Maine State Library and Drucker Institute launch Bendable Maine

Along with the Maine State Library, we announce the launch of Bendable Maine, a lifelong learning and workforce development system.

A full year in the making, Bendable Maine allows state residents of all ages and backgrounds to easily discover content that is just right for them and then acquire new knowledge and skills through online courses as well as local, in-person learning opportunities. In most cases, content on the platform—maine.bendable.com—is free for the end user.

“One of our priorities at the State Library is to contribute to the success of the Governor’s 10-year Economic Development Strategy, and we know libraries are critical partners in their local communities to make that happen,” said Marijke Visser, Director of Library Development at the Maine State Library. “We recognize that providing statewide resources that will help grow Maine’s talent and innovation and create lifelong learners is a core tenet of that plan. Bendable Maine expands the library toolbox and allows all Maine people to discover and learn in new ways, and in doing so, will strengthen our state for years to come.”

Rick Wartzman, head of the Drucker Institute’s KH Moon Center for a Functioning Society, noted that hundreds of Maine residents and scores of stakeholder organizations—employers, nonprofits, government agencies, schools and, especially, local libraries—have played an integral role in designing Bendable Maine and curating content for the system.

“Our team across the state has gotten a tremendous amount of input on how to tailor the platform through workshops, focus groups and countless conversations,” Wartzman said. “Bendable Maine really has been shaped by Mainers for Mainers.”

Having people attain new skills so that they can improve their job prospects or advance in their careers is extremely important, and much of the learning on Bendable Maine is
work-related.

“This new resource is a welcome expansion to the Department of Labor’s partnership with Maine’s libraries to support career exploration and skills enhancement,” said State Labor Commissioner Laura Fortman. “A lifelong learning tool, Bendable Maine gives people access to information and resources that can both help them make career decisions, and start their training journey.”

Tony DiMarco, Vice President of Manufacturing Operations at Westbrook-based IDEXX Laboratories, added: “As a Maine employer, we’re always looking for ways the state can improve the talent pipeline. By making learning and skills training so easily accessible, Bendable Maine is sure to provide a great lift in this regard.”

At the same time, Bendable Maine also has resources on a wide variety of topics outside of work, including cooking healthier meals, handling personal finances, fixing things around the house, understanding technology—even foraging for mushrooms.

Bendable’s key features include:

• Community Collections—personal playlists of learning resources (classes, TED Talks, podcasts, books, etc.) on a particular subject that are put together by local residents.

• Career Collections—learning pathways, curated by local employers, that help to prepare people for some of the most in-demand jobs in their area. As users complete Career Collection courses, they receive digital badges to mark their progress.

• Bendable Boards—handpicked sets of learning resources that allow local employers, nonprofits, schools and other organizations to weave Bendable into their programming and activities while supporting designated cohorts of learners.

Over the long term, the Drucker Institute team plans to continue partnering with the Maine State Library, its network of local libraries around the state and other Bendable stakeholders to ensure that Bendable Maine remains as vibrant as possible.

“Now that Bendable Maine is launched,” Wartzman said, “the real fun begins—integrating Bendable into the programming and activities of organizations across Maine and into the lives of Mainers to help them be lifelong learners.”

For more, please visit maine.bendable.com.