Maine Library Association


  • 01 Jul 2014 8:00 AM | Jenna Blake Davis

    YSS has opened the online form so that interested libraries can order their copy of next year's Summer Reading Program Manaual 

  • 10 Jun 2014 5:36 PM | Kara Reiman
    The scholarship committee is in need of 2 new members.  If you're interested in getting involved, please contact MLA president Nissa Flanagan at (
  • 14 Apr 2014 4:30 PM | Deleted user

    A Series of Book Reviews from Maine Librarians.

    From Nancy Noble, Archivist/Cataloger, Maine Historical Society:

    I just read Simon Armitage’s Walking home : a poet’s journey. Published in 2013, this book details his walk along the Pennine Way in England, which is much like America’s Appalachian Trail. Armitage exchanges room and board at various venues for reading his poems, to a variety of audiences, including appreciative, at times. Not only did I learn about this trail, but I enjoyed Armitage’s wit and honesty about himself.

    This book brought to mind another wonderful book, by Baron Wormser, The Road washes out in spring: a poet’s memoir of living off the grid. Baron Wormser was the Poet Laureate of Maine in 2000, and at the time of his book, lived in Madison, Maine, where he was a librarian for the local school district. Anyone who lives rural in Maine (and experiences mud season) will appreciate and enjoy this book.

    From Katie Connor, Brewer Public Library:

    Longbourn, by Jo Baker, is a fascinating twist on Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice. For all those who loved Austen's social criticism, this provides an eye-opening peek into the belowstairs world. Focusing on the housemaid, Sarah, the footman, James, and the housekeeper, Mrs. Hill, this book leads the reader through all Longbourn's secrets, from rooms you never saw before, to secrets no one wanted you to know. Though initially it may seem like a slow read, Jo Baker knows how to hit the reader where it counts, leaving you spinning and eager to read more.

    From Jennifer Stone, Old Town High School Library Media Specialist:

    The Truth About Alice

    by Jennifer Mathieu
    Publisher: Roaring Book Press

    Genre: YA
    Expected Publication Date: June 3, 2014
    Author Website:

    Book Summary from Goodreads: Everyone has a lot to say about Alice Franklin, and it’s stopped mattering whether it’s true. The rumors started at a party when Alice supposedly had sex with two guys in one night. When school starts everyone almost forgets about Alice until one of those guys, super-popular Brandon, dies in a car wreck that was allegedly all Alice’s fault. Now the only friend she has is a boy who may be the only other person who knows the truth, but is too afraid to admit it. Told from the perspectives of popular girl Elaine, football star Josh, former outcast Kelsie, and shy genius Kurt, we see how everyone has a motive to bring – and keep – Alice down.

    My Thoughts: I received an advance copy of Jennifer Mathieu’s debut novel from NetGalley and it kept me turning the pages. It’s a powerful story about the impact of rumors, what friendship means and discovering friendships in the most unlikely people. The story is told in alternating chapters between Elaine, Kelsie, Kurt and Josh with the last chapter by Alice.

    Kelsie: “The hard truth is I think I knew we weren’t going to be friends anymore the day after Elaine’s party when I read the text about her and Brandon and Tommy Cray. It sounds terrible and shallow and not at all like something the Kelsie Sanders I knew in Flint would have said, but I’ve spent too many years sitting alone in the cafeteria, and I just can’t handle doing it again. And I won’t.”

    Young adults will definitely identify and connect with the characters and as someone who is around teenagers all the time I  found the writing style to be very similar to how teenagers think and speak. There are some important lessons in this book and this would be a great book for discussion, whether in a class or book club. I will definitely be purchasing a copy of this for my library, I’ve already had one student upset that they couldn’t get the book NOW!

  • 14 Apr 2014 4:00 PM | Deleted user

    This article comes from Jeanne Madden, Head of User Services, Falmouth Memorial Library. It was originally published in The Shopping Notes.

    Talk with any of your friends and you will find that you probably have different tastes in the types of books you prefer to read.  Many people stick to one fiction genre while others bounce around.  While it is simple to ask WHAT types of fiction readers enjoy, I started to think about WHY readers choose the genres they do.

    There have actually been some studies done on this topic of preferences and they found that personality has a lot to do with it.  That seems obvious.  For example, my personality is very different from others and your personality is different from mine, so we probably gravitate toward different types of movies, television and books.  But think about your fiction choices in terms of your Myers-Briggs assessment (we have probably all had this done at some point), or by looking at “The Big Five.”   In psychology, the Five-Factor Inventory model is the widely accepted theory that establishes five factors to describe human personality: openness to experiences (OPE), conscientiousness (CON), extraversion (EXT), agreeableness (AGR) and neuroticism (NEU).

    Studies were conducted using the Big Five factors to determine preferences for various entertainment domains called Domain-specific Personality-based User Stereotypes.   Looking at just the book domain it is interesting to see that people with a high degree of OPE tend to like poetry and science fiction, whereas those with a low degree of OPE prefer drama, scary and crime books.

    Of course, being the librarian that I am, I had to go online and find where I could take a free “Big Five Personality Test” to find out my score.  Turns out my highest score is in EXT which, according to the study, reflects how much an individual is oriented towards things outside themselves and derive satisfaction from interacting with other people.  It also indicates that females with a high EXT score are drawn to “scary” books.  This makes sense to me since I am the librarian who focuses on paranormal fiction with vampires, werewolves, evil fairies and more.

    For fun I asked my fellow library staff members to share with me not only what they read but why.  I got some great answers and want to share a couple with you.

    “I love reading fiction not so much as an escape but to experience life through another lens; a different era, worldview, gender, culture, etc.  I also love sci-fi and fantasy because again, it’s a way to experience the human condition in another context, but it’s grappling with essentially what it means to be human.  And I really like Steampunk because… well, it’s got widgets and I really want aviator goggles to be everyday fashion.”  Megan S.

    “I’m drawn to and gravitate toward the memoir genre.  I’ve thought long and hard as to why I’m so fascinated by other’s semi-autobiographical view of their lives…is it because 1) my life is boring and predictable, a bit too normal, or 2) I’m grateful that my life IS so stable, vibrant, full of fun times, good friends, loving family, a wonderful career…which lends itself to reading about those who aren’t as fortunate?  The jury is still out.  Bottom line…I love memoirs.”  Nina M.

    So, what does your reading selection say about you?  In the end people’s reading choices are their own concern and the reasons why these choices are made is up to them.  The most important thing is that people read – whether for pleasure or education, to escape into another world or to learn more about their own – we must keep reading.  Go ahead and ask one of your friends why they choose the genres they do – or ask a library staff member the next time you are in.  You may be surprised to hear the reasons for the choices they make and may even get to know them a little better.

    Looking for your next read?  Maybe we will have to add personality assessments to our Reader’s Advisory Services… well, maybe not.  The library’s website has a number of tools to help you determine your next read.  Visit and select the “Find a good book” link under the Reader’s Corner tab.  This will lead you to a number of tools to help you find your next book.  

  • 14 Apr 2014 3:05 PM | Deleted user
    The following is from Carla McAllister about her library memories. It was originally used for the 125th anniversary of the New Gloucester Public Library.  Do you have library memories you'd like to share as a blog post? Email us at

    Locked in the Library

    by Carla McAllister

    December 2013

                When I was young and growing up in a small New Hampshire town, I visited our library on a regular basis.  Back in the day, when borrowing an item, one wrote one’s name on the card tucked into the pocket in the back of each book.  Proponents of rights to privacy might blanch when reminded of this practice. It was amusing to me that, as I got older, I would often see that my mother and I chose the same titles, her familiar signature apparent on the sign out card. 

    My mother was an avid reader and became a published author, newspaper writer, and photographer. She read to my brother and me nearly every evening.  This instilled in us both a lifelong love of reading. I can, today, read under nearly any circumstance.  I can read in a bowling alley and often did so when I was a member of a bowling league; I can read with music or television blaring around me; I can read in a boat, in a plane, on a treadmill, and while walking on a sidewalk, which I did through my school years as it was about a mile to school.  I can read for hours in a vehicle, preferably with a supply of chocolate near to hand.  I would often rather read than interact with people. 

    My mother owned and loved two different black VW beetles. As I was always small for my age, I fit quite nicely for many years in the luggage space right under the back window.  This is where I would sit with my books as we rode around doing errands.  I had no seat belt, heaven forbid, and I am sure this practice would be discouraged and surely against the law today.

                I was never more content than when I rode my bicycle to the library and returned with my baskets overflowing with books.  Looking back at pictures from my childhood, often I have a book in my hands and piles of books surrounding me. I can easily recall what was taking place and what my feelings were at any given time by looking at the covers of what I was reading.  My mother would scold me when visiting relatives, as I would often curl up somewhere to read rather than join in the conversation.  I know parents now who would like to have such a problem; parents whose children would rather do anything other than read.

                My new husband has become reconciled to the fact that I will, most likely, forgo going into any store, be it a grocery store or Home Depot, so that I might read, and he will automatically park in such a way that I can alternate between my reading and people watching. In the dark, this requires that he find a space with a streetlight shining in my side of the vehicle.  He is well-trained at this point. Additionally, more likely than not, he will return with some form of chocolate for me.

                I always carry books with me; one I am reading and two others in case I finish my current choice.  Two, in case one of the back-ups is not to my immediate liking.  It is absolutely astonishing how much reading one can accomplish while waiting, waiting for the dentist or doctor to call you in, waiting for a prescription to be filled, waiting for commercials to end, waiting for your husband to pump the gas, or waiting for him to check out that tractor or some such item for sale on the roadside. In my case, I often have tons of time to read when he is in a hardware store or lumber supply outlet.

                I have often said that I would need no anesthesia while undergoing dental work or perhaps even a colonoscopy, as long as I had an interesting book to read.  When visiting homes where no reading material is apparent, I am appalled and cannot imagine living under such conditions.  Bathroom visits require reading material.  When none is on hand, I have been known to read Lysol bottles, disinfectant spray bottles, toilet bowl cleaner bottles and directions on prescription bottles.  What one finds in bathrooms not one’s own, can be revealing, humorous and sometimes distressing.

                Like my parents, I am extremely frugal, some might say tight, and reading is such an inexpensive pastime that it fits my needs perfectly.  One can obtain nearly any title either through the local library or through Interlibrary Loan, a fabulous resource of which many remain unaware. Sure, there are the new-fangled e-readers and the like, but to read a book all one needs is a book and a light source; no fully-charged battery, available wi-fi or pricy and often maddening device.  Plus, I would rather lose a book somewhere than lose an expensive e-reader.   

    When I was laid off after over eleven years of working at an Auburn Payroll company, I decided I would pursue a job I could really love, so I took classes in librarianship. After obtaining a degree, I was on the look-out for a job in a small public library.  They are few and far between.  When the New Gloucester Public Library opening was advertised, I thought that I would never be lucky enough to be chosen.  Ultimately I was offered the position and I felt as if I had won the lottery.   

    When I was young, I dreamed of inadvertently getting locked in the library overnight.  I even thought of ways I might make it happen.  Well, here I am now at the New Gloucester Public Library and I could not be happier.  During my hour long lunch each day, I choose to be locked in the library…I enjoy that hour immensely.

      I have two addictions to which I will admit; chocolate and reading. I have a cache of chocolate items squirreled away, I am working with books, I have avenues to knowledge at my disposal, my working atmosphere is positive and people I see each day are (nearly always) pleasant, and my colleague is every bit as much of a bibliophile and chocoholic as I, and I admit to hanging in the library after closing to read and live the fantasy.

    My library memories are myriad and, as you can see, I could not make this short and sweet.  I will say, my childhood dream of being ‘locked in the library’ has come true and I couldn’t be more thrilled. 


  • 14 Apr 2014 11:28 AM | Deleted user


                It's been a while since I went to a major conference. Limited help and budgets will do that to you. When I heard that this year's Evergreen International Conference was going to be in Cambridge, MA, I decided to heck with it, I'm going. I attended the first one in GA 5 years ago when the Maine Balsam Libraries Consortium was in its infancy. After what I saw and heard in Cambridge, I can tell you that both the software and the community using it have come a long way.

                We started on version 1.209 if I remember correctly. The newest stable release is 2.5 and developers are already talking about what to add to 2.7. When we formed Balsam, the major clusters of Evergreen users were in South Carolina, British Columbia and Indiana. Today, pretty much all of GA, SC, IN, BC and MA are in, Mobius in MO, a group in TX, and other clusters in WA, OR, MI, CT, NH, OH and AK are expanding. On the international front, Evergreen is being adopted in Scandinavia, the Netherlands, the Czech Republic, Mexico, Canada, India, The Republic of Georgia and Tasmania.

                Many of you know that I worked with Karl Beiser to support Innovative’s Millennium software. In that role, I attended several Innovative Users' Group Meetings. There were a bunch of people every year who dazzled me with their creativity and innovation at those meetings. I saw many of those same people at the Evergreen conference and they're applying their 'Star Wars' cool to open source now. That really excites me. My biggest problem with Millennium was the way enhancements and new features were selected. It was done by ballot and the academic libraries always seemed to trump what public libraries wanted for new features.

                With Evergreen, the situation is completely different. Let's say there's a new component or feature you'd kill to have in the software, but it would cost $20,000 to develop it. The way the Evergreen community is structured, any number of libraries or consortia can pool funds and hire someone like Equinox Library Services to develop the code. Once it's working and blessed by the Evergreen oversight committee, it's rolled into the next release. Your consortium might only be able to pony up $1,000, but every little bit helps. There's also a website where bugs can be reported and tracked by a cadre of librarians three times smarter about this stuff than I'll ever be.

                If you're interested in the development side, or simply want to lurk, these sharp pencils meet regularly on IRC and welcome new blood. The Evergreen community also has several listservs that are open to anyone interested in learning about Evergreen. Those, and most links related to Evergreen, can be found at and the Evergreen wiki is here

                So, you wonder, what happened at the conference? There were sessions on the git tutorial,  documentation and developer hackfests, “Hello Reports: Stumbling toward the data you need,” “It's Funny Afterward: Technical tales of tragedy...and recovery,” “Evergreen Welcome Panel,”(I was on this), “The Import/Export Business: Working with Vandelay in Evergreen,” “Consider the KPAC: Implement and customize the children's catalog,” “License to ILL: How Equinox turned Evergreen 2.o into FulfILLment@, an open source resources sharing platform,” “Being the Cat Herder: Managing an open source software release,” “Batches, Buckets & Bookbags,” “Tiny Budget, Abundant Results: Creating an online catalog at Georgia's Governor's Mansion with Evergreen,” “Authority Control in Evergreen: The straight dope,” “Three Dozen Is a CrowdundefinedDeduplication,” A Practical Serials Walkthrough,” Structured Library Data: Holdings, libraries and beyond,” “Exploring a Browser-Based Staff Client,” and “SQL for Librarians.”

                Pretty much every session's slides, handouts, documentation and links will be collected over the next couple of weeks and made available as links from one site. As with most conferences, one of the best aspects was the sharing and networking. One of my interests, stemming back to my days at the Maine State Library, is getting additional Z39.50 resources for catalogers. I'm in the process of swapping ours with two of the consortia who were there and may explore additional ones with single libraries that have extremely unique collections. I returned home, energized and enthusiastic, but a bit overwhelmed at all the information that was sent my way.

                Now to why this piece is titled as it is. We received a grant from the Stephen and Tabitha King Foundation last year to help libraries interested in joining the Maine Balsam Libraries Consortium with migration costs. If what you have read here whets your interest, I, or project manager Chris Maas, will be happy to talk with you and do our best to answer any questions you might have. My email is and the phone number at the Hartland Public Library is 938-4702.

  • 14 Apr 2014 11:24 AM | Deleted user
    In March, Deb Clark, SMLD Consultant, Laurel Parker from Windham Public Library, Annika Black from Norway Memorial Library, and Mary Beckett from Edythe L. Dyer Community Library in Hampden attended the one-day conference in Worcester, MA of the New England Roundtable of Teen’s and  Children’s Librarians (NERTCL). This year’s conference focused on “Kids and Technology.” The following series of blog posts are reports from each of the attendees.


    Use These Tools! 

    This presentation featured several Youth Services Librarians discussing various websites that they use and why we should consider using them.  Websites included YouTube, Instagram, Pinterest, Goodreads, Vine, and Minecraft.  I found the YouTube presentation particularly compelling.  Ideas discussed included uploading short videos of librarians demonstrating rhymes and fingerplays.  This creates a learning opportunity for parents and also a way to promote library story times to young patrons.  Videos could embedded into library websites or shared on the library Facebook pages.  I thought book trailers created by young patrons would be fun to share.  This librarian also uploads video of programs.  She seemed a bit lax in regards to patron privacy stating that it is legal to photograph or video people in a public place.  While it may be legal to do this I think there are ethical issues to take into consideration.  The presentation on Pinterest was also interesting.  The Librarian presenting uses this site to feature a children’s book illustration of the day and links to book trailers.  This was a fun session offering an opportunity to see how others are using popular online tools to enhance their library programming.

    Mary Beckett from Edythe Dyer Community Library in Hampden.

  • 14 Apr 2014 11:22 AM | Deleted user
    In March, Deb Clark, SMLD Consultant, Laurel Parker from Windham Public Library, Annika Black from Norway Memorial Library, and Mary Beckett from Edythe L. Dyer Community Library in Hampden attended the one-day conference in Worcester, MA of the New England Roundtable of Teen’s and  Children’s Librarians (NERTCL). This year’s conference focused on “Kids and Technology.” The following series of blog posts are reports from each of the attendees.

    E-Books and Publishing Workshop presented by Noreen O’Gara, Bedford (MA) Free Public Library.


    A great history of  systems using computers for storing texts, electronic ink, reading devices, and where we are today was presented.  In 2007 eReaders became available with content from Amazon and sold out in 5 ½ hours.  Backorders were finally filled in April of 2008.  When iPads hit the market in 2010 it was the end of the boom years for dedicated eReaders.  2011 saw Penguin refused to sell new content to libraries. HarperCollins placed a 26 time check out limit on library eBooks on March 7, 2011. Random House tripled the cost of eBooks to libraries in March 2012.   More tablets than eReaders were being sold in 2012, with android almost doubling the sales of Apple.  Getting content is now complex with considerations including publishers, printers, device makers, and content providers.  Be leary of subscription services stating that they are “fabulous” and “hand-curated” (movies, apps, books, etc.) such as Kindle Free Time ($2.99/$4.99/$9.99 per month), Oyster ($9.95/mo) Scribd (8.99/mo) Entitle (2 books/month, $9.99).


    The Minuteman (MA) Consortium buys an Overdrive shared collection.  80% of the titles are for adults, 20% for children.  Studies show that 28% of adults have read on an electronic device and 46% of kids have read on electronic devices.    In looking at the Maine Info Net Overdrive a breakdown of adult vs. children’s titles is not readily available.  James Jackson Sanborn did pass along to me, “In terms of new YA or child content, the apparent lack of that content could be due to the lack of requests coming through the system coupled with the availability or lack thereof in ebook or e-audiobook format.  Although we have a few people who make selections with an eye toward YA lit, most of our collection is built by responding to direct user requests that are made through the search system.”  Children’s and Young Adult librarians…let’s get involved!



    Laurel T. Parker

    Children's Librarian

    Windham Public Library

  • 14 Apr 2014 11:19 AM | Deleted user
    In March, Deb Clark, SMLD Consultant, Laurel Parker from Windham Public Library, Annika Black from Norway Memorial Library, and Mary Beckett from Edythe L. Dyer Community Library in Hampden attended the one-day conference in Worcester, MA of the New England Roundtable of Teen’s and  Children’s Librarians (NERTCL). This year’s conference focused on “Kids and Technology.” The following series of blog posts are reports from each of the attendees.

    Library Instructor Teacher Jen Reed presented on the various technology tools she uses with her students during library classes. Her PPT can be found here. First, she sets up her learning commons to make it flexible and conducive to student-driven learning. Her stacks are on wheels and her furniture is moveable. The laptops, which are always out, and other tech tools are easily available to the students. She describes her library as “organized chaos” with her as a “guide on the side” to assist student exploration and learning.

    Some of the literacy-related activities she facilitates are making Wordles  and Tagzedo word clouds about books, creating book spine poems, and letting children record themselves with an iPad talking about a book. (She always instructs students not to record their faces.) The students can use Animoto to create book talks and book trailers, Skype with others to discuss what they are reading, and use tools like Kid Pix, Comet Creator, and Flip cameras to create visual presentations about favorite stories.  

    Reed ties all her programming to the Essential Learning Targets and Common Core. She regularly collaborates with the greater community through library events, makerspaces, author visits, and a summer reading program. Reed believes students need information, guidance, resources, space to explore, and an audience to encourage high quality learning. She documents her programs and examples of student work at her school district’s website to better share with parents and the community.

    Submitted by Deborah Clark, SMLD Consultant

  • 14 Apr 2014 11:15 AM | Deleted user
    In March, Deb Clark, SMLD Consultant, Laurel Parker from Windham Public Library, Annika Black from Norway Memorial Library, and Mary Beckett from Edythe L. Dyer Community Library in Hampden attended the one-day conference in Worcester, MA of the New England Roundtable of Teen’s and  Children’s Librarians (NERTCL). This year’s conference focused on “Kids and Technology.” The following series of blog posts are reports from each of the attendees.

    Embrace your Inner Tech Goddess or God!

    This first presentation was my favorite because it involved new ideas interspersed with the actual technology being used for a particular program.  Cindy Wall and Lynn Pawloski presented a high energy presentation chock full of ideas.  Their excitement and creativity was contagious.  The program started off by showing the app for The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr.  Morris Lessmore.   With it you can go into the world of the story by learning about pianos, book repair, and even storms.   Over the next hour, Cindy and Lynn described various activities which involved technology as a part of their programs.  Here is a brief description of some of them.

    Maximizing attendance

    We all know how hard it is to plan for programs, because even if there is required registration, some people never come, while others drop in that day.  In order to fill up their programs with as many children as possible, they ask the adult signing up for a $3 deposit for one child and $6 for a family.  This is only to ensure that the patron actually comes to the event, and when they arrive for the program, they get their money back.  However, if the patron needs to cancel and gives the library enough time to call the first person on the waiting list, then they also receive their money back. 

    e Tots

    Ages 2 to 6 yrs

    This is an interactive story time with children and their caregiver that involves using an iPad.   They explained that one computer account can have up to 10 devices registered under it.  This allows the librarian to buy 10 songs or app’s for the price of one.  An iPad poem is used to teach proper use.  It is based on 1, 2 Buckle my Shoe and this is how it goes:

    1, 2 Clean my hands

    3, 4 Sit on the floor

    5, 6 Tap the app

    7,8 Look, listen, and wait

    9,10 Swipe the page

    Now it is time to read again!

    Older children and Transmedia

    These programs were for school age children.  The topics included:

     The Solar System with The Cat in the Hat app’s and modeling clay,

    A monthly art program called Pixels and Pencil’s where there was 15 of app time and then 30 minutes of  creation time.

    Explore the Titanic, using a 3d movie, Her Story app, a fish tank and frozen balloons, and hidden tickets under chairs of actual passenger on board, that had to be researched through an app.

    Al Capone Does my Shirts book discussion with two games where you had to get onto an island and one where you had to try and get off it, and a Mug Shot app.

    The story of Hugo Cabaret, Stop motion filming, and using story board templates.

    Through their whole presentation they emphasized that these programs do not need to be perfect, just fun.   They will be doing a webinar through ALSC on April 9th and 24th.  There is a fee.

    Submitted by Annika Black, Norway Memorial Library

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