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For those of us who love classic literature, Multnomah County Library is a great resource. There are ongoing Classics Pageturners book discussion groups at Hillsdale Library and Hollywood Library, plus a Quarterly Classics group at Capitol Hill Library.  Copies of the books will be available two months in advance of the discussions.  Please call the branch to confirm.  Following that are lists of Western and non-Western literature from every era.

Here are the Classics book group schedules:

Hillsdale Library Classics Pageturners,

Second Saturdays, 3-5 pm

 

December 14,  2019, Three Sisters and The Cherry Orchard in Anton Chekhov's Selected Plays, by Anton Chekhov

 

January 11, 2020, Sentimental Education, by Gustave Flaubert

 

February 8, 2020, The Death of the Heart, by Elizabeth Bowen

 

March 14, 2020, The Rime of the Ancient Mariner, by Samuel Coleridge

 

April 11, 2020, : The Misanthrope, by Jean Molière

 

May 9, 2020, Mansfield Park, by Jane Austen

 

June 13, 2020, The Rubaiyat of Omar Kayyam

Hollywood Library Classics Pageturners,

Third Sundays, 2-4 pm

 

December 15, 2019The Log From the Sea of Cortez, by John Steinbeck

 

January 19, 2020The Oresteia, by Aeschylus

 

February 16, 2020The Moon and Sixpence, by W. Somerset Maugham

 

March 15, 2020Cry the Beloved Country, by Alan Paton

 

April 19, 2020Selected Stories of Anton Chekov

 

May 17, 2020, Meditations, by Marcus Aurelius. (This is a different translation than we will be reading.)

 

June 21, 2020Man and Superman, by George Bernard Shaw

 

Capitol Hill Library Quarterly Classics

Second Wednesdays, 1:30 pm, October 2019, January, April & July 2020

 

January 8, 2020, Brave New World, by Aldous Huxley.

 

April 8, 2020, Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, by Lewis Carroll.

 

July 8, 2020, Silas Marner, by George Eliot.

 

Multnomah County Library has created new Buckets of Books on science topics that align with the Next Generation Science Standards.

These tubs contain up to 30 books on a topic, plus a teacher's guide. To request a bucket, click on a Bucket of Books link below. Then click the Place Hold button and follow the instructions on the screen.

If the buckets are all checked out, you can click on a booklist link below and put books on hold individually. The booklists have similar titles to those in the bucket.

Living Things: Survival & Environment (kindergarten)   Bucket of Books  |  Booklist

Growth and Adaptations (grade 1)   Bucket of Books  |  Booklist

Light and Sound Waves (grade 1)   Bucket of Books  |  Booklist

Earth’s Processes (grades 2-4)  Bucket of Books  |  Booklist

Weather and Natural Disasters (grades 3-4) Bucket of Books  |  Booklist

Energy (grade 4) Bucket of Books  |  Booklist

Properties of Matter (grade 5)  Bucket of Books  |  Booklist

Climate Change (grades 6-8)  Bucket of Books  |  Booklist

Pacific Northwest Ecology and Geology (grades 6-12)  Bucket of Books  |  Booklist

To find a complete list of all the library’s Buckets of Books, visit our Bucket of Books and Booklists website.

These books are made possible by gifts to The Library Foundation, a local nonprofit dedicated to enhancing our library's leadership, innovation and reach through private support.
 

In September, I shared the news that Macmillan Publishers was planning to impose a restriction that would block people from borrowing new Macmillan e-books from libraries. This new policy took effect November 1. It is designed to do one thing: make Macmillan more money by creating barriers for people to use library resources.

Man and instructor using an e-reader for digital content
Like others who lead public library systems across the United States, I am deeply worried that other publishers will follow suit, undermining the ability of libraries to provide resources in the ways people want to use them. We want Macmillan to end this policy.

Nearly 16,000 fellow Oregonians agree and showed their support by signing the American Library Association’s #eBooksForAll petition. Multnomah County Chair Deborah Kafoury has also spoken out against the new restrictions.

Beginning today, Multnomah County Library (MCL) will no longer purchase new Macmillan e-books.

This is not a decision we take lightly. It means that the library has chosen to side against one specific company, something I would prefer to avoid. Our decision also means that some library patrons won’t be able to access popular authors in their preferred format and I regret that fact.

The alternative is to be the proverbial frog in a pot of water that keeps getting warmer. Libraries and taxpayers have shouldered the burdens of licensing instead of owning content, paying many times the retail price of e-books, and time-limited licenses that expire and require continual repurchasing of materials we’ve already bought.

When you can only buy something from one source and the terms of that purchase become this unreasonable, it’s time to say “no more.” In 2019, MCL has purchased nearly $120,000 in e-books from Macmillan.

We will continue to buy Macmillan titles in print and audiobook formats. We will retain the Macmillan e-books the library has already purchased. We will continue to offer the same top notch customer service. We will help readers discover new authors and alternate formats. We will continue our advocacy for e-books for all.

Thank you for your support and patronage of your public library.

 

Director's pen signature image

 

 

 

 

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

 

Which e-books are affected?
All e-book titles published by Macmillan or by any of the publishers that Macmillan owns. These titles will still appear in our catalog in other formats, but will not be available in e-book format.

What will happen to Macmillan e-books that Multnomah County Library already has in the catalog?
Macmillan e-books already in our collection will remain. You can continue to place hold requests and check them out as usual.
 
If you have a Macmillan e-book checked out right now, it will not be affected.
 
Does this purchase suspension include Macmillan books in all formats?
No. This decision only affects Macmillan e-books. We will continue to purchase print and audiobook versions of Macmillan titles.
 
If I submit a purchase request for a new Macmillan e-book, will it automatically be rejected?
Yes. We will not be purchasing any Macmillan e-books. Library staff will process and consider purchase suggestions for all other Macmillan formats as usual.
 
I don’t know much about Macmillan. What books do they publish?
Macmillan is one of the “Big Five” book publishers in the world, along with Hachette Book Group, HarperCollins, Penguin Random House, and Simon & Schuster. They publish a wide variety of fiction, nonfiction, and other genres from hundreds of different authors.
 
One popular author they represent is Nora Roberts, whose popular fiction series, Chronicles of The One, consistently makes bestseller lists across the country. The upcoming third installment of the series, The Rise of Magicks, releases Tuesday, Nov 26.
 
Multnomah County Library will buy copies in all formats of The Rise of Magicks except the e-book version. We have also assembled a list of other titles that readers of the Chronicles of One fans might enjoy.
 
How long will this suspension last?
We don’t have an end date right now. Should Macmillan cancel its embargo, we will immediately lift the suspension.
 
I want Macmillan to stop their embargo, or at least offer better terms to libraries. What can I do?
You can let Macmillan know how you feel by signing the #ebooksForAll petition at www.ebooksforall.org, by emailing Macmillan directly at press.inquiries@macmillan.com or by using the #ebooksForAll hashtag to spread the word on social media and lead other readers to the petition.
 
How many of the books the library buys come from Macmillan?
There are 7,147 Macmillan e-book titles in our collection currently out of 109,984 e-books (6.5% of our collection). They account for 8.2% of e-book checkouts (vs. 37% for Penguin Random House, which is the biggest by a wide margin)
 
Why don’t you at least take the single e-book Macmillan is offering so I have some chance of getting it from the library?
We believe everyone deserves equal access to books and information. In our view, Macmillan’s policy means that only those who can and will pay for access deserve it. That’s why we believe this is the next step we must take.
 
Additionally, your chances of getting access to that single copy in the first two months are slim. We have hundreds of patrons who place holds on the most popular new e-books. Everyone can hold or check out an e-book for up to 24 days, which is nearly a month. By the time you move to the top of the queue, odds are, it will have been several months already.
 
We understand that this is frustrating. We know this decision won’t please everyone, but we firmly believe that this suspension is the best way we can support e-book readers and ensure that libraries have equal access to digital materials.

What other publishers does Macmillan own?

Adult / Young Adult

  • Farrar, Straus & Giroux
  • North Point Press
  • Hill and Wang
  • Faber and Faber Inc.
  • First Second
  • Henry Holt
  • Metropolitan Books
  • Times Books
  • Holt Paperbacks
  • Picador
  • St Martin’s Press
  • Griffin
  • Minotaur
  • All Points Books
  • Castle Point Books
  • St. Martin’s Press Paperbacks
  • Let’s Go
  • Thomas Dunne Books
  • Truman Talley Books
  • Tor/Forge
  • Flatiron Books
  • Macmillan Collector’s Library
  • Celadon Books
  • Graywolf Press

Children’s

  • Farrar, Straus & Giroux for Young Readers
  • Feiwel & Friends
  • Henry Holt Books for Young Readers
  • Imprint
  • Kingfisher
  • Odd Dot
  • Priddy Books
  • Roaring Brook Press
  • Square Fish
  • Tor Children’s

Here are some questions to consider when reading Tommy Orange's There There.

1. The prologue provides a historical overview of how Native populations were systematically stripped of their identity, rights, land, etc. by colonialist forces in America. How does the prologue set the tone for the reader? Discuss the use of the Indian head as iconography. How does this relate to the erasure of Native identity in American culture?

2.  "Getting us to cities was supposed to be the final, necessary step in our assimilation, absorption, erasure, the completion of a five-hundred-year-old genocidal campaign. But the city made us new, and we made it ours."

Discuss the development of the “Urban Indian” identity and ownership of that label. How does it relate to the push for assimilation by the United States government? How do the characters navigate this modern form of identity alongside their ancestral roots?

3. Consider the following statement from page 9: “We stayed because the city sounds like a war, and you can’t leave a war once you’ve been, you can only keep it at bay.” In what ways does the historical precedent for violent removal of Native populations filter into the modern era? How does violence—both internal and external—appear throughout the narrative? How has violent removal of Native populations contributed to contemporary white privilege?

4. On page 7, Orange states: “We’ve been defined by everyone else and continue to be slandered despite easy-to-look-up-on-the-internet facts about the realities of our histories and current state as a people.” Discuss this statement in relation to how Native populations have been defined in popular culture. How do the characters resist the simplification and flattening of their cultural identity? Relate the idea of preserving cultural identity to Dene Oxendene’s storytelling mission.

5. The occupation of Alcatraz is often romanticized in history, but for many, the reality was very stressful and traumatic. Describe the resettlement efforts at Alcatraz. What were the goals for inhabiting this land? What vision did Opal and Jacquie’s mother have for her family in moving to Alcatraz? What were the realities they experienced? For background, take a look at the video "We Hold the Rock" about the occupation of Alcatraz.

6. On page 58, Opal’s mother tells her that she needs to honor her people “by living right, by telling our stories. [That] the world was made of stories, nothing else, and stories about stories.” How does this emphasis on storytelling function throughout There There? Consider the relationship between storytelling and power. How does storytelling allow for diverse narratives to emerge? What is the relationship between storytelling and historical memory?

7. On page 77, Edwin Black asserts, “The problem with Indigenous art in general is that it’s stuck in the past.” How does the tension between modernity and tradition emerge throughout the narrative? Which characters seek to find a balance between honoring the past and looking toward the future? When is the attempt to do so successful?

8. How is the city of Oakland characterized in the novel? How does the city’s gentrification affect the novel’s characters and their attitudes toward home and stability?

9. Discuss the Interlude that occurs on pages 134–41. What is the importance of this section? How does it provide key contextual information for the Big Oakland PowWow that occurs at the end of the novel? What is the author trying to say about historical violence, mass shootings and America's relationship with firearms in general?

10. Examine the use of unchecked technology. i.e. 3D printing guns, drones, internet addiction, social media, etc. How does this tie into urban Native identity? How does this tie into larger societal issues?

Bonus Questions: What was the most surprising element of the novel to you? What was its moment of greatest impact?

Each year the Portland Book Festival, presented by the Bank of America, brings thousands of readers to the Southwest Park Blocks for a day-long celebration of all things reading. Needless to say, we're big fans.

MK Reed's Wild Weather

To call attention to any one author inevitably leaves out a stellar line-up - who doesn't want to see Malcolm Gladwell and Rainbow Rowell? But there's so many quality events to choose from, so here are top picks.

Would it be too self-centered to say that we're so looking forward to seeing our library moderators in action? Elleona Budd, Natasha Forrester CampbellLanel JacksonEbonee Bell, Eduardo Arizaga and Alicia Tate will be moderating talks on everything from science comics to dark magic in fantasy.

We're looking forward to hearing from Saeed Jones about his new memoir, How We Fight for Our Lives. David Treuer's Heartbeat of Wounded Knee has made it to the top of many of our reading lists.  Mira Jacobs's graphic memoir Good Talk, about interracial families made it to the top of many library staff lists. And we'd like to hear how cartoonist and animator Graham Annable expresses his love for slots and hockey, when he isn't writing. Romance readers among us have been eagerly awaiting more from Jasmine Guillory, “the queen of contemporary romance” (OprahMag.com). Our teen librarians have long been fans of Gabby Rivera's Juliet Takes a Breath. We're looking forward to the pop-up events, among them Theodore Van Alst reading from his linked short stories, Sacred Smokes. 

We're also excited to hear home town heroes, Renée Watson, Carson Ellis, Mitchell S. Jackson, ... drat! Why did we limit ourselves to only 10? 

And that doesn't even take into account Friday night's Lit Crawl -- the Poetry Karaoke looks especially intriguing.

Take a look at the festival event site and go hang out with book lovers all day long. It's the best time, and we hope to see you there.

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.

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

 

 

 

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. 

 
 

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