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  • Wednesday, February 07, 2024 8:06 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)


    Hello,

    The Maine State Library has reached out to us about how we share information about accessing subscription databases, including the Digital Maine Library collection. They asked us to share the message below with school library staff in Maine. Essentially, Digital Maine Library users should be using the geolocation access whenever possible. When geolocation is not possible, users should create their own accounts.You should not create a user account for your school that you share with all students.

    From the Maine State Library:

    We have discovered that several schools and libraries have publicly posted login information to the Digital Maine Library's licensed resources.  

    Due to the license agreements for the statewide subscription to the databases, usernames and passwords for accessing the databases are to be created only for Maine residents or students attending a school in Maine. Since login credentials posted on web pages can be compromised and shared on the internet, we need to request that all schools and libraries refrain from this practice.

    If a patron or student needs to create their own username and password for the Digital Maine Library, they may be directed to:
    https://libraries.maine.edu/mainedatabases/marvelauth/users/register.asp where they can create their own account.

    If you or someone from your school or library would like technical support in the use of these resources, including questions about authentication, logins, etc.,  please use the 'need assistance' form at: https://library.digitalmaine.org/about/need-assistance/


    Thank you for your understanding and cooperation!


  • Tuesday, November 21, 2023 12:07 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    It is nearing that time when many school librarians are putting together their budget requests for the next school year. Please consider including a MASL membership of $25 in your future budget plans. Your membership enables MASL to continue to offer new professional development and scholarship opportunities, support intellectual freedom and offer a mentoring program for new school librarians.

    As a school librarian, you play a vital role by providing access to information and resources that are essential to the education and personal growth of your students and school community. Your professional membership helps you stay up-to-date on the latest trends in the library field, connect with colleagues, and take advantage of valuable resources and benefits.

    Benefits of Membership Renewal:

    Continuing Education Opportunities: Discounted rates, scholarship opportunities, and access to webinars, conferences, and workshops that provide you with the latest knowledge and skills to enhance your professional development.

    Networking Opportunities: Connect with fellow librarians from across the state, sharing best practices and building a network of support.

    Voting Rights and Awards: Eligibility for the annual Walter J. Taranko Library Media Specialist of the Year Award or the MASL Support Staff Award. You have an opportunity to make nominations for the MASL Administrator of the Year Award, and get voting rights in MASL business.

    Advocacy and Support: Membership gives you a voice in shaping the future of the library profession, and support advocating for students, librarians and libraries at the local, state, and national levels. Access to budgeting tools, mentoring, and a newsletter with the latest news, events and professional development opportunities.

    Whether a returning member or a new MASL member, thank you for your support. We look forward to bringing you exciting new opportunities and serving you for another year!


  • Thursday, October 19, 2023 9:37 AM | Anonymous



    MASL’s Mentoring Committee is actively working to pair professionally-certified school librarians with newcomers in the field. Mentorship programs can be incredibly valuable in helping individuals develop their skills and navigate the challenges of their profession. Here are some key benefits of mentorship in this context:


    • Professional Development: Mentoring allows experienced school librarians to share their knowledge and expertise with newcomers. This can help mentees improve their skills, become more effective in their roles, and stay updated on the latest trends and best practices in school librarianship. It’s a win-win for both parties!


    • Strengthening the Profession: By providing guidance and support to new school librarians, mentors play a crucial role in building a strong and capable workforce in the field. This, in turn, enhances the reputation and effectiveness of school librarianship in Maine.


    • Networking: Mentorship programs create connections and foster a sense of community among new and experienced school librarians. This networking can lead to new opportunities, collaborations, and friendships, as well as a deeper sense of professional belonging. When you’re the “lonely-only” in your building or district, and especially when you’re new, it’s essential to have support.


    • Personal Satisfaction: Many mentors find the experience personally rewarding. It can be fulfilling to see your mentee grow and succeed in their career, and it's an opportunity to give back to the profession.


    If you're a professionally-certified Maine school librarian who’s interested in serving as a MASL mentor, please fill out this form. If you have questions about what mentorship entails, please contact maslibraries@gmail.com for more information.  


    If you’re a MASL member who’s new to your position in a school library and would like the support of a mentor,  please fill out this form to make your request!


    Mentoring can be a powerful way to give back to your profession and help shape the future of school librarianship in Maine. When we support each other as professionals, the students of Maine are the ultimate winners!



  • Wednesday, June 28, 2023 12:12 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)


    June elections are behind us and the legislative session is drawing to a close. Around the state and in Augusta, many people have spoken with their votes in favor of our students’ freedom to read. Legislators in Augusta voted against proposed laws, LD 123, LD 1008, and LD 618, which would have restricted students’ and parents’ rights and limited access to many books and topics. Many school board candidates who ran against the freedom to read were defeated. 

    We encourage you to take a look at the roll calls for LD 123 and LD 1008 (618 did not make it out of committee) and send a quick email to your legislator either thanking them for voting against the bills or expressing your disappointment if they voted in favor. Find your legislators’ names here for the Senate and here for the House. Both types of emails are hugely important and have a big impact, so thank you for doing that!

    Despite this positive news, we still face many challenges across the state. Some very unsupportive school board and town candidates were still elected. In some districts, administrators are considering or have decided to require parental permission for students to read certain books. Please reach out to us for support if these discussions are happening in your district. 

    While requiring parental permission for students to read certain books may seem like a compromise, it is really book rating which we know violates the freedom to read (and with the defeat of LD1008, it's not even supported by our legislators). Below are some points to remember and emphasize with your administrators.

    Requiring parental permission for students to read certain books…

    • Requires that someone make a value judgment about the content of the book that will not be objective and imposes one person’s values on those of all of the students in the school.

    • Red flagging books for content that is "controversial" or "objectionable" or otherwise designating it as something negative hurts the kids whose lives, experiences, and identities are reflected in those books.

    • Removing the books from the stacks and putting them in a separate area is limiting access to them which is simply censorship.

    • This idea is impractical: which books will be okay to have in the stacks and which will be removed? How do you define "sexual content"? What about biology books? How graphic is "too graphic"? Who gets to decide? Why?

    • Our experience with book banning in Maine has shown that the books most frequently targeted feature LGBTQ+ characters; LGBTQ+ students are the most at risk for mental health problems and such books can help them by affirming their identities but this would keep them from freely accessing them.

    • We already have effective local policies in place for parents to object to books, this is an unnecessary step to take.

    MASL feels strongly that requiring parental permission to access libraries in any way is not a compromise, but actually an attempt to circumvent existing policies and the rights of the majority of readers in a community. We urge you to stay vigilant and strong in spite of these efforts and encourage you to share our Position Statement on the Freedom to Read from January, co-authored by MASL and MCELA, and sent to all administrators in Maine as well.  




  • Wednesday, May 24, 2023 11:43 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)


    Just one week left to submit a proposal for ACTEM’s Fall Conference and we need YOU! This year, there's an entire Library Strand planned for the conference, so we want to have lots of choices for sessions. Proposals are due June 1st.

    Have you done a PD session in your school this year? Did you have a lesson, activity, or program that went well? We want to hear all about it! Even if it's your first time presenting and you're a little shy, we'd love to learn from you. 

    The proposal form is short and easy to complete, and you will be presenting to a very friendly audience of other school librarians!

    Find the link to the proposal form here, and read more about the conference and theme here

  • Tuesday, May 23, 2023 7:43 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    Our entire organization (yes, that includes you!) was awarded the Maine Education Association's Honor Medal which is given “To recognize an MEA member who has demonstrated outstanding courage in defending academic freedom or in upholding the right of educators to adhere to the principles of their profession free from harassment and coercion. Also, to recognize a member who has faced a difficult period and risked personal welfare because of professional commitment.”

    MASL President Heather Perkinson and MASL Intellectual Freedom Chair  Karen Silverman received the award from MEA President Grace Leavitt, who said: 

    “The Maine Association of School Libraries is leading the fight in Maine for intellectual freedom and the freedom to read. It has been working with other organizations to form a coalition to defeat LD 123, a proposal that would make educators subject to criminal prosecution under Maine obscenity laws and would have a chilling effect in our schools. The MASL continues to promote the availability of books and materials that are a critical part of the welcoming and affirming school climates that our students need to feel safe and accepted so that they can learn and reach their potential. Many school librarians in our state have been viciously targeted by a vocal few who seek to ban books that are representative of our diverse students and an accurate and complete history. The MASL provides ongoing support and resources for school librarians across the state and MEA is pleased to award the Maine Association of School Libraries with our Honor Medal Award.”

    Heather's acceptance of the award can be seen in this video and the text of her remarks is below:

    "Thank you so much for this award and thank you for your support of school librarians. I am honored to accept it on behalf of the hundreds of school librarians and school library ed techs in Maine that I represent, who have indeed been demonstrating courage in the face of a barrage of book challenges aimed at the identities of some of our most at-risk students. In staunchly defending intellectual freedom, librarians across the state have been subjected to very serious harassment. We have been the target of frivolous FOIA requests, our photographs and contact information have been published on social media, we have received obscene messages and emails, and we have been falsely accused of grotesque crimes. It has gotten very personal, but make no mistake, these actions are part of an orchestrated attack, not just on librarians and the First Amendment, but on public education. So I am very pleased to accept this award not just because it recognizes our struggles and efforts, but also because it demonstrates that all of you stand ready to support us in fighting to uphold the ideals of public education in Maine."

    Congratulations to all of you!


  • Sunday, May 07, 2023 6:42 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    MASL Testifies for Intellectual Freedom

    MASL members descended upon Augusta on May 4 in force! Many librarians testified against LD 123, “An Act to Prohibit the Dissemination of Obscene Matter to Minors in Public Schools,”  LD 1008, “An Act to Establish a Rating System for Books in School Libraries,” and LD 618, "An Act to Eliminate Critical Race Theory, Social and Emotional Learning and Diversity, Equity and Inclusion from School Curricula.” Pictured here with the banner that was created for us by the Artists’ Rapid Response Team in protest of LD 123 are just three of the many supporters that were in the hearing room. We heard not just from MASL members, but also from our allies in organizations including the MLA, MEA, MCELA, Maine ACLU, MPA, and Educate Maine. Many more MASL members submitted written testimony that the legislators will read. 

    Supporters of the bills claimed that they were not interested in banning books, only “screening” them, and maligned LGBTQ people and supporters while at the same time claiming not to be targeting those identities. Opponents of the bills, including MASL, reminded legislators that policies exist in every local school district that allow parents to object to individual books and curriculum topics. We also heard many people, including some high school students from Gardiner and Cumberland, speak against the bills and in favor of protecting the diversity of library collections and curriculum so that all Maine students feel welcome and supported in their schools.

    You can watch the hearing here (although it was about 5 hours long) and read coverage of it here and here. The bills are still in the Education and Cultural Affairs Committee, they will be considered in a Work Session (which will also be livestreamed and recorded) and then the members of the committee will vote on whether the bills ought to pass out of committee to the Legislature. 

    We are so grateful to those of you who have already spoken up about this legislation. It means so much to our students and your colleagues—especially the ones who are currently suffering through challenges, doxing, and harassment—to know that they have your support. We encourage you to continue to follow news of the bills’ progress and to contact your state senator and representative to let them know how you feel about such legislation.

    At the hearing on May 4, we distributed these stickers to opponents of the bills to wear, so it was clear how many intellectual freedom supporters were in the hearing room audience!

  • Tuesday, April 25, 2023 8:12 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    It’s almost summer and that means it’s time to sign up for SYNC! AudiobookSYNC is a summer program of FREE audiobooks for teens 13+. Two audiobooks are available each week through the Sora reading app. April 27 - August 2, 2023.

    The theme for the first week (April 17–May 3) is Freedom to Know.

    Democracy requires a free press, both to serve free expression and to provide access to information and ideas. Explore controversies that have confronted a free press across the past half-century. Both nonfiction titles this week are performed by multiple voices.”

    ~ MASL Intellectual Freedom Committee

  • Friday, April 21, 2023 4:28 PM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    The Maine Library Advisory Council communicates regional needs and opportunities for enhanced services and training, represents the needs of Maine libraries to the Maine Library Commission and the Maine State Librarian and the Director of Library Development, and provides a communications network between the Maine State Library, the Maine Library Commission and the libraries in each region.

    The Council is composed of 13 representatives, one from each region (9) - one of these nine representatives will be a member of the Maine Library Commission; one member who is a public library patron (1), plus three (3) At-Large representatives to ensure that the council reflects all Maine library types (public, school, academic and special).

    Ex-Officio to the council will be the State Librarian, Director of Library Development, and MSL Regional Liaisons.

    Representatives from ARRC libraries, Maine InfoNet, MLA, MASL, HSLIC, Trustees, and library patrons are invited to all meetings to ensure wide communication.

    You can see the by-laws here: https://www.maine.gov/msl/libs/BylawsforMaineLibraryAdvisoryCouncil-September2017.pdf.

    And the webpage with the current roster is here https://www.maine.gov/msl/libs/StatewideBoard.shtml.

    ~ Submitted by Kara Reiman, Youth Services Specialist, Maine State Library, and Region 2 Liaison

  • Tuesday, March 28, 2023 7:27 AM | Anonymous member (Administrator)

    March can feel like a loooong month in schools. Everyone’s going a little stir crazy, right? We decided it would be the perfect time to showcase some of the inspiring things happening in Maine school libraries. 

    From Suzanne:

    I've been working with a 7th grade team and their language arts teacher focusing on free verse novels. We turned it into a March Madness tournament.

    And the winner of the March Madness verse novel tournament is… The Crossover by Kwame Alexander!

    Do you have a bright spot to share? It could be a program or event, a lesson that went well, a fabulous display, collaboration or community partnership, or a positive reader's advisory moment with a student — email your positive library news to Iris Eichenlaub (irisdeichenlaub@gmail.com).


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Maine Association of School Libraries

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Contact: maslibraries@gmail.com


"MASL" is a 501(c)6 non-profit organization. 


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