February 17, 2017
In this Issue
President's Letter

Hard to believe we’re already a month into 2017. A lot has happened since our last MLA to Z newsletter. November 2016, for one thing. A month that will long be remembered in Maine . . .
Because of our fantastic annual conference. (What? You thought I was going somewhere else with that?) I wanted to thank all of you who helped make the conference such a success this year, whether it was through planning, presenting, or just plain attending. We had a great time at Sunday River, and we look forward to continued success there in the years to come.
One thing the past few months has taught me is the importance of teamwork. We can only get so much done on our own, but together, there’s so much more we’re able to do. I’ve loved seeing people unify for a cause or to tackle a shared problem, and I’d like to think that MLA is one such platform for people with similar goals and values to come together to try to accomplish them.
Our overarching goal is simply put in our mission statement: “The mission of the Maine Library Association is to promote and enhance the value of Maine libraries and librarianship, to foster cooperation among those who work in and for Maine libraries, and to provide leadership in ensuring that information is accessible to all citizens from their libraries.”
If that’s something you can get behind, might I remind you of two ways to do so?
First, sign up. Membership lapses each year, so this is something that needs to happen again and again. If you’re already a member (and since this newsletter primarily goes out to members, that’s likely) and you’ve already renewed your membership this year (which, judging by our statistics, is less likely), then encourage your fellow librarians to join up as well. The whole “strength in numbers” approach really only works when the numbers are strong enough.
Second, volunteer. If you’re not sure what you could be doing, reach out to me. Send me an email, and I’ll do my best to direct you to a spot where you can contribute. Many of you have already done so. I’m happy to continue to shepherd more into the fold. As I’ve said before, MLA doesn’t magically accomplish things without the need of hard work. It takes people volunteering time and ideas to get great things done.
And if you have a suggestion of a project that could be done, or you’re looking for a partner organization to pitch in, I’m all ears. I can’t promise MLA will be able to do everything, but we’ll certainly give it our best.
Thanks for your continued support and contributions. Here’s hoping great things lie in store in 2017 and beyond.

Bryce Cundick
MLA President

Smithsonian Exhibition at Bangor Public Library

The Bangor Public Library was chosen as one of 19 libraries nationwide to host Exploring Human Origins: What Does It Mean to Be Human? The exhibition was organized by the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History in collaboration with the American Library Association’s Public Programs Office. This project is made possible through the support of a grant from the John Templeton Foundation and support from the Peter Buck Human Origins Fund. 
Based on a popular exhibition at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History this national traveling exhibition explores the process of scientific investigation by shedding light on what we know about human evolution and how we know it through interactive kiosks, hands-on displays, and videos. The exhibition will be accompanied by a series of free programs, including presentations by Smithsonian scientists.  Exploring Human Origins: What Does It Mean to Be Human? will open on April 3, 2017 and close on April 28, 2017.  In conjunction with the exhibit we will be hosting various programs throughout the months of March and April focused on encouraging a conversation about human evolution that helps us understand each other's perspectives, identifies areas of common interest or concern, and explores the variety of ways human evolution connects to personal meaning. 

Barbara McDade, Bangor Public Library
Year of Kindness in Pittsfield 

This year, the Pittsfield Public Library has teamed up with the Heart of Pittsfield (a citizen organization working to revitalize downtown, promote economic development and build community) to create a community wide movement we’re calling “The Year of Kindness.”  This year-long program/movement will focus on committing random acts of kindness in our town. Through book discussions, lectures and films, folks will be encouraged to “pay it forward”, as the ripple effect of unexpected kindness touches many as it continues forward. We hope this movement will create more community connections as we invite groups, organizations and individuals to participate and initiate activities that promote this concept of caring.

The Library will have a program or event each month centered on a particular group of people or creatures to be kind to. For instance, in February we’re focusing on animals. One of our programs that month will feature a dog trainer along with two therapy dogs and their owners. The First Universalist Church is making pinecone bird seed feeder kits for groups in town and the library will be a distribution point. It’s all about working together and being good to one another. We’re hoping that by the end of the year, we’ll see many photos and stories with “#Pittsfieldpaysitforward" throughout social media, folks will feel a little less stressed, and we’ll feel even more connected as a community.

For more information, you can check out our Google calendar of events and suggested random acts of kindness at, check out the library or Heart of Pittsfield’s Facebook pages, or give us a call at 487-5880.

Holly Williams, Pittsfield Public Library.
Math in the Library Idea from Spruce Mountain Elementary School

Who says you can't do math in the library?!?  Spruce Mountain Elementary students have been reading the Chickadee nominated book Hippos are Huge! by Jonathan London.  Ed tech Karly Wilkins decided to bring this story to life by having students estimate exactly HOW huge hippos are, then measuring how accurate their estimates were.

SMES students could choose any method to estimate the hippo's length.  Some students used their feet to estimate the length of an adult male hippopotamus.  Once they had an accurate estimate, they placed a sticky note with their name at their estimated spot.

Another estimation method was to use their own height as a reference point.  With classmates looking on and helping, a student made an estimate using his own body. Classmates used their feet to mark the top of his head so he can lay down again.

Miss Wilkins and her students measure the exact length based on the facts they learned in the book.

Students assisted with measurement and determined which students had the closest estimates.  Several were very close to the exact length, and one estimate was perfect!

If you are doing the Chickadee Awards with your class and would like to use this activity in your library or classroom, please feel free!  Thank you!

Amy Ryder and Karly Wilkins, RSU 73
CloudLibrary Switch

A streaming recording of one of the Content Acquisition Tool  (CAT) Training webinars is now available online at:

This recording does have a few portions where there is background noise caused by a participant failing to mute their phone while they were talking to someone at their library.  However the main audio is still relatively clear during those sections.

Also, please remember to join one of the upcoming webinars covering use of the patron CloudLibrary App.

*CloudLibrary Patron app Training:*

The Patron App Training webinar session  will provide training to library staff on the various patron facing applications that patrons will use to browse, checkout and read content from the Cloud Library System.

Dates and Connection Info

   - Thu, Feb 23, 2017 2:00 – 3:00PM EST.

James Jackson Sanborn, Maine InfoNet
Get Out the Vote

It's time to start thinking about getting in your ballots to select the 2017 Maine Student Book Award.  

It is never too early to teach kids how and why we vote and the Maine Student Book Award is a great way to get students involved in the election process!  Last year over 5,000 students across the state qualified to cast a vote in the election deciding which children’s book would receive the Maine Student Book Award.  

The award-winning book is selected from a list of approximately 40 books chosen by the MSBA committee.  The committee selects books which  display respect for children's understanding, ability and appreciation.  Also considered are student interests, relevant content, literary quality and professional reviews.  

Once the books have been selected students have almost a year to read the selections. Students have to read at least 3 books from the list to be eligible to vote. The deadline to submit votes each year is April 1st.  Check out our website for instructions on voting and GET OUT THE VOTE!  

Deanna Gouzie McNamara, McArthur Public Library
ALA Midwinter Summary

In late January, I attended the American Library Association Midwinter Meeting and Exhibits representing Maine Library Association as the ALA Maine Councilor. At both Midwinter and Annual meetings the members of the ALA Council discuss a variety of topics, hear reports from divisions and association leaders, vote on action items and in general move business of the organization forward. 

In Atlanta, there was discussion and approval of a fourth strategic direction for the association. “Equity, Diversity and Inclusion” was added to the list of three other strategic directions approved at an earlier meeting. The other strategic directions are: Advocacy, Information Policy, and Professional and Leadership Development.

Other topics garnered lots of spirited discussion amongst Councilors, ALA Staff, the ALA Executive Board, and Association members. Discussions were both online and in person. A Resolution on Gun Violence was brought forth by the membership at the Annual Conference in Orlando. There was much discussion in support and against this resolution. Ultimately, the resolution was referred to a working group spearheaded by the Intellectual Freedom Committee and the Committee on Legislation. The working group put in a lot of work to create a consensus resolution that was ultimately passed at Midwinter 2017. Through this ALA resolves to support efforts to increase funding for research on gun violence, encourages libraries to provide staff safety trainings due to the presence of guns in libraries and encourages libraries to support community discussions around all aspects of guns in society.

Another hot topic this year was the discussion of whether to continue to require that the Executive Director of ALA hold an MLS. There was strong support on both sides. Some felt that the skills necessary to perform the duties of Executive Director were not found in the Library Science degree but non-profit organizational management. Others felt that as the accrediting organization the Executive Director sets an example for the profession and therefore should continue to have an MLS. Current Executive Director, Keith Fiels, is retiring this summer. A search committee has been formed to find his replacement. This discussion was the first step in the process. The vote from council on this item was very close. Council voted to continue to require an MLS for this position by a vote of 78-75.

Finally, ALA held a town hall member discussion just after ALA Council meeting I. Members shared with elected officials of ALA their views on library advocacy and core values in uncertain times. The event was live streamed and allowed ALA members to share their ideas on what they think the direction of the Association should be. Many members have expressed concerns about the effects of the US election on ALA policy and advocacy efforts. The Town Hall was proposed so that attendees could share feedback, concerns, ideas, and aspirations. The town hall event is available for replay on the American Libraries Facebook page.

Attendance information for Midwinter 2017: 5,410 attendees, 2,916 exhibitors, and 669 complimentary passes, for a total of 8,995 registrants. This compares with 11,681 registrants for Boston in 2016 and 11,497 registrants for Chicago in 2015.

Check out these other links for more Midwinter information:

Council I-
Council II- 
Council III-
Midwinter highlights-

I’m happy to chat with Maine library staff members who are interested in ALA. 

Jen Alvino, ALA Maine Councilor, Windham Public Library
Don't forget to remind your patrons about the Maine Public Library Income Tax checkoff, now option 6 on Form CP!

Librarian Spotlight

This month's Librarian Spotlight is on Ruth Eveland, Director of the Jesup Memorial Library in Bar Harbor and our 2016 Outstanding Librarian of the Year.

Ruth Eveland,
Jesup Memorial Library

From Ruth: I cannot thank everyone enough for this honor. It was so unexpected and so meaningful to receive recognition from my peers.

First of all, congratulations on winning the 2016 Outstanding Librarian of the Year Award! Can you tell us about how you found out about your nomination?
I found out when I was called to tell me that I had won. I hadn't the ghost of an idea that my staff had been Up To Something. My staff is still sort of making fun of my reaction  -  I gather I spent some time with my mouth hanging open while I was at the circ desk. I believe tears were also involved.

You were presented your award at the joint MLA/MASL conference. How did it feel to receive the award? Did you have a good time at the conference?
I was sad my staff couldn't be there, but then you read the letter from them and I could feel them present. One doesn't go into this profession expecting awards and accolades beyond an occasional "good job," so it was a little surreal.  I had a lovely time at the conference. I have stored up all the good wishes offered and they will keep me warm for a long time.

How has life been since then?
It has been a nice little point to note as we develop our capital campaign literature and our approach to the Town for additional funding. My staff made a poster and pasted it all over the library, so I kept seeing my face in odd places. That said, we've had a lot of work to do so I mostly just got back to work.

Can you tell us a little about your background and how you came to be a librarian?
My first library job was in the second grade. I was a good reader so I was excused from reading class and got to read to the kindergartners and first graders, and to check out and shelve books at Bethesda Elementary. My next library job was in the fifth and sixth grades because we were in a new school and the librarian was only there one day a week. I craved a job as a page at the Ann Arbor Public Library, but my best friend's boyfriend had it and showed no signs of quitting. I led the student tutoring service out of the high school library and when it was slow they would let me cover the desk and put on bookjacket covers. I was never able to score a library job at college either.

People told me for years that I should be a librarian:  "you like to read so much," as though that was what the actual job was. I graduated from an excellent college with no plans in sight and no desire to teach, go to grad school or law school. I found a job measuring advertising effectiveness and I learned how never to treat another human being. I decided after about six months into it to go to library school since it seemed like something I would be able to do. 

I entered Rutgers with no particular plan in mind, but in one of my first courses I met Arthur Curley and his vision of what a public library is supposed to be just made complete and utter sense to me. I decided that I wanted to be a public library director and do it the way Arthur described. When I graduated Rutgers' degree was still in Library Service not science. I took it to heart.

Tell us about your work at Jesup and any other projects you have worked on and would like to highlight.
I reentered the professional workforce one month shy of age 60 with a plan to take what was at that point my hometown library and make it shiny. My approach is just to do what needs to be done and hope that other people will join in along the way. I think that bringing my understanding of programming to the community is the biggest accomplishment. A couple of years ago we tipped from having to persuade and pull people out of the woodwork, to people coming to us wanting to offer their program at the Jesup because they saw it as the perfect place to connect with people  -  that was heartening.

What do you love the most about your work?
Public libraries are the most small-d democratic places on earth. Everyone walks in the door on the same level, regardless of education, wealth or anything else and gets treated well as a human being. We are friendly and welcoming, even to those who aren't often welcomed in some places, and we support and encourage and help and entertain and educate and are just there for those we serve. We help people with trivial interests and life-critical needs, and we connect people to ideas and information and to other people. Every day brings challenges and opportunities for pleasure and grace.

What are your plans from here? Where do you see yourself in the future?
I will stay at the Jesup until our capital project is completed and then I will retire to let someone have this incredible opportunity to get the Jesup to its next level. I have no idea what I'll do with my time after that, but the world abounds with opportunities for engagement. I will read more, however.

What are you reading right now?
I always keep at least one fiction and one nonfiction book going.  I have a bookstand on a shelf in the bathroom and it's amazing how much you can get through while brushing your teeth (which my mother always found highly amusing.)  Plus, my teeth are really clean.  I'm in All Clear by Connie Willis and Strangers in Their Own Land by Arlie Hochschild at the moment.

As an outstanding librarian, what advice would you give other librarians, particularly those starting in the profession?
Take advantage of any opportunity you can to work with exciting and/or challenging people, even those you don't really think you agree with. Be open to trying things  -  not everything will work as you thought it might, but you will learn from it. Keep in touch with all the elements of your community you can. Read really widely. I'm an introvert, as many in this profession are (although a high functioning, as one of my staff would say) but you have to love both people and books [as you chose to define them] to be successful in this work. It's about the connections. This is the Best Job Ever.

Thank you so much Ruth! You are an inspiration to us all.
We hope you have enjoyed this issue of MLA to Z. Our next issue comes out in April, so get your article ideas ready!
Samantha Cote
MLA to Z Newsletter Editor
Youth Services/Technology Librarian, Winslow Public Library

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

Bryce Cundick
MLA President
Manager of Instructional and Research Services, Mantor Library, University of Maine at Farmington
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