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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

 


Choose Civility and Constitution Week!

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

The topic of civil discourse has emerged as a central concern in Maine and the Nation, during the past several years.  MPBN recently held its annual “Civility in Politics” call-in show, Colby College held a summit on the topic “Civil : The Way Politics Should Be”  (listen to the rebroadcast on MPBN) and the Maine Council of Churches has called for candidates to sign a “covenant of civil discourse.”  Much of this emphasis is on civility as respect and integrity in conversation.  Sometimes, calls for civility are used to discourage challenging conversation, but the best civic discourse allows a pathway for the most difficult conversations to occur productively,

Another way to think about civil discourse is that it is conversation meant to  promote a stronger Democracy.  In that way, civility is about giving people the information, tools and skills they need to understand community issues. Civics involves claiming the rights and responsibilities associated with citizenship (defined broadly).  Civil discourse involves understanding how public issues and policy decisions effect people differently and understanding the various arguments or ideas surrounding an issue.  Libraries hold a unique role in promoting civility, in that access to good information is essential to a free society.

At Portland Public Library, the “Choose Civility” initiative is not a mandate — that’s not how library’s roll – but instead an invitation to join in a community-wide reflection on what civility means in different contexts, what conditions promote civic engagement, what obstacles prevent us from participating in our communities as fully as we might like. We have great books and films, a lot of programming, and a lot of gratitude –  to the Lerner Foundation for their support of this work, and to all those who are attending public conversation programs, sharing your stories and listening with respect and curiosity to others.

This fall, we are hoping that you will join us for an even deeper look at what it means to be a community and what we can all do to promote civility in our everyday lives and in our organizations.

Portland Public Conversations

Coffee & Networking 7:30am

Program 8:00am – 10:00am

September 3oth: Portland’s People, Who Lives Among Us?

Portland’s People: Who Lives Among Us?
Portland’s People: Who Lives Among Us? (Main Library 8am, doors open at 7:30) – In 2004, Journalist Bill Bishop coined the phrase “The Big Sort” to describe growing segregation, both physical and intellectual, in the USA.  10 years later, political scientists agree that this phenomena is growing.  How are we sorted in Greater Portland and what can we learn from crossing divides?  This program will include an opportunity to reflect on the most current Census Data about our demographics and to engage in an exploration of stories and perceptions about each other with director of the Office of Minority Health Lisa Sockabasin.  Ample time will be allowed for facilitated table conversation.  Click here for our flyer: Choose Civility Portland Conversations – See more at: http://www.portlandlibrary.com/highlight/choose-civility/#sthash.3uuejQEg.dpuf

November 25th: Participating Portland, Opportunities to Get Involved!

December 9th: Picturing Portland, Visioning Our Shared Future

September 30th :  Portland’s People: Who Lives Among Us? (Main Library 8am, doors open at 7:30) – In 2004, Journalist Bill Bishop coined the phrase “The Big Sort” to describe growing segregation, both physical and intellectual, in the USA.  10 years later, political scientists agree that this phenomena is growing.  How are we sorted in Greater Portland and what can we learn from crossing divides?  This program will include an opportunity to reflect on the most current Census Data about our demographics and to engage in an exploration of stories and perceptions about each other with director of the Office of Minority Health Lisa Sockabasin.  Ample time will be allowed for facilitated table conversation.  Click here for our flyer: Choose Civility Portland Conversations

Save the following dates for more in our series: 
November 25th:  Participating Portland: Practical Opportunities to Get Involved
December 9th : Picturing Portland: Visioning Our Shared Future

- See more at: http://www.portlandlibrary.com/highlight/choose-civility/#sthash.3uuejQEg.dpuf

September 30th :  Portland’s People: Who Lives Among Us? (Main Library 8am, doors open at 7:30) – In 2004, Journalist Bill Bishop coined the phrase “The Big Sort” to describe growing segregation, both physical and intellectual, in the USA.  10 years later, political scientists agree that this phenomena is growing.  How are we sorted in Greater Portland and what can we learn from crossing divides?  This program will include an opportunity to reflect on the most current Census Data about our demographics and to engage in an exploration of stories and perceptions about each other with director of the Office of Minority Health Lisa Sockabasin.  Ample time will be allowed for facilitated table conversation.  Click here for our flyer: Choose Civility Portland Conversations

Save the following dates for more in our series: 
November 25th:  Participating Portland: Practical Opportunities to Get Involved
December 9th : Picturing Portland: Visioning Our Shared Future

- See more at: http://www.portlandlibrary.com/highlight/choose-civility/#sthash.3uuejQEg.dpuf

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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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