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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

Please tweet your thoughts and best hashtag ideas to

If you use Facebook, please consider “liking us” and “joining” our first event page.

 

 


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.


Talking about Race

posted: , by Kim Simmons
tags: Programs & Events | Adults | Art & Culture | Government

On September 9th at 7pm, PPL will host “Tell Me the Truth: Exploring the Heart of Cross-Racial Conversations” -  FMI, click here.

Though conversation is a primary way human beings think together, fear of talking about race prevents us from using this critical tool. Shay and Debby will explore the common fears and pitfalls of cross-racial conversation that keep people isolated in their own racial groups, at the expense of personal, professional, and societal growth. They’ll also help audience members understand how interpersonal social patterns hinder organizations from living up to their own ideals for diversity.

Finally, Shay and Debby will offer suggestions to create racial justice habits that can move us from isolated events to sustainable connections.

- See more at: http://www.portlandlibrary.com/events/tell-truth-exploring-heart-cross-racial-conversations/#sthash.yhDlgLhx.dpuf

Shay Stewart-Bouley (black) and Debby Irving (white) as they talk about racism’s impact on their lives and how conversation has been instrumental in their own understanding of 21st century racial dynamics.

Though conversation is a primary way human beings think together, fear of talking about race prevents us from using this critical tool. Shay and Debby will explore the common fears and pitfalls of cross-racial conversation that keep people isolated in their own racial groups, at the expense of personal, professional, and societal growth. They’ll also help audience members understand how interpersonal social patterns hinder organizations from living up to their own ideals for diversity.

Finally, Shay and Debby will offer suggestions to create racial justice habits that can move us from isolated events to sustainable connections.

- See more at: http://www.portlandlibrary.com/events/tell-truth-exploring-heart-cross-racial-conversations/#sthash.yhDlgLhx.dpuf

Shay Stewart-Bouley (black) and Debby Irving (white) as they talk about racism’s impact on their lives and how conversation has been instrumental in their own understanding of 21st century racial dynamics.

Though conversation is a primary way human beings think together, fear of talking about race prevents us from using this critical tool. Shay and Debby will explore the common fears and pitfalls of cross-racial conversation that keep people isolated in their own racial groups, at the expense of personal, professional, and societal growth. They’ll also help audience members understand how interpersonal social patterns hinder organizations from living up to their own ideals for diversity.

Finally, Shay and Debby will offer suggestions to create racial justice habits that can move us from isolated events to sustainable connections.

- See more at: http://www.portlandlibrary.com/events/tell-truth-exploring-heart-cross-racial-conversations/#sthash.yhDlgLhx.dpuf

Shay Stewart-Bouley (black) and Debby Irving (white) as they talk about racism’s impact on their lives and how conversation has been instrumental in their own understanding of 21st century racial dynamics.

Though conversation is a primary way human beings think together, fear of talking about race prevents us from using this critical tool. Shay and Debby will explore the common fears and pitfalls of cross-racial conversation that keep people isolated in their own racial groups, at the expense of personal, professional, and societal growth. They’ll also help audience members understand how interpersonal social patterns hinder organizations from living up to their own ideals for diversity.

Finally, Shay and Debby will offer suggestions to create racial justice habits that can move us from isolated events to sustainable connections.

- See more at: http://www.portlandlibrary.com/events/tell-truth-exploring-heart-cross-racial-conversations/#sthash.yhDlgLhx.dpuf

Shay Stewart-Bouley (black) and Debby Irving (white) as they talk about racism’s impact on their lives and how conversation has been instrumental in their own understanding of 21st century racial dynamics.

Though conversation is a primary way human beings think together, fear of talking about race prevents us from using this critical tool. Shay and Debby will explore the common fears and pitfalls of cross-racial conversation that keep people isolated in their own racial groups, at the expense of personal, professional, and societal growth. They’ll also help audience members understand how interpersonal social patterns hinder organizations from living up to their own ideals for diversity.

Finally, Shay and Debby will offer suggestions to create racial justice habits that can move us from isolated events to sustainable connections.

- See more at: http://www.portlandlibrary.com/events/tell-truth-exploring-heart-cross-racial-conversations/#sthash.yhDlgLhx.dpuf

Shay Stewart-Bouley (black) and Debby Irving (white) as they talk about racism’s impact on their lives and how conversation has been instrumental in their own understanding of 21st century racial dynamics.

Though conversation is a primary way human beings think together, fear of talking about race prevents us from using this critical tool. Shay and Debby will explore the common fears and pitfalls of cross-racial conversation that keep people isolated in their own racial groups, at the expense of personal, professional, and societal growth. They’ll also help audience members understand how interpersonal social patterns hinder organizations from living up to their own ideals for diversity.

Finally, Shay and Debby will offer suggestions to create racial justice habits that can move us from isolated events to sustainable connections.

- See more at: http://www.portlandlibrary.com/events/tell-truth-exploring-heart-cross-racial-conversations/#sthash.yhDlgLhx.dpuf

Shay Stewart-Bouley (black) and Debby Irving (white) as they talk about racism’s impact on their lives and how conversation has been instrumental in their own understanding of 21st century racial dynamics.

Though conversation is a primary way human beings think together, fear of talking about race prevents us from using this critical tool. Shay and Debby will explore the common fears and pitfalls of cross-racial conversation that keep people isolated in their own racial groups, at the expense of personal, professional, and societal growth. They’ll also help audience members understand how interpersonal social patterns hinder organizations from living up to their own ideals for diversity.

Finally, Shay and Debby will offer suggestions to create racial justice habits that can move us from isolated events to sustainable connections.

- See more at: http://www.portlandlibrary.com/events/tell-truth-exploring-heart-cross-racial-conversations/#sthash.yhDlgLhx.dpuf

For many of us, talking about race feels difficult.  It is easy to make a mistake and many of us are uncomfortable being vulnerable in public conversations.  Yet, in 2014, it is relatively essential that we develop our capacity to understand race as an historical concept, to understand disparities in health, economics, etc. as they relate to race, and that we engage in conversations with those who identify as differently from us in term of race and ethnicity – to share our own racialized stories and to hear those of others.   We need to collectively address racism to uphold the core values of Democracy, and we can’t address racism without more easily talking about race.

Pew Research conducted a survey this week, examining individuals’ response to the death of Michael Brown and subsequent protest activity in Ferguson MO and found that there are “stark racial differences” in how the events are understood.

 

This difference in perception and response reveals rich opportunities for civil and curious conversation, yet such conversations can also be challenging.  We invite you to explore the Choose Civility collection, and recommended links and books to learn more about race and racism in the United States in preparation for our upcoming 9/9 program “Tell Me the Truth: Exploring the Heart of Cross-Racial Conversations”  (7:00pm, Rines Auditorium, Main Library)

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