博客:

by Sarah Binns, MCL volunteer

Photo of Madi Beck

Madi Beck is living the dream of a true Pacific Northwesterner: reading and working with books, investing in the outdoors, and restoring a 14-foot camper to live in. 

“My goal is to live in it within a year,” she says of the 1975 trailer she’s been gutting and working on during her spare time. Madi just graduated from high school, so it would be understandable if this intensive hobby was the only way she spent her summer. Instead, she spent five weeks volunteering to build trails in the Idaho wilderness with Northwest Youth Corps, an outdoor conservation program. This was her second summer with the organization, and it seems it has given her a purpose: 

“I’m really passionate about being outside,” she says. Regarding next steps, she says, “The future is cloudy,” but she’s biding her time until an upcoming forestry job starts in summer 2020. She is also interested in AmeriCorps. 

Her path to her work at the St. John’s library is a little clearer. “I love reading,” Madi says, “I’ve been reading since I was little. My mom is a reader and she got me into it.” 

A few years ago Madi started volunteering every Friday as a paging list assistant, pulling holds for patrons at other libraries, to see if she was interested in a library science career. While that has taken a backseat to her conservation work, she still appreciates the library. “I love the people who work there,” she says. “They’re so kind and generous. I also love being around books.” She laughs. “The sad thing is I can’t check out the books I see” from the paging list, she says, since these are all sent as holds to patrons at other libraries. 

When she’s not volunteering she works at Target, reads, or returns to the “water-damaged and moldy” trailer she hopes to call home one day. “I’d love to be mobile,” she says, “I want to travel the US and visit all the national parks.” Whether in a trailer or on the trail, I’m sure we’ll see Madi in the great outdoors in the future—probably with a book! 


A few facts about Madi

Home library: St Johns

Currently reading: Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman 

Most influential book: The Chaos Walking trilogy by Patrick Ness

Favorite section to browse: “Definitely the fiction or sci-fi section.”

Favorite book from childhood: “Too many to choose from! My favorite childhood series were Harry Potter, Eragon, and Percy Jackson!”

Book that made you laugh or cry: “Where the Red Fern Grows can make me cry even thinking about it.”

Guilty pleasure: “Maybe reading teen fiction that’s way below my reading level, just to feel nostalgic.”

Favorite place to read: My bed.

E-reader or paper: “Paper for sure, but because I live on a boat I really appreciate an e-reader.”

 

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

Graduates from the library's adult tutoring GED program
A group of graduates shared their joy and dreams with families, staff, tutors and patrons at Midland Library during its first-ever graduation ceremony for adults who earned their GEDⓇ certificate thanks to Multnomah County Library’s drop-in tutoring program. 

The graduates donned caps and gowns, posed for photos and shared cupcakes, shared stories and described their plans for the future. Tiffany, a full-time administrator’s assistant in a busy social service program, now qualifies for a promotion. Cherille, a single mom who studied all summer with a tutor, finished school to be a role model for her children. Chance has worked many jobs but now dreams of entering a veterinary technician program at Mt. Hood Community College. Diana, a bilingual mom and businesswoman, juggled family, business and her studies and proved to her daughter that she could finish school.

The GEDⓇ drop-in tutoring program, coordinated by Adult Literacy Coordinator Lisa Regimbal, has served 103 older and younger adults over the past year. Many of the program’s attendees were nervous about the test and didn’t know how to study or where to begin. Thanks to a one-year Oregon GEDⓇ Program Wraparound Services Grant, the library has been able to offer attendees free GEDⓇ testing, tutoring by volunteers, and coaching from GEDⓇ Coordinator Colleen Latimer. Multnomah County Library was the only library system in the state to receive the funding. 

A cadre of 30 volunteer tutors helped the students stay motivated while remembering the intricacies of algebra and fractions, and studying science, social studies and language arts. Library staff ensured students felt welcomed and provided books for kids while parents studied.

The ceremony was a reminder of the importance and significance of graduation for the students who had dropped out of school years earlier. Graduate Cherille was surrounded by her children, nieces, nephews, elderly mother and other family members. She pointed to the children and smiled,  “I wanted to show them I could do it.” 

Drop-in tutoring and GEDⓇ assistance is currently available at six library locations: 

  • Mondays, 4 to 6 pm, St. Johns Library
  • Mondays, 5 to 7 pm, North Portland Library
  • Tuesdays, 5 to 7 pm, Midland Library
  • Wednesdays, 10 am to 12pm, Rockwood Library
  • Wednesdays, 4 to 6 pm, Gresham Library
  • Thursdays, 10:30 am to 12:30 pm, Central Library

Rockwood makerspace
Nestled in a back room of Rockwood Library is a space for teens to create, make and try out cutting-edge technologies. Separate from the library, the Rockwood makerspace offers local youth access to high and low-tech activities— for free—without expectations. 

Echoing trends by public libraries across the world to give people free and open access to new technologies, Multnomah County Library opened the 1,000 square foot collaborative space in 2016 with the support of The Library Foundation and the Mount Hood Cable Regulatory Commission. The Rockwood makerspace is the only space in Multnomah County that provides youth with free and open access to these cutting-edge technologies. 

On any given day, teens are huddled together on Macbooks, coding new video games or designing items in CAD software to produce on the space’s 3D printer; building robots; sewing costumes; or just hanging out and being teens. The space is comfortable and inclusive, offering numerous open labs throughout the week for teens to drop in and use the space however they choose. The makerspace has been so popular with the community that it recently opened limited times for adults to use it, including offering some bilingual adult programs.  

In addition to needing dedicated, and specially trained, staff and volunteers, the makerspace requires thoughtfully designed infrastructure to operate successfully, including open and powered spaces and separate ventilation for heat-producing equipment such as laser cutting machines. Due to space constraints across the library system, the library is only able to offer one makerspace for the more than 800,000 people it serves.   

The Rockwood makerspace has become a community, providing young people opportunities to explore science, technology, engineering, arts and math, while having fun. While the access to new technologies and creative space helps teens develop skills that may contribute to their future career path, it most importantly offers them the freedom to try new ideas, to fail without judgment or consequence, to build their confidence, and to be who they are

“It has changed my life, actually. It’s taught me to not be scared, to just try new things,” said Mariah, a Rockwood makerspace participant. 

Currently, the Rockwood makerspace is the only space of its kind at a Multnomah County Library location. Multnomah County Library is working hard on a plan to bring these kinds of creative and modern spaces to other libraries and communities. Learn more at multcolib.org/planning.

Join us to celebrate Native American Heritage Month in November. 

The Prairie Blossoms: Shining the Spotlight on Native American Music 
November 2 at Kenton Library
November 9 at Woodstock Library
November 10 at North Portland Library
November 17 at St. Johns Library
November 23 at Central Library

Edible Native American Plants
November 2 at Troutdale Library

Dream Catcher Weaving 
November 8 at Fairview-Columbia Library

Native American Jewelry Making
November 9 at Gregory Heights Library
November 13 at Rockwood Library
November 15 at Troutdale Library

Native American Indian Storytelling and Drumming
November 16 at Kenton and Albina libraries

Connecting Cultures: Native American Children's Songs 
November 16 at Hillsdale Library
November 23 at Holgate Library

Native American Dance
November 21 at North Portland Library

PDX Native Film Night: Warrior Women 
November 25 at Hollywood Theatre

Vailey Oehlke image

Dear library patrons and community members,

Multnomah County Library (MCL) works hard to serve you. We are committed to meeting the changing needs of our community by providing free and open access to the resources, programs, technology and spaces that people want and need. But we are facing a daunting new challenge: large publishers are imposing new restrictions that limit libraries’ ability to offer users new digital content.

Beginning November 1, 2019, Macmillan publishers, one of the country’s “big five” publishers, is imposing an eight-week embargo on new e-books. This embargo means that for the first eight weeks after a book is released, libraries will only be able to purchase a single copy of new Macmillan e-books. This restriction applies whether a library serves a community of a thousand people or a million people.

The impact of this embargo and the other severe restrictions being placed by publishers on public libraries across the country will hurt readers near and far. Multnomah County Library is the sixth top-circulating library in the country for digital content. Under these new restrictions, the wait for many Macmillan e-book titles will skyrocket to four months or more.

What’s more, libraries are forced to license this content and cannot own it. A licensing model increases costs and limits how many times patrons can check out a book before the library must re-license. Many people also aren’t aware that e-book costs to libraries are often FOUR TIMES the price of a retail copy. With these limitations in place, we estimate that MCL will soon spend at least 25 percent of its e-book budget ($307,000) on re-licensing items already in the collection. These excessive costs will prevent the library from buying a broader range of titles or buying more copies of popular titles in order to reduce wait times.

On top of this, Amazon—which owns audio and e-platforms Audible and Kindle—is an unapologetic charging bull within the publishing industry, as it exclusively signs digital and audio rights for authors like Dean Koontz and Mindy Kaling and refuses to license those titles to libraries.

Macmillan has said that libraries undercut publishers’ profits by allowing readers free access to materials that they would otherwise purchase. Macmillan is presenting this as a zero-sum game—that every circulation of a library book is a lost sale for the publisher and author. That reductivist argument is disingenuous and capricious, and it shuts out those with the fewest resources. Not everyone can afford to use Amazon as an alternative to their public library.

The result of these unfair practices by publishers puts not only libraries and readers in a challenging position, but also authors, who should not be forced to choose between making a living and supporting the mission of a library to make information free and open to all. Public libraries provide free marketing and massive exposure to authors and publishers at more than 16,500 locations in communities across the United States and online. In fact, there are more public libraries in the United States than there are McDonald’s or Starbucks locations.

Multnomah County Library has a long history of supporting authors. Every day, patrons come into our libraries or browse the online catalog to find new titles to enjoy. We offer readers advisory services like My Librarian where library staff help readers find new books and authors. At 19 libraries, MCL hosts storytimes, author readings and other programs that expose people to books, resources and authors that they may not have discovered otherwise. Our Library Writers Project offers an opportunity for local authors to have their work added to the library’s e-book collection. As an integral part of the literacy ecosystem, public libraries encourage reading from the earliest ages, and support it over a lifetime by introducing people to content as their interests, needs and technologies change.

These harsh and unfair restrictions on public libraries are a troubling trend that we must stop. Please join me, readers and libraries across the country in opposing Macmillan’s new e-book embargo.

Sign the petition at ebooksforall.org to tell Macmillan that access to e-books should not be delayed or denied.

Thank you for supporting your public library.

Director's pen signature image

 

 

 

 

 

Vailey Oehlke
Director of Libraries
Multnomah County Library
Former president, Public Library Association

 

 

old time radio

My Dad's family is on a first name basis with country music performers. 'I wish Johnny was still here', my Mom says wistfully about Johnny Cash' or 'I'd reconize Mother Maybelle's voice anywhere', my Dad says as if  speaking of his own mother. Throughout the Great Depression in North Dakota, my parent's  family was held together not only by the Carter Family music but similar music from Mississippi, New Orleans and Kentucky.  It gave them the faith to survive in a world gone crazy as black clouds of dust, war and poverty  swept them up out of their home into the bright sunshiney newness of the West Coast. When I was a small girl, I was fascinated by the Carter Family, thinking that they were our distant musical cousins.

Our family was not unique. This is what comes through loud and clear in the new eight- episode documentary by Ken Burns, Country Music. A mixture of cultures and nationalites gave the development of country music variety and spark, but  it was that personal appeal, the way that its stories illuminate the human conditon that made it outrageously  popular.   

Unlike the upper end classical music of Carnegie Hall, the country music stories that came pouring out of the new affordable radios could be enjoyed by the poorest child in Mississippi,  a farming family in the Midwest, or  a migrant worker in New Mexico.  Because all of us know  happieness is fleeting and sadness feels like forever, but life is easier if there is someone who understands.  Country Music artists and their songs do just that. From The Carter's Family's Single Girl, Married Girl, to Hank Williams' I'm So Lonesome I Could Cry to Loretta Lynn's Don't Come Home a-Drinkin' with Lovin' on Your Mind to Charlie Prides' All I Have to Offer You is Me, country music tells us with every song that we are not alone and our feelings are real  enough to put into the words of a song.

HIspanic migrant family on the road

 

Hispanic Heritage Month takes place from September 15 - October 15. It is a recognition and celebration of the culture, histories and contributions of Hispanic and Latin Americans to the United States.

Initially celebrated as Hispanic Heritage week in 1968 under President Lyndon Johnson, it was expanded to a month by President Ronald Reagan. The start date of September 15 is significant because it is the anniversary of independence for five Latin American countries, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua. With Mexico, Belize and Chile celebrating their independence September 16, 18 and 21.

Here is a small sample of events that are happening at the library during Hispanic Heritage month to celebrate the rich heritage and cultural impact that Latin Americans have had on the nation and society.

Contact the library, visit the events page or check in with your local library to learn about additional programs and events during Hispanic Heritage Month.

Looking for a personalized reading list? Contact Laura B for a recommended reading list. 

 
 

El Mes de la Herencia Hispana se celebra cada año del 15 de septiembre al 15 de octubre. Es un homenaje y una celebración de la cultura, historias y contribuciones de los hispanos y latinoamericanos en los Estados Unidos.

Inicialmente proclamada la Semana Nacional de la Herencia Hispana por el presidente Lyndon B. Johnson en 1968, el reconocimiento fue extendido a un mes por el presidente Ronald Reagan en 1988. Se inicia el 15 de septiembre por ser el aniversario de la independencia de cinco países latinoamericanos: Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras y Nicaragua. México, Chile y Belice celebran su independencia el 16, 18 y 21 de septiembre, respectivamente.

Los invitamos a disfrutar en las bibliotecas la música, historias, libros, actividades y manualidades que celebran la herencia hispana y el impacto cultural a la sociedad.

Para más información sobre programas y eventos adicionales durante el Mes de la Herencia Hispana comuníquese con la biblioteca.

Laura B. está disponible para ofrecerles recomendaciones de lectura personalizada de acuerdo a su interés.

Talk Time Host

by Donna Childs, MCL volunteer

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

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

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

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


A few facts about Daniel

Home library: Central

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

Most influencial book:  Practical Ethics by Peter Singer

Favorite book from childhood:  Mad Magazine

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

Favorite section of the library:  Social Science

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

Favorite reading guilty pleasure: American Splendor by Harvey Pekar

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

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

Multnomah County Library operates on a set of pillars and priorities based on input from the community it serves. This library system is accountable to its taxpayers and patrons, offering programs, services and resources that reflect this community’s values.

The public library is based on the ideal that our collective resources and knowledge should be freely accessible and open to everyone. This library strives to live up to that ideal by lifting up people and communities that have been historically excluded, marginalized and discriminated against.

In representing the diversity of our community, this library will offer materials and viewpoints some people may find offensive. When outside voices seek to shame or pressure Multnomah County Library into conforming to standards other than those in our own community, we will not be cowed.

Multnomah County Library will continue to offer materials, services and programs that acknowledge and celebrate the value of the LGBTQ+ community, immigrants and refugees, people who speak a language other than English, Black and African American people, Native and indigenous people, and all others who have been systematically oppressed. We will evolve and expand that work over time as our community’s values dictate.

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