I’m Your Neighbor, Portland Launched

Students, community members and authors joined on Saturday at the Portland Public Library for the I’m Your Neighbor, Portland Launch

I’m Your Neighbor, Portland officially kicked off with the Launch Party this past Saturday at the Portland Public Library. During the event, members of the community were introduced to the featured books and planned events that will be taking place throughout the year. It also gave an opportunity to recognize the many organizers and facilitators whose contributions and hard work are making these programs possible this year.

The nine Featured Books were available for purchase from the University Southern Maine bookstore in addition to copies to borrow from the Portland Public Library

The community was joined by authors Terry Farish, Frederick Lipp, Maria Padian, and Anne Sibley O’Brien, as well as Aruna Kenyi, who wrote a story in I Remember Warm Rain. The authors were recognized along with their books and were available for book signings.

Authors Maria Padian (left) and Frederick Lipp (right) with Kirsten Cappy

The event started off with Kirsten Cappy, Program Director, introducing the inspiration, mission and vision for I’m Your Neighbor, Portland. She was followed by Dr. Krista Maywalt Anderson, professor of psychology at Bates College and Project Scholar, who explained the importance of reading about cultures other than ones own and her research on the issue.

Dr. Krista Aronson, Professor of Psychology at Bates College and Project Scholar spoke to the importance of reading about other cultures

The highlight of the event was the presentation of the Featured Books. Each book was presented by one of Portland’s NAACP Martin Luther King, Jr. Fellows. The students gave a brief summary and read an excerpt of their choice, including one student who related The Good Braider to his own experiences in coming from Iraq to Portland.

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King Fellows presenters with copies of Out of Nowhere

Kirsten Cappy with King Fellows presenters

Following the presentations, attendees were given the chance to donate to the Free Book Distribution, which helps fund and provide this collection of books for the community. The audience then broke up into small discussion groups and Anne Sibley O’Brien led them in introducing themselves by giving the history of their names. The discussion invited attendees to express how they envisioned using these books in the community.

A sampling of snacks and candies from various ethnic markets around Portland, including Sun Oriental Market, Safari Grocery, Mittapheap International Market, Sindibad Market, La Bodega Latina and Tandoor Bakery were available for refreshments. Guests could try Turkish Delight or Korean sesame candies or the tremendously popular freshly made hummus and bread from Tandoor Bakery.

Hummus and bread from Tandoor Bakery

Throughout the event, attendees were encouraged to write “I’m Your Neighbor” in any language that they knew on a banner. The banner will be present at each event for people to add to the growing list of languages. Already the banner has “I’m Your Neighbor” written in Japanese, Arabic, Italian, French and Somalian.

Guests were invited to write “I’m Your Neighbor” in any language on the I’m Your Neighbor banner that will be displayed at all future events

“I’m Your Neighbor” in Arabic

We hope you will join us in reading and celebrating these books throughout the year. Please visit our Events page to see upcoming programs.

One more day…

I'm Your Neighbor bookcaseOne more day until the I’m Your Neighbor, Portland collection opens at the Portland Public Library’s Main Branch.

The bookcase is positioned and waiting thanks to “City of Readers” coordinator Jim Charette, the books have been ordered thanks to Children’s Librarian Mary Peverada, and the signage is installed thanks to Banacom Sign.

Thanks to the catalogers for working double time to get the books to the shelves!

Look for the bookcase between circulation and children’s after Memorial Day!

Attend the Launch

IYNP Featured Books

I’m Your Neighbor, Portland and the Portland Public Library invite you to the Launch Event of a year-long community-wide read of books set in Maine’s “new arrival” communities.

Date: Saturday, May 25th, 2013
Time: 3:00-6:00 PM
Location: Rines Auditorium, Portland Public Library
5 Monument Square, Portland, Maine
Info: Curious City, 207-420-1126, kirsten@curiouscity.net

The Featured Books by Maine authors and illustrators tell the stories of people that have come to Portland and to Maine from all over the world in the last several decades and in doing so transformed the city into a vibrantly multiracial and multicultural community.

The May 25th event will introduce the books (for both families and adult readers) with readings, music, and refreshments from local independent groceries.

Attendees will have an opportunity to say “I’m Your Neighbor” in any language they know, share the story of their name with their neighbors, and envision how these books can be used in the community.

The Portland Public Library’s I’m Your Neighbor, Portland book collection will open for circulation the day of the event. Books will be for sale by the USM Bookstore and many of the authors will be available for signing.

The project is generously funded by the Maine Humanities Council and hosted by the Portland Public Library. A special thanks to the NAACP’s King Fellows for introducing the books.

“Listening to each other’s stories is the best way to initiate the building of strong communities. Everyone in Portland shares a story of both living together in this city and remembering where we came from. I look forward to those stories coming out when we read ‘I’m Your Neighbor, Portland’ books together.”
-Pious Ali, founder of Maine Interfaith Youth Alliance

Please share this event with your friends and colleagues!

DOWNLOAD a Flyer/Poster to Share
SHARE the event with friends on Facebook.

Bookmobile Visits Neighborhoods

Photographer: Shawn Patrick Ouellette

Photographer: Shawn Patrick Ouellette

I’m Your Neighbor, Portland is delighted by the arrival of The Portland Public Library’s Bookmobile!  Over the next year, we will be providing programming for the bookmobile using the Featured Books and hopefully giving these books away as part of the programming.

To help distribute free I’m Your Neighbor, Portland books to Portland readers, please consider Sponsoring Free Book Distribution.

Hear what The Portland Public Library has to say about the Bookmobile and neighborhoods:

“This is a critical development in the life of the Library and how we create a presence in each City neighborhood.  It is vitally important that we go to people – where they live, work and recreate – in order to accomplish our goal of creating a City of Readers!…

The bookmobile will target families, particularly those with young children, in neighborhoods that are not currently served by a branch of the Portland Public Library system, and will enable the Library to be a presence in all city neighborhoods.”