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Be Free to Read! September Staff Picks

posted: , by Elizabeth Hartsig
tags: Recommended Reads | Adults | Teens | Kids & Families | Seniors | Art & Culture

It’s a fact: Shel Silverstein’s book of poetry, A Light in the Attic, was once banned because the poem “How Not to Have to Dry the Dishes” purportedly encouraged children “to break dishes so they won’t have to dry them.” Some might see the humor there, but as Maine’s own oft-banned, oft-challenged Stephen King once wrote, “Censorship in a free society is always a serious matter.”

Books by Sherman Alexie, Isabel Allende, Mark Twain, and Toni Morrison at PPL.

Books by Sherman Alexie, Isabel Allende, Mark Twain, and Toni Morrison at PPL.

September 27-October 3 is Banned Books Week nationwide, and at PPL we’re celebrating the freedom to read–which, truthfully, we like to celebrate all the time! (Click for more information and resources from the American Library Association on Banned and Challenged Books, Banned Books Week, and Frequently Challenged Books). This month our staff is sharing quotations from banned or challenged books.


Mary’s Picks

“I wish I were a rock,’ he said, and he became a rock.” -from Sylvester and the Magic Pebble





Blood and Chocolate, by Annette Curtis Klause

“I’d like to give you my heart, but since that might be inconvenient, I’ve brought you someone else’s.”-from Blood and Chocolate




Laura’s Pick



Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, by J.K. Rowling

“You fail to recognize that it matters not what someone is born, but what they grow to be!”

- Albus Dumbledore, from Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire



Hazel’s Pick


The Perks of Being a Wallflower, by Stephen Chbosky

“And I thought that all those little kids are going to grow up someday. And all of those little kids are going to do the things that we do. And they will all kiss someone someday. But for now, sledding is enough. I think it would be great if sledding were always enough, but it isn’t.” -from The Perks of Being a Wallflower


Carrie’s Pick


It’s Perfectly Normal: A Book About Changing Bodies, Growing Up, Sex, and Sexual Health, by Robie H. Harris

“Unfortunately, kids tease each other about the ways their bodies look and grow during puberty.” -from It’s Perfectly Normal






Sonya’s Pick



The Great Gatsby, by F. Scott Fitzgerald

“In his blue gardens men and girls came and went like moths among the whisperings and the champagne and the stars.” -from The Great Gatsby



George’s Pick

americantragedyAn American Tragedy, by Theodore Dreiser

It was as though there was an unsurmountable wall or impenetrable barrier between them, built by the lack of understanding – for it was just that. She would never understand his craving for ease and luxury, for beauty, for love – his particular kind of love that went with show, pleasure, wealth, position, his eager and immutable aspirations and desires. She could not understand these things. She would look on all of it as sin – evil, selfishness. And in connection with all the fatal steps involving Roberta and Sondra, as adultery – unchastity – murder, even. – from An American Tragedy


Brandie’s Pick

fun homeFun Home: A Family Tragicomic, by Alison Bechdel


“I’d been upstaged, demoted from protagonist in my own drama to comic relief in my parents’ tragedy.”-from Fun Home




Samantha’s Pick



Frankenstein, Or, The Modern Prometheus, by Mary Shelley

“Beware; for I am fearless, and therefore powerful.”-from Frankenstein





Sarah’s Pick



Lord of the Flies, by William Golding

“The thing is – fear can’t hurt you any more than a dream.”-from Lord of the Flies




Raminta’s Pick



A Good Man is Hard to Find and Other Stories, by Flannery O’Connor

“She took care of it as someone else would his soul, in private and almost with her own eyes turned away.” from “Good Country People”




Artwork courtesy of the American Library Association.

Artwork courtesy of the American Library Association.


Patti’s Pick

One of my favorite banned books is American Psycho, by Bret Easton Ellis. I consider this to be one of the most obscene passages in the book. It’s a description of Patrick Bateman’s office:

americanpsycho“The Stubbs painting should probably go over the life-size Doberman that’s in the corner ($700 at Beauty and the Beast in Trump Tower) or maybe it would look better over the Pacrizinni antique table that sits next to the Doberman. I get up and move all these sporting magazines from the forties–they cost me thirty bucks apiece–that I bought at Funchies, Bunkers, Gaks and Gleeks, and then I lift the Stubbs painting off the wall and balance it on the table then sit back at my desk and fiddle with the pencils I keep in a vintage German beer stein I got from Man-tiques. The Stubbs looks good in either place. A reproduction Black Forest umbrella stand ($675 at Hubert des Forges) sits in another corner without, I’m just noticing, any umbrellas in it.” -from American Psycho


Elizabeth’s Pick


The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, by Sherman Alexie

“I grabbed my book and opened it up. I wanted to smell it. Heck, I wanted to kiss it. Yes, kiss it. That’s right, I am a book kisser. Maybe that’s kind of perverted or maybe it’s just romantic and highly intelligent.” from The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian



Brandon’s Pick



Grendel, by John Gardner

“‘Poor Grendel’s had an accident,’ I whisper. ‘So may you all.’” -from Grendel







Wendy and Lisa’s Pick

To Kill A Mockingbird, by Harper Lee

to kill a mockbird


“But things are always better in the morning.” -from To Kill a Mockingbird





Kathleen’s Pick


Flowers for Algernon, by Daniel Keyes

“I see now that the path I choose through that maze makes me what I am. I am not only a thing, but also a way of being–one of many ways–and knowing the paths I have followed and the ones left to take will help me understand what I am becoming.” -from Flowers for Algernon






As always- thanks for reading! And if you’re looking for other ways to celebrate the freedom to read, pair these Staff Picks with our Banned Books Film Series 2015 on Thursday nights throughout October at the Main Library.


The Criterion Collection

posted: , by Patti DeLois
tags: Library Collections | Adults | Teens | Seniors | Art & Culture

indexCATJS2NXSince we’ve been displaying Videoport’s generous donation of dvds, specifically The Criterion Collection, we’ve had a lot of questions about what the Criterion Collection is, and why it contains so many foreign films.

The purpose of the Criterion Collection is to select the best of international cinema and publish these movies in the highest quality edition possible. Then they add extras that illuminate the film making process, such as “making of” documentaries, interviews with directors, cast, and crew, etc. Sometimes there’s a discussion with the composer who wrote the score; sometimes there’s footage of the film’s reception at a film festival.

In any event, whether you are a passionate cinemaphile or just a casually interested viewer, the Criterion Collection can teach you a lot about the art of film. If you’ve ever longed to throw around phrases like “French New Wave,” or “Italian neorealism,” the Criterion Collection can help.

Here’s a list to get you started:

French New Wave

Gearing up for Sep-STEM-ber!

posted: , by Hazel Koziol
tags: Programs & Events | Adults | Teens | Kids & Families | Seniors | Science & Technology

STEM is an acronym for Science, Technology, Engineering and Math, and is used to refer collectively to any subjects within these fields—everything from botany to robotics. Next month, PPL will kick off some seriously STEM-centric programming for kids, teens, adults and families. Happy Sep-STEM-ber!

A 3D printer is coming to the Public Computing department! 3D printing is a process of layering a special kind of plastic (called “filament”) according to a design file. Meet our model, the Makerbot Replicator 2 here, and check out tons of possible creations at Thingiverse. Stay tuned for more information about opportunities to see the Makerbot in action and to submit your own files for printing!

Building with Legos can teach young people about STEM concepts like geometry, mechanics, and the spirit of invention… but it’s not just for children! Four Lego clubs will start the first full week of September:

Children (ages 7 to 12): Tuesdays, 3:30-5

Teens (ages 13 to 19): Wednesdays, 2:30-4

Adults (18+): Thursdays, 5:30-7

Families @ Riverton (all ages): Saturdays, 11-12:30

PPL will host Digital Diligence, a series of six workshops dealing with online safety and privacy, at the end of September. The programs will cover topics like creating strong passwords, Facebook security, and cyberbullying. Check out the full list with specific dates and times here (and note that registration is required for a few).

Our lunchtime science cafes will also continue next month. On September 17th, stop by to hear about birds from researchers from the Biodiversity Research Institute. The following week’s topic is the science of addiction, presented by Dr. Ed Bilsky from UNE. More info.

Keep an eye out for fresh STEM book lists, an upcoming fiber workshop for teens, and a microscope patrons will be able to check out and take home. And finally, while all this cool new stuff is going on, don’t forget about ongoing individual computer tutoring and Girl Gamer Saturdays for teens.


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