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Portland Public Library’s mission is to serve the Greater Portland Community by providing a diverse collection of books and other resources, with access to information resources worldwide. The library’s services support the educational, informational, and recreational interests of all community members.


Active Hope

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

Active Hope : A facilitated conversation

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Spring — a season of renewal, a season of mud.  April seems to me to be a perfect time to engage in reflection about what sustains our civic engagement when the cold persists, the mud tracks in, the rain falls.   We keep at our community projects in part because we believe that the sun will shine on us again and that the outcomes will be meaningful and worth our time and attention. However, we also keep volunteering or keep on with activism because the alternative is to give up a sense of optimism and connection and even identity…. Activism is an antidote to despair about civic problems, but even the most intrepid activist experiences discouragement, frustration and burn-out at times.

This 2-part workshop stems from work by Joanna Macy and Chris Johnstone and their book Active Hope,  but it is not necessary to read the book to participate! We will also draw on many other resources, included some shared here.

We are offering two distinct sessions – come to one or both!

Saturday April 12th 10:15am – 12:00pm — Meeting Room 5 –> explore the spiral of the work that reconnects including our biggest concerns for the future and our greatest hopes.

Tuesday April 29th 3:30 -5:00pm — Meeting Room 5 –> explore exercises designed to help sustain hope during dark times and to promote individual and collective self-care without encouraging a turning away from social problems.

Both of these public conversations are intended as starting points – an opportunity for developing and sustaining an Active Hope group will be considered by the group.

Free and Open to the Public - Preregistration is requested to help us plan.


March – Women’s History Month

posted: , by Kim Simmons
tags: Recommended Reads | Adults | Teens | Seniors | Government

March is Women’s History Month and invites us to celebrate the unique contributions that women have made to American History while also considering the ways that sexism has shaped our collective history.   There are many resources for learning more about women’s history and women’s role in political life.  Among them:

To engage with others, consider attending a Women’s History Month event:

  • The University of Southern Maine’s Women and Gender Studies program highlights many community events happening in March and beyond.
  • The Maine Jewish Film Festival and community partners offer a Women’s Filmmakers event.
  • Maine Law School’s Justice for Women lecture takes place on March 18th and is free and open to the public but registration is required.

Portland Public Library offers a huge array of materials so support more learning including this book list of picture books and this list of books and films related to women’s suffrage serve as starting places!


Black History Month Offerings

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

Beginning tonight, the ACLU of Maine, in partnership with our Choose Civility Initiative and NAACP Portland Branch, will host a Civil Rights Era Film Festival at the Portland Public Library.  This event occurs as part of a larger series of events aimed at helping us better understand the Civil Rights Act of 1964 in historical and current terms.  Click here for a  full list of events or visit the ACLU’s Facebook page.

Civil Rights Era Film Festival at PPL (all screenings are free and open to the public) :

Thursday, Febuary 27, 6:30 pm: In the Heat of the Night
Friday, February 28, 6:30 pm: A Raisin in the Sun
Saturday, March 1, 2:00 pm: Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner
Saturday, March 1, 5:00 pm: To Kill a Mockingbird

Next week, the conversation about our racial history, present, and future continues with a Maine Humanities Council and Space Gallery offering :  “Race in a Networked World.”

PPL’s City of Readers offers this book list  for those interested in exploring African-American history through fiction, while a quick search of “Civil Rights Movement” yields great non-fiction resources.

Black History Month offers us all an opportunity to better understand the complexities of race in our country and to consider our current role in addressing and dismantling discrimination that persists.  How are things similar or different from 1964? Come to our film fest, and then weigh in on Facebook or the comments section!

In the mean time, enjoy this trailer for Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner:

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