MCL Blogs

Committed to education and Listos
Volunteer Guillermina Garcia

by Donna Childs

In these days of immigration in the news, let me introduce you to Guillermina Garcia.  Guillermina came here in 2005 from Oaxaca, Mexico, determined to get an education. She began with ESL classes. Then, since she had been unable to complete high school in Mexico, she earned a GED, no small feat for a recent arrival new to the language and culture.  When her older son started school, Guillermina began volunteering as a teacher’s aide in his classroom. She did that throughout his elementary school years and is still continuing in her younger son’s classroom, while also helping at the older son’s middle school. In addition, she is now enrolled in a year-long program at Mt. Hood Community College to become a licensed teacher’s aide. And that isn’t all. She has volunteered for five years in the Listos para el kínder program at the Midland Library.

Listos is a program for Spanish-speaking children, ages 3-5, and their parents. Twelve to fifteen families, parents and children, come to the library together for 12 weeks. The program is taught in Spanish, and uses Latino cultural references. Children learn such basics as ABC’s, writing their names, and following directions, while parents see how children learn, how to support their child’s learning at home, and what to expect of their children, thereby becoming more confident in their ability to help them learn. According to an independent evaluation of the program, Listos graduates not only have acquired skills, but they are also more enthusiastic about school and more likely to read outside of school. In 2016-17, 37 Listos families checked out more than 2000 books from the library.

As a Listos volunteer, Guillermina helps organize materials for the sessions, assists the teacher throughout, and is solely responsible for the children in the 15 minutes of each session when parents and children meet separately.  Her dedication at the library, in her sons’ classrooms, and to her own learning has earned Guillermina an award from her son’s school and a scholarship to Mt Hood Community College. Talk about walking the walk: she acts on her belief in education. As she said, she hopes to be a good role model for her sons and to continue learning while helping children.


A few facts about Guillermina

Home library:  Midland

Currently reading:  Mind in the Making, by Ellen Galinsky, about child development

Favorite book from childhood:  my school history book in 5th grade

Most influential book:  children's books

Book that made you cry:  Como agua para chocolate by Laura Esquivel and Sarah, Plain and Tall  by Patricia MacLachlan

Favorite browsing section:  Spanish cooking books

E-reader or paper?  paper books

Favorite place to read:  the library

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

 

Nadia A., lead contact center representative
In January 2017, the library streamlined services and fast and reliable library help with the introduction of a new contact center. Previously, tracking down the right staff person to get a question answered may have involved calling individual library branches, an account services number, or a reference line. Now, a call to the library means you’re likely to reach Nadia, who together with 14 of her colleagues, answers nearly 400-500 patron calls coming into the library each day.

"Having the contact center has really improved service for our patrons. They don’t have to worry about tracking down the right person or branch to get the item they need or to get an issue resolved," says Nadia.

As a lead contact center representative, Nadia answers, and trains other library staff on answering, hundreds of patron inquiries each day that come in via phone, email, and text message— everything from account related questions and brief reference questions, to hold requests and digital technology help. Along with other staff, she refers patrons to other Multnomah County services or to a team of Multnomah County librarians dedicated to answering in-depth research questions.

"The moment between the phone ringing and the person stating what they need is the moment of anticipation where it could be literally anything," she adds.

Before starting at the library, Nadia would wander Central Library with her three young children. Having decided she needed a change from her career as an elementary school teacher, she saw the library staff and knew that helping connect others to information was the job she was seeking. While finishing her Master of Library Science degree online from San Jose State University in 2013, she began working for Multnomah County Library as an on-call library assistant. In that role, she worked at nearly all library branches helping patrons before coming to her current position in the contact center— a job that she says was “tailor made” for her.

"It’s been very gratifying helping people connect with the library even if they aren’t coming into our branch," says Nadia. “Just recently, I helped a woman in her 90s who was determined to read ebooks. I talked her through downloading the app and checking out her first ebook. And she did it! I was so pleased to help her get to that special “aha” moment and connect with the library in a new way."

As the contact center helps more and more patrons access library services, Nadia looks excitedly toward the future:

"As the ways people access information have changed, the library has changed too. The world is becoming increasingly digital, and the library has to bring people along and help address disparities in digital literacy. The contact center has been an exciting next step in serving patrons, while giving us the opportunity to identify better ways we can continue to evolve our service and make it more consistent. The library is a place where people come to learn their whole lives, and I’m thrilled to be a part of helping others on that journey.

Hillsdale Library Teen Space

Just in time for summer, Hillsdale Library opened its newly constructed teen space. The new space features power outlets with USB ports; a dry erase table; comfortable furniture; a collection of teen games, magazines, and graphic novels; and flexible space for future displays of artwork or other teen items.

The project was led by Hillsdale Youth Librarian Barbara H., who saw the potential for a space that could serve teens in the community. The library had inviting work and study spaces for adults, and reading and play spaces for children and families, but no welcoming areas for teens.

"We really wanted teens to know that they are a priority and part of our community,” said Barbara. “Before, all we had was a small corner with bean bag chairs. It was popular with teens after school, but the area was surrounded by children’s nonfiction books and was often in use by young children with their parents."

Library staff gathered input from teens in the community, including from students at nearby Wilson High School and Robert Gray Middle School, about what features they’d like in the space. Then, the staff worked with Hillsdale’s Teen Council — a group of teen volunteers that select programming and organize events, build teen displays and consult on decisions that affect teens using the library — to make detailed selections for furniture and carpet colors.

Staff reconfigured the area, including removing shelving, and built the teens a comfortable and flexible space to gather, read, do homework and collaborate on projects.The space complements the “teen lounge” at Gresham Library that opened in October 2017.

This summer, the new teen space will be put to good use as Hillsdale welcomes more than 40 teen volunteers to assist with the annual Summer Reading program.

Tangerine

Bollywood dancing

Join us all summer for family-friendly live music performances. Here's the lineup:

Music & Movement with Aaron Nigel Smith (North Portland and Holgate libraries)

Experience the World of Ghana with Chata Addy  (various libraries)

Build Your Rhythm with Chata Addy (Rockwood and Gresham libraries)

Choro da Alegria Plays the Beautiful Melodies of Brazil with Choro da Alegria (Gresham Library)

Bollywood Family Dance Party with Bollywood Dreams Entertainment (Gresham Library)

Didgeridoo Down Under with Didgeridoo Down Under (Fairview-Columbia Library)

African Song and Dance with Habiba Addo (Midland Library)

Latin American Music and Myths with Inka Jam (Hollywood Library)

Songs, Dances and Stories from Latin America with Inka Jam (Northwest Library)

Lucky Diaz y su banda / Family Jam Band with Lucky Diaz and the Family Jam Band (various libraries)

Family Dance Party with Micah And Me (Gresham Library)

The Children's Music Show with Micah And Me (Fairview-Columbia Library)

Geology Rocks! with Mikey Mike the Rad Scientist (various libraries)

Summertime Concert with Peanut at Sweetly Spun Music (various libraries)

Peter and the Wolf with Portland Columbia Symphony (Woodstock and Northwest libraries)

Red Yarn's Old Barn with Red Yarn (various libraries)

Wake Up & Sing with Red Yarn (Capitol Hill Library)

Music in Action! / Música en acción! with Rich Glauber (various libraries)

Building a Better Zombiepocalypse with Rick Huddle (Albina Library)

The Great American Songbook with William Spillette (Gregory Heights and Hillsdale libraries)

 

Check out the other fun activities at the library this summer, too. And while you're here, don't forget to sign up your family for the Summer Reading game so the kids go back to school ready to learn this fall. Summer Reading is made possible by gifts to The Library Foundation.  

 

 

Josh R, selections and acquisitions clerk
For Josh, helping library patrons is all about getting the materials they want into their hands in the shortest amount of time. As a part of the selections and acquisitions team, he’s been a part of several changes that are impacting how the library purchases and distributes materials. 

"Today, libraries are competing with Amazon and other entities. Our patrons want the newest materials and quickly. We have to adapt."

A few years ago, the library’s Collections and Technical Services Team re-designed their workflow to help meet the demand. Materials used to sit in the receiving building for 4-6 weeks after they were purchased. Each part of the process — unboxing, sorting, cataloging — taking too much time. Thanks to a new workflow, patrons now get materials in three days or less.

"We’re constantly changing our work and changing the way we think about our work. It’s an exciting time to be at the library. We are re-examining what it means to build a collection in the age of modern libraries."

Josh has a passion for literacy and working with people. While attending a technical high school in Portland, he lost interest in his automotive major but found his way into the school library, where he became a teaching assistant. Directly after high school, he joined Multnomah County Library as a page (now called Access Services Assistant), checking in books and shelving holds.

He wanted to get to know more about each neighborhood, so he began subbing at different library branches, meeting the community and staff at each location. With a curiosity to know more about the technical work of the library, he transitioned from working at a branch to his behind-the-scenes position on the Technical Services team.

Day-to-day, Josh diligently focuses on being a good steward of the library’s resources and helping manage the collections budget. He orders materials from book and media vendors, ensuring the library is getting the items needed, at a good price, and when possible, having them pre-processed so they can get into the hands of library patrons as quick as possible. He is constantly evaluating any changes in how collections budgets are spent and determining whether there are collections that needs attention. He also provides internal customer service, buying materials for the library’s youth and adult outreach programs, such as Books 2U, Summer Reading, and the Every Child Initiative.

"I enjoy feeling connected to the library, even though I don’t interact with the public as much as I did working in a branch. I’m proud that our library works hard to deliver the materials that patrons ask for. We respond directly to people and let them know if their suggested items were purchased, and if they were, how to place a hold on the item. Every time our library makes a change to improve our system for the better of our patrons, it’s gratifying. I know we’re making a difference."

Kids enjoying the summer lunch program at Gresham Library
Multnomah County Library will offer free lunches for youth 18 and under this summer at Gresham, Midland, and Rockwood libraries.  Youth are not required to have a library card to receive the free lunch.

The lunches are available Monday through Friday during the following times:

Gresham: Monday - Friday, 12:30 pm – 1:30 pm (June 18 through August 17)
Midland: Monday, Tuesday and Friday, 11 am – 11:30 am (June 18 through August 24)
Rockwood: Monday - Friday, 12 pm – 1 pm (June 25 through August 10)

The summer lunch program is made possible through partnerships with Department of County Human Services (DCHS), Partners for a Hunger Free Oregon, Gresham Barlow School District, Reynolds School District, and the David Douglas School District.

Multnomah County Library offers many free summer activities for children and teens, including the Summer Reading program. For more information, visit the event calendar or call 503.988.5123.

New for 2018!

High school readers can register and track reading online over the summer. You can, like last year, do more and different things than just read. Check out How to Play for ideas. If you choose any of the creation challenges from the How to Play section of the site, you can share your stuff for a chance to win $100 collage gift certificate

Need challenge cards? Stop by any library starting June 15 to get yours! Just keep track of the hours you read until you get your cards, then transfer them to the first challenge card.This year's Summer Reading program is June 15 - August 31.

Net neutrality discussion

Multnomah County Library is joining Oregon elected officials, community organizations, business leaders and students in voicing resounding support for the call to restore net neutrality.

In late 2017, the Federal Communications Commission voted to repeal the law that restricts internet providers’ ability to speed up or slow down access to certain content or products. The rollback is set to go into effect June 11.

“Staying connected in today’s world shouldn’t be reserved for those who can afford access. Too many people are on the wrong side of the digital divide, being shut out of jobs, services, health information and vital connections with family and friends,” said Multnomah County Director of Libraries Vailey Oehlke.

On Friday, May 25, the Multnomah County Library Hillsdale branch in Portland, Ore. hosted a discussion led by Oregon Senator Ron Wyden and Congresswoman Suzanne Bonamici about the urgent need to recognize net neutrality as a key equity issue that will have lasting impacts for everyone.

“In the 21st Century, an open and fair internet isn’t a privilege – it’s a necessity,” said Congresswoman Suzanne Bonamici. “We must stop the Federal Communications Commission from rolling back important Net Neutrality protections. . .I urge everyone who cares about protecting fair and open access to information to make their voices heard.”

The U.S. Senate voted on May 16 to reinstate net neutrality rules but now the issue moves to the House. Congresswoman Bonamici is joining in the fight to force a vote on the legislation.

High school students are also weighing in. One student noted that net neutrality joins gun control as one of the top issues high schoolers are discussing today. Julia Young, a senior and student body president at Wilson High School in Portland, Ore. added:

“As I go into college, I will be studying Applied Biology in Global Resource Systems, which involves sustainability and environmental innovation. It is absolutely crucial that my classmates and I have access to transparent environmental data, and if internet providers are able to choose what information I can access quickly without extreme costs, then my academic career and later work experience will be compromised.”

Complementing the effort to protect net neutrality, Multnomah County District 1 Commissioner Sharon Meieran highlighted an effort to expand broadband in Multnomah County. “Access to reliable high-speed internet is needed for basic equity and inclusion. Kids and families need internet access to file a job application or complete required school homework. That's why the Multnomah County Board of Commissioners just approved funding to study the feasibility of providing publicly owned high-speed internet services at cost to our community.”

Multnomah County Library, Oregon’s largest provider of free internet sessions, is also a member of the Digital Inclusion Network, a regional group of organizational partners committed to reducing barriers to digital access and getting devices into the hands of those who need them most.

“Libraries have a role at the forefront of the discussion about net neutrality and digital equity,” said Oehlke. “We can give patrons free access to internet in our libraries, but to truly make change, we need to ensure everyone in our community can connect and participate in our digital world from anywhere.

More than 700 adult library patrons are homebound due to age, illness or disability. Because they can’t visit the library, we bring the library to them. Adults who are homebound may have their materials mailed to them or delivered by library staff. Another program called Words on Wheels pairs a patron with a volunteer who takes time to visit when delivering materials. All three services are free.

Many home delivery patrons have no access to a computer. More than a third of these patrons call us to ask about what to read next. We ensure they always have books they haven’t read before.

“It is amazingly helpful to get suggestions and choices that energize my thinking and make the world more alive,” said one books-by-mail patron who responded to a recent survey. “A wonderful program that encourages and stimulates my mind so that I feel alive and young at 93!”

Van delivery patron with staff

A patron on our van delivery route echoed this: “You saved me from a lonely, narrow life. You bring the world to my door with helpful, cheerful people who are always on time and never miss a delivery. “

Reading, said another patron, keeps me alive.

A recent survey of Words on Wheels patrons shows that the program reduces isolation.

“Arthritis has made me homebound for several years. It is profoundly isolating. The social contact with someone who loves to read as much as I do helps! When arthritis made it impossible for me to carry 30 books home on Trimet, Words on Wheels saved my life!” 

Said another: “I look forward to my volunteer’s visits. Not only does that mean a supply of books tailored to my interests, it means I have a visit from this lovely woman who brightens my day. I very seldom leave my home, so visitors are quite welcome. We have lots to discuss — all those books I read.”

Patron and volunteer talking

The numbers of aging and disabled older adults in our community is expected to grow significantly in the next 15 years, according to Multnomah County's Aging, Disability and Veteran Services Division. In fact, the number of aging baby boomers will soon surpass those of all other segments of the population. An estimated 30 percent will become disabled at some point.

The library’s outreach services ensure that patrons who are homebound can still connect.

Two library staff prepare outreach materials

“Your service is a double blessing to all of us who are disabled. It opens up a giant window on the world,” said one patron.

Another patron, homebound due to a debilitating illness, said, “Thanks so much for a service I never anticipated needing. I am homebound. I thought at my age — 69 —  I would not read again, study our past and learn once more. You have given me hope again. I love you all.”

To refer an adult for free home delivery, call Library Outreach Services at 503.988.5404 or email us (lib.adult.outreach@multco.us).

 

“I want to provide for my community.”

by Sarah Binns

If you're worried about the future of the world, think about this month’s Volunteer Spotlight, Lizette Sayavedra Herrera. A senior at Reynolds High School, Lizette is a driven activist who educates and champions her community. This may be the first time you’ve heard her name, but it won’t be the last.

Lizette started as a search assistant at Troutdale: “At first I thought it’d be fun and I could get out of the house.” She pauses and her voice fills with delight: “It turns out I’ve thoroughly enjoyed it.” Her volunteerism soon expanded as she became an assistant for La hora de aprender (The Learning Hour), an educational program for Spanish-speaking children. “I organize things, I read to the kids.” Another pause. “I blow up the balloons. The kids love the balloons.”

The program is close to Lizette’s heart, as she is a Mexican immigrant who came to the U.S. at age six. “When I moved here I didn’t have a lot of Spanish-speaking people around me.” She loves La hora de aprender because she can participate in Latino culture and because she gives kids the Spanish-speaking community she didn’t have.

Lizette is also a force for students of color at Reynolds, serving as co-president of the Latino Student Union and a member of the Black Student Union. “It’s a way for me to learn and grow. I’m Latina but I have a lighter complexion, which comes with privilege….” She addresses the complexities of racial identity and the need for awareness in communities of color: “You have to know when to step in and when to step back. Learning people’s stories, it’s what I have a passion for.”

Lizette will marry activism with academics when she attends Wellesley College this fall, pursuing biomedical engineering or pre-law. “My grandmother has diabetes. She takes up to ten medicines a day. If I can take her pills down from ten to five, that’s significant. Plus, groundbreaking medicines often aren’t available to people of color due to price gouging.” Lizette’s interest in law stems from the over-representation of Latinos and people of color in the U.S. prison system: “A lot of times people of color don’t have access to attorneys or the same legal opportunities.”

Bound for the east coast in the fall, Lizette is excited about Wellesley’s all-female campus: “I know I’ll learn from being surrounded by other women.” She’ll continue to be an advocate for communities of color. “I want to provide for my community,” she concludes. Look out world, Lizette Sayavedra Herrera is coming for you—and she is going to change it.  


A few facts about Lizette

Home library:  Troutdale

Currently reading:  The New Jim Crow by Michelle Alexander and The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood

Favorite book from childhood:  The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle

Most influential book:  Esperanza Rising by Pam Muñoz Ryan

Book that made you cry:  Esperanza Rising

Favorite browsing section: Young adult nonfiction

E-reader or paper?  Paper!

Favorite place to read: "My bed."

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

 

 

On choosing a summer read

Birthdays, graduations, weddings -- all memorable life events that we plan for and celebrate. But when you think about it, isn't dying the biggest, most dramatic event in a person's life? And yet we spend little time preparing for it. Recently I've been inspired by Kate Bowler's podcast, Everything Happens, which is by turns hilarious, dark, heart-rending and sweet. Her companion book, Everything Happens for a Reason got a big thumbs up from Bill Gates in his annual summer reading recommendations.

Kate's diagnosis of stage IV cancer sent her into heavy contemplation mode, and luckily she decided to share her insights. Tip #1 - never say "everything happens for a reason." Tip #2: spread joy, as Bowler did when she posted this Bhangra tribute to the Winnipeg Jets on her twitter feed. Tip #3: check out the attached list for more thoughts on space between life and death.

Winnipeg Vs. Everybody - The Bhangra Remix

Do you have a zine you want to share with the world? The library is a great place to do that! We have a zine collection available for checkout at five of our locations: Albina, Belmont, Central, Hollywood and North Portland. The focus of the collection is to provide a showcase for local authors that produce zines on popular topics of interest to our community.

You can submit a sample of your zine by dropping it off or mailing it to the following locations (please include your name and contact info.)

Multnomah County Library Belmont Branch
Attn: Lori Moore
1038 SE Cesar E Chavez Blvd.
Portland, OR 97214

Or

Multnomah County Library Central
Attn: Karen Eichler
801 SW 10th Ave
Portland, OR 97205

Contact us for more information.

Multnomah County Library’s new mobile sewing lab is on the move! Funded through the library’s staff innovation program Curiosity Kick!, the program is piloting a series of Somali sewing classes at Capitol Hill and Gregory Heights libraries. 

Sewing instructor

The Library Sewing Project began as an idea proposed by Capitol Hill Library Assistant Suad M., Central Library Assistant Lisa T., and Capitol Hill Library Administrator Patti V., after the team heard from the Somali community a desire to find free neighborhood sewing classes. The proposal was selected by staff to receive a $10,000 Curiosity Kick grant in 2017.  

The team purchased ten sewing machines, a bin of sewing supplies, and a cart to transport the equipment and supplies throughout the library system. They also identified Somali speaking sewing instructors who could teach the four new beginning sewing programs.

When the new series of classes launched in March at Capitol Hill, all classes were filled to capacity with eight students each. The demand and interest for the sewing classes remains high.

“This program not only responded to community requests, it created a space for women who usually don't feel safe or comfortable using public institutions due to language barriers. By providing an instructor that shares the same language and culture, we reduced that barrier, and got over 100% attendance, 100% of the time,” said Suad.

Violeta
Violeta still remembers the first time she saw the library as more than books: 

"Growing up on the Mexican border, the one public library in town was the size of an average living room. Then we moved to Texas and my mom took us down to our new library. I couldn’t believe everything it had. It was a big space! They had blocks to play with, Disney movies to check out, and best of all, everything was free."

Today, as a bilingual (Spanish) youth librarian for Troutdale Library, Violeta helps connect East County youth to the library world she fell in love with from an early age. She especially enjoys the connection she’s made with teen patrons.

"Working with teens is underrated. I can show them my goofiest self, and they really open up. We want to make the library a desirable and inclusive space for everyone. It can be a place of acceptance for them as they go from seeing the world as black and white to seeing the ‘grays’ in life."

With Violeta’s leadership, Troutdale is reviving its Teen Council, an opportunity for teens from the neighborhood to develop leadership skills and get involved. The Teen Council meets bimonthly and develops programs for other youth to get involved in the library.

This May, Troutdale will host a special three-part event for teens and youth, Live in a Better World and Give Back, which will be an opportunity for attendees to craft and make tote bags that will be donated to women and children at the Rose Haven day shelter.

In addition to her role as youth librarian, Violeta worked for the past nine months as a regional librarian in East County, supporting Gresham, Troutdale, Rockwood and Fairview libraries. In her role, she spent time reaching out to organizations and listening to what East County neighborhoods want from their library; coordinating resource lists for patrons, such as where in East County houseless patrons can get basic services; and leading training opportunities for other youth librarians.

As Violeta reached out to neighborhood organizations, she recognized an increasing need for the library to be out telling the community all it can offers — for free — that goes beyond books.

"Some people think of us as another government organization, but we are so dedicated to helping people get the information they need, connecting them to resources and most importantly, protecting their privacy," said Violeta.

As a librarian dedicated to serving East County, Violeta’s commitment and passion for helping people in her community, and connecting them to the library, remains at the center of her work.

"I’ve always felt at home in the library. I want to help ensure others feel that way too."

On January 22, 2018, Ursula K. Le Guin left us. To mitigate our sorrow, she left behind poetry, novels, essays and stories, as well as a legacy of speaking out about things that matter: books, reading, and of course, libraries. In this guest post from 2015, she rankled against choosing favorites, and then gave some thoughtful and surprising recommendations. She will be missed.

I have lived in Portland for 56 years now, raising kids, writing books, and reading books. I never would have got through those 56 years without the Multnomah County Library.

“Favorites” -- A favorite book? Impossible! Seven favorite books? Impossible! I have too many favorite books. A lot of them are a lot of other people’s favorites too, so they don’t need to be mentioned. But I’ve just been rereading one that has pretty much slipped outof sight, and I want to remind people of it, because it’s a terrific novel: Thomas Berger’s Little Big Man. It came out in 1964, won the Western Heritage Award, and got a nice movie based on it. But it’s way, way better than the movie. Little Big Man is a highly improbable story told so well that you believe it.

For one thing, you want to believe it. And also you can trust it, because the true parts of it are true. The history (and ethnology) is real. There’s no whitewashing the racism and greed that have always threatened the American dream of freedom. You get the story of what really happened at the battle of the Little Big Horn, not all that Custer hype. You get an entirely new view of Wyatt Earp, Calamity Jane, and several other celebrities, too.

Like Mark Twain, Berger has a pitch-perfect ear for how Americans talk – and think. And like Mark Twain he can ruthlessly indict human stupidity and bigotry while never losing his temper, and being really, really funny. Old Lodge Skins is my hero. I love this book. I wish every high-school kid in America could read it. And then (like me) read it again twenty or forty or sixty years later...

As for nonfiction, I have to mention Rebecca Skloot’s The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, which brings together scientific and medical research (and hypocrisy), the biography of an almost invisibly elusive black woman, the exposure of an act of exploitation, racism and social injustice, and the writer’s own deeply respectful involvement with the people from whom she won this absorbing, troubling, wonderfully told story.

How about a favorite piece of music? Can I have two, please? OK! One is the short opera Galileo Galilei by Philip Glass, performed here in Portland two years ago (a recording of that performance is available now from Orange Mountain). The stage set was all magical circles and spirals and pendulums, lights moving through shadows, illuminating the story that spirals back in time from the dark end of Galileo’s life to a radiant, joyful beginning. Set, words, and music, it was and is completely beautiful.

And for a change of pace. . . how about Hoyt Axton singing “Five Hundred Miles.”  (Find it on the CD Greenback Dollar: Live at the Troubadour). There are several versions of it on YouTube. I like the one where the visual is just a b/w video of a train that comes and goes by and is gone.

Five Hundred Miles ~ Hoyt Axton

For more great recommendations, customized just for you, try My Librarian.

Privacy and cyber security are just two facets of digital literacy. Technology is drastically changing the way we find and apply for jobs, manage our finances, and make sense of the daily news. It’s changing the way we understand and implement things like copyright, diplomacy, and activism. As more industries are disrupted by digital innovations, the opportunities we seek may distort and disappear without warning.

Check out these local resources for more information about efforts in our community to bridge the digital divide and create a future where the promise of better living through technology is offered to everyone:

Free Geek

Municipal Broadband PDX

Digital Equity Action Plan

Protecting Yourself Online

 

Take a look at these other resources designed to help people navigate the information jungle:

Terms of Service Didn’t Read

How Secure is my Password?

Have I Been Pwned?

Snopes.com

Library Freedom Project

Mozilla Learning

 

As always, your library is here for you. Peruse these reads that explore the various elements of web literacy.

 

thinking man
Ask yourself these questions when you're evaluating a website:

  1. What authority is responsible for this site? Who developed the site, and is there a clear link to contact information? What are the author’s credentials, and is the site supported by an organization or commercial body?
  2. What is the purpose of the site? Is the purpose to inform, persuade, convey an opinion, entertain, or parody something/someone? Is the site geared to a specific audience (students, scholars, public at large), and does the content support the site’s purpose?
  3. What is the extent of this site’s coverage? Does the site claim to be selective or comprehensive?  Are the topics explored in depth? Compare the value of the site’s information compared to other similar sites.  Does the site provide information with no relevant external links?
  4. Is the information posted on the site current? Does the site list the date the information was first written, published online, and last revised? Are there any dead links or references to sites that have moved?  Is the information provided so time-specific that its usefulness is limited to a certain time period?
  5. Is the site clearly objective, or is it trying to sway its audience? Is the information presented with a particular bias?  Is site advertising at odds with the content? Is the site trying to explain, inform, or persuade, or is it selling something?
  6. Is the information accurate? Does the site provide references, and does it use correct spelling and grammar?


There are also specific criteria in evaluating government websites, which are especially important when trying to access vital services:

  1. Does the website address end in ".gov."?
  2. Does the site charge a fee for blank government enrollment/application forms? Government forms and instructions are free.

Contact Consumer Action’s hotline at 415.777.9635 or online if you have a question about a suspicious site that claims to be government related.

Finally, here are some more ways to protect yourself online.

Sources:

Re-Hashed: 5 Ways to Determine if a Website is Fake, Fraudulent, or a Scam (Hashed Out)

6 Criteria for Websites (Dalhousie University)

Be aware of government imposters (Consumer Action)

Couple taking selfie
Online privacy and security can seem daunting and confusing. We've broken it down into a few topics we thought would be most helpful. Have more ideas? Let us know in the comments.

How to evaluate a website

Get the privacy you want on social media

How to protect yourself on public wi-fi

7 ways to identify a phishing scam

Email phishing scams and how to avoid them

Beyond privacy: digital inclusion

 

 

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