All Library locations will be closed Monday, Sept. 1st, in observance of Labor Day. We will re-open for regular hours on Tuesday, Sept. 2.
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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:


Individuals Make a Difference

posted: , by Wendy Nowell
tags: About the Library | Director's Updates | Library Collections | Adults | Teens | Kids & Families | Seniors | Art & Culture | Portland History

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

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