The Library will be open today Wed, 1/27/15. The Bookmobile will not be going out on the road today, but should be on the usual schedule tomorrow (Thurs). Due dates have been extended to 1/30/15. Looking for something to read, watch, or download? Explore our download and streaming resources and share with friends.
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Help is On the Way: Charitable Giving

posted: , by Sonya Durney
tags: Adults | Seniors | Art & Culture | Business | Government | News

You know you want to save the world.   You have a heart the size of our great State o’ Maine and finite finances. Where, oh, where to begin?

The good news is that there are some terrific resources out there to help you make good decisions that suit your priorities. Before your good intentions grind to a confused halt, take a look at some of these websites.

Where to start? A really terrific site to check out is Philanthropedia, Guide to Better Giving.  It is a great tool to help you focus and to understand various strategies for giving. It answers questions you may not know you have!

Sometimes you have a good idea of who you’d like to give to, but you’d like some reliable nuts-and-bolts rating information* about how they use your hard-earned donated dollars.

* Keep in mind that different sites will use different grading scales when rating nonprofits, as outlined in this TEDTalk. This one is well worth a few minutes viewing time. It presents an interesting view of nonprofits’ spending strategies.

That said, here are two sites that sort some of it out for you: Charity Navigator  and Guidestar.

These sites can also provide some focus when you know you want your donation to go toward a particular area of need, but need to find an organization that is a good fit.

It isn’t easy to know who to trust when unsolicited pleas for donations come your way. It might be a phone call, an email, something in your mailbox, or someone at your door. The Federal Trade Commission has a few things to say on the subject.

And let’s not forget that when we indulge our urge to be generous, we do so with the blessing of the US Tax Code. Here are some tips from the IRS.  Charitable giving can really pay off !

There are so many ways to make a difference. Finding what works for you can feel overwhelming. When opening your wallet seems like the best option, these resources may serve as guides. And, let’s just say it: there is nothing like the good feeling you get when you use your head to put your money where your heart is.

Happy Giving! Eileen of the Business and Government Team.


Reflections on Civility

posted: , by Kim Simmons
tags: Programs & Events | Recommended Reads | Adults | Teens | Seniors | Government

 

Over the last 18 months, the Choose Civility Initiative, in concert with many community partners (see partial list below) has explored a central query — what does civility mean when the goal is to increase civic engagement and participation among all members of a community?

Lift360
Maine Humanities Council
League of Women Voters
Elders for Future Generations
West End Neighborhood Association
USM Economics Department
Coalition on the Commemoration of the 1964 Civil Rights Act
ACLU of Maine

Respect

Collective definitions of civility have almost always begun with the concept of “respect” — respect for differing points of view, differing identities, differing ways of being in the world.  This conversation often begs for deeper listening – our individual experiences of  “respect” can differ and a central tenant of diversity and social justice education is the recognition that intention and impact can differ.

Sarah Lawrence Lightfoot’s seminal work on interrogating the lived experience of respect is a wonderful opening for deeper thinking about the ideal.

 

Peeling back “respect” often opens us to the value of curiosity.  The practice of civility and civic engagement depend on some element of shared learning among members of a community.  The Choose Civility Initiative quickly found that participants have a deep and abiding interest in sustained conversation – that the opportunity to learn from “experts” and from each other are equally important.  Curiousity leads to increased empathy and the strengthening  of the skill of “listening for understanding.”   Our Choose Civility collection of 125 titles explores many topics and and our programming emphasizes opportunities for conversation among attendees.

CCgroundrules

Photo Credit : Sarah Davis Ground Rules Generated “Creating Communities We Wish To Live In” December 2014

In some times and places, a call for “civility” can be understood as code for a call to “quiet down,”  to suppress controversial ideas or dissent.   Portland Public Library embraces a much more rich and inclusive meaning of civility – civility is the value that allows full exploration of ideas, popular and unpopular; civility creates a climate where dissent can be expressed without fear of retaliation or violence; civility allows opportunities for clear and fair access to information that shapes the policy decisions that effect us all.   As our larger community engages in debate and discussion about our values, we are Choosing Civility. As we share our own understanding of the word and listen hard to the stories of others, we are Choosing Civility.   As we give of ourselves, as we advocate, as we serve, as we learn, as we appreciate our community, we Choose Civility.

We are grateful to the hundreds of individuals who participated in Choose Civility programming over the last 18 months and we look forward to continuing these conversations in 2015!

 

 


Picturing Portland : Portland Public Conversation #3 – Dec 9th (7:30 am coffee / 8:00 am start)

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

EVENT POSTPONED DUE TO WEATHER, new date will be announced at a later time. Our apologies for any inconvenience.

The Library’s Choose Civility Initiative began with the premise that we ALL share an interest in creating, maintaining and engaging in shared spaces and shared conversations about our broader community.   We have engaged in all kinds of conversations over the last 18 months, some directly reflecting on the idea of civility and some giving us the chance to practice civility while discussing more controversial topics.

As our grant from the Lerner Foundation  comes to an end, we will consider various strategies for maintaining Choose Civility programming at the Library. We welcome your feedback about the kinds of programs you like best — send us an email or look for a survey soon!

We are delighted to share the news that  Lift360, one of our grant partners, will take leadership on a next phase of the initiative – organizing task forces to implement  civic action.

More than anything, though, we invite you to attend our final “Portland Public Conversation”  on December 9th at 8:00am (coffee begins at 7:30) to explore these queries in person:  what is the status of “civility” in Portland? How might we strengthen our community through individual and organizational practices?  Join us for “Picturing Portland” and share your insights and ideas!!!

Below are some of the programs we offered through this grant. What did you attend? What did you like best? What would you like to see more of? 

  • Civic Action in Portland :  A Community Conversation
  • Incivility Fatigue with Professor Dan Shea
  • Welcoming :  Creating More Welcoming Communities,  a World Cafe conversation
  • Welcoming :  Posters for Citizenship Ceremony with “I’m Your Neighbor”
  • Constitution USA :  A Film Screening
  • Capital in the 21st Century Book Discussion // Inequality for All Film Discussion
  • The Guilty Pleasure of Erotica :  a facilitated conversation
  • Facilitation Workshop offered by Anne Schink of the League of Women Voters
  • “Creating the Communities We Wish For” with Maine Humanities Council
  • Active Hope : A Book Discussion
  • Civic Writing :  Workshops on writing letters to the editor, op-eds, blog posts, tweets and more
  • Civic Education and New Mainers – Addressing the Gaps — a community conversation convened in partnership with LWV
  • Muslim Journeys – a film series in partnership with Maine Humanities Council
  • Celebrating the Civil Rights Act of 1964 – coalition programming
  • Portland Public Conversation Series : Portland’s People, Participating in Portland and Picturing Portland
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