Life of the Library

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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.


Changes to the GED Test

posted: , by Sonya Durney
tags: About the Library | Online Services | Adults | Teens | Careers & Jobs

The current version of the General Educational Development test will be changing  January 2, 2014. The test changes every 10 years. The updated test will be on the computer, so no need to remember your #2 pencil!  Here is some more info:

  • Your current GED® test scores will expire in 2013—they will not carry forward -. this means that anyone who has started working through the five-test program, but still has tests to take, will have to complete his or her current program by the end of the year, or that student will have to start all over under the new 2014 edition.
  • You will ONLY be able to take the new test on a computer. There will no longer be a paper-and-pencil version of the test.
  • The new test will assess only four content areas—reasoning through language arts, mathematics, science, and social studies.
  • Test-takers will have to write two essays instead of one.
  • The science and social studies content will be more rigorous.
  • The GED® Math test will include more advanced topics, like algebra and statistics.
  • There will be a number of new item types, such as short answer, fill-in-the-blank, drag and drop, and more.
  • The content will also assess career- and college-readiness skills.
  • In many states, the test may be more expensive.

Don’t let these changes worry you, PPL has you covered!

We have ordered multiple copies of print books to study for the 2014 version of the test. The books should be arriving shortly.

Also, with your PPL card you have access to the Learning Express Library. If you are currently using the Learning Express Library,  the current GED® Test Prep Center will be removed on January 2, 2014. Please finish up all work in progress. New GED® products will be available in January in the new High School Equivalency Center.

For more information about the GED® 2014 test, please visit the official GED® Testing Services website http://www.gedtestingservice.com

For more information on how to use the Learning Express Library or other PPL services please call (207) 871-1700 x 725,  email reference@portland.lib.me.us,  or text the word  portlib to 66746 and then send us your question.


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!

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