Tag Archives: library

What I’m Reading: Evicted

Evicted: Poverty and Profit in the American City is the book selection for the Everybody Reads program at one of my local libraries this year.

Why Evicted? Portland’s popularity has lead to a housing crisis in the last few years. Home sales prices have shot up, making ownership even more out of reach for many. An influx of newcomers (some perhaps attracted by the Portlandia mythos, others escaping drought in California) has meant rental prices have become insane. A friend was renting an inner-SE basement apartment about ten years ago that was priced around $895 per month—while that seemed too expensive for me to sustainably afford at the time, a similar apartment might now go for $1300 or more.

Considering this environment I’m glad to own a house with no mortgage, although the condition is not that far from the housing described in Evicted. If my house ever becomes completely uninhabitable, it’s likely I’ll need to move to another part of the region. Or Tulsa—it always seems cost of living is reasonable in Tulsa.

The theory behind Everybody Reads is that if a community has one book they’re reading around the same time, it can spark connections among strangers and a larger public discourse. The library also uses the opportunity to schedule several related events—this year the author will be giving a lecture event in Portland and there are many opportunities for community members to participate in book discussions, learn about local renters rights, and participate in a poverty simulation.

It seems to me that this book is in some respects picking up where The Jungle left off, with the author writing in order to spur social change. That said, rather than creating a fictional account, Evicted was crafted after author Matthew Desmond conducted plenty of interviews and information gathering. A note in the front of the book points out that all the situations really happened, although names have been changed for anonymity.

And it’s a good thing, too. I’m only about halfway through the story and I already feel compelled to write a nastygram to one of the landlords in the book! If this is any recommendation, I promise you’ll feel so moved as well. Evicted does a great job of pulling the curtain back on a system that we should all engage in changing, in the name of human rights.


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Vintage Library Ads

Generally I try to have more substance than just reposting others’ material, but I just couldn’t keep this one to myself. Bust recently shared a series of vintage library ads and posters which are worth checking out.

Thanks to Coriana, lovely MPub classmate, for sharing!

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A Fun Game for Bookish Library Nerds


1. Go to a library you’ve never been to, or at least never pulled anything from the stacks.

2. Arm yourself with a stopwatch and the call number of a desired book. (Important: confirm the book is actually available and checked in.)

3. Start the stopwatch and see how long it takes you to find the book in the stacks you’re seeing for the first time!

4. Watch as your mother looks slightly horrified and passersby chuckle at you, not with you. Overhear strangers mumbling something about a cameo on Portlandia.

5. When you’ve located the desired book, do a victory dance!

6. Bonus: When checking the book out, brag to the librarians about your time. Don’t forget to pay your library fines!

NOTE: I would just like to say this exercise actually took me 38 seconds, but it took another two seconds to press the STOP button.

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Happy National Library Week!

New York Public Library (courtesy of wallyg)
New York Public Library (courtesy of wallyg on Flickr)

Bookish hasn’t been around that long, but clearly–without a book, we’d just be ish

Go to your local library right now and fork over some cash in appreciation of National Library Week!

The libraries I frequent are (in order) Ledding Library of Milwaukie, Multnomah County Library (highest circulation in the US!), and of course my dear Watzek Library at Lewis and Clark. I also love and use the research library of Oregon Historical Society.

If libraries were good enough for Andrew Carnegie, they’re good enough for you, by jove!

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