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We Stand for Equity and Justice

posted: , by Heather Wasklewicz
tags: Adults | Teens | Discover Portland | Seniors


The Portland Public Library stands in solidarity with the #BlackLivesMatter movement and those who are working to build systemic change to address racial inequities that demand our attention — as a country, society, and city.

We condemn the recent racist acts against Black people and ongoing racism against all people of color. Hate and violence do not represent our core values and have no place in our community. PPL has taken actions to build equity and understanding in their place by:

  • Creating a dynamic space where all in the community are welcome to pursue their interests and growth
  • Fostering civic-mindedness and engagement through programming, exhibits, and voter initiatives
  • Promoting stories and resources about systemic racism and social equity barriers to build understanding
  • Ensuring access to diverse collections for all ages to help families talk about race, respect, and self-respect

Libraries are unique spaces where we can come together and work to level the playing field so that we are safe and welcoming for all and to ensure respect, to build understanding, and to help create solutions for our community’s greatest needs. At the same time, we at PPL know that we still have work to do to ensure that our own policies, practices, and systems ensure equity. We encourage others who want to learn and grow with us in efforts to eliminate institutional and social racism at all levels.

Today, I am sharing again the commitment PPL made in September 2017, in association with a group of 163 leading urban public libraries:

As leaders of North America’s public libraries, we are committed to achieving racial and social equity by contributing to a more just society in which all community members can realize their full potential. Our libraries can help achieve true and sustained equity through an intentional, systemic, and transformative library-community partnership. Our library systems are working to achieve equity in the communities we serve by:

  • Eliminating racial and social equity barriers in library programs, services, policies, and practices
  • Creating and maintaining an environment of diversity, inclusion, and respect both in our library systems and in all aspects of our community role
  • Ensuring that we are reaching and engaging disenfranchised people in the community and helping them express their voice
  • Serving as a convener and facilitator of conversations and partnerships to address community challenges
  • Being forthright on tough issues that are important to our communities
  • Libraries are trusted, venerable and enduring institutions, central to their communities and an essential participant in the movement for racial and social equity.

We are proud today to stand with our neighbors, the American Library Association, the Black Caucus of the American Library Association, and the Urban Libraries Council in once again condemning social injustice and racism in all its forms and building better solutions.


Sarah Campbell                 Peter Richardson
Executive Director              President, Board of Trustees




Weekly Wonder: The Sketchbooks of Kondo Ariyoshi

posted: , by Elizabeth
tags: Online Services | Recommended Reads | Adults | Seniors | Readers Writers

What gems can be found in virtual stacks around the world, still open for us to dive into and explore? The New York Public Library’s Digital Collections are a treasure-trove for research and learning and sometimes sheer wonder, with many items in the public domain to share. These beautiful sketchbooks (of artist Kondo, Ariyoshi, active ca. 1826-1840) remind us of spring, summer, and stirring life. Here are pages brimming with blossoms, branches and leaves, outstretched wings and the feet of birds, shells and fruit and fish…


Pages from a sketchbook drawing of the outstretched wings of a bird.

A page from a sketchbook with flowers and leaves.

A sketchbook drawing of fish.











P.S. If you love nature and art and eBooks, there are some gems to discover in cloudLibrary too. Thanks for reading!


Whatever Light Bees Give Off After The Last Snow: Celebrating Poetry

posted: , by Elizabeth
tags: Library Collections | Recommended Reads | Adults | Seniors | Readers Writers

“Whatever light / bees give off after the last snow, I hold up to you now,” writes Aimee Nezhukumatathil to Ross Gay in their poem-correspondence “Letter from Two Gardens.” Here are a few favorite poems and lines from poetry that arc, so vitally, from snow to spring to summer days…for May and the days to come. You’ll find new growth, trees, cherry blossoms, sunbaked earth, bicycles, the power of a revery, gooseberries, and the light of bees.

Shares an excerpt of a poem by Afaa Michael Weaver from "The Silver Thread."

This shares Emily Dickinson's poem "To Make a Prairie."

Thank you for reading. If you’re looking for more poetry, you can find the full text of Ross Gay and Aimee Nezhukumatathil’s wonderful poem-correspondence at Orion Magazine’s website under the title “Letters from Two Gardens.”

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