NEW UPDATE JUNE 5: PPL bookdrops are open and PPL To Go begins Mon. June 8! Check it out here -- portlandlibrary.com/togo. We look forward to seeing you! Our COVID-19 information page continues to have links to current health information in multiple languages. Reference will be answering questions Mon-Fri, 10am-4pm, 871-1700 x725. If you would like to open a temporary eResource library card, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
I speak for all PPL staff and Board when I say, “We miss seeing you.” We closed our locations to the public on March 14, which feels so long ago. Our staff is working at home. We are employing multiple collaborative tools to keep in touch. And we’re constantly building access for you to a wide variety of online activities and resources. It strikes me that, while we all focus on our physical distance, we are in higher need of social connection. And that’s how the Library has always been and will always be here for you.
Last year around this time we re-introduced PPL with a new brand that says boldly, proudly, and colorfully that the Library welcomes everyone and every story: to connect, to listen, to speak. At the Library, at the center of the community, we are used to gathering, to speaking on abundant topics, in various voices, to outcomes of all sorts. The Library stands tall as a place for all of the stories and the conversations that humans must have, as a community of communities and a demanding democracy.
Right now, PPLers are involved in many conversations around the city as organizations all want to drive in the same direction towards good health, safety, and a thriving society. We extend tremendous thanks to our health and emergency response workers. We are talking with the school system about how to keep young minds stimulated. Non-profit organizations are banding together to share knowledge, test ideas, attend to staff, and advocate for supports. The Chamber of Commerce and businesses are addressing moves, combining strength, and maximizing resources and supports. Arts and cultural organizations are working in unison to offer meaningful experiences online and attend to our artists. And, of course, we are talking with our patrons who are seeking answers and inspiration.
For now, we must speak virtually. Please use our free & amazing e-books and online resources. Join the staff in virtual events (coming soon!). Keep close on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram (for Teens). Ask your questions to our librarians on email or chat. Stay socially connected with others, and we will all be better for it when we can re-open physically.
Sarah Campbell (working from home)
I am very pleased to announce the arrival of the freeNew Mainer’s Guide to Greater Portland, co-published by the Greater Portland Immigrant Welcome Center (IWC) and Portland Public Library. The guidebook, now available at all PPL branches and numerous locations around the area, is a tool to help New Mainers navigate the different resources available at each phase of their integration here in Southern Maine. It is also available online at www.welcomeimmigrant.org/resources.
The Guide is divided into three major sections addressing stages of integration: Basic Needs When You Arrive, Settling Into The Community, and Economic, Social and Civic Integration. It is filled with descriptions and contact information of providers for food and shelter, legal support, health care, community organizations, education, career advancement opportunities, and more. As my partner and colleague Alain Nahimana of IWC says, “The book shares valuable information in a reliable way, compiling information about 200 support organizations in one resource that can be taken home and referred to at any time during one’s first years in Maine.” This guide is also for service providers, residents, businesses, and local governments to use to refer New Mainers to essential resources and support services.
I am so grateful for the leadership and partnership of Alain Nahimana, Damas Rugaba, and Celeste Carpenter at the IWC, the many partners and agencies providing services and supports, and PPL’s Business & Government Librarian Williams Bandoma for coordinating the Library’s role in the effort. And huge thanks to the Guide’s sponsors: Maine Technology Institute, AAA-NNE, Coastal Enterprises, Greater Portland METRO, cPort FCU, ME Initiative, Prosperity ME, Coffee by Design, Clark Insurance, Antoine’s Tailoring Shop, MEMIC, UNUM, and Mano en Mano.
We are happy to share a few photos and updates about the Peaks Island Library and Community Center building project.
Now that the demolition phase is fairly complete, we have biweekly walk-through meetings with our contractor. Great progress is being made! Attending these progress checks are Aaron Bourassa, Karen James and Matt Schweier of Great Falls Construction (GFC), Dick Reed, Reed & Co. Architecture, George Cooper from PPL, and David Onos from the City of Portland. Arthur Fink attends as well to photograph the site for our archives. Thank you, Art!
As islanders have seen, GFC removed the wall on the Sterling Street side giving us a glimpse into the expansion of the floor plan. Temporary walls are now up until the structural beam goes in place. And new concrete will be poured shortly. We are still on a good path to reopen before the Summer. (Arthur Fink photos)
NEW VISION CAMPAIGN: It’s not too late to join the New Vision Campaign to help pay for new furnishings. We are thrilled to announce that we received grant support from both the Davis Family Foundation and the Morton-Kelly Charitable Trust to buoy the wonderful gifts from over 350 Peaks households and friends. We are so grateful for the generosity of the Kennedy-Carter family for whom the building will be named. For those interested in participating, please make gifts to Portland Public Library and note “New Vision Campaign” in the memo line of your check.
We continue to look forward to seeing you in the Library’s temporary home in the Peaks Island Elementary School (around the back, up the ramp).
George Cooper visited branch staff Priscilla Webster and Rose Ann Walsh, with islanders Jon and Angie Kelso at the PIES temporary location. (George Cooper photo)