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Life of the Library

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Welcome to the new PPL website

posted: , by Sarah Campbell
tags: Director's Updates | Exhibits & Displays | Library Collections | Online Services | Programs & Events | Recommended Reads | Adults | Teens | Kids & Families | Seniors | Science & Technology

Welcome to the new PPL website. We like to think of it as a Virtual Branch!

It used to be that websites were just layers of pages under a header of some sort that over time became more and more dense. For an information organization like the library, the more pages meant the better the site.  What has become much clearer for PPL over the last 18 months is that the website is our virtual branch — complete with its own unique opportunities and challenges, like a physical library location. It is also a unique opportunity to create a way to recognize our users as being many kinds of people  and needing to be served in many different ways.

We hope that this new online library environment and experience is exciting and productive for you and just maybe you’ll find what you seek and be exposed to the unexpected!

Please tell us how we can make it better by dropping us a note at web@portland.lib.me.us.

We thank our friends at Vont Web Marketing, our partner in conceiving and creating this site, and the Sam L. Cohen Foundation without whose support we could not have completed this effort.

Enjoy your explorations!


Buried Musical Treasures from the PPL Archives

posted: , by Sarah Campbell
tags: Exhibits & Displays | Library Collections | Adults | Teens | Kids & Families | Seniors | Art & Culture | Portland History

When not being used in the Lewis Gallery, our nineteenth-century vitrines (glass display cases) are hosting displays from our collection in the Main Library Lower Level – Information Desk area.  Our first display, on view now through November, is a selection of sheet music from the Portland Room Archives.

In the nineteenth and early twentieth century musical life revolved around the family piano, and sheet music was provided for home performing mostly from publishers in New York’s Tin Pan Alley.  But most large cities had their own small music publishers (who were usually instrument and sheet music sellers) and many songwriters would publish with local firms or simply publish their own works.

Portland could boast several such publishers, including the Paine family, whose most distinguished member, John Knowles Paine, was Harvard’s first Professor of Music. J.K.’s father Jacob and uncle William sold instruments and music at 113 Middle Street. The Paines published many of the compositions of Hermann Kotzschmar, the leading Portland musician of the period.  Cressey and Allen had a music shop at 566 Congress Street; Cressey was also a composer and published many of his own pieces.

Many of the compositions featured in our exhibit were on local subjects: dance pieces named for Portland landmarks: the Forest City Polka, the Diamond Cove Waltz, and others in that vein.  Others were hymns to local pride: Somewhere in Maine, Down in Maine.  Patriotic compositions were standbys of the home music collection, and we have several from the Civil War to World War II.

We’ve included two items published “away”.  The first, Kathleen Mavourneen, was a sentimental pseudo-Irish ballad popularized by tenor John McCormick.  It was written by Frederick Nicholls Crouch, an English musician who lived and taught in Portland until his secessionist leanings made him unpopular in 1861; he joined a Virginia regiment as a trumpeter.  The other New York publication is perhaps the most familiar college song of the 1920s, Rudy Vallee’s Maine Stein Song.

We hope that local music lovers, local history buffs, and everybody else will stop by the lower level and see this exhibit!


Moxie!

posted: , by Abraham
tags: Library Collections | Programs & Events | Adults | Teens | Seniors | Portland History

As we reach the weekend that follows 4th-of-July weekend, it’s time to celebrate Maine’s own and much-loved Moxie! Moxie Fest is this weekend, as always, in Lisbon Falls, Maine. In fact, the root beer-like soda, invented in 1884 by Dr. Augustin Thompson (of Union, Maine), was declared the Maine State Beverage in 2005. Maine is surely the heart of Moxie country, and we all know that Maine libraries have moxie!

IMG_1319sm

Moxie and Monument Square, with the Library at center.

To help celebrate the annual Moxie Festival, here are some images to encourage the enjoyment and study (yes, research is enjoyable, too!) of the fabled 19th century remedy / modern soft drink.

Moxie can surely be researched in the Portland Room, which produces the Maine News Index, navigating through microfilmed newspapers and hardcopy local periodical imprints.

As well, here are 2 popular Moxie references we have here in the Library:

MoxieMystiqueBook MoxieBaumerBook

 

Snapshots from the Moxie Parade, in 2011

Parade2011 MoxiePlane2011
MoxieMobile2011

The Moxie Mobile, which is actually steered from a “horseback” seat!

MoxieMan2011

Moxie Man stopped long enough for me to take his picture- and to offer his prescription to cure all that ails!

LisbonFalls2011

All of Lisbon Falls gets into the spirit !

KennebecGrocery2011

During Moxie Fest, the Kennebec Fruit Company (the Moxie birthplace store) serves Moxie ice cream and splendid Moxie floats.

From the Portland Public Library Archives

moxiepic

Checking out the Moxie supply, in 1947.

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Moxie Fest, in 1984. Reading up on the goods!

1984 TL 07_15 10

Moxie Fest, 1984. At the wheel of the Moxie Mobile.

1984 TL 07_15 5A

Moxie Fest, 1984. Moxie expert, Mr. Frank Anicetti, packing up a purchase at Kennebec Fruit Company store.

1985 PH 06_21 5

Willie Nelson, playing a concert at Portland’s Cumberland County Civic Center, June 21, 1985. Willie’s Moxie hat tells us he knows what’s what!

Have a Wicked Good Weekend !

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Whether you’re writing, reading, or enjoying parades and the outdoors, enjoy-

and know you’re always welcome at the Portland Public Library !

moxie

 

 

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