Burbank Users: The Burbank Branch parking lot will be closed on Saturday, April 26 until 3 pm due to the closure of Stevens Ave. for a road race. The branch will be open for normal hours Saturday from 9am - 5 pm.
Life of the Library
The world at your fingertips right in your neighborhood.
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.
In honor of National Poetry Month, the Portland Room’s intrepid intern, Harper Wray Chance, has pulled together a charming exhibit of some gems from our collections. Books on display include Martin Steingesser’s Brothers of Morning and Betsy Sholl’s Rough Cradle. (Don’t miss the opportunity to hear Sholl speak about her work on April 10 at the Maine Women Writers Collection at UNE, http://www.une.edu/mwwc/conferences/authorseries.cfm)
Elizabeth Coatsworth, the well-known writer of children’s books, explores a darker side of life in the slightly sinister poems of The Creaking Stair. As she writes in the poem titled By Command, “the nightmares are waiting.” The book is illustrated by W.A. Dwiggins, an illustrator, book designer, and typographer. For this volume, he used an experimental typeface of his own design that he had not yet named.
Also on display is a book by Nathaniel Parker Willis. Willis’ father founded the early Portland newspaper, the Eastern Argus, available on microfilm in the Portland Room. Willis himself was a prolific and popular journalist, poet, and editor.
A page from Julia H. May’s Songs from the Woods of Maine showing the poem “The Happy Hills of Strong.”
These and the other books in the exhibit represent just a tiny portion of what we have on the shelves of the Portland Room. We invite you to stop by, take a look, read a poem or two. While you’re here, take a look at our display of old children’s books, as well, and our ongoing display of items from the Maine Charitable Mechanic Association. The Portland Room is located on the 2nd floor – come on in! We are open Monday-Thursday 10-7 and Friday 10-6.
The funding model for Portland Public Library (PPL) is anything but intuitive. The “public” in our name might give one the impression that government funding covers our entire operating budget. However, at PPL, government funding (City of Portland, State of Maine and Cumberland County) actually makes up 87% of our $4.2 million operations budget. These public funds pay for staff, utilities, and other infrastructure costs; they do not pay for anything related to our programs, our collections, or our outreach. The books on the shelves, subscriptions to physical and online periodicals, our bookmobile –anything that falls in the 13% of our budget that is allocated to collections and programs is made possible by annual gifts to the Library, earnings from our endowment, foundation support, and fees.
In essence, what PPL is now and can be in the future – our margin of excellence – is the result of a true public/private effort. Public funds ensure we have a building and staff; private generosity guarantees we have a collection and programing that serves every individual who comes to one of our branches or logs onto the Library’s website. As a non-profit organization, PPL is able – indeed, obligated – to raise funds so that we can help all members of the Portland community to enhance their creativity and imagination, increase their level of knowledge, and fully participate in our common, civil life.
So it is with celebration and gratitude that we acknowledge the recent bequest of Franklin Talbot of Portland to our endowment. Franklin Talbot was a colleague, having worked previously at the University of Southern Maine library. His gift of $101,000 will establish the Franklin Talbot Fund and increase the Library’s endowment fund to approximately $5.4 million.
The yearly income from the Talbot Fund will be used to acquire materials and support programs and exhibits in the arts and humanities, with preference for biography, American history, and British history. Mr. Talbot’s gift will support our efforts to provide all Library patrons and visitors with access to materials and programs that promote a greater understanding of the human experience and of the creative process.
All gifts to the Library make an impact, and we are grateful that Mr. Talbot was both generous and creative in giving back to the community by supporting the Library. If you are interested in establishing a named endowment fund at the Library or in including Portland Public Library in your estate plans, please contact Emily Bray Levine at 207-871-1700 x755 or Levine@portland.lib.me.us
Black History Month offers us many invitations for learning. We’re encouraged to learn more about the contributions of individuals in history who may not have originally made our history lessons : black artists, inventors, authors…
We’re also encouraged to learn about American history through a lens of race relations. Understanding more about the experience of slavery, more about the experience of segregation and desegregation, more about the civil rights movement, etc. allows us to make clearer sense of how racism exists today and allows us more tools to address racism in our society.
Finally, Black History Month brings race into our collective awareness, providing us with more opportunities to directly consider race and racism and to commit to new strategies for anti-discrimination. This is a particularly interesting year, as 50 years has passed since the landmark Civil Rights Act was passed which made segregation illegal and paved the way for the Voting Rights Act and the end of the Jim Crow era.