At Portland Public Library, we strive to lift the voices of African Americans (and other marginalized voices) on a daily basis through our programming and collections. For this blog post, I asked staff to submit their favorite resources.
Celebrate Portland Black History by taking a walk along the Portland Freedom Trail.
Support local, Black businesses and organizations through Black Owned Maine.
Since 2017, a group of African immigrants in Lewiston has leased 30 acres of land off to operate a cooperative farm, the New Roots Cooperative Farm. Their dream of owning the land they painstakingly developed over the past four years received a major boost when they received word that they are the recipient of two grants totaling $80,000.
The Indigo Arts Alliance
has video from this past year’s Beautiful Blackbird Children’s Book Festival online here
. They also are co-hosting a new exhibit at Cove Street Arts this month called “Soulful Stitching.”
Rep. Talbot Ross from the Maine State Legislature
You can find news from Rep. Rachel Talbot Ross and updates on her ongoing (historical!) work in the Maine Legislature here. You can also read documents like her letter to Governor Mills and others on behalf of the Maine Black Caucus as published here in Amjambo Africa! (the free newspaper for and about New Mainers from Africa). On February 3, 2021 she introduced “L.D. 2, An Act To Require the Inclusion of Racial Impact Statements in the Legislative Process, which she noted was “the first step in recognizing that many of our laws have produced disproportionate outcomes for generations of Black and indigenous populations in Maine…to disrupt this historical pattern, legislators must be intentional in factoring in race throughout the development, review and adoption of public policy.”
As voting rights and political power are a continual historical fight, Black Futures
works to build Black political power while partnering with Black-led grassroots organizations across the U.S.
The African American Collection
at the USM Library was started with donations from Gerald E. Talbot
. The history of the collection notes: “As Mr. Talbot explained in April 1994: ‘It is because of my long involvement in civil rights in Maine and New England and my deep interest and involvement in my Black culture and history, that I have collected and preserved pieces of that black history, nationally and locally, for others to see and learn from.’ Another inspiration came from the documentary Anchor of the Soul
…Shoshana Hoose, who was largely responsible for researching and making the documentary, and Gerald Talbot began meeting with officials for the University of Southern Maine in 1994. They wanted to build a collection that would document and preserve African American culture and history.” You can find the DVD Anchor of the Soul: A Documentary of Black History in Maine
There are so many events nationwide this month…a couple are: on February 18 the
K. Kendall – originally posted to Flickr as Audre Lorde (Creative Commons)
Mills College Trans Studies Speakers series will host a talk with C. Riley Snorton and Rod Ferguson. On February 20 the Audre Lorde Project will host “Pillars of Audre Lorde: Joy, Safety, Healing and Liberation” celebrating her work, art, and vision (and her values of joy, safety, healing and liberation!)
Monday, June 22, 2020
The results are in! New research determines that the COVID virus is not detectable on the most common library materials after 1-3 days.
Today is an important day for libraries on our path to safely welcome staff and patrons back to using library collections in the context of COVID-19. This Spring, a key research study was designed specifically to help libraries and museums reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission by testing how long the virus survives on library collections and suggest ways to prevent exposure.
Battelle, the Ohio-based not-for-profit scientific research laboratory that conducted the study, just announced their results that the Novel Coronavirus which causes COVID-19 dissipates from the five most common library materials in 24 to 72 hours in standard temperature and humidity conditions typical to an air-conditioned office or building. These materials include book covers (hard and soft), plain paper pages inside a closed book, plastic book covering, and a DVD case.
This is very important for libraries, as the current Maine DECD checklist and Maine State Library guidance had suggested a period between 3-7 days. Portland Public Library, opting to be most certain, has been quarantining returned library materials for 7 days before handling. We will now shorten that to 3 days, which means we can check-in items sooner and pass popular items to their next patron faster.
This study is the first phase of the Reopening Archives, Libraries, and Museums (REALM) Project, a collaborative effort amongst Battelle, the Institute of Museum and Library Services which provides federal funding to museum and libraries, OCLC which is a nonprofit global cooperative serving libraries with shared technology and research, and the Columbus (OH) Metropolitan Library. Subsequent phases will continue to refine the research, update reviews of other research, and provide toolkits to libraries.
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)