The Portland Public Library announced today that Sarah I. Campbell has been selected by the Library’s Board of Trustees to serve as the Library’s new Executive Director, effective July 11, 2015. Ms. Campbell, who is currently PPL’s Associate Director, will succeed Stephen Podgajny, who announced in June 2014 his decision to retire after nine years of service as Executive Director.
“Sarah is a thoughtful and articulate leader whose passion for public libraries, and Portland Public Library in particular, is infectious,” said Eric Altholz, PPL’s Board President. “Sarah has a compelling vision for the future of the Library, and the Board is thrilled about this appointment.”
Selected after a nine-month national search, Ms. Campbell holds a BA from Swarthmore College and an MLS from the University of Michigan’s School of Information. She has served as PPL’s Associate Director since April 2013, and prior to that served as PPL’s Department Head for Lending Services, Technical Services, and Systems for 12 years. Ms. Campbell was the founding Director of Library and Learning Resources at York County Technical College (now York County Community College) for 3 years before coming to PPL. She also worked at the University of New England in Biddeford in its College of Professional and Continuing Studies. Ms. Campbell currently serves on the NetworkMaine Council which manages MSLN, the internet service network for Maine’s schools and libraries, and serves as a delegate from the Americas Region on the OCLC Global Council which advises the largest non-profit library services cooperative in the world.
“Sarah is tremendously skilled at building partnerships, which is a critical focus at PPL,” said Beth Bordowitz, the PPL Trustee who chaired the search committee. “Her national status in the library field and her grasp of emerging trends will ensure that the Library will remain at the forefront of how to best serve patrons in an increasingly digitized world. She also brings a commitment and passion to traditional library services and to preserving critical parts of Portland’s history.”
“I am very excited to work with PPL’s talented staff to expand the Library’s forward-looking programs and services and its growing number of partnerships with authors, leaders, businesses, and other non-profits,” said Ms. Campbell. “We are dedicated to strengthening the community, to serving as a critical educational resource for our fellow citizens, and to telling Portland’s amazing story. Portland is on the move – and PPL is on the move with it.”
Ms. Campbell takes the helm as PPL prepares to celebrate its 150th birthday in 2017. Chartered in 1867, PPL is Maine’s oldest and largest public library system and is the most visited cultural institution in Maine, serving 675,000 visitors annually at four branch locations and a mobile library. PPL serves as the Southern Maine Area Research and Resource Center, providing critical services to numerous other Maine libraries and their patrons. The Library has been recognized nationally for service innovation and has recently been selected to host a visit from Shakespeare’s First Folio in 2016.
Fee collection on overdue materials is a fact of life in the library world. Even librarians have been known to rack up a tab on late books every once in a while! While no one likes paying a late fee, the truth is that this income is critical to PPL’s ability to offer a positive user experience to our patrons and visitors.
With that in mind, starting on March 16, 2015, we will be lowering our maximum carrying level for fees. Starting on that date, if you owe more than $5.00, you will not be able to borrow or renew materials or use public computers until the fees are paid or until arrangements have been made. Our lending teams at all locations are ready to work with patrons as we all make this transition.
You may have some questions about this change and about fees in general. Hopefully the answers below will help, but our staff at all locations are always ready to walk you through paying your fees.
How much of an impact do fees have on the library’s budget?
In FY2014, PPL collected more than $78,000 in fees. This income goes primarily to support collection activities like adding books, reference materials, DVDs, and other items to our collections as well as supporting the repair of existing holdings. When you go to the shelves, you expect to find clean, up-to-date, and useable materials; fees are essential in making sure we can provide you with that experience.
What’s the difference between fees and the Annual Campaign?
It’s not uncommon to hear folks say, “Sure, I give to the library – I pay my late fees!” While both fees and gifts to the Annual Campaign do support critical needs at PPL, they generally support different areas of PPL’s operation. As noted above, fees are strongly tied to our ability to curate our collection, while Annual Gifts are prioritized for our programs and outreach. Both fees and gifts are vital income sources help ensure that your library experience – the materials you borrow and the programs and outreach that grow out of those collections – is all it should be.
How can I pay my fees?
Any of our Lending Team members can help you with fee payment. You can also pay your fees securely online. Once you use your card number to log into MyPPL, just check the “fines” tab for information and an online payment link.
Still have questions? Contact the lending staff at your preferred PPL branch location during open hours or call the main lending office at 207-871-1700, ext. 730.
There is one word that makes a librarian especially happy, and yesterday it was said again and again. “Neutrality” was the word of the day, as the Federal Communications Commission agreed to recognize Internet infrastructure as a public utility. This is exciting news. It has been an issue for over 10 years, starting in 2005 when the FCC voted to reclassify DSL broadband service, away from being an “information service” to instead be called a “telecommunications service,” effectively allowing Internet service providers to hide their infrastructure allowing it to be riddled with unfair practices.
But yesterday’s decision ensures that access to the Internet will be based on fair and equitable practices. FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler says: “the landmark open-Internet protections that we adopted today should reassure consumers, innovators and financial markets about the broadband future of our nation.”