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PPL Welcomes Alix: PPL Lending Desk Supervisor

posted: , by Heather Wasklewicz
tags: Adults

Alix Towler, Lending Desk Supervisor at Portland Public Library

“I’m so excited to be part of the staff at lending at PPL. I love being part of this vibrant space where the community comes for great stories, information, art, and exploration. I look forward to meeting you – all of our community members who use this space – and helping you get the library items you want and need.”

Alix comes to PPL with both Library and Social Work experience. Alix began working in libraries as an undergraduate at the University of North Carolina where she worked as a Circulation Assistant. After graduation, she worked at Duke University Libraries as a team leader for a re-cataloging project before moving on to the UNC Chapel Hill libraries to work as a Digitization Specialist for their Internet Archive. She also served as a Law Library Circulation Assistant at the University of Hawaii before moving to a Social Worker position at the Public Defender’s Office in Charlotte, NC where she spent almost 5 years. Most recently, Alix was the Venue and Special Events Manager for the Full Frame Film Fest, Camden International Film Fest, and Milwaukee Film Fest.

Alix has worked with adult learners teaching technology classes, GED classes, and ESOL classes. She has a BA in Journalism from the University of North Carolina, a Masters in Social Work from the University of Hawaii at Manoa and a Graduate Certificate from the SALT Institute. Alix currently does freelance documentary work and is working on a graphic novel.

Welcome, Alix!


PPL Welcomes Kristen: Director of Development and External Relations

posted: , by Heather Wasklewicz
tags: About the Library | Adults

Kristen Smith, Director of Development and External Relations

“I believe the urban library plays a crucial role as a hub of civic engagement and social justice, providing space and resources that inspire learning, imagination, awareness, conversation, warmth, and community. I am honored to join the amazing team at PPL as it constantly evolves and grows to meet the needs of the Portland community.”

We are thrilled to welcome Kristen Smith to the Portland Public Library team as our Director of Development and External Relations. She brings to PPL a lifelong love of books and community, having spent the last 25 years working in a variety of non-profit organizations specializing in fundraising, communications, and storytelling. She collaborates with staff, Boards of Directors, colleagues, and the public to effect change through creative communications, marketing, and development work. Her focus is the strategy, design, and process of engaging annual donors, potential donors, event participants, volunteers, and the community to support an organization’s mission and programs.

Kristen has extensive experience in marketing, fundraising, and communications for a variety of issues addressing multiple constituencies.  She came to PPL from Maine Cancer Foundation, where she served as the Director of Community Engagement, telling the story of the Foundation’s work to end the threat of cancer in Maine, and generating support to achieve their mission. Before MCF, she spent 11 years with Maine-based Planet Dog, a designer and developer of premium dog products as the Brand Ambassador. She simultaneously served as the Executive Director of their charitable arm, the Planet Dog Foundation, administering more than $1 million in grants.

She also spent 6 years on the board of Portland Independent Business and Community Alliance, the parent organization of the Portland Buy Local initiative, chairing the Development Committee and serving as President. Her career has also included community development work in Costa Rica and Nicaragua, managing a Spanish language school in Guatemala, running a small business development program for survivors of domestic violence in Boston, advocating for civil legal rights in Massachusetts, and specialty writing for various journals and nonprofits.

Kristen was raised in Waterville, but left Maine to try living in Connecticut, Berkeley, CA, Madison, WI, Costa Rica, and Cambridge, MA. She returned to Maine for good in 2004, and now lives in Portland. She enjoys Maine’s bounty of sustainable and locally-owned businesses, locally sourced food, beer, and spirits, diverse music scene, and breathtaking places to explore with her adorable rescue dog, Lucy. She has traveled extensively throughout the world, often seeking new places to scuba dive and maintain her fluency in Spanish.

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