Maine Library Association


  • 23 Apr 2020 9:49 PM | Jeff Eastman

    National Library Week (NLW) is a time to celebrate the contributions of our nation's libraries and library workers and to promote library use and support. The theme of NLW is “Find the Library at your Place”, and it reminds us of the many ways that libraries throughout Maine support their communities. From free access to materials and online resources to library business centers that help support entrepreneurship and retraining, libraries offer opportunity to all. 

    At a time when libraries have closed due to the COVID-19 crisis, they continue to evolve. Libraries and library workers are proving resourceful and resilient, and they are delivering access to ebooks, movies, music, video games, virtual story times, activities, and so much more. Maine Library Association stands in solidarity and support of library workers. We recommend and urge all libraries to close and remain closed to the public until guidance from the CDC is given that it is safe to reopen and the appropriate precautions taken. For library workers who work directly with the public and at-risk populations, the health and safety of staff and visitors is of utmost importance.

    While library buildings may be physically closed, librarians and library workers are busier than ever! They are continuing to safely deliver vital services to their communities, such as digital access, resource guides, research inquiry responses, online instruction to learners, teacher and faculty support, virtual story times and other content, including ebooks, eaudiobooks, movies, music, video games, and virtual programs and events.

    Maine Library Association (MLA) applauds the library workers who are stepping up to address needs and celebrates the variety of programming and ingenuity in this “new normal”. As President of MLA, I am pleased and proud as I see and hear of the new ways libraries are finding to connect with community members and provide continuity of service.

    The Tuesday of NLW is the day that celebrates National Library Workers’ Day. I hope you each took a moment to pat yourselves on the back and received some, well-deserved accolades from your communities. This week is not only an occasion to praise your work, but at this time of crisis, it is also a time to advocate for your continued safety. Library staff should be permitted to work remotely, where feasible, and buildings should remain closed to the public until such time that a phased reopening plan and precautions can be taken. Maine Library Association advocates that library workers are paid fully during this time and continue to receive benefits such as health insurance. In municipalities where budgets are being slashed and library workers are being furloughed or laid off, MLA continues to work with the American Library Association. We are asking the federal government to step in and provide relief for the second responders who are getting communities through this crisis and will enable our nation’s workforce to get back on its feet during the recovery. Strong libraries will be more important than ever to the communities they serve when life returns to normal.

    Libraries and library workers have vital roles to play in their communities, and MLA remains committed to supporting them during this challenging time.

    Be well, and I look forward to when our libraries reopen and we can meet in person again.

    Sincerely, Jen Alvino, MLA President 2019-2021

  • 13 Jun 2019 10:17 PM | Jeff Eastman

    The results are in for the 2019-2020 MLA Executive Board elections. Congratulations to Wynter Giddings of Curtis Memorial Library has been elected Vice President/President-elect and Cadence Atchinson ahs been re-elected Member at Large. 

  • 01 Mar 2019 2:34 PM | Jeff Eastman

    The Maine Library Association thanks the Health Sciences Library & Information Consortium for donating to the MLA Scholarship Fund. Sadly, the HSLIC disbanded earlier this year, but we are grateful for their contribution to helping Maine resident seeking education in library science.

    "The HSLIC members are proud that our organization's legacy will support future librarians in the state of Maine. Thank you to the Maine Library Association for providing this opportunity and your ongoing work on behalf of Maine libraries!" says Dina McKelvy, Director of Library and Information Services at Maine Medical Center and past chair of HSLIC.

    To learn more about the Scholarship Fund, please visit our Scholarship & Loan Committee page.

  • 31 Jan 2019 1:12 PM | Jeff Eastman

    The Maine Library Association is the recipient of an un-restricted donation of $5,000 from Bangor Savings Bank.  Our Conference Committee is committed to using these funds to make the 2019 Conference as special as ever.

    In recent years, libraries across the state have been recipients of Bangor Savings Bank's "Community Matters More" grants. This year, the voting will happen 100% online. Therefore, Bangor Savings Bank is encouraging people to visit their local libraries to use the fastest statewide broadband connections and public computers that we provide in order to vote for this award. Perhaps they will even be voting for you!

    About Community Matters More

    Community Matters More, it is a unique giving initiative. Each year, the Bangor Savings Bank Foundation engages the public during the month of February (February 1st – February 28th) in voting for their favorite nonprofits. More than $140,000 will be given to 55 local nonprofit organizations in Maine and New Hampshire. The top two organizations in each geographical region will receive a $5,000 grant, while the remaining organizations will receive $1,000.

    During the month of February, visit to vote for your favorite nonprofits! You can vote for up to five (5) different nonprofit organizations across any region listed on the online ballot. If you don’t see your favorite nonprofit on the list, select “Other” to write-in the name of your nonprofit.

    MLA Executive Board

  • 24 Sep 2018 1:05 PM | Jeff Eastman

    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 | Deleted user

    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

    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 | Deleted user

    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 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 | Deleted user

    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 | Deleted user

    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

Maine Library Association

55 N. Main Street, Unit 49

Belchertown, MA 01007


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