The Library will be closed Monday, April 21 in observance of Patriot's Day. We will re-open for regular hours on Tuesday, April 22.
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Life of the Library

The world at your fingertips right in your neighborhood.

Portland Public Library’s mission is to serve the Greater Portland Community by providing a diverse collection of books and other resources, with access to information resources worldwide. The library’s services support the educational, informational, and recreational interests of all community members.


MONTGOMERY’S VIEW – Flora & Ulysses

posted: , by Mary Peverada
tags: Montgomery's View | Recommended Reads | Kids & Families

floraFlora & Ulysses by Kate DiCamillo Candlewick Press, 2013

I happily read this book a bit ago – but like Montgomery chose to ruminate before posting. Now – this book was just awarded the Newbery Award – and Kate DiCamillo has been chosen the new National Ambassador of Young People’s Literature. It is time I spread the word a little further.

Flora is a lonely girl who is obsessed with comics – her mother calls her a “natural born cynic.” But Flora’s life changes dramatically when she resuscitates a squirrel who is nearly killed in an encounter with a Ulysses 2000X vacuum cleaner. She quickly discovers that the incident has given the squirrel powers (the squirrel lifts the vacuum over his head in one paw.) Flora is reminded of her favorite comic hero the Amazing Incandesto – and her imagination helps her leap to the conclusion that the squirrel will perform great and wonderful feats. Soon the squirrel’s new abilities become even clearer as he shows his skills at understanding Flora, typing and composing poetry. Flora opens her heart totally to Ulysses. However, the squirrel’s greatest enemy is none other than Flora’s romance writing, squirrel hating mother.

DiCamillo has written a story full of heart and humor – but the quirky cast of characters give the reader even more as the author explores loneliness, accepting differences, overcoming fears, abandonment – and love. The black and white illustrations capture the mood and the comic sequences sporadically placed “illuminate” the amazing adventures of Ulysses – and augment Flora’s obsession with comics. Flora soon learns she cannot remain a cynic – once she opens herself and her heart to her squirrel.

Grades 4-6


New year, new plans – Part 1

posted: , by Stephen Podgajny
tags: About the Library | Director's Updates | Adults | Teens | Kids & Families | Seniors

Spend just a few minutes in any one of the Library’s branches, and you quickly see how many activities we host every day. Story times for our emerging readers, our Brown Bag Lunch series with local authors, exhibits and lectures on a range of topics – just to name a few. All our programing has its roots in our robust collection holdings, but these offerings also depend on having enough flexible space.

PPL has been working for some time to develop a long-term collections management strategy. While the Library has been the fortunate recipient of donated storage space over the past five years, we knew this was not a long-term solution. Our firm commitment to our print collections – which we will continue to expand alongside our eResources – meant we needed to find a sustainable solution to collections management. We found that one of our close, long-time collaborators, Maine Historical Society (MHS), was grappling with the same issues – how to maintain and grow collections, how to house materials appropriately while having them available for circulation or exhibits, how to ensure programs have enough space to flourish.

The more we spoke with our friends at MHS, the more both Boards felt that a joint solution would be ideal. On November 15, following a lengthy and exhaustive due-diligence process, the Library and MHS jointly purchased a property at 1000 Riverside Drive in Portland that will ultimately serve as a shared collections management center (SCMC). The 35,000 square foot building is in the process of being developed on a timetable that will allow both organizations to move in sometime early spring.

PPL and MHS are sharing all purchase and renovation-related costs equally, and our financing was arranged accordingly. No taxpayer funds are being used to acquire or refurbish the building, and our fundraising plan does not anticipate any public monies. There are a number of individuals and private foundations who are very excited about this collaboration and its impact on the ways the PPL and MHS can serve the city of Portland from their Congress Street locations. Some of those folks have already stepped forward to support this project while others are considering how they’d like to be involved.

I am excited both about this collaboration between two of the city’s cultural anchors and the implications this has for our respective programs as well as the evolving dynamic of Congress Street. For us here at the Library, the SCMC will be critical to our ability to move sections of our holdings off-site so we can offer engaging, educational programs for all ages in our branch locations. We will be able to continue to build our collection – including the strongest fiction collection in Northern New England – knowing that we have quality storage available for items, easily accessed for circulation to our sites and around the state. The SCMC will also serve as the headquarters for the Library’s Bookmobile, which continues to provide materials and programing to those Mainers – seniors, the recent immigrant community, those on the economic margins – who face physical, cultural, or practical barriers to reaching a Library branch location.

While this may seem like a new effort for the Library, it is really just the latest expression of our core values: our long-standing commitment to enrich our community, to steward our collections, and to offer programing that enriches, enlightens, and engages.

Watch for Part 2 of this post next week, with an update on our Burbank and Riverton branch locations.


MONTGOMERY’S VIEW

posted: , by Mary Peverada
tags: Montgomery's View | Recommended Reads | Kids & Families

 

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Doggie Dreams by Mike Herrod  Blue Apple Books, 2011

What dog owner hasn’t watched their sleeping dog and wondered: what does he dream about?  The question really arises when the dog seems to be running hard in his sleep or starts whimpering.  Does a dog dream like a human?

This early reader in graphic format (part of the Balloon Toons series) lets the reader in on some of those possible dog dreams.

The young dog owner loves his dog Jake – but Jake sleeps all of the time.  All of this sleeping makes the boy wonder – what does Jake dream about?  In his dreams – Jake is one adventurous pup.  Jake dines at a nice restaurant in one dream; he is a rock star in another; and he is a knight in shining armor in the third.  But the best dream of all is the one that Jake and his owner share – playing ball together (although the point of view may vary!)

The text is minimal.  The illustrations are colorful and appealing.  There are no more than four frames on any page (usually fewer.)  This is a gentle tale that will elicit giggles.  It is bound to lead to chat about pets – a favorite topic of children everywhere.

Won’t we all wonder – what are own pets dreaming about?

This title would be great for Preschool – to Grade 3.

(Apologies for the hiatus of Montgomery’s View for the last two months – we were lining everything up – and the book reviews will now appear each week.)

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