Multnomah County Library District Measure Passes!

Congratulations to everyone who worked so hard on making this happen! We deserve to continue to have the best library and this is a great historic step in ensuring that we do!

Image courtesy of Multnomah County Library website


A Poet’s Letters: The Correspondence of William Stafford

Since moving to Portland in 2008, I’ve always seen posters for events celebrating the life of William Stafford come December and January. I’ve always wondered who this man was- that he was a poet was all I knew. Then, during the Library Lovers Unite! Event, his son, Kim Stafford, gave a great speech in favor of libraries and quoted lines from the poem “Ask Me” which has resonated with me since then.

I was looking forward to this exhibit to get a better understanding of William Stafford- and it did not disappoint!

I attended the Opening Reception where John Wilsons Special Collections Librarian Jim Carmin, former curator of the William Stafford Archives at Lewis & Clark College Paul Merchant, and Kim Stafford spoke about the letters and the man himself.

Jim Carmin shared that the exhibit actually started off appropriately enough with a correspondence between him and the publisher of “Tuft by Puff,” the pages of which were made from the latter and the poet’s bathrobes! The exhibit was many years in the making and only a small fraction of the actual collection.

Paul Merchant’s excitement and respect for William Stafford was clearly evident. He shared a few letters that he thought were noteworthy. One was an exchange between William Stafford and fellow Pacific Northwest Poet Richard Hugo which really provided insight to the former’s character. Another was a sort of behind the scenes look at how artist Wang Hui-Ming translated one of Stafford’s poems. The display is of the colorful coyote and is hard to miss!

Kim Stafford told wonderful stories about his dad and how he was always encouraging to others, inviting everyone to the world of writing. He talked about the power of the written letter and urged everyone to write one because it will make that person’s day!

I apologize if I got information and names wrong. I couldn’t read my own notes! The exhibit runs until December 16.

What’s your favorite William Stafford poem?

National Friends of the Library Week

It’s National Friends of the Library Week!

I remember being a page for the Las Vegas- Clark County Library District and the awesome, friendly, and dedicated staff and volunteers who ran our branch’s FOL store. It was their kindness that made me seek out Friends of the Multnomah County Library when I moved to Portland. I was a volunteer at their store (and their pop-up store two summers ago) and Used Book Sale before currently being a Board Member. (It was actually during a Friends’ Volunteer Appreciation Party that Carly and I first met!)

Whether writing articles for the newsletter Footnotes, helping organize the storage room for our online store inventory, or doing various other tasks, it’s been a pleasure advocating for our Library especially during this time. But it’s not all hard work and no play.

In fact, Friends’ just threw a 40th Birthday Bash last week! We had great speakers- US Representative Earl Blumenauer, Monica Drake, Pauls Toutonghi, Karen Karbo, and Matthew Dickman- share stories of how libraries have impacted their lives. Plus there were 2 cakes to feast on!

FOL 40th Birthday Bash Cakes

Then, there was this wonderful video of the Friends’ history entitled “Turning the Pages.” Stay through the end and catch me awkwardly greeting the Friends’!

Also worth mentioning, the Multnomah County Commissioners recently proclaimed this week as National Friends of Libraries Week in Multnomah County and they recognized the Friends for 40 years of community involvement!


Stop by the Store for a special sale: Buy 2 books and get a 3rd book for free (offer only applies to books, least expensive book is free).

Here are some other Friends in the Washington and Clackamas counties and the stores they run:
-Book Corner (Friends of the Beaverton City Library)
-The Booktique (Friends of the Lake Oswego Public Library)
Friends of the Oregon City Library Used Book Store
-Ledding Library Pound House Used Book Store (Friends of the Ledding Library)
-Twice Sold Tales (Wilsonville Friends of the Library)
Friends of the Hillsboro Library

Celebrate National Friends of the Library Week by visiting your local library and your local Friends’ association!

Of Library Hops and Archives Crawls

Yesterday was the 3rd Annual Oregon Archives Crawl.

Since I’ve always enjoyed a good library hop, this sounded like fun. What is it exactly? What does it entail?

From their site,

“Based on the popular concept of a pub crawl, the Archives Crawl consists of four host institutions that open their doors for the curious, provide behind-the-scenes tours, and offer space for many other archivists from local collections to bring information about their archives and examples from their collections. People “crawl” from one venue to another, checking out the items and meeting the archivists. In addition to tours, exhibits and the opportunity to chat with an archivist, special events demonstrate why archives are not just for scholars but for the curious of all ages.”

What’s cool about this year’s crawl was their theme of “Celebrate women; celebrate archives!” If you recall, earlier this year, at Central Library’s Collins Gallery, the exhibit was “Votes for Women! The Oregon Story.”

My first stop was at the Oregon Historical Society to get a tour of their Davies Family Research Library. (Another library to add to my list!) Did I manage to get lost looking for this library? Yes. I took an elevator from the museum and ended up in the adjacent building- the Sovereign Hotel. Aside from that little hiccup, the Library Director gave a wonderful tour of the place. There were so many interesting things to see and this is just a small percentage of what they actually have. The majority of their collection is in a warehouse in Gresham.

After quick visits to the Portland Archives and Records Center and Portland State University’s Millar Library, I ended the crawl at Central Library’s John Wilson Special Collections where the librarian gave a show and tell of some of the items there.

I’ll be honest. I’m not really into history. But the Archives Crawl is something that I always look forward to. It’s a great way to learn about topics I normally wouldn’t think about. And, it’s so fascinating that libraries have to somehow preserve the past, find ways to stay current and relevant, and think ahead to the future- all at the same time!

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How to put Library2Go titles onto your e-reader device

Do you have an Kindle, Nook, iPad or one of the many other e-reader devices? Would you like to learn how to put FREE library e-books onto your device?

First, check out Library2Go.

Do you need help navigating around the Library2Go website? Check out this brief tour of Library2Go.

Library2Go carries thousands of titles in many formats. Do you need to know what format works best for your device? Find your device on this page and below it you’ll see the formats that can downloaded onto it.

Not sure how to put e-books onto your device? Check out this Help page for step by step instructions.

The Multnomah County Library website has an E-books page that is full of helpful FAQ’s and video tutorials. Prefer to work one-on-one with an expert? Book an appointment with a librarian or attend a program.

(Credit: Sarah Tew/CNET)

Banned Books Week: Some Reviews of Banned/Callenged Books We’ve Read- Earl’s Picks

Sherman Alexie and “The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian” has been recommended to me for quite awhile now. I wanted to continue reading books that dealt with identity- in January I read “The Girl Who Fell from the Sky” and in February, I read “Monstress”- so I picked this book up. Unlike “The Fault in Our Stars” and “Wonder”, which I liked very much and basically followed the same storyline of the main character persevering through whatever challenges came their way and ended up being better for them, this was somehow different. It was more relatable.

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.

This was a great introduction to Sherman Alexie’s works as I’m sure I’ll be reading more of his books!

One of the constantly challenged books since its publication is “And Tango Makes Three” by Justin Richardson and Peter Parnell. (I was surprised to see most of the titles, as this one was, were children’s books.) Based on actual events in New York City’s Central Park Zoo, this picture book tells the story of two male penguins who’ve partnered up and became “adoptive” fathers. The reasons for challenging this book includes “anti-ethnic, sexism, homosexuality, anti-family, religious viewpoint, and unsuited to age group”.

I thought the story was sweet. Despite the subject matter, there was nothing offensive or preachy about it. It’s not like the penguins were doing the deed. I don’t understand how this can be considered “anti-family” when it’s just showing another type of the modern definition of what makes a family. As for “unsuited to age group”, I did wonder if kids should be reading about things they can’t fully comprehend. (“And Tango Makes Three” is targeted for the preschool and early grade school crowd.) But some people might actually find it comforting there are books aimed for kids that deal with controversial topics- not only of homosexuality but death, racism, terrorism, etc.

Meet Winston Smith. He lives in Oceania, a prison designed to look like paradise. He works in the Records Department for the Ministry of Truth where he edits the past in all ways possible to prove that the present is as it should be.

He begins to wonder if life has always been this way. But in a world where the government controls everything and kids can turn on their parents, questioning society and authority is a very dangerous thing to do- especially when Big Brother is watching. Welcome to 1984.

I’ve practically stayed away from books that are considered “required reading” for schools. Just thinking about them turns me off. I remember how much fun was taken away from otherwise good books.

But I had read George Orwell’s “Animal Farm” and his essay “Bookshop Memories” and liked them. He was also highly recommended by people I know- and all of them had powerful reactions to “1984”.

“1984” is probably one of the most terrifying novels I’ve ever read. It’s obviously fiction but it was based on a world where some of the things really happened- and scarily are still happening today- in one form or another.

There were very brutal sections. It was literally torture to read. But good literature does that. It opens your mind in ways you can’t even imagine- whether you like it or not.

I’m sure everyone is familiar with “Where the Wild Things Are”. The story and illustrations by Maurice Sendak are classic. Even if they hadn’t read the book, it would be familiar. Anyone can relate to Max because we were once him- a little trouble maker who had fun with his imagination- in other words, a child.

This is one of the book that gets better the more you read it. You learn to appreciate just how solid the book is. The wild things are original and distinctive. The run-on sentences are structured to keep the readers turning pages, anticipating what happens next.

Banned Books Week: Some Reviews of Banned/Callenged Books We’ve Read- Carly’s Picks

The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-time Indian
by Sherman Alexie

The story of Junior, a budding cartoonist growing up on the Spokane Indian Reservation. Junior leaves the rez to attend an all-white farm town high school where the only other Indian is the school mascot. Poignant, amusing and well-written — The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian chronicles the adolescence of one Native American boy as he attempts to break away from the life he thought he was destined to live.

Blankets by Craig Thompson

Craig Thompson tells us about his youth. He includes stories about sibling rivalry, meeting his first love, and figuring out his own spiritual path. Beautiful artwork.

Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak

In Where the Wild Things Are, mischievous Max is sent to bed without supper. Using his vivid imagination, Max sails to the land of Wild Things and becomes the king of a group of terrible, wild beasts. After dancing with the monsters in a “wild rumpus” for a while, he soon grows homesick and returns to his bedroom where he finds a hot supper waiting for him. Beautiful illustrations.