The Library will be closed Monday, April 21 in observance of Patriot's Day. We will re-open for regular hours on Tuesday, April 22.
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Life of the Library

The world at your fingertips right in your neighborhood.

Portland Public Library’s mission is to serve the Greater Portland Community by providing a diverse collection of books and other resources, with access to information resources worldwide. The library’s services support the educational, informational, and recreational interests of all community members.


The Portland Room & genealogical research

posted: , by Abraham Schechter
tags: Library Collections | Online Services | Adults | Teens | Kids & Families | Seniors | Genealogy | Portland History

Among our most popular queries here in the Portland Room- whether by phone, by e-mail, and certainly in person- are genealogical questions.  People research their family roots for many reasons, discovering anew while searching historic depths.  Sometimes the search begins with a family story- or an old photo.  Are there names? Dates? Places? Is there something in the picture that helps place it (such as the church wall inscription in the picture below).

Norwegian family wedding in Portland, 1938.

Family researchers can apply tools that include printed books and serials, as well as electronic databases. The printed genealogical materials in the Portland Room are focused on the Portland area. The databases reach further afield. Here are a few of the tools that are used here on a daily basis:

Printed books and serials specializing in Maine and Portland. This category includes microfilmed Portland newspapers reaching back to the late 18th century and filmed Maine State Vital Records reaching up to 1955.

An example of a Portland City Directory. Notice the jobs of the people listed are indicated with their names and addresses. Any “cordwainers” in the family?

Ancestry.com is available at any computer inside the Library. This is a set of databases that has numerous search capabilities. Great place to start.

Heritage Quest is another set of databases which includes a US Census search. Heritage Quest can be accessed from home, with your Portland Public Library card barcode number.

Additional genealogy web site links here.


moxie !

posted: , by Abraham Schechter
tags: Library Collections | Adults | Teens | Kids & Families | Seniors | Portland History

The weekend after July 4th draws near, and that means Moxie Fest, the annual weekend of celebration in Lisbon Falls begins!  Moxie was invented here in Maine by Dr. Augustin Thompson in 1876- and refined later in 1884 as America’s oldest mass-marketed soft drink. Moxie is the official beverage of the State of Maine, and there’s more to learn about the spicy soda-pop right here in the Portland Room.

A picture taken 1947 of a treasure-trove of Moxie, taken by a Portland Press Herald photographer.

“The Moxie Mystique,” from the stacks of the Portland Room describes all things Moxie.


summer explorations

posted: , by Abraham Schechter
tags: Library Collections | Adults | Kids & Families | Seniors | Portland History

There’s good reading to be found- and agreeable weather makes it easier to enjoy the outdoors. Here are some images from the large Portland Press Herald photographic negative collection we’re processing here in the Portland Room, plus a local field guide. Come on in and consult the sources for your adventures!

Taken in July 1951, here is a group of Brownies at Camp Blue Skies- a Girl Scouts Council of Greater Portland day camp. The group is working on handcrafts.

Here, the children are displaying their creative chart of leaves, as they prepare to present this at Camp Blue Skies- in Stroudwater. This photo appeared in the Portland Evening Express on July 26, 1951.

Now it’s your turn!

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