Author Archive

Central’s Centennial Celebrations

Central Library is turning 100 on September and there’ll be lots of celebratory moments! I love Multnomah County Library’s new website because you can find all related events through this link.

I’m looking forward to the new exhibition up at Collins Gallery opening July 5th. “This exhibition traces the history of Central Library in images and objects, including architect A.E. Doyle’s blueprints, the now-vanished library stacks, a register listing new cardholders, and photographs representing decades of library staff fashion errors!”

I’ve already made plans to attend “A Downtown Walking Tour of Library History” on Sunday, August 25th. (There’s another one on Saturday, August 24th.) Enjoy a two-hour walking tour of 150 years of library history, guided by local nonprofit Know Your City, with special guests A.E. Doyle biographer Philip Niles and librarians who will share treasures from the library’s archives and special collections. Learn about the origins of our modern library system by visiting the Multnomah County Library’s three previous locations, People’s Free Reading Room, bookdrop at Transcentral and more.”

I’m also looking forward to getting to know more about Mary Frances Isom, Portlans’d first female librarian, and Central’s architect, A.E. Doyle.

Other events include music, crafts and performances. If you’re as excited as I am about Central’s centennial, I’ll probably see you at these events!


P.S.- Central Library: Portland’s Crown Jewel by Richard E. Ritz is a great book to read until then. Read my review here.


Summer Reading 2013

Kids can “Dig Into Reading” this Summer with Washington County Cooperative Library Services (WCCLS) Summer Reading program filled with awesome events and cool prizes.

Teens can find a good book “Beneath the Surface” and get in the action, too!

Adults are encouraged to discover “Groundbreaking Reads” and attend an evening with bestselling author Cheryl Strayed!

Registrations start June 1st!


Adults can celebrate Lazinfest (German for “to read”) with Lake Oswego’s Summer Reading Program. Check out other events throughout the Libraries in Clackamas County (LINCC) by clicking here.

Summer Reading in Multnomah County Library starts June 14th. Consider volunteering and join their team of book-loving people. Deadline is June 15th.

Happy Summer Reading!

Allen Say: An Illustrator of His Life and Ours

A panel from the exhibition. It won't be blurry in real life so check it out!

A panel from the exhibition. It won’t be blurry in real life so check it out!

The latest exhibition at Central’s Collins Gallery is Allen Say: An Illustrator of His Life and Ours.

Featuring original artwork from his books including the Caldecott Medal recipient Grandfather’s Journey, the Oregon Book Awards winner Drawing from Memory, and upcoming release The Favorite Daughter, it is a definite must-see for fans of this local talent or of picture book art. Be prepared to be impressed by his careful attention to detail and his “great skill in depicting qualities of light.”

A reception with Allen Say and John Wilson Special Collections Librarian Jim Carmin will be held on Sunday, June 9, 2-3:30PM.

Read an article by Jeff Baker about the exhibition (which runs until June 30th) over at The Oregonian.


EPSON DSC picture

Jim Carmin is also the featured speaker for the Friends of Multnomah County Library’s Annual Meeting being held on Wednesday, June 5, 6-7:30PM. Become a member now and RSVP to attend the event!

Book Reviews: Down Cut Shin Creek and That Book Woman

I love the innovative ways people have thought up to get books into the hands of others! The Pack Horse Library Project of Kentucky was one example of such. And it just happened that I read two books about this very subject within a short time of one another.

Down Cut Shin Creek (2001) by Kathi Appelt and Jeanne Cannella Schmitzer gives a more detailed account of this program. It was inspiring to read about the women (and men) who took part in this- all of whom seemed very courageous and determined. And I’m glad people appreciated their dedication. Families with nothing to give still managed to find something to offer them as a token of their gratitude whether it be a quilt pattern or a family recipe.

That Book Woman (2008) by Heather Henson and illustrations by David Small is a fictionalized account of one boy’s perspective of a “book woman” who comes to his family’s home on a regular basis whatever the weather. It’s another great tribute to those traveling librarians- and the power of books. It was a wonderful moment when the boy asked his younger sister to teach him how to read.

I wasn’t familiar with this moment in library history so I was glad to have found these books!

The Road Trippin’ Adventures of Ericat and Muffin: In which She takes Him Library Hopping and wonders what She got Herself into

My roommate decided to take me Library Hopping as a birthday present. I was sort of nervous about her offer because I don’t think she really knew how seriously (in the most fun way possible, of course) I took Library Hopping. I was also giddy with excitement with the prospect of visiting multiple libraries in one day. I dubbed this event “The Road Trippin’ Adventures of Ericat and Muffin: In which She takes Him Library Hopping and wonders what She got Herself into.”

Planning for this involved many late nights on my part using an invaluable resource I discovered Oregon Library Map. After mapping out different routes- and I can’t really say how many I considered, we settled on Option 3a.


What does one take on a trip like this? She did think of everything- M&M white chocolate cookies, Nutter Butter, dried mango with chili powder, and Mariah Carey playlists. I did check out some audio books just in case there were lulls in the conversation but surprisingly there weren’t any.

It wouldn’t be a Library Hop if there wasn’t a misadventure- usually involving getting lost. In Albany, we saw a sign that read “The Old Library” so we foolishly thought we had reached our first destination. But this was where the main library was before it moved to its current location across the street. The dermatology place must have been wondering why people were taking pictures in front of their building! At least, there was some historic significance.

I loved seeing the Albany Main Library being used. Families were streaming in for story time. People were sitting down in the reading areas or using the computers. I enjoy seeing the different art installations. The mural above the welcome desk is “All That is Oregon.” I also love seeing the Children’s Rooms and this was very spacious and colorful. I loved the painted pillars there.

On the second floor, in the Teen section, one of their display racks was for “all books by Christopher Pike and R.L. Stine.” That would have been my favorite section! There was also a room for the Linn (County) Genealogical Society. I was disappointed the Friends of the Albany Library Bookstore was closed.

We also stopped by the Carnegie Library in Albany, where the Friends has a little annex of their store. I loved the stage in the Children’s Room there. Apparently the story times at both locations are done with puppets!

On the drive to Newport, my roommate saw the sign for the Philomath Community Library. Since we were doing good on time, we went in. There were dedicated shelf space by the entrance for the Friends of the Corvallis-Benton County Public Library.

A Teen ‘scape neon sign hung over their lounge area. I’ll also see it in Corvallis.

Our next stop was the Newport Public Library. They had a Book Sale area on the first floor. There was also a display for their community-wide reading project, Newport Reads. This year’s selection was Oregon author Brian Doyle’s Mink River.

Their version of Teen ‘scape was Youth Domain.

Clifford was waiting in the Children’s Area (on the lower level) and there was a very roomy Story Corner. And I’m a sucker for statues of people reading!

Corvallis was our final stop. The Friends and the Library Foundation each had their own display right next to one another. I was really impressed by all the art here- from the Children’s Room and the Family Reading Room. It was interesting to see that the library was recognized for their El día de los Niños/ El día de los Libros (Children’s Day/Book Day) participation, receiving the 2003 Mora Award.

Even as I write this, I smile because this was truly one of the best days of my life. And I’ve only shared the library portion of the day! I love libraries and I love people who love libraries and/or who encourages my Library Hopping ways!

NOTE: I will edit this soon to include the pictures I took.

Library Stories: Earl’s

I was going through some old posts and ran across a few that chronicled how much Multnomah County Library has helped shape my life.

I had this crazy idea that it might be cool to leave Las Vegas and everything else behind and go off to somewhere new and record my experiences in a journal. I wanted an adventure. I was drawn to Portland for reasons unknown to me. I had never been here before but the more I read about the city, the more it seemed like it was where I should be.

When I got here, it was cold and raining. That was no surprise. In fact, I welcomed the predictability of it all. Didn’t everyone tell me about the weather?

As adventurous as I thought I wanted to be, homelessness was always going to be the last resort. But as I wandered lost and wet in a new city, I was worried I might actually end up having to live in the streets.

I did not lose faith though. I knew there was a place I could go- where lost souls could find temporary refuge and regroup. Sacred buildings where people talked in whispers and everyone was welcome. I went to a library. And, unlike churches, they had computers I can use.

Central Library is a beautiful building. In fact, if I weren’t so soaked and hell-bent on finding a place to stay, I would have taken the time to look around and admire the architecture. But once I had a list of potential temporary lodging, I dashed off to check them out. (March 2008)

Anywhere there’s a library, I feel like I’m home. But I still had other things to worry about…

I figured that while I was still terminally unemployed, it would be a good time to check out what volunteering opportunities there were out in the world. Or, at least, in my immediate vicinity. I was hoping there’d be some at Central Library since it was close by and I was familiar with that environment. I was thinking I could check in and shelve items. I attended a meeting there last week to see what was available. I felt so old that day. I was surrounded by mostly teenagers and some were so young they had a parent with them for supervision. It lasted about an hour- going over some background information on the library district and the different areas in which to volunteer in. Unfortunately, there were no spots at that location but finding out about my work history, one of the coordinators suggested I check out the Friends’ Library Store. So I did.

Friends of the Multnomah County Library is a non-profit organization run by volunteers that helps support the library system with its sales of not only donated materials like books, CD’s and DVD’s but also of greeting card, postcards, bookmarks, book ends, literary gifts, shirts, hats, posters, drinks and snacks. For such a small space, I was surprised they could fit all that in.

I just finished my first day there even though I was practically doing everything I would have done working in a bookstore- but without getting paid. The highlight was definitely interacting with the customers. There was a nice lady, who was not only a reader but a booklover as well, and we talked about some good books we’ve read and even recommended some titles to each other. I missed those connections.

I enjoyed myself and am glad I’ve rejoined the ranks of the contributing members of society. I look forward to volunteering some more with Friends. (June 2008)

Since then, I have helped out during the Friends of the Library’s Spring and Fall Used Book Sales and special events and become a Board Member.

For awhile now, I’ve wanted to be a US citizen in order to have more of a voice/impact on issues that mattered to me.

And, as luck would have it, Multnomah County Library was holding one of their free citizenship classes (as part of their Outreach Services to adults) so I signed up.

I didn’t know what to expect. I was a bit nervous but I had no need to be. After introductions were made, the volunteer instructor gave a brief overview of the six-week course. We were given a packet containing the necessary forms and flash cards and other study materials.

While I decided to just attend one class since it seemed self-explanatory to me and to give the other students more time if they needed additional assistance, I was so grateful that the library offered his kind of service! It was just what I needed to get the process started.

I decided to share my story now because I recently took my Oath Ceremony. I am now a US Citizen! Thanks to Multnomah County Library for helping me achieve this goal! (August 2012)

If you’re reading this, you probably love libraries as much as I do. You probably squeed the first time you visited one. You probably took extra care writing your name on the back of your first library card. You probably lost track of time more often than you’d like to admit, needing to be reminded by the staff that they really do have to close for the day. Where else do your parents know where to look for you when you’ve forgotten to come home after school?

Libraries play important roles in our lives and we invite you to share your experiences. What’s your library story?

National Poetry Month

Whenever I want to improve myself, I always end up going to the library. I usually end up leaving with more books than I barely have the strength to carry.

Another instance of using library resources to better myself happened quite recently- just now, in fact.


April is National Poetry Month. I wanted to celebrate by reading a poem a day. What with it being late and all and Multnomah County Library closed on Mondays (only until July, though- yay!), I did the next best thing.

I went to their website and typed in “Poetry.” What’s cool about this new interface (is that even the right word?) is that not only does it give me the books and other materials the library has but it also lists services, programs, and resources it offers.

I was introduced to Granger’s World of Poetry. After signing in, I was taken to their page and the featured poem was “The April Fool” by Eugene Field. How cool is that?

I wanted something. The library helped me get it!