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  • 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:

    Please see the letter from ALA President Julie Todaro for more information on what we can do on the national level:

    More information can also be found here:

    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.


    Bryce Cundick
    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

  • 17 Mar 2017 11:15 AM | Samantha Cote (Administrator)

    "In response to President Trump's proposal to eliminate the Institute of Museum and Library Services in his FY2018 budget, American Library Association (ALA) President Julie Todaro today issued the following statement:

    "The President's proposal to eliminate the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) in his FY2018 budget just released, and with it effectively all federal funding for libraries of all kinds, is counterproductive and short-sighted. The American Library Association will mobilize its members, Congressional library champions and the millions upon millions of people we serve in every zip code to keep those ill-advised proposed cuts from becoming a Congressional reality.  Libraries leverage the tiny amount of federal funds they receive through their states into an incredible range of services for virtually all Americans everywhere to produce what could well be the highest economic and social "ROI" in the entire federal budget.

    “The Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) funded through IMLS is the primary annual source of funding for libraries in the federal budget. IMLS distributes the majority of LSTA funds to every state in the nation according to a population-based formula. Each state library determines how to best spend its allocated federal funds, which must be matched at the state level. The range of services provided to millions of Americans through LSTA grants is matched only by the creativity of the libraries that receive them: veterans transitioning to civilian life, small businesses seeking to expand their business online, summer reading programs, resources for blind and hearing-impaired patrons, resume writing and job skills workshops and computer coding courses to teach youth 21st century job skills.

    "America's more than 120,000 public, school, college and university and many other libraries are not piles of archived books. They're trusted centers for education, employment, entrepreneurship and free inquiry at the core of communities in every state in the country – and in every Congressional district. And they’re staffed by the original search engines: skilled and engaged librarians."

    Source: ALA Press Releases

  • 19 Apr 2016 12:50 PM | Anonymous

    Choose Privacy Week is coming May 1-7, and it's not too late to plan an event or two for your library and your patrons. Recently, there has been an enormous amount of press attention about FBI efforts to have Apple rewrite its operating system to bypass the security of its iPhones; even more recently about Microsoft's suit against the government to declare gag orders unconstitutional when government agencies subpoena its customers' information from Microsoft; and Uber's revelations that in a six month period, Uber provided government agencies with information that affected over 12 million (that is not a typo) riders and drivers.

    This heightened public awareness provides a wonderful opportunity for libraries, bastions of Intellectual Freedom, to offer events that deal with personal privacy in the digital age, a topic that more and more people are becoming concerned about. The American Library Association offers a variety of resources to help promote conversations about what privacy means and how to protect it in today's connected world within libraries and in the wider community. Head over to and take a look. 

    Jim Campbell
    Intellectual Freedom Committee Chair

  • 12 Apr 2016 9:24 AM | Samantha Cote (Administrator)

    To all Maine libraries – public, school, academic, special…

    The Central Maine Library District (CMLD) Association is pleased to announce the statewide kick-off of ALA’s new Libraries Transform public awareness campaign. The CMLD Association’s contribution to this effort is the offer of a free set of posters to all Maine libraries who wish to participate.

    The Libraries Transform campaign is designed to increase public awareness of the value, impact and services provided by libraries and library professionals. The campaign will ensure there is one clear, energetic voice for our profession, showcasing the transformative nature of today’s libraries and elevating the critical role libraries play in the digital age. The campaign has one main idea: Libraries today are less about what they have for people and more about what they do for and with people.

    The CMLD Association will print and distribute the following five campaign posters:

    The five posters read:

    · Libraries Transform

    · Because 5 out of 5 doctors agree that reading aloud to children supports brain development

    · Because students can’t afford scholarly journals on a ramen noodle budget

    · Because more than a quarter of US households don’t have a computer with an Internet connection

    · Because employers want candidates who know the difference between a web search and research

    To receive a set of posters please complete a brief survey by no later than April 16th:

    We hope every library in the state will display the posters with pride!

    Stay tuned! This is just the beginning of a long-term state and national advocacy project that will benefit libraries of all types. For more information and resources to bring this campaign to your library and your community go to or find the Libraries Transform link on the Libraries page of the Maine State Library’s web site.

  • 01 Mar 2016 1:01 PM | Samantha Cote (Administrator)

    We're looking for program proposals, Ignite Session entries, and poster session submissions for NELA's 2016 Annual Conference!

    Submission deadline is May 31st!

    Click HERE to access the program proposal form.

    Libraries play an integral part in building our global community. They are places where kindness, connection and preservation prevail, no matter the condition of the world outside. We're looking forward to gathering together again this year to learn from and network with our library friends and colleagues, so that we can continue to learn from each other.

    "Books permit us to voyage through time, to tap the wisdom of our ancestors. The library connects us with the insight and knowledge, painfully extracted from Nature, of the greatest minds that ever were, with the best teachers, drawn from the entire planet and from all our history, to instruct us without tiring, and to inspire us to make our own contribution to the collective knowledge of the human species. I think the health of our civilization, the depth of our awareness about the underpinnings of our culture and our concern for the future can all be tested by how well we support our libraries." - Carl Sagan

    Mary Danko, 2016 Conference Chair

    Megan Bishop, NELA Events & Communications Coordinator

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