Cómo completar la FAFSA paso a paso. Este video contiene información importante de cómo completar el formulario FAFSA. 

    Si los padres del estudiante no cuentan con número de seguro social. La ciudadanía de los padres del estudiante no afecta la capacidad del estudiante para completar el formulario FAFSA. Si los padres del estudiante no tienen SSN (Número de Seguro Social), deben ingresar 000-00-0000 cuando el formulario FAFSA solicite sus SSN. Si los padres del estudiante no tienen SSN, no podrán crear una FSA ID (Identificación y contraseña en el sitio web para la Ayuda Federal para Estudiantes) y por lo tanto, no podrán firmar el formulario FAFSA electrónicamente. El estudiante o sus padres tendrán que imprimir la página de firma del formulario FAFSA en línea para que los padres puedan firmarlo y enviarlo por correo a la dirección indicada.

    Más respuestas a otras preguntas relacionadas con el tema.

    Solicitud de ayuda estatal de Oregón (ORSAA). Los estudiantes elegibles indocumentados o bajo el programa de DACA (Acción Diferida para los Llegados en la Infancia) en Oregón, pueden completar esta solicitud para recibir ayuda estatal incluyendo la Beca de Oportunidad de Oregón (Oregon Opportunity Grant) y la beca Promesa de Oregón (Oregon Promise).

    Esta beca también está disponible desde el 1.º de octubre. 

    Becas y ayuda que no tienen que reembolsar. El gobierno federal y los gobiernos estatales otorgan becas por varias razones, desde la necesidad financiera hasta el desempeño académico o deportivo. Con una sola solicitud, los estudiantes pueden postularse para la mayoría de estos programas de ayuda.

    Ayuda Financiera de Oregón. Un portal para varias solicitudes de ayuda financiera y becas. Los estudiantes pueden ver la descripción de cada una de las ayudas financieras y becas. 

    Becas Federales Pell. Estas subvenciones no son préstamos por lo que no es necesario pagarlas. Los estudiantes pueden recibir una Beca Federal Pell por 12 semestres o menos tiempo, pero no más.

    Becas para estudiantes hispanos o latinos. No existen leyes federales ni estatales que prohíban a mujeres y hombres indocumentados presentar solicitudes, inscribirse y graduarse de instituciones de enseñanza superior públicas o privadas. Sin embargo; al ser clasificados como extranjeros, los estudiantes indocumentados pierden la capacidad de ser elegibles para recibir asistencia financiera federal y tarifas de matrícula reducidas para residentes estatales. Este sitio tiene información sobre becas para estudiantes extranjeros.

    Becas para estudiantes mexicanos que viven en los Estados Unidos. El Gobierno de México, a través del Instituto de los Mexicanos en el Exterior (IME) y los Consulados de México en Estados Unidos de América, entrega recursos a las organizaciones e instituciones educativas que participan en la convocatoria y se comprometen a aportar fondos complementarios que al menos dupliquen los recibidos por parte del Gobierno de México, y así aumentar las becas disponibles para los estudiantes mexicanos. Los estudiantes tienen que pasar por el proceso de selección que tenga cada institución educativa para el otorgamiento de las becas.

     

    Mother and child in kitchen making a salad with letters, zucchini and peppers
    November is Diabetes Awareness Month and that got us thinking about how to support children with chronic illness.  

    Maybe you know a child with a chronic illness directly or maybe you just want to support them in spirit. Certainly you’ve seen fundraisers to help families with a sick child. We can’t tell you where to send your money, but a real, concrete action you can take is to get yourself vaccinated for Covid-19Medically fragile and immunocompromised children need herd immunity.  

    Also, get your healthy children all their regular immunizations! Children with chronic illness are more susceptible to diseases of all kinds. They often can’t get immunized themselves and need the rest of us to provide a line of defense against outbreaks of diseases like measles or whooping cough. If you don’t have insurance for regular well child check ups and vaccinations, you can get childhood vaccinations through the Multnomah County Primary Care Clinics at low or no cost, or get vaccines and other health care for K-12 students through the Student Health Center at your child’s school at no cost.  

    Cancer is awful and thinking about a child you know being diagnosed with cancer can be devastating. In this One Bad Mother podcast episode, the hosts talk with Jessica Phillips Lorenz, mother of a pediatric cancer survivor, about the experience of having a child diagnosed with cancer and how friends and family can help. Often, it’s by stepping up to help with really practical stuff like house cleaning, caring for siblings, and food delivery. She suggests doing these things without having to be asked and continuing to do these things over the long haul of the illness. 

    If you have a child with a chronic illness, the diagnosis definitely requires you to level up on your parenting skills. Children’s Hospital of Colorado offers advice on parenting a child with a chronic illness. The Swindells Resource Center at Providence offers resources to families with children experiencing many sorts of disabilities and chronic illnesses. They have a lending library and offer many events and webinars available to anyone, not just Providence members. Take care of your own mental health with a support group or counseling. All health insurance plans will cover mental health care - it’s the law! Call 211 if you need low or no cost suggestions or referrals.

    If your child is coming back to school after a long illness with conditions they need to manage, these tips from The Mighty will be helpful. You’ll develop a plan with your school to provide your child with the support they need to get through their day. This is called a 504 plan. Understood.org is a great website with extensive information for parents to guide you through the process of getting a 504 plan and working with schools.  

    And here are a couple more resources, if you'd like to investigate further:

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

    For folks who choose to go to college, university or trade school, we know it's stressful and expensive. Here are some resources to help you with planning and paying for college. 

    Oregon Goes to College
    Information for families with high school students and the steps to take toward college, including how to pay for university studies, links to more than 100 colleges, universities and trade schools in the state of Oregon and resources for undocumented students.

    Oregon’s Office of Student Access and Completion
    This website helps Oregon students plan and pay for college. It is a portal for various financial aid and scholarship applications. You can see the description of each and also directly apply. Be sure to check out the Oregon Opportunity Grant, Oregon's largest state-funded, need-based grant program for college students. As well as Oregon Promise, a state grant that helps to cover tuition costs at any Oregon community college for recent high school graduates and GED test graduates. Complete multiple applications to get money for college here. 

    FAFSA or ORSAA?
    Use the Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) to apply for federal grants, work-study, and loans. ORSAA is an alternative to the FAFSA for Oregon residents who are undocumented, including students who have DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals) status. Both the FAFSA and the ORSAA open on October 1 each year. If you are not sure where to start, use this filter tool to find out which one is appropriate for you.

    The Ford Family Foundation 
    A foundation that helps high-need individuals in Oregon better their lives and the lives of their families through education beyond high school. They have scholarships available including the Ford Scholars, to assist students who otherwise would find it impossible, or at least very difficult, to obtain a college degree. 

    CollegeBoard CSS Profile
    Some colleges also require students to fill out the CSS Profile to receive financial aid. In Oregon, Lewis & Clark College and Reed College require it. Check with out-of-state schools to see their requirements.

    More information from the 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.

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