One of the Scarborough Public Library’s oldest and most active members was recently asked before she died, “What is the most important innovation you’ve seen in your lifetime?” At 98 she could choose from a very long list of human accomplishments. One accomplishment she couldn’t choose was local electricity — it was well underway in Maine by 1922 when she was born. But there were a whole host of others for consideration.

Radio programs were available when she was born and she was only 5 when the first Model A rolled off the Ford assembly line. (Her dad owned a Nash.) What about commercial air travel (1929), the atomic bomb (1945), regular television programming (1948), men landing on the moon (1969), or the first complete human genome mapping 20 years ago this month?

In spite of all the challenges our country faces today, looking back on the last century it’s easy to imagine there are a great many positive human advances taking place at any given time — even now! So, if you’re tired of winter and need an inspirational pick-me-up, or looking for a flash of insight to add spice to your WFH routine, or simply need to finish that school project, the SPL collections, staff, volunteers, and connections can help you.

Even though the Library has been closed recently for in-person browsing, the staff have been able to help the public stay connected with families, friends, and work. Visitors to the Computer Lab have accessed a wide range of Zoom events and meetings including job interviews, association meetings, telehealth visits, and funerals. The staff have helped people learn about on-line ordering during the pandemic, and even how to establish their first free email account.

With a call, a click or soon, on March 1, an in-person visit, you can access current innovations in just about anything from robotics ( and sailing ( to new archeology projects ( and details about the PPP Round 2 funds that are available (PPP Second Draw Borrower Application Form (

From the solar panels to the charging station, the Library helps lower costs for the people of Scarborough and works to be environmentally responsible. The lending telescope helps connect card holders to the Universe. Every day during the recent school vacation week there were interesting innovations to explore — like the recent activity of the Mars Rover Perseverance as it zeros in on its Mars landing.

The Library’s patron reminds us that over the last 100 years there have been significant national crises and local challenges. She was 10 years old at the height of the Great Depression, just 22 when her young husband fought in the South Pacific during WWII, 79 when the World Trade towers fell and 97 when COVID hit. Throughout it all, her library played a vital role in providing refuge, resources, and connections.

Today, with the Library’s expanded WiFi connection — which reaches into the parking lot — anyone can stay connected even if they don’t have their own Internet service. And curbside pickup is available if you prefer it like 2,200 of your neighbors. Call 883-4723 to see what’s available or check out what’s happening now at:

Oh yes, and the most important innovation of the last 100 years — you probably guessed it — the Internet. In 1989, she was 67 and the Scarborough Public Library, founded in 1899, was in its 10th decade and opening a new Library building on Gorham Road.

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