Library Notes: Dearing serves as library collection specialist

What do you do when you have degrees in political science, economics and international relations AND you’ve lived in Japan, Germany, Morocco and the Philippines, in addition to a number of different cities in the United States?

You become a librarian in Hood River, Ore., of course.

“I think it’s lovely here,” says Collection Development Specialist Michele Dearing, “and it’s a joy to connect people with the materials they want or need.”

Michele was born in Japan and did most of that moving about because her father was a teacher/counselor on military bases. She was working as a registrar at the Art Institute of Portland when she decided she needed a change.

“I was not really happy there,” she says, and she eventually went to see a career counselor who helped her decide to make a change. “I’ve always loved libraries and that seemed like the right direction.”

So off she went, married by this time, to get yet another degree — this time in library science — from the University of Washington in Seattle.

(The political science/economics degree was from U.C. San Diego and the international relations degree was from American University in Washington, D.C. Have I mentioned that the woman gets around?)

About the time she finished the library degree her husband found a new job in the Columbia Gorge. Upon arrival, Michele found there were no openings at any of the libraries in the area. In fact, she was told by a person in the local library field that she could get a library job around here only “if somebody gets hit by a truck or dies.”

Not discouraged, or at least not much, she volunteered at the Hood River Library for about a year and finally did snag a job without any traffic accidents or deaths involved.

At first she was a part-time on-call substitute clerk in Parkdale but in the time since then, of course, she’s done just about every job the library has to offer — including repairing the books, which is something she particularly likes to do.

Now, as the collection development specialist, her job is to select and order the fiction and nonfiction books to be added to the library’s adult collection.

She welcomes all suggestions, of course. “Everyone is invited to let me know what they’d want to see in the collection,” she says. Her email is if you’d like to chime in.

Don’t worry about her seeing your suggestions. She’s not going anywhere.

And finally, a couple of extra notes from the Friends of the Library: Watch for a special display of Christmas books for sale upstairs in the Friends’ book area of the main library (across from the circulation desk). They would make great gifts and the prices will be very reasonable.

Also, don’t forget there are free books year-round downstairs on carts outside the children’s area. These are usually older books not necessarily in good condition but certainly readable.

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Parkdale third graders sing "12 Disaster Days of Christmas"

Welcome to your sing-able Christmas gift list. What follows is an emergency rendition of “12 Days of Christmas” – for outfitting your home or car in case of snow storm, earthquake, flood or other emergency. Read it as a simple list, or sing it to the tune of “12 Days” – you know, as in “ … and a partridge in a pear tree…” Not to make light of it, but the song is a familiar framework for a set of gift ideas that you could consider gathering together, even if the recipient already owns items such as a bunch of coats, tire chains and flashlights. Stores throughout the Gorge are stocked up on all these items. Buying all 12 days might be prohibitive, but here are three ideas for checking any of the dozen off your list (notations follow, 1-12.) The gift items needed to stay warm, dry and safe are also coded to suggest items in your abode (A) in your car (C) or both (B). 12 Gallons of Water (A) 11 Family meals (B) 10 Cans of propane (A) 9 Hygiene bags (B) 8 Packs of batteries (A) 7 Spare coats (B) 6 Bright red flares (C) 5 Cozy blankets (B) 4 Tire chains (C) 3 Flashlights (B) 2 cell phone chargers (B) 1 And a crush-proof first aid kit (B) Price ranges? Here’s a few quotes for days Three, Two, Four and Nine: n A family gift of flashlights (three will run $15-30, Hood River Supply, Tum-A-Lum) n Cell phone chargers (two will run $30-60) n Tire chains (basic set, $30, Les Schwab, returnable if unused for the winter) n Family meals ($100 or so should cover the basics for three or four reasonably well-fed days) n The home kit should be kept in a handy place near an exit, and remember that water needs to be replenished every few months. If you have a solid first aid kit already, switch out the gift idea with “and-a-sto-o-u-t- tub-for it-all …” Otherwise, it’s a case of assembling your home or car kits and making sure all members of the family know what the resources are and how to use them (ie flares and propane). Emergency situations are at worst life-threatening, at best deeply uncomfortable if you and your family are left without power for an extended period, or traveling and find yourself in a situation where you need to wait out a storm, lengthy traffic delay, or other crisis. Notes on the 12 gift ideas: 12 – Gallons of water: that’s one per person in a four-member family to last for three days, the recommended minimum to be prepared for utility outages. 11 – Easy-open packaged goods, energy bars, dried food and nuts are good things to include for nutrition. Think of what your family of four needs for three days to stay fortified and hydrated (see number 12). Can-opener also recommended 10 – If you have a propane camping stove, keep extra fuel handy. 9 – Hygiene bags: put packaged moistened towelettes, toilet paper, and plastic ties in large garbage bags (for personal sanitation) Resource list courtesy of Hood River County Emergency Management, Barbara Ayers, manager/ 541-386-1213. The county also reminds residents to Get a Kit, Make A Plan to connect your family if separated, and Stay Informed. See to opt-in for citizen alerts. Enlarge

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