The variety and range of libraries and the issues that are part of their daily and strategic concerns are not always obvious to the general public. There is not a shortage of coverage of specific issues facing libraries such as e-books, funding, etc. and occasionally there is a more general survey about the future of libraries or how they are evolving. For national audiences, the May 14th Wall Street Journal article,“The Library’s Future Is Not an Open Book” does a fine job giving a sense of the challenges and rationale that urban libraries face nationwide and how it is being addressed through planning and architecture. One will see echoes and demonstrations of PPL in that piece.
For Mainers seeking to understand our statewide library landscape the newest issue of the Maine Policy Review offers a wonderful blend of comment on the history, philosophy, service and strategic challenges associated with Maine’s libraries.
Derivative tends not be a compliment as it implies lack of creativity or more recently a bad financial instrument. But let’s be honest, many great ideas in all areas aren’t new (like bookmobiles) and libraries mostly work with the basics of those ideas and spin them to serve some niche. PPL like other libraries lends a variety of unexpected materials including telescopes (brought to us through our partnership with Cornerstones of Science), Kill a Watt energy detectors (given to us by a private donor),and most recently ukuleles modeled on the idea first demonstrated by the Newport (Maine) Cultural Center and neighboring Falmouth (Maine) Memorial Library.
Even Isaac Newton acknowledged the contributions to his work of those before him. It is a pleasure (and an ethical obligation) for us to acknowledge this tradition of public libraries.
Start with your kids and then each other and then with yourself! PPL is grateful to be among the founding partners of the newly formed ConnectEd effort in Portland. We plan to have a major impact in the effort to increase Pre-K reading in Portland. We won’t be in it alone as we will be working with terrific partners like the United Way, Portland Schools and other organizations. But it will take passionate individuals as well who believe deeply that reading is the greatest gift that parents, schools, libraries and society as a whole can bestow on any one individual.
There will be many ways to reach children, families and individuals in the City. Our commitment is to utilize everything in our power – our staff, volunteers, deposit collections, branches and our new bookmobile – to infect this City with a reading bug. The bookmobile funding plan, design and service strategy has been three years in the making. It arrived today after a 4 day cross country drive from Las Vegas looking like an old friend who is ready to lend a hand.