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  • 24 Sep 2018 1:05 PM | Jeff Eastman (Administrator)

    Banned Books Week, this year between the 23rd and 29th of September, is a time to celebrate the freedom to read, the freedom to be intellectually curious, the freedom of expression, the freedom to be controversial, the freedom to disagree, the freedom to investigate, and the freedom to find answers, values that the library profession stands for and the Maine Library Association fully supports. Censorship is the opposite of these values, and it originates from motivations as basic as differences in taste and as ominous as totalitarian political regimes. Opposition to a book is sometimes personal, often arbitrary, potentially harmful, and usually unnecessary, and when we find out that some books now considered classics were once banned, we wonder what could have been so objectionable in the first place.  Banned Books Week allows us to assert that intellectual freedom and reading in general are good things in a society, which we do by displaying books that have been restricted by someone somewhere sometime.

    Readers in Maine might have heard of an incident at the Rumford Public Library earlier this month when a group of pastors challenged the Banned Book display on the grounds that some of the books were inappropriate for children. The point of the display was not to offend or to promote any of the content of any of the books, it was to promote intellectual freedom. Library materials generally represent many points of view -- even opposing points of view -- that different patrons want and need, and it is unfortunate that not everybody always recognizes it. Librarians can respectfully remind the public that one patron is as free to read challenged material as another patron is to object to it. At a Board of Trustees meeting that followed the challenge in Rumford, the community discussed the matter with the pastors and settled it. We are glad that they came to an understanding of the display.

    We sometimes take the freedom to read for granted in an open, democratic society such as ours, but we shouldn’t. There are places in the world that are not free, and freedom in places that are free is not guaranteed. Banned Books Week helps us to remember the benefits of living in a free society and how libraries contribute to the quality of life in our communities.

  • 12 Jul 2018 11:45 AM | Samantha Cote (Administrator)

    Full Writeup from American Libraries Magazine:

    Council Day 1

    The minutes from the ALA Midwinter Meeting (CD #2.1) were adopted.

    Ed Sanchez gave the report from the ALA Resolutions Committee (CD#10.2) on a motion to amend the ALA Policy Manual to update the motion form process for resolutions with fiscal implications. The motion passed.

    ALA President-Elect and chair of the Committee on Committees (COC) Loida Garcia-Febo presented the nominations for 2018-2019 COC (CD#12): Oscar Baeza, Latrice Booker, Erica Findley, Dora Ho, Jack Martin, Louis Munoz Jr., Raymond Pun, and Jules Shore.

    Garcia-Febo then presented nominations for the 2018-2019 Planning and Budget Assembly (PBA) election (CD#12.1). Chapter councilor candidates for two-year terms include Charlotte Canelli, Micki Dietrich, Lynda M. Kellam, and Andrew Wertheimer.

    PBA councilor-at-large candidates, two for two-year terms and one for a one-year term, include Elissia Buell, Nicholas (Nick) H. Buron, Dorcas Hand, Kyla M. Johnson, Larry P. Neal, and Jahala D. Simuel.

    Neal then announced the tellers for the ALA Council Elections to the COC and PBA (CD#12.2): Cynthia Dottin, Eric B. Suess, Stephanie D. Tolson, and chair Vivian Bordeaux.

    ALA Executive Director Mary G. Ghikas presented the executive board actions taken since the 2018 Midwinter Meeting in Denver (CD#15.3–15.4). Ghikas also reported on the implementation of the 2018 ALA Midwinter Meeting Council Actions (CD#9.1).

    ALA Councilor Sara Dallas (CD#41) read a resolution to honor African Americans who fought library segregation. The motion passed unanimously.

    ALA Past President Maureen Sullivan facilitated a discussion with councilors on ALA’s organization effectiveness efforts (CD#35.1).

    Ghikas reported that there were 12,286 paid attendees and 5,148 exhibitors, for a total of 17,434 registrants; 22,289 attended in Chicago in 2017.

    Council Day 2

    ALA Treasurer Susan H. Hildreth presented the Treasurer’s Report for FY2019 (CD#13.3). A motion to approve the FY19 Annual Estimates of Income passed.

    Councilor Martin Garnar then gave the report from the Committee on Diversity (CD#14.1). In his report as president of the Freedom to Read Foundation (FRTF) (CD#22.1), Garnar provided updates on existing and new legislation issues, education efforts, Banned Books Week, and plans for FRTF’s 50th anniversary in 2019.

    Councilor Vivian Bourdeaux, chair of the Council Election Tellers Committee, reported on the election of new representatives to the Committee on Committees (COC) and the Planning and Budget Assembly (PBA) (CD#12.3). Elected to 2018–2019 COC terms are Latrice Booker, Dora Ho, Jack Martin, and Louis Muñoz Jr. Elected to the PBA as chapter councilors for 2018–2020 are Micki Dietrich and Andrew Wertheimer; elected as councilors-at-large for 2018–2020 are Nicholas Barone, Dorcas Hand, and Larry Neal.

    Councilor Christopher Corrigan reported on the Policy Monitoring Committee (CD#17.1) and presented seven action items that had all been adopted at previous conferences but needed to be added to the ALA Policy Manual. The items included inserting language on net neutrality; making visual and performing arts part of the Library Bill of Rights; opposing sweatshop labor and supporting union businesses (affirmed in 2008); making an ALA- or CAEP-accredited master’s degree strongly preferred for ALA’s executive director; adding the core organizational values; adding the key action areas; and adding the strategic directions. All seven motions passed.

    Chair Sue Considine reported on the Committee on Organization (CD#27.1). Motions to redesign the ALA and Council Committee intern position and to establish the Graphic Novels and Comics Round Table both passed.

    Neal recognized retiring councilors and Executive Board members, then Council members broke for a group photo with retiring Council Secretariat Lois Ann Gregory-Wood.

    Jim Rettig, chair of the Constitution and Bylaws Committee, presented that report (CD#25.1). A motion to amend ALA Bylaws to fill ALA Council (Section 7) or division or round table (Section 8) seats if an elected councilor declines the position passed.

    Leslie B. Burger provided updates from the International Relations Committee (IRC) (CD#18.1–18.3), including the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA) Global Vision and world map projects. IRC raised $80,000 in disaster relief funds for grants to rebuild Puerto Rican libraries after last year’s hurricanes. Burger reported that 530 librarians from 50 countries were attending this year’s Annual Conference.

    Budget Analysis and Review Committee (BARC) Chair Rhea Lawson gave the BARC report (CD#33.2). A resolution on using ALA endowment funds for socially responsible investments failed. Rebekkah Smith Aldrich, cochair of the ALA Special Task Force on Sustainability, presented a report (CD#40) on sustainability and libraries.

    ALA Executive Director Mary Ghikas reported 17,563 attendees in New Orleans, compared with 22,591 in Chicago in 2017 and 16,395 in Orlando in 2016.

    Council Day 3

    Memorials were read for Herbert Biblo (M#7), Heather Lanier (M#8), John Byrum (M#9), Mary Lynette Larsgaard (M#10), Bernard (Bernie) A. Margolis (M#11), deg farrelly (M#12), Krista McKenzie (M#13), and Stephanie Squicciarini (M#14).

    Tributes were offered to honor the 50th ALA anniversary of Lois Ann Gregory-Wood (T#4), to mark the retirement of Pat May (T#5), and to thank Don Wood for his service to ALA and ALA Chapters (T#6).

    Kenton Oliver, chair of the Committee on Legislation (COL), announced public policy highlights and other COL activities since Midwinter (CD#20.1–20.4). A motion to recognize the 25th anniversary of the GPO Access Act and calling for the enactment of the FDLP Modernization Act passed (CD#20.2). A resolution to reunite detained migrant children with their parents passed (CD#20.3).

    Helen Ruth Adams reported on the recent work of the Intellectual Freedom Committee (IFC) (CD#19.3–19.8), including rebranding the Choose Privacy Week website as Choose Privacy Every Day to serve as a year-round reference. IFC is also developing resources for libraries hosting controversial speakers and programs. Motions to adopt several interpretations of the Library Bill of Rights regarding meeting rooms (CD#19.6), library-initiated programs as a resource (CD#19.7), and services to people with disabilities (CD#19.8) all passed.

    Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender Round Table (GLBTRT) Councilor Ann Symons proposed a resolution on increasing the number of gender-inclusive bathrooms at ALA conferences and meetings (CD#42), which passed with an amendment.

    ALA Executive Director Mary Ghikas reported on the final registration totals for the Annual Conference in New Orleans: 12,423 attendees and 5,176 exhibitors, for a total of 17,599 registrants. This compares with 22,172 registrants in Chicago in 2017 and 16,395 registrants in Orlando in 2016.


    More detailed information on each motion here.

  • 03 Jul 2018 6:10 AM | Jeff Eastman (Administrator)

    Recently there have been reports around Maine of individuals being harassed and having their immigration statuses questioned by people who lack the authority of Immigration and Customs Enforcement. The Maine Library Association feels it is important to reiterate our commitment to our profession’s values of privacy, intellectual freedom, equity, diversity, and inclusion, and to join the American Library Association in condemning policies that separate families pursuing asylum in our country. In addition, the MLA feels it is important to remember that library records and user information are private and cannot be obtained by law enforcement without a subpoena or warrant. ALA suggests these guidelines for how to respond to law enforcement’s requests for such information.

    ALA and REFORMA, the National Association to Promote Library & Information Services to Latinos and the Spanish Speaking, have links on their websites to resources for librarians and library users seeking information about immigration, refugees, asylum, and legal defense. The website of the American Civil Liberties Union has information about what an individual’s rights are when stopped by the police, questioned about immigration status, and visited by ICE.

    All patrons, regardless of their origins or status, can expect to be treated with respect and dignity and for their legal rights to be protected at any library. We encourage anyone interested in learning more about, and understanding more broadly, the many important national issues our country is facing to utilize this free online content subscription resource called Opposing Viewpoints in Context, accessible through the Maine State Library's MARVEL tool.

    -- The MLA Board

  • 07 Apr 2018 11:29 AM | Samantha Cote (Administrator)


    Sarah LeMire, chair of the ALA Scholarships and Study Grants Committee, presented a motion (CD#31) to create the Lois Ann Gregory-Wood Fellows Program honoring Gregory-Wood’s 50 years at ALA. The motion passed unanimously.

    Janet T. O’Keefe, acting chair of the ALA Membership Committee, presented a resolution (CD#32) on adjusting personal member dues. The motion passed and now moves to a full membership vote on the 2018 spring ballot.

    ALA Immediate Past President Julie B. Todaro proposed ALA Honorary Membership (CD#34) for Librarian of Congress and former ALA President Carla D. Hayden. The motion passed.

    Policy Monitoring Committee (PMC) member Jennifer Boettcher presented the PMC report (CD#17) with three action items. The first motion proposed that text on politics in American libraries be incorporated into the ALA Policy Manual. The second motion proposed that text on equity, diversity, and inclusion be added to the Policy Manual. The third motion proposed to add definitions of equity, diversity, and inclusion to the Policy Manual. All three motions passed.

    Susan Considine, chair of the Committee on Organization, presented a report (CD#27) with two action items. The first proposed the dissolution of Federal and Armed Forces Library Round Table and merger with Association of Specialized and Cooperative Library Agencies to form a new ALA division named the Association of Specialized, Government, and Cooperative Library Agencies, to take effect September 1, 2018. The motion passed. A second motion proposed the dissolution of the Joint Committee on Archives, Libraries, and Museums to establish as a Membership Initiative Group. That motion also passed.

    Vivian Bordeaux, chair of the ALA Council Tellers Committee, presented the report on the ALA Executive Board Council election results (CD#11.2). Ed Garcia, Maria McCauley, and Tamika Barnes were elected for three-year terms (2018–2021) to the ALA Executive Board; Diane R. Chen was elected to a five-month term (February–June 2018) to complete the remainder of ALA President-Elect Loida Garcia-Febo’s member-at-large term.

    Robert Banks, acting chair of the Committee on Legislation (COL), presented the COL report (CD#20), including information about the White House FY2019 budget, the new ala.org/fundlibraries advocacy page, and net neutrality efforts. ALA Washington Office Associate Executive Director Kathi Kromer provided an update on ALA’s advocacy response to the White House budget—more than 5,000 emails were sent to members of Congress in the first 24 hours.

    Helen Ruth Adams, chair, presented the Intellectual Freedom Committee report (CD#19–19.2), including updates on materials challenges and censorship, hate crimes in libraries, and its new Selection and Reconsideration Policy Toolkit for Public, School, and Academic Libraries. A motion to adopt position paper “Net Neutrality: An Intellectual Freedom Issue” passed. A second motion to adopt position paper “Visual and Performing Arts in Libraries: An Interpretations of the Library Bill of Rights” also passed.


  • 11 Jan 2018 11:32 AM | Samantha Cote (Administrator)

    In honor of 200 years of Jane Austen's legacy (the author passed away in 1817), the Blue Hill Public Library held an English Country Dance in the library on December 6th. Dance instructors John McIntire and Nancy Rosalie came to teach a crowd of over 40 attendees the steps to some of the same dances Austen would have done in her day, complete with music by Waterville-based group The North Star Sisters. The mood was quite festive as the furniture in the library's main reading room was moved aside to accommodate the rows of dancers, some of whom gamely arrived in Austen-inspired costume.

    This event was something of an experiment to try connecting our community with the world of literature in a way beyond the usual readings and lectures we tend to host, and it more than paid off, with many in attendance hoping to do it again someday. It was certainly a fun and creative night for all, and a nice way to head into the close of the year.

    Photos include our three costume contest winnersand video here





    -Hannah Cyrus, Blue Hill Public LIbrary

  • 11 Jan 2018 11:04 AM | Samantha Cote (Administrator)

    I recently came across a program for the 1936 Maine Library Association conference at Colby College, which was then in downtown Waterville. What was interesting to me was how much from that program could still be relevant today.


    Just as there would be today, there were keynote speakers: Miss Alice Jordan from Boston Public Library was brought to the Elm City to discuss “Children’s Books—New and Not so New” and Miss May Massee of Viking Press gave a talk on youth literature “with lantern slides,” which must have been a real audio-visual thrill for those assembled.

    An aside: Miss Massee, it turns out, was quite a powerhouse in both libraries and publishing. Trained as a librarian, she served as the first full-time editor of Booklist Magazine. She founded the first two divisions of major publishing houses that were dedicated to children’s literature—at Doubleday in 1922 and Viking in 1933—and worked with many authors we still recognize today, Maine’s own Robert McCloskey and Ludwig Bemelmans of Madeleine fame among them. (source) She also advocated for open library services to all, especially immigrants and minorities, and published books that featured them as well.

    Back at the 1936 MLA conference, most delightful of all (to me) was a panel discussion on the “Relation of the Library to the Public” that included one of my forebears, Mrs. Anne Hinckley, Librarian at the Ladies’ Social Library (Blue Hill Public Library’s previous incarnation prior to 1939).

    MLA 1936 Panel Discussion.pdf

    Mrs. Hinckley’s participation in the panel left behind a script of pre-arranged questions to be addressed, each one identifying who would ask and who would reply. For example, Miss Trappan, Head of the Open Shelf Room at Portland Public Library, asked of Mrs. Hinckley, “What activities are justified to bring borrowers to the library?”

    Mrs. Hinckley was also asked “What is the best solution of the problem of duplicate copies of books in much demand?” and “What do librarians think of the librarian in [Sinclair Lewis’] Main Street, who said her first duty was to preserve the books?”

    When it was her turn, Miss Trappan got some zingers: “What should be the attitude toward questionable books; not merely salacious books, but also books on heated controversial subjects like communism?” and “How far should public demand influence book buying?”

    They saved the oratorical fireworks for last, asking of Dr. Libby, professor of Public Speaking at Colby College: “Is the phrase ‘adult education’ attractive or repellant?,” “How can municipal officers controlling finances be made to realize the importance of the library?” and finally the most potentially damning question of all, “What can you say about the charge that books get slowly into circulation because of prior claims of trustees and book committee?” Oh the humanity, corruption among trustees and committee members!?

    Unfortunately, the answers to these questions are not preserved locally and, as much as libraries have been on the side of free speech in history, it’s anyone’s guess how those in attendance at Colby College would have replied. It’s possible that ALA’s modern positions on intellectual freedom issues would seem radical to these Maine professionals pondering thorny topics between the wars and in an era of Red Scares.

    The one thing I can say today with certainty is that we all owe the Miss Trappans, Dr. Libbys, Miss Massees and especially for us in Blue Hill, Mrs. Hinckley and Miss Pearson, a debt of gratitude for carving out institutions and a profession that have become integral to our American social fabric.

    -Rich Boulet


  • 10 May 2017 10:51 AM | Samantha Cote (Administrator)

    Genealogy Special Interest Group

    This group is for those librarians who serve genealogists/family history buffs and would like to provide better service. It definitely helps to have a personal interest in this pursuit, but it’s not necessary to join! At the very least we will network via e-mail, sharing developments of interest and providing virtual shoulders to cry on, if necessary. Moral support is so important! Plans are afoot to have social events, along with informative workshops. Co-chairs are B.J. Jamieson, Belfast Free Library, and Emily Schroeder, Maine State Library.


  • 14 Apr 2017 3:11 PM | Samantha Cote (Administrator)


    After reading William Finnegan's Barbarian Days as a summer reading selection, a group of high school students and teachers at Berwick Academy decided to build a surfboard in the library. We were all so inspired, we decided to construct a classic 9' wooden surfboard and we collaborated with Grain Surfboards in York, Maine. Many of the kids on the project surf the Maine and New Hampshire coasts! The project was funded by our Berwick Parents Community and we are auctioning off the board at their annual event next month. All proceeds will go to support programming like this at our school. It's been a total hands-on learning experience and collaboration between students, teachers, and Grain. This project has been so successful and generated so much interest that we plan to do it again next year, but work with Middle School students.

    Just recently, Laird Hamilton, world-renowned innovator of crossover board sports and one of today's best known big wave surfers promote our project on Facebook.

    More information on the project can be found on Twitter at: @BA_Innovation






  • 22 Mar 2017 4:37 PM | Anonymous

    Like most of you, I've been following the budget developments at the national and state level closely, with a great deal of concern. Locally, LD256 might have far reaching effects for our state in the way we support libraries online. We need to pay close attention to the details to ensure the MSLN remains adequately funded, and to be certain no other online offerings are endangered.

    And then there's the deep cuts proposed by President Trump. He's called for the elimination of the Institute for Museum and Library Services (IMLS) and the Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA). The one bright spot for me in this is that these proposals are simply that: proposals. We have already heard from Senator Collins' office that she intends to continue her strong support of LSTA.

    The LSTA program brings real benefits to Maine. You can find them listed here: https://www.imls.gov/grants/grants-state/state-profiles/maine

    Please see the letter from ALA President Julie Todaro for more information on what we can do on the national level: http://ala.informz.net/z/cjUucD9taT02NDE5NjUxJnA9MSZ1PTEwMDc1MjQyNTYmbGk9NDIyMzcxNzU/index.html

    More information can also be found here: http://www.districtdispatch.org/2017/03/house-library-champions-release-fy18-dear-appropriator-letters/

    I will be attending Library Legislative Day in Washington DC this year, along with Jamie Ritter and other Maine librarians. It will be important to be fully aware of the issues at play, and to coordinate our efforts with other agencies and organizations so that we can be heard at the highest levels of government. This coming Tuesday, I'll be on a conference call with the heads of all state chapters of ALA, discussing what can be done and how it can best be accomplished.

    For now, know that we at MLA are following this closely, and we're communicating with our friends and allies across the country to make sure the needs of libraries are met, and (more importantly) the needs of our patrons. If you're looking for something you can do today, a short phone call to your Congressperson would never hurt. But please realize this might well be a long process. A marathon, not a sprint. We'll need continuing support in the days, weeks, and months ahead.

    Respectfully,

    Bryce Cundick
    President 
    Maine Library Association


  • 17 Mar 2017 11:18 AM | Samantha Cote (Administrator)

    "Since its inception 20 years ago, the grants and programs administered by the Institute of Museum and Library Services have provided critical support enabling museums and libraries across the country to make a tremendous difference in their communities. The institutions we serve provide vital resources that contribute significantly to Americans’ economic development, education, health, and well-being whether by facilitating family learning and catalyzing community change or stimulating economic development through job training and skills development. Our agency’s support enables museums and libraries to offer learning experiences for students and families, as well as to increase care for, and access to, the nation’s collections that are entrusted to museums and libraries by the public.

    We’ve invested in rural and smaller communities by supporting basic infrastructure and by developing libraries as local community hubs for broadband connectivity and digital literacy training — helping many residents gain job-related skills and, in many cases, find employment. In summary, our grants and programs support libraries and museums as essential contributors to improving Americans’ quality of life.

    More than $214 million of our $230 million FY 2016 enacted budget targets museums and libraries directly through our grant programs. This includes $155 million for library services to every state and territory in the country through a population-based formula grant program.

    As Congress now begins its work on the FY 2018 budget, our agency will continue to work closely with the Office of Management and Budget. More importantly, we will continue to remain steadfast in our work on behalf of the millions of Americans touched by the services of libraries and museums each day."


    Source:  IMLS's Press Releases

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