National Novel Writing Month, or the snappily abbreviated NaNoWriMo, is well under way all over the world. For seventeen years, November’s thirty days have been embraced by budding novelists eager for a challenge: write 50,000 words, or an average of 1,666 words every day of the month. More than 400,000 participants have created free profiles on the official NaNoWriMo website, a hub for literary wisdom and inspiration, networking, and digital badge incentives. Maybe you are already participating, or maybe you’ll mark next year’s calendar, but either way, check out what PPL is doing to encourage and empower independent authors in our community.
SELF-e is a discovery platform designed to expose self-published ebooks to more readers through the public library. Authors submit their ebooks through a simple online form and decide if they’d like their book to go to libraries in their state with books from other local indie authors and/or to Library Journal to be evaluated for possible inclusion in a curated, national product.
PPL hosts a monthly Writers’ Meet-Up on second Thursday evenings. This is an opportunity to get feedback on short excerpts of your work and to be inspired by fellow writers. Or, if you’re feeling a little stuck and have nothing to share just yet, maybe you’d like to join the monthly journaling group at PPL. This is a supportive environment for creative, reflective writing, with the options to follow prompts and to share work.
The Portland Room and Archives has several resources that are useful when researching the history of a given business or industry. The Maine Register is a business directory covering the State of Maine. It is organized by county and then towns within the county. Included is a classified business index and a manufacturers’ section, which includes the names and locations of businesses as well as the names of owners or principal officers, purchasing agents and sales offices. There are also a lot of other fun facts included as well, for example, how the counties voted for governor and presidential candidates in election years, and current postage rates.
The Annual Report of the Bureau of Industrial and Labor Statistics for the State of Maine, covering 1887-1910, often contain extensive reports on industries in Maine in a given year. The 1890 edition is dedicated to agriculture and the strikes among the granite workers that year.
Another great print resource is Edward H. Elwell’s 1875 edition “The Successful Business Houses of Portland.” Organized by type of business and then business names, he gives a history of the business and goods they sell or manufacture.
Charles F. Guptill & Co. ca. 1910 from the Portland Room Photo Archives
Sometimes information about businesses can be gleaned from viewing the PPL’s Picture and Photo Collections.
The newspapers can be sources of information for this type of research. There are two indexes that can be used. The Jordan Index covers sixteen newspapers, primarily published in Portland, between 1785-1835. The Maine News Index covers the Press Herald newspapers between 1945-1992. After 1992, the newspapers can be found in the Maine Newsstand database.
Finally, check out PPL’s Digital Commons. Much of what you find here are abstracts of articles the Portland Room has in print. We have also digitized the 1882 Goodwin Atlas and the 1914 Richards Atlas, that show streets, addresses, footprints of buildings and what the buildings are made of, as well as a print copy of 1957 Sanborn fire insurance map.
Shiver me timbers—it’s International Talk Like a Pirate Day!
Celebrated annually on Sept. 19, this yo-ho-ho-holiday began in 1995 and was created by Oregon friends John Baur and Mark Summers. It has since become a cult phenomenon, giving swashbuckers the opportunity to yell out “Arrr!” and “Blimey!” for an entire day.
Ahoy matey, need help with your pirate knowledge? Portland Public Library has you covered. Use this list to read up on your pirates. If you are looking to learn some phrases, you can use the creators’ webpage, they even have a page of Pirate Pickup lines, or check out this pirate glossary. But to become a true expert in Pirate speak, try our free language program, Mango Languages. There is an entire course dedicated to learning to speak like a Pirate. The first lesson is “Captain’s Orders” and the conversational goals include: Call Someone Names, Express Surprise, Give Sailing Commands, Greet a Friend and a Superior, and Pay a Compliment. So give it a try today and surprise your friends with ye knowledge of pirates and pirate language.