Archive for the ‘ Multnomah ’ Category

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!

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!

Smoke Signals: The Literature and Culture of Native America


I recently checked out the current- Smoke Signals: The Literature and Culture of Native America– over at Central’s Collins Gallery.

“Featuring highlights from the John Wilson Special Collections enhanced by historical items and artifacts provided by the Native American Youth & Family Center, this exhibition offers audiences an inside look at Native American culture and traditions.”- from the website

There were photographs by Edward S. Curtis, traditional dresses, jewelry, and baskets, and books and broadsides from various Native American writers, including Everybody Reads author Sherman Alexie.

Broadside for "The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian"

Broadside for “The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian”

The exhibit runs until March 24th. It’s worth checking out!

Everybody Reads 2013: Book Reviews

Are you participating in this year’s Everybody Reads?

This year, Multnomah County Library selected two books by Sherman Alexie– Ten Little Indians” and “The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian.” The first is a collection of short stories for adults while the second is his National Book Award winning novel for young adults- and personally one of my favorite books ever.

Image courtesy of Sherman Alexie's website

Image courtesy of Sherman Alexie’s website

Official Summary: Sherman Alexie tells the story of Junior, a budding cartoonist growing up on the Spokane Indian Reservation. Determined to take his future into his own hands, Junior leaves his troubled school on the rez to attend an all-white farm town high school where the only other Indian is the school mascot. Heartbreaking, funny, and beautifully written, The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, which is based on the author’s own experiences, coupled with poignant drawings that reflect the character’s art, chronicles the contemporary adolescence of one Native American boy as he attempts to break away from the life he thought he was destined to live.

The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, Alexie’s YA debut, released in hardcover to instant success, receiving seven starred reviews, hitting numerous bestseller lists, and winning the 2007 National Book Award for Young People’s Literature.

My Review: Sherman Alexie’s a writer who’s been recommended to me for the longest time. When I read “The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian” a few years ago, I liked how relatable the main character was. While this followed a similar arc to many coming of age stories out there, of the protagonist persevering through whatever challenges came their way and ended up being better for them, this was somehow different and refreshing.

With its strong but honest language and a lot of the subjects covered, I can see why certain groups may be offended with the book and may want it banned. But I think that’s what a great story does. It makes us uncomfortable in its ability to mirror our lives and ourselves in its pages.

Official Summary: Sherman Alexie is one of our most acclaimed and popular writers today. With Ten Little Indians, he offers nine poignant and emotionally resonant new stories about Native Americans who, like all Americans, find themselves at personal and cultural crossroads, faced with heartrending, tragic, sometimes wondrous moments of being that test their loyalties, their capacities, and their notions of who they are and who they love.

In Alexie’s first story, “The Search Engine,” Corliss is a rugged and resourceful student who finds in books the magic she was denied while growing up poor. In “The Life and Times of Estelle Walks Above,” an intellectual feminist Spokane Indian woman saves the lives of dozens of white women all around her to the bewilderment of her only child. “What You Pawn I Will Redeem” starts off with a homeless man recognizing in a pawn shop window the fancy-dance regalia that was stolen fifty years earlier from his late grandmother.

Even as they often make us laugh, Alexie’s stories are driven by a haunting lyricism and naked candor that cut to the heart of the human experience, shedding brilliant light on what happens when we grow into and out of each other.

My Review: I was instantly hooked when I picked up “Ten Little Indians.” I just wanted to stay home and read through the whole thing but I found out that I also wanted to take the time to enjoy each of the stories before going on to the next one.

I was impressed by how each story sounded different yet there were some things that were mentioned or touched upon repeatedly.

I submitted the following haiku (as part of their contest) and I wanted to share it because it describes how I felt about the book:

Alexie’s stories-
Each one better than the last-
Make me go “Pow! Wow!”

I highly recommend reading any or both of these books. And check out the Everybody Reads page to get more out of this community-wide reading project!

I know I’ll be reading more of Sherman Alexie in the future!