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June programming for Pride Month

posted: , by Kathleen Spahn
tags: Exhibits & Displays | Library Collections | Programs & Events | Recommended Reads | Adults | Teens | Kids & Families | Seniors | Art & Culture | Portland History

prideby Elizabeth Hartsig

The Portland Public Library is celebrating Pride Month with exciting and informative exhibits, films, and events. Here’s a run-down of what’s going on with Pride at PPL in June, as well as some resources you can access all year round:

Wednesday, June 18, Portland Public Library is partnering with Portland Pride to bringPride Maine LGBT History: Life and Activism in the 1970s,” a panel discussion and exhibit. Hear from the early LGBT activists whose efforts to organize polarized Maine and made national news.

Saturday, June 21, look for PPL’s Bookmobile in the Pride Parade! Volunteers from the PPL staff and community will be marching with the Bookmobile and passing out bookmarks with lists of great LGBT-related reads. We’ll have a special display of PPL’s Pride-related materials on the Bookmobile ready to be checked out when the parade stops at Deering Oaks.

If you duck away from the crowds on June 21, the Main Library will be having a Pride Film Festival, showing classic titles all day in the Rines Auditorium.

Pride-related films will also be showing on Thursday nights at the Main Library each week in June.

In addition to our calendar of special events and programming, Pride Month is a great time to explore the library’s historic and up-to-the-minute collections.

In the Portland Room, you can check out “Our Paper: A Voice for Lesbians and Gay Males in Maine,” a publication preserved on microfilm (1983-1990). Or if you just want to hop on our website and are curious about, say, Pride Week in Portland in 1996, take a look at Casco Bay Weekly. (In addition to the bold typography of CBW’s June 13 cover, there’s a thoughtful article called “Pride 1996” on p. 8 with great black-and-white photographs). You can see digital scans of each Casco Bay Weekly issue published from 1988 to 2004 at PPL’s Digital Commons.

Another archive we’re tapping into during Pride Week is the Portland Press Herald Still-Film Negative Collection. A display of photographs from past Pride Weeks (including some shots from Portland’s very first Pride Parade in 1987) will grace the hallways of the Main Library around the Lewis Gallery.

Our staff have created handy catalog lists of Pride-related resources from throughout the library for Children, Teens, and Adults (which you can check out any month of the year!).

●    Youth Services offers Rainbow Celebration for kids.

●    Teen has a list of excellent Non-Fiction Resources for teens as well as Fiction.

●    If you’re interested in memoir, legal advice, politics, art, family, etc, head for the Reference Staff’s Pride at PPL: Great Non-Fiction list.

●    For film buffs, we’ve got LGBT issues in non-fiction and a suggested list of films for a Pride Film Festival.

●    Our Reader’s Advisory team offers a list that celebrates Pride at PPL: Fiction, including Stonewall Award winners as well as other complex and compelling works that tackle love, gender, sex, identity, and more. Take home a copy of Kim Fu’s just-released 2014 novel, “For Today I am a Boy;” 2013 Stonewall Winner Ellis Avery’s “The Last Nude;” or pick up a classic like Leslie Feinberg’s “Stone Butch Blues.”

Remember, these lists are just a selection of materials at the library! Sleuth our catalog or check in with the librarians and staff at the Main Branch, Burbank, Peaks, Riverton, and on the Bookmobile for more resources and information.

That’s a wrap! As always, we look forward to seeing you at PPL.


Welcome to the new PPL website

posted: , by Sarah Campbell
tags: Director's Updates | Exhibits & Displays | Library Collections | Online Services | Programs & Events | Recommended Reads | Adults | Teens | Kids & Families | Seniors | Science & Technology

Welcome to the new PPL website. We like to think of it as a Virtual Branch!

It used to be that websites were just layers of pages under a header of some sort that over time became more and more dense. For an information organization like the library, the more pages meant the better the site.  What has become much clearer for PPL over the last 18 months is that the website is our virtual branch — complete with its own unique opportunities and challenges, like a physical library location. It is also a unique opportunity to create a way to recognize our users as being many kinds of people  and needing to be served in many different ways.

We hope that this new online library environment and experience is exciting and productive for you and just maybe you’ll find what you seek and be exposed to the unexpected!

Please tell us how we can make it better by dropping us a note at web@portland.lib.me.us.

We thank our friends at Vont Web Marketing, our partner in conceiving and creating this site, and the Sam L. Cohen Foundation without whose support we could not have completed this effort.

Enjoy your explorations!


Buried Musical Treasures from the PPL Archives

posted: , by Sarah Campbell
tags: Exhibits & Displays | Library Collections | Adults | Teens | Kids & Families | Seniors | Art & Culture | Portland History

When not being used in the Lewis Gallery, our nineteenth-century vitrines (glass display cases) are hosting displays from our collection in the Main Library Lower Level – Information Desk area.  Our first display, on view now through November, is a selection of sheet music from the Portland Room Archives.

In the nineteenth and early twentieth century musical life revolved around the family piano, and sheet music was provided for home performing mostly from publishers in New York’s Tin Pan Alley.  But most large cities had their own small music publishers (who were usually instrument and sheet music sellers) and many songwriters would publish with local firms or simply publish their own works.

Portland could boast several such publishers, including the Paine family, whose most distinguished member, John Knowles Paine, was Harvard’s first Professor of Music. J.K.’s father Jacob and uncle William sold instruments and music at 113 Middle Street. The Paines published many of the compositions of Hermann Kotzschmar, the leading Portland musician of the period.  Cressey and Allen had a music shop at 566 Congress Street; Cressey was also a composer and published many of his own pieces.

Many of the compositions featured in our exhibit were on local subjects: dance pieces named for Portland landmarks: the Forest City Polka, the Diamond Cove Waltz, and others in that vein.  Others were hymns to local pride: Somewhere in Maine, Down in Maine.  Patriotic compositions were standbys of the home music collection, and we have several from the Civil War to World War II.

We’ve included two items published “away”.  The first, Kathleen Mavourneen, was a sentimental pseudo-Irish ballad popularized by tenor John McCormick.  It was written by Frederick Nicholls Crouch, an English musician who lived and taught in Portland until his secessionist leanings made him unpopular in 1861; he joined a Virginia regiment as a trumpeter.  The other New York publication is perhaps the most familiar college song of the 1920s, Rudy Vallee’s Maine Stein Song.

We hope that local music lovers, local history buffs, and everybody else will stop by the lower level and see this exhibit!

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