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Community forum: Peaks Island Branch Library and Community Center Renovation Plans

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

Over the past 14 months, Portland Public Library staff have worked with the leadership of the Friends of the Peaks Island Library and with City staff, particularly in the Recreation Department, to develop a new vision for the Library/Community Center. We have discussed various strategies for increasing and enhancing functionality, efficiency, and enjoyment of services. We have incorporated the great energy and ideas from the Community Forum which we held on Peaks in April 2013, have analyzed the current condition of the building, and have begun developing a plan for the Center.

Our goal is to maximize internal space, update necessary systems to meet all codes, resolve ergonomic problems, and – most importantly – create a comfortable and welcoming space for reading, exploration, and learning. At this point, our plan is to begin renovation in Fall of 2015.

Thanks to the generosity of the Friends, we have contracted with architect Dick Reed to develop a preliminary design that captures these ideas. We will pursue this design with the City shortly but would love more community input as we finalize the plans. Please join us for another Community Forum, on Wednesday, September 10 at 7pm. We look forward to your thoughts, reactions, and input. If you cannot attend but have questions or suggestions, please call 871-1700 x759 or send email to

The Peaks Island Library and Community Center is a special part of island life, and we are excited to build its future.

August 26th = Women’s Equality Day

posted: , by Kim Simmons
tags: Adults | Teens | Kids & Families | Seniors | Government

August 26th was National Women’s Equality Day, a day to commemorate the accomplishment of the passage of the 19th Amendment.

The story of the  women’s suffrage movement is not a well known one, but it is an extraordinary tale of persistence (80 years were spent working on the enfranchisement of women in the USA) and daring (Alice Paul led a hunger strike to call attention to prison abuse happening to suffragettes) and innovative social movement tactics — while the image of the Victorian Lady (Downtown Abbey) might dominate in popular culture, the variety of ways that suffragettes embraced and challenged constructions of femininity to create political opportunities fascinates me.  As we gear up toward another chance to VOTE in Maine (69 days left as of August 26th 2014), consider learning a bit more about the events that led up to August 26th, 1920.

Download the National Women’s History Project 2014 brochure :

Or check out these updated book lists:

Just for fun, you might also want to view this video –  Bad Romance : Women’s Suffrage (a take on the Lady Gaga classic)


Munjoy Observer (1962-1965) added to Digital Commons

posted: , by Gabrielle Daniello
tags: Adults | Portland History

In 1962, the city of Portland launched its third urban renewal project – the Munjoy South Urban Renewal Project. Intended to address what was perceived as “urban blight,” to use the language of the day, the project encompassed 79 acres of land between Congress, Mountfort, and Fore Streets, and the Eastern Promenade, and identified buildings and blocks that would be demolished entirely, as well as individual structures that needed to be improved or rehabilitated. The agency that oversaw this project, the Portland Renewal Authority, published a monthly (more or less) newsletter called the Munjoy Observer. Through the newsletter, the agency hoped to provide information and address concerns about the project. Today, the newsletters provide an interesting look at how the city coped with change fifty years ago.

Munjoy observer_Summer 1963_1 The Portland Room has digitized our issues of this newsletter and uploaded them to Digital Commons.

To read individual issues, click here:


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