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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!


Inequality for All: Watch & Discuss Oct 29th 6:00 PM!

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

That there is significant income and wealth inequality in the United States is largely undisputed. The Census Bureau reports on the federal data  and the Portland Press Herald reported earlier this month on poverty rates in Maine. Yet, much about why we have growing inequality, what it really means, and what to do about it are extremely contested issues in our communities and policy debates. Earlier this year, economist Thomas Piketty opened up conversations about the distribution of wealth and made specific recommendations for redistribution. The Choose Civility Initiative and City of Reader’s Team held a community discussion on his book, as it was an unusually “hot” non-fiction title. The Rines auditorium filled– and from that evening came a request to screen and discuss Rober Reich’s film Inequality for All.

On October 29th, in partnership with the League of Women Voters, Portland, the Maine Center for Economic Policy and the USM Economics Department, we will watch and discuss this movie — we hope all will feel welcome to join us for respectful and challenging discourse about this complex topic that shapes all our lives.

See the booklist that emerged from recommendations given at the Piketty Panel and a booklist focused on economic inequality.

What income do you think qualifies as “poverty”? How well do our poverty guidelines capture the edge between poverty and financial security? What role does the Government play in providing a safety net or incentives for higher wages? What other questions do you ask about income and wealth inequality in our Country? Submit them through comments!

2014 Federal Poverty Guidelines

Federally facilitated marketplaces will use the 2014 guidelines to determine eligibility for Medicaid and CHIP (this is effective February 10, 2014).

Household Siz

100%

133%

150%

200%

250%

300%

400%

1

$11,670

$15,521

$17,505

$23,340

$29,175

$35,010

$46,680

2

15,730

20,921

23,595

31,460

39,325

47,190

62,920

3

19,790

26,321

29,685

39,580

49,475

59,370

79,160

4

23,850

31,721

35,775

47,700

59,625

71,550

95,400

5

27,910

37,120

41,865

55,820

69,775

83,730

111,640

6

31,970

42,520

47,955

63,940

79,925

95,910

127,880

7

36,030

47,920

54,045

72,060

90,075

108,090

144,120

8

40,090

53,320

60,135

80,180

100,225

120,270

160,360

- See more at: http://familiesusa.org/product/federal-poverty-guidelines#sthash.rUyD1z6p.dpuf

 


Community forum: Peaks Island Branch Library and Community Center Renovation Plans

posted: , by Emily Levine
tags: About the Library | Director's Updates | Programs & Events | Adults | Teens | Kids & Families | Seniors | News

Over the past 14 months, Portland Public Library staff have worked with the leadership of the Friends of the Peaks Island Library and with City staff, particularly in the Recreation Department, to develop a new vision for the Library/Community Center. We have discussed various strategies for increasing and enhancing functionality, efficiency, and enjoyment of services. We have incorporated the great energy and ideas from the Community Forum which we held on Peaks in April 2013, have analyzed the current condition of the building, and have begun developing a plan for the Center.

Our goal is to maximize internal space, update necessary systems to meet all codes, resolve ergonomic problems, and – most importantly – create a comfortable and welcoming space for reading, exploration, and learning. At this point, our plan is to begin renovation in Fall of 2015.

Thanks to the generosity of the Friends, we have contracted with architect Dick Reed to develop a preliminary design that captures these ideas. We will pursue this design with the City shortly but would love more community input as we finalize the plans. Please join us for another Community Forum, on Wednesday, September 10 at 7pm. We look forward to your thoughts, reactions, and input. If you cannot attend but have questions or suggestions, please call 871-1700 x759 or send email to librarydirector@portland.lib.me.us

The Peaks Island Library and Community Center is a special part of island life, and we are excited to build its future.

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