Kristen Smith, Director of Development and External Relations
“I believe the urban library plays a crucial role as a hub of civic engagement and social justice, providing space and resources that inspire learning, imagination, awareness, conversation, warmth, and community. I am honored to join the amazing team at PPL as it constantly evolves and grows to meet the needs of the Portland community.”
We are thrilled to welcome Kristen Smith to the Portland Public Library team as our Director of Development and External Relations. She brings to PPL a lifelong love of books and community, having spent the last 25 years working in a variety of non-profit organizations specializing in fundraising, communications, and storytelling. She collaborates with staff, Boards of Directors, colleagues, and the public to effect change through creative communications, marketing, and development work. Her focus is the strategy, design, and process of engaging annual donors, potential donors, event participants, volunteers, and the community to support an organization’s mission and programs.
Kristen has extensive experience in marketing, fundraising, and communications for a variety of issues addressing multiple constituencies. She came to PPL from Maine Cancer Foundation, where she served as the Director of Community Engagement, telling the story of the Foundation’s work to end the threat of cancer in Maine, and generating support to achieve their mission. Before MCF, she spent 11 years with Maine-based Planet Dog, a designer and developer of premium dog products as the Brand Ambassador. She simultaneously served as the Executive Director of their charitable arm, the Planet Dog Foundation, administering more than $1 million in grants.
She also spent 6 years on the board of Portland Independent Business and Community Alliance, the parent organization of the Portland Buy Local initiative, chairing the Development Committee and serving as President. Her career has also included community development work in Costa Rica and Nicaragua, managing a Spanish language school in Guatemala, running a small business development program for survivors of domestic violence in Boston, advocating for civil legal rights in Massachusetts, and specialty writing for various journals and nonprofits.
Kristen was raised in Waterville, but left Maine to try living in Connecticut, Berkeley, CA, Madison, WI, Costa Rica, and Cambridge, MA. She returned to Maine for good in 2004, and now lives in Portland. She enjoys Maine’s bounty of sustainable and locally-owned businesses, locally sourced food, beer, and spirits, diverse music scene, and breathtaking places to explore with her adorable rescue dog, Lucy. She has traveled extensively throughout the world, often seeking new places to scuba dive and maintain her fluency in Spanish.
Bull Moose supplied this librarian with their top 30, highest selling local albums of 2018 and PPL has purchased them all plus a few more. Are you looking for a new singer-songwriter to follow or a jazz quartet? Perhaps metal or rap is more your thing? Now with your card, you can check out the latest Mallett Brothers Band, Spose, Hessian or Carissa Johnson & the Cure-Alls!
Stop by the main library and check out the rest of our local albums! Just look for the CDs with the Maine flag sticker, they’ll be waiting for you.
Carissa Johnson & the Cure-Alls photo from carissajohnsonmusic.com
As a public library, we are committed to welcoming everyone. Our staff has compiled this list of resources for New Mainers and the Greater Portland Community to unite us in the spirit of National Welcoming Week.
We hope you will find these resources useful and will share with others. Our librarians are always ready to connect our patrons and our community with vetted sources for learning more.
Books in our collection
Welcoming Week works to bring together community members in a spirit of unity and to raise awareness of the benefits of making communities welcoming. Our Welcoming Week Book Lists tackle a range of relevant related issues. Here you’ll find memoirs, novels, and nonfiction, as well as books that discuss inclusive community building through civility, dialogue, and action.
From our Portland Room Archives – “Veasma Kem, a Khmer native language facilitator at Reiche School, teaches pupils about the Buddhist New Year and Cambodian culture.” April 1994, Portland Press Herald.
We also offer tutoring tables in the reference area for students and tutors to use. You can reserve a table by calling the Reference Desk at 207-871-1700 x725.
Explore our collection of adult fiction & nonfiction in non-English languages here.
USCIS Immigration Corner
United States Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) has provided PPL with a collection of resources to help immigrants and refugees prepare for their next steps in the immigration process; including items that they can keep for their private libraries or to share with friends. The materials are located on the Lower Level at the Main Library.
In addition, the USCIS holds outreach sessions at the Main Library. They will be at the Library on the dates listed here.
Additional resources for Immigrants and Refugees are listed in our catalog. You can find a handy topic guide here.
USCIS “How Do I” Guides
Are you familiar with the USCIS “How Do I” guides series? These guides answer general questions regarding immigration benefits and are currently available in English, Spanish, and Chinese.
The USCIS invites any feedback on how to improve the guides. To share feedback visit the USCIS Idea Community.
Our Business Resource Center contains information about finance & financial literacy, business management, & law. We are happy to provide reference services and library resources to help Portland area businesses succeed.
We would like to introduce New Mainers to the Greater Portland Immigrant Welcome Center just around the corner from our Main Branch. This new organization is committed to endow the immigrant community with professional opportunities through access to creative collaboration, technology, and workspace in order to sustain and grow their organizations, businesses and the Greater Portland region.