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Celebrating Welcoming Week – Resources for New Mainers & the Greater Portland Community

posted: , by Sarah Skawinski
tags: About the Library | Adults | Teens | Kids & Families | Seniors | News

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.

          

Language Learning Resources

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 promote Adult Literacy and English Language Learning by offering print, audio, and digital resources to ensure non-native speakers have access to the English Language.

These are some of our favorite online language learning resources:

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.

Choose from the following topics:

The USCIS invites any feedback on how to improve the guides. To share feedback visit the USCIS Idea Community.


Business Resources

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.


PPL at 150: Creating a healthy community

posted: , by Emily Levine
tags: About the Library | Director's Updates | PPL150 | Adults | Teens | Kids & Families | Seniors | Health | News

Throughout 2017, some of our partners will share their perspective on PPL in honor of our 150th anniversary celebration.

Today’s contributor is Sam Zager, MD, a family physician at Martin’s Point in Portland and a weekly volunteer in a Greater Portland Health high school-based clinic. In addition to his medical credentials, he has a master’s degree in Economic and Social History. He is currently reading Ron Chernow’s Alexander Hamilton.


Sam Zager, MD

It is a privilege to join the celebration of Portland Public Library’s 150th anniversary!

Back in 1867, in the rebuilding time following the Great Fire, the city’s vision for the future featured a top-notch library; and we are the fortunate heirs. With excellent stewardship, PPL to this day offers lifetimes-worth of tangible texts, recordings, and images; it also is a point of access for digital information; it is a physical space for community meetings; it holds a wealth of Portland’s historical archives; it hosts English-language education for new Mainers; it serves as a venue for the arts; and it provides safe spaces for children, adolescents, and adults to seek truth, delight their sensibilities, and nourish their spirit. Plus, it does this all at no cost to patrons. Portland’s post-Civil War leaders intuitively understood that a public library is a core institution of a noteworthy community. I wonder, though, if they fully appreciated all that Portland Public Library could offer to the physical and emotional health of our city and its inhabitants.

The idea that public libraries matter for health is relatively new, and has roots in New England. In response to a proposal to close several public library branches in Boston in 2010, leaders came together from the city’s five medical schools, graduate schools in public policy and public health, several major hospitals, and primary and specialty care practices. One of these signatories had received the Nobel Peace Prize, and another had received the National Medal of Science. A joint statement by such a diverse group regarding a city-level proposal is quite rare. This panel of experts asserted for the first time in history that public libraries benefit individual and public health, and that closing libraries could contribute to illness or premature death.

How can public libraries matter for health? They cited two ways. First, public libraries are integral to education and literacy, both of which correlate with good health. Second, public libraries can enhance the social fabric of a community, which in turn, improves health outcomes. They based their statement on many peer-reviewed research articles from the medical, public health, and social science literature.

Between 2013 and 2015, our own public library system helped advance what the world knows about the intersection of public libraries and health. PPL collaborated in the world’s first direct and quantified study of health and public libraries. The Health and Libraries of Public Use Retrospective Study (HeLPURS), was published last year for an international audience in Health Information & Libraries Journal. HeLPURS documented for the first time a strong association between public library use and tobacco cessation. Smoking patrons who used their library cards at least a moderate amount, or within the previous six months, had over two-times higher odds of quitting smoking. There were similar findings for illicit drug use. These findings regarding substance abuse are highly pertinent in Maine, one of the most opioid-affected states in America. HeLPURS augmented the 2010 expert statement by adding evidence that public libraries may contribute to health far beyond their conventional role as gateways for health information.

As PPL looks ahead at the next 150 years, technology will change, but the fundamental biologic and social ingredients of health likely will remain the same. In recent years, we have started to demonstrate the role public libraries as institutions play in health. Further work could validate these preliminary findings and elaborate the details. Even at this early point, though, it seems that the safe, respectful, non-judgmental, and stimulating environment of a professionally staffed and well-resourced public library contributes to a healthy mind and body.


PPL at 150: A model public library

posted: , by Emily Levine
tags: About the Library | PPL150 | Adults | Teens | Kids & Families | Seniors | News
Maine State Librarian Jamie Ritter

Maine State Librarian Jamie Ritter

Throughout 2017, some of our partners will share their perspective on PPL in honor of our 150th anniversary celebration.

Today’s contributor, Jamie Ritter, was selected by the Maine Library Commission in December 2014 to serve as Maine State Librarian. He is currently reading Virtual Unreality by Charles Seife.


Happy 150th Birthday, Portland Public Library!

You are an incredible resource to your community and serve as a model public library in Maine and across the nation. Bravo!

For 45 years and counting, PPL has been a foundational partner of the Maine State Library in providing, at no charge, “access to quality library collections at accessible locations for all citizens regardless of economic means or accident of geographic location.”

This regional service is critical to all Mainers and enshrined in law. At its heart, it ensures “equal and free access to the state’s great literature collections and informational resources.”

The crux of Maine State Library’s ongoing partnership is our collaborative approach and significant sharing of resources as we serve both individual citizens and other libraries.

Such a partnership requires dedication and perseverance. It’s easy to collaborate and share resources when times are great, budgets are flush, and organizations are fully staffed. When times are more challenging, the test of the partnership relies on the core values we all hold dear: to do all we can do to ensure that free access to library materials remains uninhibited.

This requires trust –trust between us as partners, and the trust we build with our communities so they know we stand at the ready to make sure public libraries remain sacred places that cherish the values of free access, privacy, enlightenment, and intellectual freedom.

Portland Public Library embodies these values and so much more. It’s a special place, embedded in the heart of the greater Portland community. PPL welcomes all, serves as a place of pride for the community, and preserves the best of our democratic values.

Keep up the great work, Portland Public! We are so honored to be your partner in bringing essential library services to Maine people. May your next 150 years be as exciting and terrific as the first.

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