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Have You Been Invited to Take the Challenge?

posted: , by Jerri Blatt
tags: Adults | Kids & Families

The Read to ME Challenge is a public awareness campaign to promote childhood literacy in Maine. The Portland Public Library invites you to take the challenge by reading aloud to a child for at least 15 minutes, capturing a photo or video of the event and then posting it on social media using #ReadtoME or #ReadaloudME. The statewide challenge began in the beginning of February with a kick off at the Blaine House – but you still have time to participate!

Why a campaign about reading aloud to children? Research has shown that the single most important activity for building knowledge for their eventual success in reading is reading aloud to children. Reading aloud is important from infancy through high school and perhaps the greatest benefit is that it associates reading and books with warm and pleasant experiences. Parents, caregivers and teachers who read aloud to children are role modeling enthusiasm for reading and books. The more adults read aloud to children, the larger their children’s vocabularies will grow and will allow them to make sense of printed words when they begin to read independently. Reading aloud also introduces children to the language of books – which is different than the language used in our daily conversations. And yet another important reason to read aloud to a child is that it sparks and lets them use their imaginations.


PPL has a strong commitment to early literacy and is a participant in Every Child Ready to Read @ Your Library ® a project of the Association for Library Service to Children and the Public Library Association (divisions of the American Library Association). It is a parent education initiative that stresses that early literacy begins with the primary adult in a child’s life. Developing early literacy skills has a long-term impact on children’s reading achievement and academic success. Early literacy is what children understand about reading and writing before they can actually read and write. Being interested in and enjoying books is key! Reading, playing, talking, singing, and writing are the five practices that stimulate the growth of a child’s brain and make the connections that will become the foundation for reading.

Do you have questions about the types of books that are best to read to children at various ages and stages? Visit the library and the staff at the Sam L. Cohen Children’s Library at the Main Library or the staff at our branches will be happy to help you in making appropriate selections. For early childhood teachers, the Children’s Library offers over 40 different  “totes” – boxes filled with 15-20 books (with many containing puppets and flannel boards children can use to retell the stories) built on common curriculum themes that check out for six weeks.

early literacy room2

The Early Literacy Play Room in the Children’s Library provides a great space to explore and play with your young child. It is stocked with quality toys which are developmentally appropriate for children aged birth-6. It also has handouts to take home, with more suggestions for playing, reading and singing with your child!

Check out all the programs we offer for children! We offer regular story times each week for specific age groups – birth through age 5 as well as a weekly story time in French. We have monthly programs such as creative movement and family yoga. And for children who need a furry, non-judgmental reading buddy, Grace our library reading dog, visits the Children’s Library twice a month.

These are just a sampling of the programs we offer, so check out our Kids & Families page as well as the calendars at your local branch library.

The Read to Me Challenge continues through the beginning of March. Take the challenge today and read to a child. And visit the library to learn and explore the different ways you can promote early literacy with the young children you know.

Climate Change and Health

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

On Tuesday, February 23rd, the Physicians for Social Responsibility Maine Chapter (PSR Maine) will be here to talk about their report, Death death-by-degreesby Degrees: The health crisis of climate change in Maine. PSR Maine believes we now must do the work to slow or halt climate change and protect the health of all Mainers regardless of where they live. The health effects of climate change are an important and often overlooked aspect global warming. This presentation will look at what we are already experiencing and what we can expect in Maine. The talk is enlightening and leaves participants empowered to take action on climate change to help protect their family’s health.

Please check out these resources if you are interested in further information about the effects of climate change on human health:

Enviro-Health Links – Climate Change and Human Health:  Toxicology and Environmental Health Information Program (TEHIP) maintains a comprehensive web site that provides access to resources produced by it and by other government agencies and organizations. This web site includes links to databases, bibliographies, tutorials, and other scientific and consumer-oriented resources.

Wildfires May Boost Ozone Levels in Cities: Wildfire smoke may boost levels of dangerous ozone air pollution, researchers report.

A Human Health Perspective on Climate Change: A report outlining the research needs on the human health effects of climate change.

The Metadata AccesMATCHs Tool for Climate and Health (MATCH): a publicly accessible, online tool for researchers that offers centralized access to thousands of government-held datasets related to health, the environment, and climate-science. MATCH is one of a growing number of tools, driven by open data, that are being made available by the Obama Administration as fuel for innovation, ideas, and insights ‐ in this case, at the important intersection of climate and human health.

Portland Public Library books that relate to climate change and health.

The Atlas of Climate Change: Mapping the World’s Greatest Challenge: This highly acclaimed atlas distills the vast science of climate change, providing a reliable and insightful guide to this rapidly growing field. Since the 2006 publication of the first edition, climate change has climbed even higher up the global agenda. This new edition reflects the latest developments in research and the impact of climate change, and in current efforts to mitigate and adapt to changes in the world’s weather. (digital copy available)

Climate change and human health: a program of the World Health Organization (WHO). Includes links, reports, news and events. The primary role of WHO is to direct and coordinate international health within the United Nations’ system.


Climate and Public Health Topics: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC): CDC’s Climate and Health Program is helping state and city health departments prepare for the specific health impacts of climate change that their communities will face.

Use these PPL online resources to find articles, videos, and news concerning climate change and human health.

global issues







Movie of the Month: Eve’s Bayou

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

eve's bayou“The summer I killed my father I was ten years old.”

From this intriguing beginning, our narrator, Eve Batiste (played as a 10-year-old by Jurnee Smollet-Ball) weaves a dream-like story of memories and visions from the summer of 1962.

The story begins at a party at Eve’s home, hosted by her parents, the charismatic Dr. Louis Batiste (Samuel L. Jackson) and his wife Roz (Lynn Whitfield), “so beautiful men fought for the privilege of saying her name.”  They are clearly the It couple in their community, and while Dr. Batiste dances with his older daughter Cisely (Meagan Good), Eve runs away in a snit and hides in the carriage house, where she falls asleep. When she wakes up some time later, she witnesses something she was never meant to see and does not fully understand. She reports this experience to her sister, who persuades her that she has, indeed, misunderstood the situation. From here on, doubts, mysteries and misunderstandings abound, and these are exactly what make the story so compelling.

There’s also some voodoo, and some psychic visions, and a possible curse, all of which may or may not be real, and all of which contribute to the exotic atmosphere of the Cajun bayou. The story is dark, although not without humor, and the movie itself is beautifully shot–the landscapes are beautiful, the actors are beautiful–and while some critics have seen this as a black version of a family drama, I would simply say it is a good family drama, and a refreshing change from movies about pretty white people.

Other recommendations for Black History Month can be found here.





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