On Tuesday, June 24th, Portland Public Library’s Choose Civility Initiative and City of Reader’s Team hosted Dr. Susan Feiner, USM professor of economics and gender and women studies and Garrett Martin, executive director of Maine Center for Economic Policy to help us better understand the work of Thomas Piketty and the book Capital in the 21st Century.
More than 40 people attended the event, out of curiosity about the ideas in the book and also curiosity about why this particular book became such a bestseller at this time. Those who couldn’t make it can find some tidbits and links at our dedicated Twitter hastag #pplpiketty.
Anyone who would like to sink teeth into text, please contact Jason who would like to organize a reading group around the book (this is NOT a library sponsored call but a private one).
If you’d like further information or an opportunity to explore the ideas more, please let us know in the comments section or by email. Similarly, if you have ideas for other programs based on current nonfiction, we’d love to know what you’re curious about!
And, for more reading suggestions, check out our book list, updated to include suggestions from the panelists.
by Elizabeth Hartsig
The Portland Public Library is celebrating Pride Month with exciting and informative exhibits, films, and events. Here’s a run-down of what’s going on with Pride at PPL in June, as well as some resources you can access all year round:
Wednesday, June 18, Portland Public Library is partnering with Portland Pride to bring “Pride Maine LGBT History: Life and Activism in the 1970s,” a panel discussion and exhibit. Hear from the early LGBT activists whose efforts to organize polarized Maine and made national news.
Saturday, June 21, look for PPL’s Bookmobile in the Pride Parade! Volunteers from the PPL staff and community will be marching with the Bookmobile and passing out bookmarks with lists of great LGBT-related reads. We’ll have a special display of PPL’s Pride-related materials on the Bookmobile ready to be checked out when the parade stops at Deering Oaks.
If you duck away from the crowds on June 21, the Main Library will be having a Pride Film Festival, showing classic titles all day in the Rines Auditorium.
Pride-related films will also be showing on Thursday nights at the Main Library each week in June.
In addition to our calendar of special events and programming, Pride Month is a great time to explore the library’s historic and up-to-the-minute collections.
In the Portland Room, you can check out “Our Paper: A Voice for Lesbians and Gay Males in Maine,” a publication preserved on microfilm (1983-1990). Or if you just want to hop on our website and are curious about, say, Pride Week in Portland in 1996, take a look at Casco Bay Weekly. (In addition to the bold typography of CBW’s June 13 cover, there’s a thoughtful article called “Pride 1996” on p. 8 with great black-and-white photographs). You can see digital scans of each Casco Bay Weekly issue published from 1988 to 2004 at PPL’s Digital Commons.
Another archive we’re tapping into during Pride Week is the Portland Press Herald Still-Film Negative Collection. A display of photographs from past Pride Weeks (including some shots from Portland’s very first Pride Parade in 1987) will grace the hallways of the Main Library around the Lewis Gallery.
Our staff have created handy catalog lists of Pride-related resources from throughout the library for Children, Teens, and Adults (which you can check out any month of the year!).
● Youth Services offers Rainbow Celebration for kids.
● Teen has a list of excellent Non-Fiction Resources for teens as well as Fiction.
● If you’re interested in memoir, legal advice, politics, art, family, etc, head for the Reference Staff’s Pride at PPL: Great Non-Fiction list.
● For film buffs, we’ve got LGBT issues in non-fiction and a suggested list of films for a Pride Film Festival.
● Our Reader’s Advisory team offers a list that celebrates Pride at PPL: Fiction, including Stonewall Award winners as well as other complex and compelling works that tackle love, gender, sex, identity, and more. Take home a copy of Kim Fu’s just-released 2014 novel, “For Today I am a Boy;” 2013 Stonewall Winner Ellis Avery’s “The Last Nude;” or pick up a classic like Leslie Feinberg’s “Stone Butch Blues.”
Remember, these lists are just a selection of materials at the library! Sleuth our catalog or check in with the librarians and staff at the Main Branch, Burbank, Peaks, Riverton, and on the Bookmobile for more resources and information.
That’s a wrap! As always, we look forward to seeing you at PPL.
Thomas Piketty’s book “Capital In the 21st Century” has surprised some by becoming a NYT Bestseller and a Longfellow Books top seller, too! It is surprising only because the book is long and long on data and we’ve become accustomed to assuming that our public conversations are fueled on tweets rather than tomes. However, the exploration of wealth and income inequality in society –and in particular, in modern Western societies including the United States — intersects with a lived reality that is sobering, perplexing and requires complex responses.
The Portland Public Library’s “Choose Civility” Initiative and City of Readers’ Team are thrilled to invite economists Susan Feiner and Garrett Martin to help us better understand the data and the arguments made in Picketty’s book and to answer questions about the text. Our evening will also include ample opportunity for discussion about the book and the ideas raised in it.
If you do not have the book (or time to read the whole thing) there are some great guides and reviews online that provide an overview and some critique:
- The Financial Times posted an in-depth blog post leveraging critiques about Piketty’s data and data analysis; an interesting back and forth has followed.
- Bill Moyers posts lots of related links here and provides more resources and analysis regarding the importance of addressing economic inequality here.
- The New York Times maintains an income inequality topics page.
- Watch a Cornell roundtable on the book
- Watch Senator Elizabeth Warren and author Thomas Picketty discuss inequality via MoveOn
- Read a critique of the book in the Wall Street Journal
- Read a related book on the topic
Use comments to submit questions for Professor Susan Feiner and economist Garrett Martin ahead of time or come participate in what should be a lively civil conversation regarding our shared economy — June 24th at 6:30pm in Meeting Room 5!