Archive for the ‘ Others ’ Category

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.


I Read, You Read, We All Read Together! 2013 Edition

“There is no doubt in the power of books and libraries to bring people and communities together. In 1998, famous Seattle librarian Nancy Pearl initiated a city-wide reading program “If All of Seattle Read the Same Book.” Its success led to various off shoots throughout the years and across the nation in which readers come together to read the featured title or participate in related events like film screenings, performances, author appearances, and really just about anything that can be thought up!

The wonderful libraries in our surrounding counties are gearing up with their own versions of “One City, One Book”. We’ve compiled a list of these programs. Click on each one to get more information.”

That was from earlier this year. How time flies! You can get a head start with these 2013 titles.

Multnomah County Library’s Everybody Reads (11 years!)- “The Everybody Reads 2013 author is Sherman Alexie. The 11th annual community reading project will feature two works by one author: The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, for young adults, and Ten Little Indians, a collection of short stories, for adults.”

North Plains’ One Book One Community (6th year!)- Mink River by Brian Doyle

Lake Oswego Reads (7th year!)- Running the Rift by Naomi Benaron

Oregon City’s Community Wide Read (5th year!)- Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail by Cheryl Strayed

West Linn Reads– Sometimes a Great Notion by Ken Kesey

Portland Community College (PCC Reads)- Girl in Translation by Jean Kwok- I included this because I thought it was cool they have a similar program. (Plus, they do have libraries!) Previous selections included “The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian” by SHerman Alexie (2010), “The Girl Who Fell From the Sky” by Heidi Durrow (2011), and “The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks” by Rebecca Skloot (2012).

Did we miss any? What do you think of this year’s selections?

My Week of Library Hopping

This past week has been a great week for my library (and bookstore) hopping obsession.

On Tuesday, not only did I visit two bookstores, I ended up going to the Tuality Health Resource Center and Oregon College of Art & Craft Library, both of which are part of WCCLS. THRC was a small room of medical and general health books and the only library I’ve seen with a skeleton. I was able to replace my library card, which I had lost, and noticed its new design with all the locations. OCAC was a wonderful campus that just screamed creativity. Its library not only held books in, of course, arts and craft but also exhibition guides and artists’ books.

Friday had me checking out the Portland Campus Library of Linfield College before going to a couple more bookstores. The college focuses on nursing so the library was similar to the THRC.

Finally, Saturday gave me two more libraries to add to my list. First up was the Grand Opening Celebration of the Aloha Community Library. To me, they were like “the little engine that could” of libraries. It took them 18 months but with the help of its residents, businesses, other libraries, and dedicated volunteers, they did it.

On hand for the festivities were some very important people, like Oregon State Representative Jeff Barker, Congresswoman Suzanne Bonamici, and Oregon State Librarian Mary Kay Dahlgreen. It definitely got crowded in the space but there was such excitement and a sense of accomplishment in the air! I was bummed that only Aloha residents can get a card. I would have liked to have added another library card to my collection. Hopefully, though, this library will be incorporated sooner rather than later into WCCLS.

My next stop was another academic library- this time, Concordia University’s FWJ Sylvester Library. I was impressed by its Special Collections- Northwest Center for Children’s Literature, Children’s Literature, and Volga German Studies. My favorite part, though, was getting to see the Berta and Elmer Hader Collection Exhibit. (You can read a write up of the exhibit on my other blog, The Chronicles Of A Children’s Book Writer.)

So, including the public libraries in Multnomah, Washington, Clackamas, and Fort Vancouver counties, academic libraries, and libraries found in non-traditional locations like museums and non-profits, I’ve visited about 61 libraries. If I were to include Little Free Libraries and other neighborhood book boxes, that total would be 75. [You can view my lists of libraries (Parts I and II) and bookstores I’ve visited on yet another of my blog, A Semi-Blogged Life.]

I guess you can say I love libraries!

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The Thrills of Visiting New Libraries

It’s so easy to fall in love with libraries. Even though I’ve visited a lot, I still get a thrill stepping inside one, not knowing exactly what I’ll find there.

Yesterday, I traveled to Wilsonville to finally check out its Library. Getting to certain places can be quite tricky when having to rely on public transportation- what with their limited services and somewhat inconvenient times. But the things I’ll do for libraries….

Carly will probably be the first to agree that I get lost quite easily so it’s for a few reasons I’m always happy when I see a sign pointing to the library! Even the exterior of the building, with its arched walkway leading to it, filled me with glee. The lobby led to the Oak and Rose conference rooms, the Twice Sold Tales bookstore (run by the Wilsonville Friends of the Library), and a corner full of free books (of library discards.)

Of course, I just wanted to run my fingers through all the books as I walked up and down the aisles of the Library itself. I thought their Music & Listening Center and impressive Heritage Collection set them apart from other libraries I’ve visited before. Also, I found out Wilsonville is only one of four Oregon cities that was participating in Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library program- an early childhood literacy initiative that mails out books to preschoolers on a monthly basis.

I took some pictures of the Wilsonville Public Library but they don’t do justice to just how beautiful it is- especially with all the art everywhere there.

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Libraries- Resolutions’ Solutions

January is almost over. New Year’s Resolutions have probably been forgotten or given up on by now. But I’ve found out the best time to do anything that involves bettering oneself is now. Start now. And if you fail, start again. And again. And again. Until you can check it off your life list (on paper, on an Excel spreadsheet, or from that notepad you keep in your head.)

And you know what might just help you achieve your goals? The library!

“The library?” you may ask. But, yes, the library. And let me tell you how.

1) Save money. The number one thing anyone who wants to save money needs to do is get a library card. That’s what’s going to let you borrow the books, movies, CDs, and many more items you normally would have had to spend money on. Ask a librarian to help you navigate the online catalog so you can request the newest or soon to be released titles.

2) Learn a new language. Do you want to brush up on your Spanish or impress that barista with your Italian? Or, be able to pronounce the entrées from the Chinese restaurant menu instead of just pointing to the number? Well, check out the extensive resources at MCL that will teach you to do just that: books, CDs, and even free access to the Mango Languages database.

3) Be more computer-savvy. Has Excel gotten you cross-eyed? Has PowerPoint left your mind feeling weak? Has Word left you speechless? Have I gone overboard with my barely coherent puns? While libraries may not able to help you with that last one, they do offer computer classes to help you learn the basic tools you need to navigate the Web. And the classes are free!

4) Find a job. Libraries know how tough it is financially out there right now. For those looking for a job, they have the books you can read to brush up your resume and professional skills. Sometimes, they offer free workshops discussing job search strategies.

5) Read more. Join a book club. If you love books, the library is where you won’t feel like an outsider. See if there’s a group who likes the same types of books you do. It’s a great way to meet new people, as well.

If you don’t love books, but you want to be a reader- the library is where you need to be. Librarians can help you find the book that might make you fall in love with reading again.

6) Volunteer. Most libraries sure can use your help. If you love shelving and pushing carts or doing whatever it is they need you to do, check out the possible volunteer opportunities they have.

(Make sure you check with your local library to see what programs and resources they actually offer.)

There are many more ways the library can offer resolution solutions, of course. What are some of your suggestions? Or what library resource have you taken advantage of to improve your life?

Library Hop 2011 2.5: The Continuing Adventures of Marley and Pearl

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With all the doom and gloom news about the Book World of stores closing and libraries facing extreme budget cuts, I try to look for ways to temporary set aside the bleakness of it all and appreciate and focus on the existing, surviving, and still thriving book community. Library hops do just that and it is exactly what it sounds- going from one library to the other for the enjoyment of it.

Pearl (a.k.a Carly) had our 2nd Annual Library Hop earlier this year and this day (July 17th) was a continuation of it. Our first stop was the new Vancouver Community Library for its grand opening. We had visited the old location last year before they shut it down. I was excited to see what the differences would be and I was amazed. Whereas the old one was pretty standard, this new one was anything but.

I’d like to mention that the day of the hop was ridiculously unseasonal even by Portland summer standards. Travelling to Vancouver didn’t really improve matters. Having looked at the schedule of events online, I knew there would be a bunch of speeches to listen to before anyone could actually see the interior of the building. Imagine my surprise when I saw a large crowd braving the weather to be part of the occasion.

I’m not going to lie and say I was actively listening to the speakers but it was your typical congratulatory speeches. Standing outside the beautiful five-story library and thinking about how rare this was during our current economy, I didn’t mind that much standing out in the rain and cold. They deserved the spotlight, praises, high-fives, balloons, and marching band, which ultimately led to the ribbon cutting ceremony.

With the long lines of people wanting to go in, you’d think it was a concert or something. But it was worth it. The first thing that caught my eye was the Knowledge Wall art piece, very reminiscent of Central Library’s “Tree of Knowledge” staircase. There was also the Friends of Library’ Booknook near the entrance with its moving shelves. Unfortunately, they weren’t open that day. Everything looked very modern with the glass walls and large TV screens. Another cool detail was that the bottom of each landing had what books were found on that floor- 3rd floor was Children, 4th was Non-Fiction, and 5th was Fiction.

For this occasion, a slew of literary characters welcomed us- from the Wicked Witch of the West to Anne of Green Gables. To avoid the crowds, our plan was to get to the uppermost floor and work ourselves down instead of following the self-guided tour map.

Once you get to the fifth floor, you have to check out the terrace for the view. Granted, it wasn’t all that because of the weather. Next to it was the Vancouver Room, great for reading by the fire or enjoying the displays all over. On the fourth floor, there were a couple of meeting rooms and awesome looking study pods.

The Children’s Floor was probably my favorite. It was like a museum and playground all rolled into one. I can imagine kids not wanting to leave because of the so many things to see, touch and explore. And we even made crowns in the Children’s Program Room. Why not, right?

We did a quick walk through of the second floor, which was dedicated to administrative use. And we eventually found ourselves back to the first floor. Teens have their own cool area. And the Fort Vancouver Regional Library Foundation were handing out information in the Columbia Room. I was glad to see a “Lucky Day” section in which new and popular titles can be checked out without having to wait for them. Of course, that depends on your luck.

You only need two points to hop to and from. And, since we were relying on public transportation and Sunday business hours, we really couldn’t go to that many places anyway. Our next stop was the Vancouver Mall Community Library at Westfield Shoppingtown. I’ve only seen one other library actually located inside a mall. I think the idea is pretty cool. It seemed a little larger than the one in Henderson, Nevada. While not particularly exciting, I’m glad people have this resource. There’s really no reason why people shouldn’t have library cards.

I had a great time during this Library Hop and look forward to more. It’s such a fun and positive experience, reinforcing my belief that although the landscape of the Book World may change, it will always be populated with passionate and dedicated readers.

The 2nd Annual Library Hop Adventures of Marley and Pearl

I love libraries.

And it’s cool to find someone else who’s willing to do nerd-tastic things with me. Pearl is such a person. Last year, I decided to help her visit half a dozen libraries in one day. [I like to point out, though, that I did visit seven that day and she refused to acknowledge the fact (not wanting to be one upped, I presume)- until today.] So, that activity became known as library hopping.

This year, we decided to check out a couple academic libraries. Our first unofficial stop was the Arleta Library Bakery Cafe just because of its name. We didn’t ask at all why it’s called that but the food was good. I had biscuits and gravy topped with pork with a side of “library fries.”

Portland’s Best Biscuits-n-Gravy with Library Fries (at Arleta Library Bakery Cafe)

Our first stop was the Portland State University Branford P. Millar Library. We were given a tour of the place.

By the campus, we took some pictures in front of a parking garage with library books painted on it.

Pearl in front of the Books Parking Garage

Marley in front of the Books Parking Garage

Next up was Aubrey R. Watzek Library at Lewis & Clark. We met a pleasant librarian who was amused by what we were doing- library hopping involves a lot of taking pictures, after all. It’s always nice when people play along with us by being helpful and entertaining.

Unfortunately, that was the end of the “adventures of Marley and Pearl” for that day but I had one hop left in me- the University of Oregon Portland Library and Learning Commons.