From the Director

A New Owl Has Landed at the SPL! 

You may already know that we are an extremely bird-friendly library. Many members of our staff and Library users are enthusiastic and knowledgeable birders. Unlike the birds we go outside to notice and appreciate, the new owl is inside the Library. It is an important piece of technology that allows us to host hybrid meetings. The Meeting Owl Pro has been named Bubo after owls in mythology and the great horned owl that is part of the genus Bubo. It sits in the middle of the Meeting Room table and spins its eyes to capture both the image of and sound for each speaker. This improves the audio for those who are participating virtually. Grant funding from Maine State Library specifically for COVID-19-related needs made the Owl's purchase possible.

While we remain proud of having kept our building as open as possible from May of 2020 on, it continues to be challenging to plan programming. In-person indoor programs for children and youth were not advisable during the summer months and virtual programs were difficult to provide given the recommendations to minimize screen use for children of all ages. This has raised the importance of print books even more. I invite you to consult our talented Youth Services team for advice in finding that "just right" book for pleasure or one that can fulfill a school requirement. Visit them in person, call 883-4723 option 3, or email kids [at]

Adult programming has been happening virtually, in-person, and via a hybrid format that has elements of both virtual and in-person programs. Let's Talk America meets in our Meeting Room on the first Thursday evening each month. The Library Sketching Group will resume in-person meetings in October, on Friday the 8th from 10am to noon in our meeting room which is larger and better ventilated than their former space. The Knitters and all three Book Discussion groups are now holding hybrid meetings with some members in the Meeting Room and others Zooming in with help from Bubo, the Owl. The French Conversation Group and monthly Genealogy Group continue to be on hiatus. We were pleased to offer an in-person author talk by Paul Doiron to a "sold out" masked audience and we look forward to Colin Woodard's talk for another "sold out" masked audience in the center of the Library next Monday evening, September 27. Each of these in-person author talks reached registration capacity quickly. 

Up-coming virtual programs offer many images to enjoy; in fact, they lend themselves to a webinar format. In addition, their recordings can be enjoyed long after the programs are presented. Our collaborative program with The Friends of Scarborough Marsh, The Butterflies of Maine, will be offered virtually on October 12 at 7:00pm to help you learn more about an important and intriguing insect from a wildlife biologist who has been studying at-risk wildlife and their habitats with Maine’s Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife for 22 years! Before you know it, we'll be announcing our Camden Conference program offerings and their format(s).

In the past, we have been pleased to offer something for everyone through a variety of programs and services. Our new Owl ensures that we can continue to try to reach people who prefer hybrid and/or virtual meetings, which we expect to be popular in fall and winter. We are currently planning future programs. What kind of programs interest you? Your feedback about subjects, dates, and times is invited! Please reach out to ncrowell [at] (me) or to Lucy Norvell, Coordinator of Programming and Communications at ljnorvell [at] with your ideas and feedback.



Nancy E. Crowell, Library Director