July 15, 2015
In this Issue
President's Letter

Hello, everyone. I'm Bryce Cundick, the new President of the Maine Library Association. Well, not too new, since (as usual) I've been following the pattern MLA has set up for its presidents: two years as Vice-President, two years as President, and then two years as Past President. (And can I just take a moment to thank Nissa for all her hard work the last two years? She did a fantastic job.)

So what can you expect to see out of me over the next two years? First and foremost, I want to continue Nissa's efforts of shoring up the membership of MLA. Maine libraries need all the help we can get these days, and the bulk of that help often ends up coming from each other. I believe that as we interact more with each other--as academic, public, school, and special librarians mix and exchange ideas--we can only become stronger. MLA can be one of the biggest advocates for libraries in the state. We're excellently positioned, with members from across the state and in every type of library. But we're only as strong as our members make us. We're a volunteer organization, after all. We need your help to get things done. We've done a lot in the past year or two to help enable this, particularly by offering the library membership option, where an entire library can register all their employees in MLA at one low rate. (If you'd like to know more about that, just ask!) In the past year alone, membership has increased by more than 30%.

But simply having members doesn't make MLA a strong organization. We need to be actively engaged in promoting libraries--in showing the public just what we're capable of. I'm an author on the side, and one thing I've learned writing books is that it's always more persuasive when you can show someone an idea instead of just telling them that idea. Someone can stand up and say, "I'm really smart!" and the average person is going to automatically be skeptical. "Smart? Prove it!" But if that person can stand up and say, "I graduated from Princeton when I was 13," then people automatically say, "Wow. You must be really smart."

Maine libraries can stand up and say "We're really important," but that's generally going to be met with skepticism from anyone who isn't already a believer. So instead, we need to show Mainers (the public, school boards, faculty--everyone) just what we do. Ideally, we want our patrons to be the ones showing up to budget meetings clamoring for us to stay funded or add on new programming.

There's another main goal I have: continuing the tradition of annual conferences. They're one of the best ways we have for getting all these different types of librarians into the same space, sharing ideas and helping each other out. This past one was a great success, with a slew of solid panels and a wealth of librarians making the trek to Bangor in November. We're going to do the same thing this year (albeit without the partnership of MASL this time). We'll be back at the Cross Center on November 16th and 17th, and I hope you join us. I'm very pleased to announce that our keynote speaker on the 17th will be ALA's new president, Sari Feldman.

In the meantime, please remember that MLA is only as effective as you make it. If you'd like to see us doing something we aren't, speak up--but don't be surprised if we ask you to pitch in and help out. If you're interested in taking a more active role in the state, come on out to our board meetings. They're open to visitors for the most part. The next one coming up is October 16th at 10am in Augusta, so you've got plenty of time to clear your calendar for it.

Bryce Cundick
MLA President

Review of Tri-District Meeting

 I would like to express my appreciation for being a recipient of a Continuing Education stipend. Funds to attend events like the Tri-District Council Meetings, workshops and other state wide library functions are limited, especially for small rural libraries, so financial aid is wonderful. There is so much more that librarians have to be aware of now so attending these types of programs is extremely helpful. 

I very much enjoyed having our new Maine State Librarian, James Ritter, join us. I think it is important to know what he thinks is important to Maine libraries and where this state is headed in terms of library support as well as national trends. 

The two guest speakers’ expertise was great. Readers Advisory and tight budgets are important topics to any library today Nancy Pearl’s topic of “The Importance of Reader’s Advisory @ Your Library” and Maxine Bleiweis,’s “Being Innovative on a Shoestring: Really?” were very wonderful presentations.  Readers Advisory is big at my library, so I really enjoyed Nancy Pearl’s talk. I don’t think a day goes by when someone doesn’t come in and ask what I would suggest. Sometimes it’s not really a request as much as I’m aware that a patron is reading book titles and hanging out in the stacks. Then I try to casually slide up and start a book discussion. This tends to work well with the younger folks, late teens and twenty plus, as they love to tell me what they just read.  So I found Nancy’s talk on using the four appeal characteristics/doorways easy to understand and use. “Use” being the most important. Four being the magic number, as in it’s easy to remember story, character, setting and language. Each book has those in different amounts, so if your patron likes story driven books that’s what you give them.  Simple is good, especially if you’re the only employee. Another suggestion of Nancy’s was ways to displays RA. Compliment a fiction story with a nonfiction book that has the same subject, example, a Jefferson Bass’s book with a forensic science book. I hope we ask Nancy Pearl to come back. 

Maxine’s talk really hit home for me. One of her comments “First show them then ask,” is something the Simpson Memorial Library, did before we started our Capital Campaign. First you have to show them that the library is a vibrant part of the community where “events happen” and then you “ask for the money.” This paid off for our little library, as we made our goal ahead of schedule. I learned a number of new ideas from Maxine. I especially liked the “Seed Library” and “a movable makespace.”  I know makerspaces are big, but this is a little library with limited space, so a “movable makerspace" would be something “outside the box” that we could try.  It wouldn’t be like Maxine’s space in her big library, but a storage box on wheels could suffice. As a small library there is only so much time I can spend on programs so Maxine’s suggestion of “patron driven programs” is another idea that might work for small and large libraries. 

I highly recommend attending the Tri-District meetings. They have so much to offer all of us.
Becky Ames, Director, Simpson Memorial Library, Carmel

American Girl Dolls for All

Did you know that LPL has three American Girl Dolls that parents and children can check out? LPL Kids currently has Saige, Cecile, and our newest custom doll Samira Ali!
Samira Ali is the newest member of our American Girl Doll family, and she was created especially for the children of Lewiston. Through an extremely generous donation by an anonymous donor Library Technician Danielle Fortin was able to pick a custom doll. Danielle chose a doll off the My America line of American Girl Dolls and customized it to look like a Lewiston Somali-American.
Over the last 15 years Lewiston has seen an influx of more than 6,000 residents with roots in Somalia and east Africa and many of these New Mainer families use the library. We wanted a doll that looked like our kids, one that they could identify with. Our goal with this project was to give the Somali children of Lewiston a doll and story that matches their own.
Over the winter, children were invited to suggest and then vote on a name for our doll. Samira Ali was the top voted name, out of the many names suggested. Samira has a custom wardrobe including two traditional dresses, several dresses and skirts, and two custom hijabs that Danielle made. Danielle and a teen volunteer will write a history story for Samira as well. Her story will mirror the stories of many of our Somali children and the difficulties they face moving to America and Lewiston in particular, while learning to speak English in a new environment.
Samira will be ready for the families of Lewiston and Auburn to check out in the fall, after Summer Reading has ended. Patrons aged 18 and over, with a library card in good standing are able to check out one of our American Girl Dolls. Samira will be available for children to play with in the Children’s Department over the summer.

Danielle Fortin, Library Technician, Lewiston Public Library
Law and Legislative Reference Library Wins Award 

I am pleased to announce that the rapidly-growing Law and Legislative Digital Library project has been awarded the 2015 Innovations in Technology Award by the American Association of Law Libraries (AALL). The Innovations in Technology Award was established in 2009 to recognize an AALL member for their innovative use of technology in the development and creation of an application or resource for law librarians or legal professionals. The award carries a $500 cash prize and will be formally given at the annual meeting of the American Association of Law Libraries, held this year in Philadelphia, July 18th to the 21st.
John R. Barden, Director, Law and Legislative Reference Library, Maine State Legislature
NELA Updates 

Continuing Education Grant Application
Continuing Education Grant Application provides a subsidy of up to $1,000 for 50% of the cost of workshops, courses, institutes, seminars and other study opportunities not leading to a degree for personal NELA members working in or involved with a New England library or library association, including trustees, volunteers, and friends. The application must be submitted at least eight weeks prior to the program. For more information, click here.
Back to the Future
The New England Library Association’s 2015 joint Annual Conference with NHLA will be held October 25-27, 2015 at the Radisson Hotel Downtown in Manchester, NH.  Make sure to friend us on Facebook and/or follow us on Twitter to stay up-to-date with all of the latest conference information and updates!  Talk about conference using the #NELA2015!  Attendees, we look forward to releasing the program schedule and opening early bird registration in mid-summer.

Michelle Conners, Walker Memorial Library,
New England Library Association Representative
Collaborations Across Seas
Pictured above: Nursing students previously on UMFK's campus
This summer the University of Maine Fort Kent will host two cohorts of Pacific Island students. The first cohort comprises twenty-six nurses from the Marshall Islands and Pohnpei in the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM). The two countries are in the Northern Pacific slightly over 2,800 miles West of the Hawaiian Islands. Further west of the islands are Guam and the Commonwealth of the Northern Marianas. Library staff at the University work hard with the students while they are here and also continue conversations through chat and email when they return home.
The nurses will be on the UMFK campus for four weeks taking nursing courses in Holistic Health Assessment, Health Related Research and Healthcare Policy.  They are eager to share their nursing experiences and culture with UMFK and the Fort Kent community.
The second cohort comprises elementary and high school teachers from various islands of the Marshall Islands. The group is working towards attaining a Bachelor of Science in Secondary Education with concentration in Math and Science. The program starts in July for four weeks. This will be the second cohort of Education major students at UMFK. This past May, 11 out of 16 completed their Bachelor degree. The program is a partnership with the Marshall Islands Ministry of Education whose aim is to develop and build the capacity of teachers in the nation.

Sofia Birden, Associate Director, Blake Library, University of Fort Kent
What Are You Reading?

Lisa Marie Joyce, Portland Public Library
Enchanted August by Brenda Bowen. 

A great Beach Read! This novel by Brenda Bowen has a cottage on an island off the coast of Maine, a family left behind in New York City, and .... a tattooed librarian. What more could you want? It's a fantastic story about the need for just a little alone time. In a crazy world of kids, spouses, bills, work and stuff, it's easy to relate to a fantasy about running away for a few weeks. Ms. Bowen's characters do it and they do it with style. Little Lost Island is wonderfully captured in all its quirkiness and eccentricity. I hope you find your Little Lost this summer.

Brian Richards, Searsport Middle/High School  
Solace by Tim Caverly.

Tim Caverly takes us on another incredible journey in Maine's North woods with his new book Solace. Wonderfully written and beautifully illustrated, readers will embark on another adventure in Maine's Allagash region in the sixth book of the Allagash Tails collection. Solace easily hooks the reader with Tim Caverly's sense of adventure and a dash mystery. 

Instructed by a letter from a grandfather he never met, Jim embarks on a quest to recover an unknown family heirloom. Leaving his home and life behind, Jim heads North in search of the one man his grandfather said can fill in the gaps, and lead him to his family's birthright. What transpires will give readers a taste of Maine's Allagash region. Filled with photographs, illustrations, and stories from the region, it is hard to believe that Solace is a work of fiction. 

Suitable for all ages, Solace was both easy and enjoyable to read. Written in a relaxed, folk tale style, Solace will bring the Maine wilderness to your armchair. As one who enjoys the outdoors but has never been to the Allagash, Solace has kindled a spark of interest to one day make my own journey to Maine's Allagash region. I truly enjoyed this book and would highly recommend it to others. 

Librarian Spotlight

This month's Librarian Spotlight is on new members of the Maine Library Association's Executive Council. Join us in learning a little bit more about each one of them.

Marcela Peres, Adult Services Librarian, Lewiston Public Library
Communications Chair

1. How did you get your start in libraries?
In college, I majored in psychology and religious studies, both of which I loved but didn’t see as careers. I was also serving as a work-study for several departments in one of Cornell’s libraries. The first was their research and instruction department, where I often assisted librarians in preparing presentations on digital archiving for other information professionals, my first exposure to librarianship beyond books, storytimes, and research. Next, I worked in Library HR, where I got a big education in the wide variety of library jobs that existed, and was encouraged by my supervisors to consider librarianship as a career. The more I learned about the field, the more I realized it was a perfect fit for me, a lifelong learner who wanted a career that would actually encourage me to learn about as much as possible about everything, rather than having to narrow my focus. Two years after graduating, I enrolled in the master’s program at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
2. Why did you join MLA? I’ve been an ALA member for years, but that is a sprawling and sometimes overwhelming organization, where it can be tough to really find your place. When I moved to Maine from Florida, I was struck by the many differences in how libraries operated. A couple mentors recommended that I look into the state library association as a way to meet other professionals, get involved locally, and to help immerse myself in what libraries mean to Maine specifically.
3. What's your favorite book from recent memory? I’ve recently been getting into Brandon Sanderson, after devouring The Way of Kings, the opening book in an epic series he’s writing. Sanderson is an absolute master at world-building, and if you can get past the daunting several hundred pages it takes to start understanding what is going on, the payoff is a deeply immersive and engrossing experience.

Tricia Gordon, Library Director, Cundy's Harbor Library

1. How did you get your start in libraries? Libraries have been a part of my life as long as I can remember. As a child, my library card number was 100. I always thought that was pretty special. Professionally, I had spent a year substitute teaching after college and when a high school library position opened up, I applied immediately. I spent 19 years at Mt. Ararat High School Library in Topsham before moving into the public library world in 2014.
2. Why did you join MLA? I joined the MLA to be a part of the conversation about libraries here in Maine.
3. What's your favorite book from recent memory? Choosing a favorite book is like admitting you have a favorite child! Not going to happen. I read and especially enjoyed Eeny Meeny by M. J. Arlidge recently. Could not put it down and cannot wait for the next one!

Michelle K. Conners, Lending Services Librarian, Walker Memorial Library
NELA Representative

1. How did you get your start in libraries? I graduated in 2009 with an MLIS from Queens College.  From there I worked at the Long Island Maritime Museum (NY) for four years before moving to Maine.  I started at Walker as a volunteer, then part-time and soon after full-time to my current position just over a year ago. 
2. Why did you join MLA?  It is important for me to be a part of MLA because I want to be aware of what’s going on in my profession at all different levels and I eventually want to contribute to that.  There is a heavier learning curve now but I know in the future with what I’ve learned I’ll be able to give back to my library and the state.
3. What's your favorite book from recent memory? Geek Love by Katherine Dunn.  Absolutely amazing.  Thanks to Adrian Alexander (TML, WLK) for recommending it. 

Pamela Bonney, Library Director, Winslow Public Library

1. How did you get your start in libraries? I've always loved libraries.  One of my earliest childhood memories is of visiting a magical castle-like building (the Phoenixville Pennsylvania Public Library) and being in a big room full of beautiful children's books that I could bring home.  The university I attended had an excellent MLS program and a good friend was in the program.  This inspired me to pursue this degree after I graduated and moved away.   The rest, as they say, is history. ( I've worked in libraries for 41 years now.)

2. Why did you join MLA? MLA is the professional organization that represents and advocates for all of Maine's libraries.  I want to support the organization by being an active member.

3. What's your favorite book from recent memory? Can't choose just one!   Best fiction I've read recently is All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doer.    Best nonfiction:  My Paris Kitchen: Recipes and Stories by David Lebovitz. Currently reading and loving: When We Were the Kennedys by Monica Wood
We hope you have enjoyed this issue of MLA to Z. Our next issue comes out in October, so get your article ideas ready!

Samantha Cote
MLA to Z Newsletter Editor
Youth Services/Technology Librarian, Winslow Public Library
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