Librarians, Librariana & Eclectica

Reading, growing, & serving membership

Author: Sonja
01 10th, 2010

Author: Sonja
12 21st, 2009
12 21st, 2009


One thing that the Maine Library Association is good at is advocacy for libraries.  We passionately and emphatically care about Maine libraries and the people that are in them.  Most especially, the people in them.  As much as I love Maine libraries, I’m also deeply concerned and passionate about all libraries in all corners of the Earth.

Part of that is adherence to our Mission to promote libraries and the pro

fession and other equally important parts are the commitment and vigilance to listening to our community, our State, and global voices.

MLA actively listens to members, each other, patrons, our leadership, what other Associations (both library and our colleagues in other professions) think and feel, to trends, and to innovative ideas. Listening gives way to thinking, discussion, conversations, and, ultimately, action.  We must look outside of our own realms, our own Associations, our own membership in the listening, thinking, discussion, conversation part to ensure success in the action part.

As we close out the year, as president I’m reflecting on the action part.  What did we do, what can we do better, and are there any certifiable results?  There are myriad answers but one thing that seems to be getting a great deal of attention as of late is our coffee sleeve project.  The project was a result of a casual stroll through Kennebunk, Maine in a tiny coffee shop where I picked up a coffee sleeve that looked like an attractive piece of graphic design.

I visit a lot of libraries and this means that I also visit their Main Streets whenever possible.  I meet some interesting folks and patronize unique places.  I’m constantly looking to see if that book someone is holding up in front of them in the airport, on a park bench, or in a shop has a library spine label.  I also look for ideas that may be useful to the library world wherever I go–a business, a theater, a conference, and of course other libraries.  The coffee sleeves were a result of one of these trips where I noticed that an attractive coffee sleeve was actually clever marketing.

Through a series of phone calls and emails and some earnest negotiation, a few Council members worked to create a way to promote MLA with these sleeves.  The word “library” is now in libraries, coffee shops, conference rooms, board rooms throughout the State.  It wasn’t simply to promote our Association, though there is no shame in that, but something for our membership to pass out to patrons, place in their libraries, and to heighten awareness for libraries everywhere.

For more information about this project or the Maine Library Association, please email one of our Council members at or DM us at

Legislation and gavel (1)On October 26th, 2001 the 107th Congress signed into law enacting the USA Patriot Act.  Nearly 8 years later, Congress must make some choices over the next few months regarding the scheduled December 31st expiration of three highly controversial provisions of the Patriot Act.    It’s likely you have already noticed or read that the Patriot Act Reauthorization that could automatically occur on Dec 31st.

Librarians encourage debate, full participation in a democratic society, and we respect your privacy, civil liberties, and your ability to make choices that align with your own ideology.  There are at times, however, when we ask you to take added care in your choice making and strive to be sure that you understand fully the ramifications of legislation and have full access to the legislation in question.

Librarians also recognize the need to be good citizens and adhere to professional visions and I write with the intent to inform and point access to the documents that will allow you to review all assertions.  It is perhaps a safe assumption that our respective thought processes intersect at the point where we want to keep America safe.  I surely do and every one of my colleagues that I work with does as well.  It is in this spirit that I present resources for your consideration.

Proponents of the USA Patriot Act and those that favor re-passing the provisions scheduled to sunset believe that the Act is vital to the protection of the American people and that the interpretation of the Constitution gives the government and law enforcement the power it needs to keep America safe.  Bipartisan groups of senators across the nation are in fact holding lively discussions.

Some opponents including The Maine Library Association Council in cooperation with partners such as the American Civil Liberties Union passed a  Resolution March 14, 2003 called, “Resolution on the USA Patriot Act and Related Measures That Infringe on the Rights of Library Users” after lively discussion and in consideration of our members and constituents’ privacy and civil liberties.   Many, many associations and, specifically, library associations across the nation took a similar position and just recently, re-adopted the Resolutions in response to today’s discussions.

There are two or three provisions causing consternation and alarm but one in particular has the potential to directly impact our membership and our patrons or guests of our libraries.  Section 215 or the “library records” portion allows our Government to obtain “any tangible thing from libraries.” Librarians across the nation are asking for opportunity for full debate before automatically renewing this particular provision.

To learn more about this act, I encourage you to visit your local library.  You can also find a copy of the USA Patriot Act and many thoughtful debates and commentary in the following online places:  The American Library Association (, the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network, US Department of the Treasury, and the Library of Congress.

10 22nd, 2009
  • looking at gossamer snowflakes falling, new LJ issue on my desk, virtual library in Second Life has new neighbors, and new books at library. #
  • RT @sabram #slaname Just for the record I am not against people who vote against the name change if the've made an informed choice. #

Powered by Twitter Tools.

New Logo!

Author: Sonja
10 11th, 2009

mainelibrary_logo (2)

After several weeks of discussion and registering our project with, the Maine Library Association has a new look!  Over eighty emails, a committee meeting, and evaluating 47 different submissions was a challenge for our committee.  So many of the logos were outstanding and choosing a logo can be really tough.

One wants the new logo to reflect the “personality” of the Association, be pleasing, and to convey a sense of unity and growth, but what each person brings to the logo as they look at it, influences their choices.  Fortunately, we were able to find a point of consensus and look forward to using the new logo on a new website under development and our printed resources.

Thanks to everyone who participated, members and committee person alike; you are appreciated and I sincerely hope that you find the new logo refreshing!  For those looking for a new logo, I highly recommend Crowdspring (

10 3rd, 2009

MLA Booth at USMMLA President’s Report to Council & Membership

Activity for September 2009

Sonja Plummer-Morgan

October 3, 2009

It’s a pleasure to report to you activity, ideas, and information gathered on behalf of MLA Council and membership during the month of September as president of MLA.  All of our Council members, in various committees, do things on a continual basis to improve our Association.  It is impossible to thank, report, or recognize them all.  We need a button that says thank an MLA Council member for all their volunteer work on behalf of libraries in Maine!

One thing that rural and small libraries and specifically, Maine librarians are able to do is to cope with change, growing demands, and dwindling resources.  As I listen to other librarians in states across the nation, I’m both glad and relieved that so far, we’ve kept many services/libraries in tact and also have an undaunted unification and dedication to helping one another.  As I get to know librarians in Maine better, the more proud I am of our collective knowledge but also the kindness that we extend to one another.

With great appreciation, I attended the Association for Rural & Small Libraries Conference in Gatlinburg.  See pictures on their newly created website, what a conference!  It was great to see another Maine Librarian there and to speak with Rural and small librarians from all over the country!  I attended many wonderful presentations and learned plenty. I attended as both participant and presenter, offered a program called, Web 2.0:  How to Find Immense Collaboration with Miniscule Library Resources. The purpose was to validate and empower folks.  We all know how to socially network.

Our skills as libraries for reader’s advisory, collection development, and our good natures and public relations skills are all elements that we do daily and naturally. There is a surprising amount of traditional librarianship happening in online social networks.  If we choose to participate in online social networks, those qualities are highly valuable.  Social networking, online or in person, is about building relationships and connecting with readers.  Instead of saying “I have no time,” say “This is how much time I have for building relationships and this is where my energy will go.”

The MLA Council met at the South Portland Public Library for the Regular Meeting on September 17th.  Many thanks to Library Director Kevin Davis and his staff for their warm welcome and accommodation!  Topics covered include:  revised Bylaws, a new MLA logo and website, legislative matters on the Nov 3rd ballot, the budget, revised Salary Study, and the October 30th Joint Conference with the District Consultants.  For a complete set of Minutes, email our Secretary, Lisa Neal-Shaw at

Legislation continues to keep our Legislative Chair Mamie Ney and our officers busy!  Please see our website for the Statements of Position adopted by MLA

President and Communications Chair, Lisa, visited the Louis T. Graves Memorial Library in Kennebunkport and met with their tremendous staff.  We were in awe of their warm greeting and generous time devoted to us.  The director took time to write an email in thanks for visiting as well.  What a terrific example of a great library and excellent customer service!  Please see their web services at:

New MLA logo on the way!  It’s fresh, it’s succinct, and it’s gonna be gorgeous!  Join us at our Business Meeting on October 30th for the unveiling!  Thank you to everyone who took the time to write in your preferences.  To see all 46 entries, please go to:

Literacy organizations and MLA have similar missions and overlapping membership.  Working together makes a lot of sense.  One of our newest partnerships is the Literacy of Maine Volunteers and we had our first event.  The Voices of Literacy Event with librarian and author Vicki Myron was absolutely tremendous!  Andi, Lisa, and I were able to meet and greet many librarians and library lovers throughout the State and the Literacy Volunteers of Maine were a pleasure to collaborate with.  They welcomed MLA and made a special point to mention the Association several times throughout the night.  Our booth sold the famous “book” jewelry, thanks to Molly Larson, and we also displayed a Kindle.  The Kindle turned out to be one of the more popular features of our booth!  See our blog for pictures!

For our Online Social Networking, we have 713 Twitter followers and 251 Facebook Group Members.  Our Communications Chair, Lisa, created a Fan Page for MLA as well.  If you haven’t joined, please do!  See what some of our members are reading on Goodreads:

Looking Ahead:

  • October 30th Joint Conference!  Business meeting, new logo, Annual Report, & Outstanding Librarian announcement
  • Strategic Planning Session in January for Council members (maybe, not sure about this yet)
  • New Website RFP – decision made soon!
  • NELA October 18 & 19 – good luck and safe journey to any Maine Librarians and our friends in New England. See our NELA Rep, Diane Nadeau with questions about NELA or our relationship with that Association
  • Information Today in November written by President and Secretary in Print!  Gaming in Libraries is the topic!

Again, thank you for taking the time to contribute to MLA, be a member, or even to have enough interest in what we are doing to read through this report.  As always, please contact me or our Council with questions, we are always glad to hear from you.

10 1st, 2009

Powered by Twitter Tools.

10 1st, 2009

Powered by Twitter Tools.


It was a huge pleasure to participate in the Literacy Volunteers of Maine event and to have a table set up for the Maine Library Association.  Three MLA Council members “manned” the booth and we met with several librarians and library lovers in attendance.  Libraries are often the place where literacy volunteering takes place, so for the two organizations to join forces is a smart move, I believe.

I loved speaking with people and the event was pleasurable from start to finish.  Literacy Volunteers of Maine were welcoming and organized, making our partnership with them that much more useful.  Author and librarian Vicki Myron was personable and a joy to listen to and, besides, who wouldn’t want to hear about  Dewey the abandoned kitten!

Part of what we did at our booth was to distribute our brochure and sell jewelry to benefit the Maine Library Association. An artist from Camden created book jewelry and 20% of all proceeds go to MLA.  We are continuing to sell throughout the month and then again at a booth at our annual meeting October 30th.  So if you are interested in purchasing, please let me know at

Kudos to Literacy Volunteers of Maine for a wonderful evening celebrating all the people who dedicate time to libraries and literacy.  This partnership is one that I’m very proud of having forged.  Look for future events with the organizations.