Life of the Library

What’s new?

The Most Wonderful Time of the Year

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

It’s our favorite time of year: Time to break out the banned books and movies, time to celebrate intellectual freedom and the right to read and watch and think what you like.

Here at the Library, one of the ways we celebrate is to watch movies based on banned books, and this year we have a great line-up of Thursday night films.

We’ve also made some lists for you: Movies about censorship, movies based on banned books, and a list of movies that, for whatever reason, were banned in various countries.

So read a banned book or watch a banned movie. Better yet, write a banned book or make a banned movie. Celebrate your intellectual freedom.



The 1968 Project – August

posted: , by Raminta Moore
tags: Library Collections | Recommended Reads | Adults | Seniors | Art & Culture

The 1968 Project aims to highlight some of the historic events of the year. From protests and famous battles to chart-topping popular hits and box office smashing film, 1968 was a huge historical year with reverberations that we still feel today. The 1968 Project looks to grab snippets of these events on a monthly basis and list them here with links for further exploration.

August 1st
Canada begins to replace their currency containing silver, with nickel.

Kurt Vonnegut’s Welcome to the Monkey House is published.

August 3rd
Hang ’em High, starring Clint Eastwood is released in theaters.

August 7th
A protest against the discrimination of Black citizens turned violent after police arrived to disperse the crowd in the neighborhood of Liberty City, outside of Miami. The protest was arranged to coincide with the Republican National Convention being held in Miami.

The Republican National Convention is held in Miami where former Vice President Richard Nixon, is nominated as the Republican candidate for President.

August 11th
The Beatles release their own record label, Apple Records. 

August 12th
Big Brother and the Holding Company releases Cheap Thrills.

August 17th
The 170 members of the Soviet Communist Party’s Central Committee decide to invade Czechoslovakia.

Actress, Mia Farrow drove across the border from El Paso, Texas into Mexico in order to obtain a divorce from singer, Frank Sinatra. The pair had been married for roughly 8 months.

Saundra Williams of Pennsylvania, becomes the first Miss Black America. Miss Black America was created in protest to the Miss America Pageant as they saw a disproportionate amount of minorities in that pagent.

August 19th
Physicist and science writer, George Gamow passed away at age 64.

August 20th
The Prague Spring ends as 500,000 Soviet troops, 6,300 tanks, 550 combat aircraft and 250 transport planes cross the border into Czechoslovakia. This was the largest military exercise since the end of WWII.

Photo from “CIA Analysis of the Warsaw Pact Forces: The Importance of Clandestine Reporting”

August 21st
Etta James releases her album, Tell Mama.

August 22nd
The Democratic National Convention begins in Chicago. The party nominates Hubert Humphrey for President and Maine Senator, Edmund Muskie for Vice President.

During the convention, protests against the Vietnam War start outside of the convention. 10,000 protestors were met by 23,000 National Guardsmen and police. Four days of protest passed and 668 people were arrested and close to 500 protestors were injured, mostly by law enforcement. Organizers of the protest, dubbed The Chicago Eight, were charged with the intent to start a riot. Members of the Eight included Abbie Hoffman, Tom Hayden, David Dellinger, Rennie Davis, John Froines, Jerry Rubin, Lee Weiner, and Bobby Seale.

August 23rd
Nigeria launched its final assault against secessionist Biafra. Over the next several months, thousands of civilians were slaughtered as troops were instructed to “shoot anything that moves.”

August 25th
Arthur Ashe becomes the first African American to win the tennis US Singles Tournament.

August 26th
The Beatles release Hey Jude, which becomes their highest selling single ever.

August 27th
Tom Wolfe publishes his counter culture non-fiction title, The Electric Kool-aid Acid Test.

August 30th
The Byrds release Sweetheart of the Rodeo.


Control Those Porcupines: UMaine Extension Bulletins

posted: , by Hazel Koziol
tags: Library Collections | Adults | Portland History | Science & Technology

A bulletin cover with the title "Control Those Porcupines."Have you been looking for some decades-old wisdom about “Growing Snap Beans for Canning”? We’ve got you covered. Reminiscing about “Beginning with Bees in Maine” in days gone by? Check. Have you been losing sleep wondering whether PPL has anything about “Transporting Maine Potatoes by Truck” from 1962? Well, toss and turn no more. Thanks to newly added catalog records originally created by our colleagues at Fogler Library in Orono, PPL’s collection of University of Maine Extension Service bulletins and circulars are now represented and easily findable by title or subject.

Extension services were first established in America in 1914 with the adoption of the Smith-Lever Act (stay with me!), which sought to empower farmers and rural families (and anyone, really) by supplying them with the latest information related to agriculture, home economics, health & nutrition, and other subjects. One of the primary ways this information was able to reach a wide audience was via bulletins and circulars, ranging from simple trifold brochures to 20-page booklets. They were often illustrated, perhaps with a diagram to explain how to test cream for butterfat, or with photographs depicting the ailments caused by lack of calcium.

Three bulletin covers all depicting potatoes: first, a potato on a plate with title "Potatoes from the Consumer's Standpoint"; second, "Growing Maine Potatoes for Chips" shows both potatoes and chips; last, a display of potatoes packaged with advertisements.

In a 1957 address, “Philosophy of Extension Work,” Arthur L. Deering, Dean and Director of the University of Maine College of Agriculture, mused about the nature of the Maine Extension Service and similar organizations all over the country. The philosophy of extension services, he said, “finds its best soil in that agent who has a heartfelt desire to help others and a strong belief in the ability of people to help themselves, once the way is pointed out and their interest aroused” (p. 5). Psst… that doesn’t sound too unlike a public library!

One bulletin cover depicts a woman demonstrating use of electric lamp; a second bulletin cover depicts a farmer spreading DDT on potato cropsPPL has about 250+ of these original bulletins and circulars in our Portland Room Archives, and they make for an interesting—and at times entertaining—window into a time before widespread factory farming, increased urbanization, and digital society. From instructions on the application of DDT (banned for agricultural use in 1972) to tips for transitioning from kerosene lamps to electric lighting, an afternoon spent browsing these bulletins from the Extension’s early years is something like library-assisted time travel.

Much of PPL’s bulletin collection was published in the ‘30s and ‘40s, and the A bulletin cover with the title "Less Ring Rot Means More Food For Freedom" with a large V for victory.concerns of the UMaine Extension reflect the concerns of WWII-era America. Extension services at this time were charged by Congress with recruiting emergency agricultural workers and overseeing the Farm Labor program, an effort that is plainly evident in dozens of circulars’ headings: “Green and yellow vegetables on the firing line”; “Milk and bullets fight together”; “Raise rabbits in wartime: food and fur are ammunition.” Several pamphlets urge teenagers to spend their summer vacations as Victory Farm Volunteers and implore women to consider joining the Women’s Emergency Farm Service.

For all the historical value of this collection, it’s worth noting that our local Extension Services are far from a thing of the past. UMaine Cooperative Extension is still very active, with fourteen offices spread out among Maine’s sixteen counties. The bulletins continue as well, now available to download for free from the Extension’s website. For example, the recent Bulletin 1061 enumerates the ways smartphones can be used to benefit farm business. As they have for a century, extension services are continuously adapting to the latest research and changes in technology to meet the needs of healthy, empowered communities.

"Extension is to aid. That is, it is not to be the sole agency diffusing 'among the people,' not the rural people only, nor the urban, nor the well-to-do, nor those on the family-sized farm, but the inference is to all the people." - Arthur L. Deering, 1957

View Posts by Date:
Filter Posts:
Connect with the Library: