Maine Library Association

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April 16, 2017
In this Issue
President's Letter

During my years in the MLA Presidency, I've heard from librarians, now and then, asking why they should join MLA. "What's in it for me?" is often the question that they're asking, although it might be phrased more politely, or in different ways. And over the years, I've had different answers for them. I've pointed to the work we do putting together our annual conference, or how we support national efforts of ALA. We contribute to regional organizations, helping librarians in the state go to leadership training seminars. We help facilitate connections between different types of libraries and different librarians.

Since January, I haven't heard that question come up even once. 

I think a large reason for this is that in times of trouble--when budgets are threatened across the state and the nation, and when legislation exists that puts libraries in real danger--then the reason for a statewide advocacy group for our profession becomes self-evident. Unfortunately, it's during those emergencies that it's too late to rally the troops to the cause. It's important MLA puts in strong effort year round, consistently, to make sure we're prepared for any occasion.

As I wrote in a letter to MELIBS a few weeks ago, the future looks like it will hold many challenges for libraries in the days ahead. I've been very grateful for the individual members of our association--for *you*--who have stood up and spoken out, loudly and eloquently, to make sure our voices are heard. I've been thankful that we can contact politicians and say we speak for almost 500 librarians in this state. Those numbers carry real weight, and they encourage people in positions of power to pay attention.

It's hard for me to believe I'm already reaching the end of my two year term as President. There's so much more I wish I could have done, and so much work left to do. However, I know MLA is in good hands, and there almost 500 reasons to feel optimistic that we will be able to deal with whatever the future may have in store for us.



Bryce Cundick
MLA President
Reading Room, by E.B. White,
in honor of National Poetry Month

Sadness and languor along the oak tables
 Steady the minds of the sitters and readers;
 Sleep and despair, and the stealth of hunters,
 And (in the man at the end of the row) anger.

 Books are the door of escape from the forest,
 Books are the wilderness too; for the scholar;
 Walled in the past, drowning in fables,
 Out of the weather we sit, steady in languor.

 Which are the ones that belong, properly?
 Which are the hunters, which is the harried?
 Break not the hush that surrounds this miracle--
 Mind against mind, coupling in splendor--
 Step on no twig, disturbing the forest.
 Enter the aisles of despair. Sit down and be quiet.
Save MARVEL--Save Your Internet!
Do you really want to see MARVEL resources cut by $250,000? Do you really want to see the broadband internet connectivity for schools and libraries put in jeopardy? 

In just a few weeks, the Maine House and Senate will begin to deliberate on a piece of legislation that is critically important to you – your library – and your community’s school.

The title of the bill is LD256: An Act to Ensure Continued Availability of High-Speed Broadband Internet at Maine’s Schools and Libraries.

In a nutshell, LD256 seeks to stabilize a very important funding source called the Maine Telecommunications and Education Access Fund – or MTEAF.  

This fund – MTEAF –  is kind of like eRate funds because it helps pay for a substantial portion of Maine Schools’ and Libraries internet connectivity through the Maine School and Library Network (MSLN), but it’s different from eRate in that it also helps to pay for other “education access” services like MARVEL. For example, MTEAF helps pay for just about $600,000 worth of valuable content! 

The MTEAF fund derives its revenues by assessing a very small fee – pennies – to over a million Maine customers’ landline telephone, cellphone, and/or VOIP cable bills.  You may have seen this fee on your own bill.  This assessment (by law) can’t be more than 0.7% of the two-way talk or ‘voice’ portion of the bill. Over time, as more consumers leave landlines and subscribe to cellphone or VOIP cable plans which are heavy on DATA services and not voice services, the amount of money being collected into MTEAF has become less and less.  

This reduction into MTEAF became such a problem, that MSLN has had to ask local school districts and libraries to pay a “participation fee” to help pay for the services that MTEAF was once able to cover in full.  Unfortunately, if left uncorrected, the decline in MTEAF funding will continue and we’d be left to charge much larger participation fees to schools and libraries, or cut other critical services like MARVEL.  In fact, for perspective, if LD256 does not pass, we’ll need to consider cutting MARVEL resources by $250,000.  LETS NOT LET THIS HAPPEN!

What LD256 specifically corrects is the disparate assessment between landline, cellphone, or VOIP cable customers, but eliminating the 0.7% assessment on two-way voice methodology and replacing it with a more straightforward $0.21/month assessment on the “line” – so if a customer has a land line, cellphone plan, or VOIP cable plan, they would be assessed a flat, 21 cent per-month assessment on that specific line.  Doing this will make the assessment more equitable and will stabilize the MTEAF revenues.  Also, and most importantly, schools and libraries will be alleviated of their current participation fee, and no MSLN services (as we know them today) would be cut.

This informative article is being prepared April 14, for the MLA A-Z newsletter to be distributed April 15. LD256 won’t make its way from the committee status to being heard by the full Maine House and Senate until the week of April 24 at the very earliest.

So – we’ll all need to stay tuned, and when MLA calls on you to ACT ACT ACT and contact your local legislators, our hope is that you will do so!

Stay Tuned. Stay informed. And thank you in advance for what will be Maine librarians finest showing when we get the word out en-masse to ensure passage of LD256! 

Jamie Ritter, Maine State Library

Berwick Academy Students Build Surfboard in the Library!

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. For pictures of the project, visit this post on the Maine Library Association website.
Darcy Coffta, Innovation Center Director, Berwick Academy
52 Weeks of Giving
The Hamlin Memorial Library is partnering with three other libraries in the area: Paris Public Library, Norway Memorial Library, and Harrison Village Library for a 52 Weeks of Giving program. We rotate taking one week each month to highlight a cause that encourages outreach, or host a program in our library where people can create something that contributes to community involvement. As implied in the title, this will continue for 52 weeks, so it is running from April 1st of this year through April 1st of 2018. We are on our first project now which we are all sharing on our respective Facebook pages. We got the idea after attending the Maine Library Association conference last fall. One of the workshops there was led by Libby Edwardson of Blue Hill Public Library and she had successfully run a 52 Weeks of Giving program in Kentucky. It inspired us to partner together and do something similar.

Our very first is collecting donations for refugees at each of the participating libraries and then passing them on to Catholic Charities of Maine to distribute:

You can follow along on our Facebook pages:
Jennifer Lewis, Hamlin Memorial Library
Scholarship & Loan Committee: Scholarship Deadline May 31, 2017! 

You’ve probably seen the Basket Raffle at the annual MLA Conference. Maybe you’ve donated a great basket, bought raffle tickets, hey, maybe you won a basket and for that we say thank you, thank you, thank you! Best of all—all money raised supports Maine librarians! But, do you really know why we have the basket raffle? 

Let me give you a little history, it all started back in 1944 when a scholarship fund was established for the purpose of providing loans without interest to Maine residents attending library schools.  In 1973 the name was changed to Student Loan Fund. Later a Scholarship Fund was added, named for Phyllis E. Ainsworth the first Southern Maine Library District Consultant.  Today these two programs are administered by MLA’s Scholarship and Loan Committee.

Of course, raising money is necessary in order to give it away to Maine librarians. Of course, the now famous basket raffle wasn’t the first fundraising scheme the committee tried. Some folks will remember the $500.00 LL Bean raffle. The committee mailed raffle tickets to every library in the state and librarians were expected to sell tickets to staff and patrons to support the fund. Apparently it is illegal to send raffle tickets through the US Postal System, so that funding stream dried up. Along with the raffle a live auction was held at the annual MLA conference and that was part of one evening’s entertainment. Later that live auction became a silent auction and people were encouraged to ‘bid high and bid often’. In 2012 the silent auction morphed into the now beloved basket raffle. 

In the late 1990’s as the cost of library school increased the committee increased the scholarship award from $1000 to $2000. In order to help Maine librarians take advantage of professional development the 0% interest loans are still available, and up to four grants to attend the annual MLA conference are awarded. Again let me thank everyone who has contributed to any of SLC’s fundraising efforts—and that includes those of you who are paying back those 0% loans.
The Scholarship application deadline is May 31st this year. You can find Scholarship guidelines and applications at 

Debbie Lozito, Edythe Dyer Library
Pursuing Your MLIS: Onsite, Online or Both? 

Onsite or online? This is the question that someone wanting to pursue an ALA-accredited master’s degree has been faced with since the first online MLIS programs were offered close to two decades ago. For those living beyond commuting distance, the first option often involved moving close to a university that offered the MLIS. There are many benefits to full-time residential graduate study including the opportunity to meet face-to-face with faculty and other students. The relationships that can be developed as part of such a program not only enhance the graduate experience, they often enrich one’s professional life for decades. Being on campus can also increase the connection with the profession through student government associations and links between the LIS program and LIS professional organizations.

For many students, moving to a university for a year or so is not an option for fiscal and family reasons. Pursuing an online program allows students to keep working, often in a library or other information agency, gaining valuable experience. One’s spouse can keep their job and children stay in the same school system. 

Eighteen years ago, the faculty of the University of North Texas School of Library and Information Sciences faced this same question, except that it was from the vantage point of a program offering the MLIS. After considerable discussion, they designed a blended MLIS program that combines attributes of both onsite and online programs.  Specifically, this approach involves:
•    Identifying a geographical area that is not served or is underserved by an ALA-accredited master’s program
•    Partnering with a high-quality library in that area
•    Admitting a small cohort of students who pursue the degree together 
•    Delivering the coursework through a combination of institutes, held at the partner library, and online instruction
•    Forming a student government association for the cohort with opportunities to meet each semester
•    Facilitating relationships with the LIS professional community and the state and regional professional associations 

The size of the geographical areas ranged from small (Greater Los Angeles, partnering with California State University Northridge Library) to very large (U.S.-Affiliated Pacific Islands, partnering with BYU Hawaii Campus Library).  The University of North Texas Department of Information Science began offering this blended MLIS program in January, 2016, in collaboration with the Manchester, NH City Library. This program is offered to students in Maine, New Hampshire, and Vermont.

A second cohort of students will begin MLIS studies in January, 2018. The UNT Department of Information Science is again collaborating with the Manchester City Library to offer this program. For more information, visit or contact Dr. Phil Turner

Pursuing an ALA-accredited masters involves hard work and considerable personal, financial, and family commitment.  It should be a life-changing experience.  The good news is that there are a variety of ways to pursue this goal and taking some time to match one’s learning preferences and family/financial resources with the different options will be time well spent! 

Philip Turner, Professor Emeritus, University of North Texas

Librarian Spotlight

This month's Librarian Spotlight is on Bryce Cundick, Manager of Instruction and Research Services at the Mantor Library, University of Maine at Farmington; and outgoing President of the Maine Library Association

Bryce Cundick,
Mantor Library,  Farmington

When did you first realize you wanted to work in libraries?
I fell into librarianship by accident. I had just come back from my Mormon mission to Germany, and I needed a job at school. My sister had gotten a job in the Periodicals Department of BYU's library, and she told me it paid well, had nice supervisors, and was a fun work environment. It sounded great, so I applied and got the position, working 20 hours a week there for about four years. My initial plan was to become an English professor at a small liberal arts institution, but when I applied to PhD programs, I didn't get into a single one. I picked up a job working at Orem Public Library while I tried to figure out what I wanted to do with my life. I'd always loved working in libraries, but had somehow never thought it could be a real profession. My coworkers showed me the error of my ways, and the rest is history.

What does an average day at the Mantor Library look like for you?
I get to work around 7am and get the building ready to open by 7:45. I go home around 4pm. Between those two times, my day will vary a great deal. Sometimes I'm teaching information literacy classes, sometimes I'm in committee meetings, sometimes I'm working at the reference desk. I like the variety, and love being in a career where I have some general stability, but enough day to day variance to keep things interesting.

Why did you decide to run for MLA president? What  are you most proud of during your presidency?
I was asked by Nissa Flannagan to run. It kind of came out of the blue for me. I'd done a lot of work with the Central Maine Library District, followed by work with the District Liaison Committee, and apparently my work there had perked up a few ears. I'm passionate about getting librarians of different types working together. We're a relatively small community with a lot of overlap between our missions. Students at school becomes students at universities, kids become adults, and students become tax payers. It only makes sense to have all types of libraries communicating and coordinating our effort. I think I'm most proud of the fact that MLA has become a much stronger organization compared to when I joined up 4 years ago. Our members are more active, our conferences seem to be on a good trajectory, and I'm really optimistic about the future.

Is there something you wish other librarians knew about MLA? 
I think the biggest thing I'd like librarians to know is that MLA isn't some abstract thing. It's not some faceless organization that gets stuff done by magic. MLA is only as successful as its members let it be. To get things done, we need members to be actively involved. People will ask for MLA to do x, y, or z, and I'll say, "That's a great idea! What can I do to help you get that done?" Many times, it seems the suggestion was intended for someone else to get it done, when in reality, MLA is here to help librarians help themselves. Members play a vital role. It's one thing to say "Let me know if you need any help." It's much more useful to identify a problem, come up with potential solutions, and roll up your sleeves and get to work putting them into practice.

What about academic librarians (i.e. something you wish public librarians knew)?
Mainly that academic and public librarians aren't that different. It's true that I do much less readers advisory, story time, or have to deal with town budgets, but searching databases for the right resource isn't too wildly different from searching shelves for the next book to read. They're both research problems, when you get right down to it. I've been to many presentations that are aimed at public librarians, but I've almost always come away with tools that will help me as an academic. And we might have differences, but we have a lot of overlap too. Budgets, technology, dealing with problematic patrons. I think there's a lot we can and should learn from each other.

If you went to library school, what's one thing you wish they had taught you? One thing you are glad they taught you? If you did not go to library school, the same questions for the type of schooling you do have/apprenticing as a librarian.
I got my MLS from Florida State University. It was 100% online, and I really wish I'd had the chance to get my schooling in person. I learned plenty, but I missed out on the personal interaction that can come in a physical classroom. I got a Masters in English from BYU, and I still keep in touch with friends I made there. I don't know anyone from Florida State. That said, I think the biggest thing I learned in that program was web design. It prepared me for the coming years, and it really helped to have professionals teaching me.

Is there something you have read or watched lately that you would like to recommend to other librarians?
You mean other than my middle grade fantasy, The Memory Thief? :-) I've been working my way through the third show of "HBO Trinity:" The Wire, The Sopranos, and Deadwood. The Wire is my all-time favorite TV show. So complex and deep, but riveting. The Sopranos is pivotal in television history, and sprawling. Deadwood (the show I'm watching now) has one of the best seasons of television I've ever watched. The first season is just fantastic.

If we want to find out more about you as an author, where should we look?
Head to my web page: I write a daily blog there, and it's where all the news comes out. I'm also active on Facebook and Twitter.

Anything else you would like the Maine library community to know?
Just a final thank you to all the people who have helped me the last two years. Like I said: MLA is all about its members. We couldn't do anything without you!
Thank you so much Bryce!
New Look for the Maine Student Book Award

The Maine Student Book Award Committee is pleased to share the new 2017-18 reading list with you, now available on our website:

We are excited to offer our readers a slightly different, new and improved, MSBA list this year. As you know, our list targets readers in grades 4-8. This is a huge age span and after much discussion and consideration, the committee decided this year to divide the list in two, with the hope of better meeting the needs and interests of all our readers.

We now have one list for readers in grades 4-6 and another for grades 6-8. There are many titles that are on both lists, but each list also has a selection that is unique to the lower or upper age ranges. We will have two voting ballots and two winners next April (unless, of course, our younger and older readers all agree on one title).

We encourage you to take a peek at the lists and let us know what you think! We welcome your feedback and questions and hope that you'll reach out to me and other MSBA committee members with your thoughts about this new format. 
Laura Phelps, Phippsburg Elementary School
Save the Date

Save the Date
Join NELA and RECHARGE at the 2017 annual conference in South Burlington, VT, October 22-24.  

Have a program proposal?  Submit now through April 30.  Accepted proposals will be notified no later than July 31, 2017.

NELA will also be hosting a Diversity Summit on Wednesday, July 26 at the Hadley Farms Meeting House in Hadley, MA. More information to come at

Michelle Conners, Kennebunk Free Library
Opportunity to Get Involved with NELA
Are you a youth librarian?  Are you a member of NELA?  Or do you want to be?  Do you want to get more involved in the profession?  The children’s section of NELA (NERTCL) is recruiting new members to join our board.  Our main focus is creating/facilitating professional development opportunities for youth librarians.  We run several at the annual NELA conference, and we plan our own one day conference in the spring every other year.  Not only is this important work, but it’s so much fun!  If you think you might want to join us, fill out the form here: and select NERTCL.  Someone will be in touch with you soon!
Kara Reiman, Walker Memorial Library
Trying Out a New Kind of Desk
After reading about Fit Desks in other libraries I decided to give them a try. EMCC Library now has 2 Fit Desks. The Fit Desks allow students a way to increase wellness while studying and as health literature increasingly shows, a chance to also improve learning skills such as concentration and memory. The Fit Desks are very quiet and have been a great addition to the library.

Here is our president, Dr. Lisa Larson, trying out one of our Fit Desks

Janet Elvidge, EMCC
20th Edition Road Race at  Kennebunk Free Library

Our 5K Run/Walk race route travels through scenic Downtown Kennebunk, Maine, and benefits the Kennebunk Free Library.
The race has grown since its start in 1998 with under 75 participants-now we're nearing 600! The Kennebunk community rallies around this event with sponsorships, donating race day needs and by providing raffle items and services. Prizes are awarded to 1st, 2nd and 3rd place overall winners in the Men's and Women's divisions for walking and running. Certificates of completion with finish times are available.

Active Duty Military and Seniors who are 65+ by race day and preregister online receive a discount.  
All participants receive:
  • Free supper to registered participants (small fee for others).
  • Beer & Wine tent (with positive ID).
  • Fabulous goodie bags and  T-shirts to the first 250 registrants.
  • Incredible raffles for items & services.
  • Outdoor showers.
  • Free outdoor concert by the Kennebunk River Band.
  • Massage therapists for adult race participants.
More Information!

Register Now!
Michelle Conners,Kennebunk Free Library
Program Inspiration from the Albert Church Brown Memorial Library

The Albert Church Brown Memorial Library in China Village has contrasting programs scheduled for May and June.  On Sunday, May 21, Douglas Rooks will be talking about Statesman, his biography of former Senator George Mitchell; on Sunday, June 11, Kevin Gardner will demonstrate building a New England stone wall.  Both programs are at 2 p.m. at the library, 37 Main Street in China Village.  Both are open to the public free of charge, and the food we serve is usually pretty good.

Like many other libraries, we plan two days of eclipse programming in August, with an entertaining and informational program Sunday, Aug. 20, and on Aug. 21, if the technology and the weather both cooperate (that’s a lot to ask!) an all-afternoon screening of NOAA’s eclipse program and an Eclipse Tea on the library lawn.

Also on the summer program schedule are musician Marc Black Sunday afternoon, July 16, and two weeks later a program tentatively titled Horses 101, with a neighbor bringing her horse to demonstrate basic care and management.  And on Oct. 8 we look forward with great pleasure to hosting Anne Britting Oleson reading from her to-be-published-in-September novel, Dovecote.

If you’d like more information on any of our programs, please call the library at 968-2926 Tuesday or Thursday between 2 and 6 p.m. or Saturday between 10 a.m. and noon.  We’d be happy to send posters to nearby libraries, and to put up yours in return.
Mary Grow, Albert Church Brown Memorial Library
Library Facts

Need some facts about America's libraries? Check out the new 2017 edition of Quotable Facts.  #DayofFacts
We hope you have enjoyed this issue of MLA to Z. Our next issue comes out in July, 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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