Student in library


Library Programs

Free, high-quality humanities programs to help libraries serve their communities.


Nicole Rancourt
Program Officer
(207) 773-5051


Library programs

Imagine Maine’s Story

Inspired by the Collaborative Summer Library Program, Imagine Maine’s Story is a collection of Maine bicentennial program ideas and resources for all ages to support libraries of all sizes in their goals to bring the celebration of Maine’s statehood into their communities.  MHC and the Maine State Library have partnered in representing Maine’s libraries as… Read more

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Read ME 2019: Register now

Read ME is a statewide summer reading program that gets Maine adults  all reading two books recommended by a well-known Maine author. For 2019, recommending author Tess Gerritsen has chosen Paris Was the Place by Susan Conley and After the Eclipse: A Mother’s Murder, a Daughter’s Search by Sarah Perry. The season will culminate in August with an episode of… Read more

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Maine Poetry Express

The event will feature readings by: Wes McNair, Stuart Kestanbaum, Kimberly Cloutier-Green, Kathleen Ellis, Paul Corrigan as well as community readers from Augusta, Kittery, Lincoln, and Dover-Foxcroft. Doors and refreshments at 5:30pm, event starts at 6:00pm. This event is FREE and open to the public.   Maine Poetry Express is a program of the Maine Humanities Council in partnership… Read more

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Former Maine editor, 9/11 media consultant addresses fake news

Originally published on September 20, 2018 on By Meg Robbins, Staff Writer “Chet Lunner addressed an audience at the Winslow Public Library as part of a series sponsored by the Maine Humanities Council.” Full article Read more

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Book Registry

Each MHC Let’s Talk About It series needs book replacements—for damaged books or out-of-date books (or books that just don’t work with the series anymore). In fact, some of our series can’t be offered because the amount of damaged or out-of-date books is so great. Explore the registry Read more

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Poetry Express 2018

What is it? The Maine Poetry Express, originally designed by Wesley McNair with support from the Maine Writers & Publishers Alliance, connects libraries and local poets in sharing Maine’s poetry with their community. The landscape of Maine’s voices is varied and valuable, addressing so many aspects of what it can mean to experience life in this… Read more

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Read ME 2018

Read ME is a statewide program presented in partnership with Maine State Library that gets Maine’s adults all reading the same books—by Maine authors and recommended by a Maine author. View this year’s participating libraries and upcoming Read ME library events! Last year’s pilot of Read ME was a great success, with 62 libraries participating across the state.  We know each featured title circulated… Read more

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Host “World in Your Library”

It’s easier than ever to stay on top of the news; worldwide events are at our fingertips, in real time. But if you want to get a grip on the bigger picture, it can be harder than ever to find reliable coverage that explores both local and international issues in depth. Communities are increasingly turning… Read more

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Collaborative Summer Library Program logo

Summer reading outlook looks bright with Collaborative Summer Library Program

Beginning in June, libraries across Maine will be encouraging their patrons to read. This is particularly important for school-age kids to prevent the literacy backwards slide from months of no reading. But it’s also a means for library patrons to model to their own children and grandchildren or other kids in the community the importance of… Read more

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Sites announced for “The Zany, Majestic Bard”

In 2016, the Maine Humanities Council and the Maine State Library will join forces to offer a touring program aimed at turning the most quarrelsome Shakespeare hater into a bold-faced fan! “The Zany, Majestic Bard” is a one-hour performance-lecture created and performed by David Greenham. This lively, fun, and educational performance will delight and surprise audiences of all… Read more

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a stuffed manatee with a skull

What a Piece of Work is a Man-a-tee

The Hugh Manatees are back! Last year, we sent Hugh, our manatee mascot, to libraries all over the state (more than 40!), where he joined book groups, did some knitting, got up to hijinks in the stacks, and more. Take a look at what Hugh did in 2015. This year, Hugh is all about Shakespeare, in… Read more

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Heroes of children’s literature

Heroes are an essential part of our lives but are especially key to middle grade and young adult literature. They populate the books that kids read, a welcome friend in often wild adventures. (Among my favorites are the girl who defends her family and community from a fearsome creature out of Haitian folklore, and the… Read more

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Shakespeare Was a Funny Man: A Program for Libraries

“The Zany, Majestic Bard” is a one-hour performance-lecture created and performed by David Greenham and offered to Maine’s libraries. This lively, fun, and educational performance will delight and surprise audiences of all ages. The program includes history, a brief guide on how to read and understand the text, the opportunity to hear some Shakespeare, and… Read more

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Reference THIS! Episode 2

Join Nicole from MHC and Shannon from MSL as they explain the oh-so-intricate process of diving into your 2016 Collaborative Summer Library Programming Manual. Oh, the things you’ll learn! Episode 2: Finding your way through the CSLP manual   Read more

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Book, hand, and flag

Understanding the Refugee and Asylum Process

In this contentious election year, the refugee and asylum seeker process has been a hot topic in the news—and prey to plenty of misperceptions. Join us at Seeking Refuge: Understanding the Refugee and Asylum Process, a free panel discussion that breaks down the process here in Maine: the screening that determines who can come to the U.S.,… Read more

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Reference THIS!

The MHC and the Maine State Library have joined forces to promote and support summer reading programs across the state. Shannon Schinagl, Emergent/Family Literacy and Children’s Services Consultant, and Nicole Rancourt, who heads library programing at MHC, are leading the charge. The catalyst for a new endeavor by the MHC and the Maine State Library was… Read more

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Reference THIS! Episode 1

Maine Humanities Council Program Officer, Nicole Rancourt and Maine State Library Early Literacy Consultant, Shannon Schinagl discuss the benefits of summer reading!   Episode 1: Why should I care about summer reading? Read more

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Woman reading

Announcing the Winter and Spring Let’s Talk About It Libraries

The following libraries will be hosting a “Let’s Talk About It” series this winter and spring:   1. Roberta Morin at Albion Public Library  “Becoming an American: Struggles, Successes, Symbols” 2. Jackie Bennett at Bristol Area Library (New Harbor) “Crossing Over: Works by Contemporary American Indian Writers” 3. Janet Fricker at Brown Memorial Library (East… Read more

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Louise and Celeste at the Scarborough Library

To Uplift and to Empower: Q&A with the Scarborough Public Library

By Diane Magras Turn off busy Route 1 in Scarborough, and on a fast-moving side street you’ll find the Scarborough Public Library. The library building emerges past a small cattail-filled pond surrounded by trees, presenting a beautiful and welcoming exterior. This fall, I met Celeste Shinay, Program and Development Manager, and Louise Capizzo, Youth Services… Read more

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McArthur Staff Photo 2014

Fostering a Culture of Community at the McArthur Public Library

By Diane Magras Like the books on their shelves, public libraries are full of character: suave and charming, warm and exciting, brilliant and quirky. Sometimes the specific type of character is due to a single librarian, but more often the library itself and the staff and patrons together make libraries what they are. To the… Read more

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Bricks and Mortar for the Mind: Let’s Talk About It

By Kate Webber If you take Interstate 95 as far north as it goes, you’re just two hours south of St. Agatha. The town is seated on the shores of Long Lake and about as close to the New Brunswick border as it is to the nearest US town. In the middle of winter there aren’t… Read more

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Bringing the World in: The World in Your Library

By Nicole Rancourt In this age of increased interconnectedness, I often hear people express that the world feels smaller and smaller each day. Here in Maine, with our petite communities and their members’ wide ranges of interests and areas of expertise, the links between us sometimes feel so entwined it’s as though we are all… Read more

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Building Community In a Small Town

St. Agatha is nestled beside a large lake, surrounded by undulating hills and farms. It is an intimate setting rich in history and culture. St. Agatha was once the seat of a convent, and locals credit the religious heritage still present in the community (through the active Daughters of Wisdom) for a work ethic unique to the Saint John Valley, in northern Maine, on the border of New Brunswick and Québec. This work ethic and awareness of community helped its residents pull together to raise significant funds for the local historical society, museum, and library. Read more

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People, Place, and Purpose: Let’s Talk About It provides just the right mix in Belfast

By Annaliese Jakimides Recently Belfast Free Library and writer, translator, scholar, and textile artist Sagaree Sengupta came together to provide a lively, packed series of discussions around the Maine Humanities Council’s Let’s Talk About It series “Across Cultures and Continents: Literature of the South Asian Experience.” Thirty-seven people showed up the first day—that’s packed—and even… Read more

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Let’s Talk About It: Luring Maine Readers Out Of Our Living Rooms and Beyond Our Borders

By Brita Zitin Ten years ago, Oprah’s Book Club emerged as a major force in book publishing, pushing sales of its selected titles into the millions. The club raised thorny questions about celebrity culture, engaged many new readers, and enraged some seasoned ones, but its one irrefutable effect was to make book club culture more… Read more

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Poetry Flourishes in a Maine Library

By Betsy Sholl Maine’s Poet Laureate Betsy Sholl facilitated the new poetry series in the Council’s free reading and discussion program, Let’s Talk About It, in Bridgton last summer. In honor of National Poetry Month, she has contributed this account of her experiences. On five Saturday mornings in July and August, I drove along Route… Read more

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