All Library locations will be closed on Mon May 28 in honor of Memorial Day. We will re-open for regular hours on Tues May 29, 2018. Looking for something to read or download? Explore our CloudLibrary or check out our resources under the eLibrary tab.

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Montgomery’s View: Family Science Backpacks

posted: , by Mary Peverada
tags: Library Collections | Montgomery's View | Kids & Families


Summer is fast approaching – and we have the perfect tools for your outdoor adventures – Family Science Backpacks.

Science is in everything, and there is no better way to experience it than in the outside world doing something fun. Family Science Backpacks are filled with tools to explore the world with an eye for wonder as a citizen scientist. There are six themes, which include: Birding, Bugs and Butterflies, Hiking (tree and flower identification), Rock Hounding, Star Gazing, and Water Wonder. 

Backpacks can be borrowed for 1 week with any Portland Public Library card in good standing, but an adult needs to be present at the time of check out. A family may borrow one backpack at a time and they are available in the Sam L. Cohen Children’s Library.

The Family Science Backpacks are a joint project of the Library’s Science and Technology and Children’s Teams. This project was made possible through the generous grant from the University of Southern Maine’s Thoughtful Giving Foundation.

The Birding backpack contains binoculars, a bird call, a bird call identification CD, a magnifying glass, and a clipboard case, as well as books for children and adults to identify birds. Patrons are encouraged to explore the Birds of North America database accessible with a library card, and engage in citizen science projects like the Great Backyard Bird Count. 

The Bugs and Butterflies backpack contains a butterfly net, binoculars, a magnifying glass, a two-way bug viewer, an insect habitat, and a clipboard case, as well as books for children and adults to recognize bugs, butterflies, and invasive species. Patrons can contribute to projects like the Monarch Map while using these tools.

The Hiking backpack contains a compass, a magnifying glass, binoculars, a plant press, a head lamp, maps of Peaks Island and Maine’s Southern Coast, a clipboard case, and materials for children and adults to identify and collect samples of trees, wildflowers and wild plants.

The Rock Hounding backpack comes with safety glasses, a rock hammer, a sand scoop, a gold panning bowl, plastic bags to collect specimens, a box of sample specimens, a scale of hardness, a magnifying glass, and a clipboard case. Maine Geological Survey provides a plethora of information on Maine’s geology, including virtual geology tours and descriptions of rock fields.

The Star Gazing backpack comes with binoculars, a red beam flashlight, a folding star chart, a moon map, a space blanket, a magnifying glass, and a clipboard case. Patrons can check it out with one of the library’s telescopes, and learn more about the night sky. There are lots of ways to help astronomers, by looking at moon craters online, looking for solar storms, and more. The library also offers cardholders a pass to the Southworth Planetarium at USM.

The Water Wonder backpack contains an aquascope, a pail and shovel, plastic bags to collect specimens, an aquatic dip net, a magnifying glass, binoculars, and a clipboard case. Patrons can help on projects like the Southern Maine Volunteer Beach Monitors, and the citizen stewards water quality program. 

In addition to these packs, patrons can check out a microscope, seeds, and other scientific tools. The Library is committed to providing science literacy to the community through hands on exploratory tools and opportunities for patrons of all ages. 

Now & Then: art exhibit 150 years in the making

posted: , by Sarah Campbell
tags: Director's Updates | Exhibits & Displays | Adults | Seniors | Art & Culture | Portland History

Visit the new art exhibit in our Lewis Gallery, something special for the Library’s 150th anniversary! We are very proud of this show, Now & Then: PPL’s Collection Reconfigured, a side-by-side exhibit of items from the Library’s own art collection and archives next to new pieces created by 11 local artists in response. These artists toured over 150 prints, paintings, sculptures, and historic documents to select their partner piece.

Our theme for this illustrious 150th year is the significance of our past, and our ongoing impact into the shared strength and riches of our community now and into the future. This show includes art that tells how the Portland Public Library was founded just 6 months after the terrible fire that destroyed Portland in 1866, and the Public Library emerged as one of the “greatest wants” in the community, decades before other great cities including New York and Philadelphia had theirs.

Now and Then

Now and Then Art Exhibit

From 19th-century portraits of Portland’s preeminent philanthropists to Victorian Era fashion books, from age worn maps to grand oil paintings of seascapes, the artists of Now & Then have taken a variety of pieces, applied their creative lens, and generated new works that reimagine their historic, artistic, and cultural impact. To make any librarian proud, many of the artists also researched the history and cultural significance of the original pieces to further inspire their work.

Now & Then includes artists Kenny Cole, Ellen Gutekunst, Séan Alonzo Harris, Larry Hayden, Alison Hildreth, Devon Kelley-Yurdin, Mike Marks, Mitchell Rasor, and Julie Poitras Santos. The exhibit posters were designed and printed by Pickwick Press artists Pilar Nadal and Rachel Kobasa.

We are thrilled to display these Library gems which continue to inspire imagination and new stories, as told through the talents of these wonderful artists. Special thanks to our sponsors People’s United Bank for making this exhibit possible. The Now & Then exhibit is on view until July 22, 2017.

Keep an eye out for our other anniversary activities including My Card, My Story for you to tell us your library story right now! #PPL150 #PPLcelebrates

13 Reasons Why Resource Library

posted: , by Brandie Burrows
tags: Adults | Teens | Health

On May 31st we held an open forum for teens, parents, caregivers and educators on the topic of suicide and 13 Reasons Why. Experts from NAMI Maine, SARSSM, YAAPP, and others were on hand to discuss the Netflix series and the YA novel it is based on. The story revolves around a 17 year old girl, Hannah Baker, who commits suicide. She leaves behind audio recordings to 13 people she perceives as playing a role in her suicide.

Due to the realistic and graphic depictions presented, we wanted to create a resource library for parents, teens, caregivers, and educators to refer to. We will update this list as needed.

Local help and resources:

NAMI Maine (National Alliance on Mental Health)

Sexual Assault Response Service of Southern Maine (SARSSM)

Young Adult Abuse Prevention Program (YAAPP)

Maine Behavioral Healthcare

Portland Defending Childhood

Portland Public Library print resources

Portland Public Library teen resources

National help and resources:

A Counselor’s Guide to Mental Health and Wellness

National Suicide Prevention Hotline (Crisis Text Line), 1-800-273-TALK (8255), or text “START” to 741741

Center for Disease Control Suicide Datasheet

American Foundation for Suicide Prevention

NASP Preventing Youth Suicide: Tips for Parents & Educators

SAMHSA Prevention Suicide: A Toolkit for High Schools

Suicide Prevention Resource Center, After a Suicide: Toolkit for Schools

National Child Traumatic Stress Network

Futures Without Violence

Coalition to Support Grieving Students

Foundation for the Advancement of Alcohol Responsibility

The National Center for Victims of Crime

National Sexual Violence Resource Center

The Trevor Project (A national 24-hour, toll free confidential suicide hotline for LGBTQ youth.)

Resources specific to 13 Reasons Why:

National Association of School Psychologists: “’13 Reasons Why’ Netflix Series: Considerations for Educators

Child Mind Institute: “Why Talk to Kids About ’13 Reasons Why.'”

The Jed Foundation and SAVE: “13 Reasons Why: Talking Points for Viewing & Discussing the Netflix Series

NAMI: “13 Reasons Why” Hurts Vulnerable Teens

American Psychiatric Association: 13 Mental Health Questions about 13 Reasons Why

Teen Librarian Toolbox: “Thinking About 13 Reasons Why–Teens, Mental Health, and Media”

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