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The Worth of Conversation

posted: , by Kim Simmons
tags: Programs & Events | Adults | Teens | Seniors | Art & Culture | Government | News

What is the worth of informal, but focused, conversation? What do we gain from talking to each other across our differences, about something we hold in common?

Research indicates that loneliness is a very common social problem and puts individuals at risk for health problems.  Loneliness & Mortality Risks (read this review article in the New Republic)

In contrast, the following video from the Greater Good Science Center suggests that developing “cross-group relationships” is great for our health and well-being!

 

One of the best ways to develop more relationships and relationships with people different from us is by participating in public conversations… and we have some great invitations for you! All programs are free and open to the public.

1) On November 6th we continue a series offered in collaboration with the  Maine Humanities Council on “Creating the Communities We Wish For.”  These small group, neighborhood conversations feature a great facilitator (Dr. Anna Bartel), a great poem, and fabulous conversation.   REGISTER HERE

·         November 6th at the YMCA in Portland, 11:30am – 1:00pm
·         November 20th here at the Main Branch, 11:30am – 1:00pm
·         December 18th at Riverton, 6:00pm – 7:30pm

2) On November 6th we also begin our film series, in collaboration with Maine Humanities Council, entitled “Muslim Journeys.”   This series is part of a national project and will include discussion facilitated by Reza Jalali.  The series includes films on November 13th and 20th – all begin at 6:30pm.

3)  On November 25th we offer the second of our Portland Public Conversations, in collaboration with Lift360 (formerly the Institute for Civic Leadership) – this one will focus on “Participating in Portland” and will include a resource fair – if you have a project that engages volunteers or civic participation and you’d like to share information about it, please be in touch with me simmons@portland.lib.me.us .  All are encouraged to come reflect on the value of engagement and the challenges associated with participating in our communities – November 25th 7:30am coffee/ 8:00am program start.   Our final date in the series is December 9th and will focus on “Picturing Portland” – a visioning session for 2015 and beyond!


It’s still 2014. We’re still reading good books.

posted: , by Elizabeth Hartsig
tags: Recommended Reads | Adults | Teens | Seniors | Art & Culture
An illustrated quotation that says "We realise the importance of our voices only when we are silenced."

A  pertinent quotation from “I Am Malala.”

A photograph of 17-year-old Malala Yousafzi.

Malala Yousafzi.

It’s still 2014. And we’re still reading good books. (Books that just happen to have been written by women: see my earlier report on the Vida Count and #readwomen2014 here).

In a year of special focus on reading women, it’s meaningful to hear this month that 17-year-old Malala Yousafzi has been awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for 2014 (shared with Kailash Satyarthi). Yousafzi’s memoir, “I Am Malala,” tells her incredible story as a passionate advocate for education for girls. Find it in print at PPL here, or check it out as an ebook!

A rich crop of other memoirs and essays are being published in the last months of 2014. As a City of Readers team member here at the library, I’m engaged with many of the conversations being sparked around new (and old) books. Some issues are timeless: is a writer-who-happens-to-be-a-woman a woman writer, or just…a writer? Authors Cheryl Strayed and Benjamin Moser tackle these and other ideas in a recent New York Times Book Review article, “Is This a Golden Age for Women Essayists?”

To help you celebrate the Golden Age, here are some of Portland Public Library’s own New Nonfiction releases. Click on the titles below for more info:

downloadThe opposite of loneliness Can't We Talk About Something More Pleasant

 

 

 

 

 

 

Meghan Daum, “The Unspeakable: And Other Subjects of Discussion”

Lena Dunham, “Not That Kind of Girl”

Roxane Gay,  “Bad Feminist”

Amy Poehler, “Yes Please”

Marina Keegan, “The Opposite of Loneliness”

Interestingly…the only woman shortlisted for the National Book Award in Nonfiction this year is Roz Chast, for “Can’t We Talk About Something More Pleasant?”

If you hop on MaineCat with your PPL library card, you can request other hit essay collections from 2014:  Rebecca Solnit’s “Men Explain Things to Me,”  or Leslie Jamison’s “The Empathy Exams.” Pick them up at the PPL Branch of your choice.

things-that-are

The Year of Magical Thinkingmen we reaped

 

 

 

 

 

Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me

 

 

Even more ideas for recent or classic essays/nonfiction/memoirs: Zadie Smith’s “Changing My Mind,” Sloane Crosley’s “How Did You Get This Number,” Elif Batuman’s “The Possessed,”  Nora Ephron’s “I Feel Bad About My Neck,” bell hooks’ “Appalachian Elegy,” Marilynne Robinson’s “When I Was a Child I Read Books,”  Rachel Maddow’s “Drift,” Jesmyn Ward’s “Men We Reaped,” Dorothy Allison’s “Two or Three Things I Know For Sure,” Arundhati Roy’s “The Cost of Living,” Maya Angelou’s “Mom & Me & Mom,” Katie Roiphe’s “In Praise of Messy Lives,” Joan Didion’s “The Year of Magical Thinking,” Jennifer Finney Boylan’s “She’s Not There,” Susan Sontag’s “Against Interpretation,” Anne Carson’s “Plainwater,” Jenny Lawson’s “Let’s Pretend This Never Happened,” Ntozake Shange’s “Lost in Language and Sound: Or, How I Found My Way to the Arts,” Annie Dillard’s “Teaching a Stone to Talk,” Michelle Alexander’s “The New Jim Crow,” Cheryl Strayed’s “Wild,” Alison Bechdel’s “Fun Home,” Amy Leach’s “Things That Are,” and Mindy Kaling’s  “Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? And other concerns.”

This list should stop somewhere…but it feels like a good thing that it could go on and on! Happy reading.

(For more recommendations, to ask questions, or to request books and other materials over the phone, please contact your branch, the Reader’s Advisory Desk at the Main Library at 871-1700 ext. 705, or the Reference Desk at the Main Library at 871-1700 ext. 725).


eBook Privacy and the Adobe Controversy

posted: , by Ellen Gilliam
tags: About the Library | Library Collections | Online Services | Adults | Teens | Kids & Families | Seniors

Privacy is one of the main tenets of public libraries, so the recently exposed security concerns for patrons using Adobe Digital Editions to access library eBooks is very troubling to us at PPL.

You can read more about the developments here and here, but in short, if you are using the latest version of Adobe Digital Editions software, information about any eBooks on your computer delivered in the ePub format is being transmitted to Adobe in plain text format and is potentially visible to anyone who can read the stream of data. 

NOTE: PPL’s eBook service is provided by Overdrive. Read below OverDrive’s statement about Adobe Digital Editions privacy concerns

UPDATE: 2:30 PM 10/10/14

In response to concerns expressed by our library partners about the Adobe privacy situation, OverDrive CEO Steve Potash met with Adobe management at Frankfurt Book Fair today. Adobe reported that next week they will release an update to Adobe Digital Editions 4 to address the known issues.

To clarify, this affects only Adobe Digital Editions 4 for Windows and Mac. Adobe reports that the issue does not affect third party apps in any way, including the OverDrive app. Adobe reports that the issue is not present with Adobe Digital Editions 3 or previous versions of Adobe Digital Editions.

For full text: http://blogs.overdrive.com/front-page-library-news/2014/10/09/overdrives-statement-about-adobe-digital-editions-privacy-concerns/

If you are concerned about your eBook privacy, we recommend that you uninstall Adobe Digital Editions version 4 from all of your devices immediately. You can still read eBook content online, or contact the library for print options. The Kindle app for accessing the Amazon format of eBooks is available to mobile and tablet users, and materials read directly through the Overdrive app are excluded from this breach of privacy.

We have expressed our dismay to our eBook provider, and have asked them to advocate for the principles of privacy that libraries are pledged to uphold. We are committed to challenging anyone who confuses “privacy policies” with “invasive policies.” Please contact the library if you have any additional questions or concerns about this issue.

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