Thanks! to all the folks who brought their talents to share, and to all the folks who turned out in droves to Make - Create - Share here at the Main Library! It was a fantastic success. If you missed it this year, no worries -- we'll be back...
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Life of the Library

What’s new?


Printing in the Second Dimension

posted: , by Samantha Soucy
tags: About the Library | Adults | Teens | Seniors | Careers & Jobs | Science & Technology

Back in November, the Library upgraded its public printing system to include a slew of services… never before seen at PPL. By way of late introduction, we would like to share a little more about what that looks like for our patrons.Where we once offered a simple black and white printer, and a single-function copier, we’ve installed something a little snazzier, higher functioning, and of the twenty-first century. It’s the Lexmark X790, it’s here to help, and we are here to help to you use it.

Never fear, the new machine is capable of the same basic tasks as our old ones. We’re assisting patrons who need to print and copy everything from asylum applications and résumés, to guitar tabs and holiday cookie recipes—not much has changed in that department. The main features that are newly available are: color printing, faxing, wireless printing, and scanning.

First up, at twenty-five cents a pop, you can now print and copy in color at the library. Whether you want to print out your favorite digital photos or spruce up your event poster to catch a few more eyes, you can graduate from gray scale for half the price of a postage stamp. We are also pleased to be able to provide faxing capabilities to library users. You can print your document and fax it out in one fell swoop. The first page costs a dollar, and each page after that is an additional twenty-five cents. It’s a quick and user-friendly process that the staff on desk are glad to walk you through.

Wireless printing is also a newcomer on the Public Computing scene. As more and more people are hooked up to their own tablets, laptops, and smartphones, it can be a hassle to print documents from one of the library’s public desktops. It is now possible to cut out the middleman by sending files from your personal device right to the printer.

Finally, behold: the power of scanning! The world is increasingly turning to scanning over faxing, and with good reason. Scanning is an efficient way to digitize and store important documents in one convenient, portable location that makes sharing easy, and best of all, it’s free. Our new machine allows you to scan directly to—and also print directly from—your own flash drive. Don’t have one? We have some for sale ($7) at the Public Computing desk, as well as a few for patrons to borrow in house.

And if all this new equipment is just a little too flashy for your taste, the old black and white copier is safe and well upstairs in the Portland Room, while its twin still reigns supreme in the Reference area on the Lower Level. To learn more about any of these options, check out this page for more information.

-Hazel


Changes to PPL’s Fee Policies

posted: , by Emily Levine
tags: About the Library | Adults | Teens | Kids & Families | Seniors | News

Fee collection on overdue materials is a fact of life in the library world. Even librarians have been known to rack up a tab on late books every once in a while! While no one likes paying a late fee, the truth is that this income is critical to PPL’s ability to offer a positive user experience to our patrons and visitors.

With that in mind, starting on March 16, 2015, we will be lowering our maximum carrying level for fees. Starting on that date, if you owe more than $5.00, you will not be able to borrow or renew materials or use public computers until the fees are paid or until arrangements have been made. Our lending teams at all locations are ready to work with patrons as we all make this transition.

You may have some questions about this change and about fees in general. Hopefully the answers below will help, but our staff at all locations are always ready to walk you through paying your fees.

 

How much of an impact do fees have on the library’s budget?

In FY2014, PPL collected more than $78,000 in fees. This income goes primarily to support collection activities like adding books, reference materials, DVDs, and other items to our collections as well as supporting the repair of existing holdings. When you go to the shelves, you expect to find clean, up-to-date, and useable materials; fees are essential in making sure we can provide you with that experience.

What’s the difference between fees and the Annual Campaign?

It’s not uncommon to hear folks say, “Sure, I give to the library – I pay my late fees!” While both fees and gifts to the Annual Campaign do support critical needs at PPL, they generally support different areas of PPL’s operation. As noted above, fees are strongly tied to our ability to curate our collection, while Annual Gifts are prioritized for our programs and outreach. Both fees and gifts are vital income sources help ensure that your library experience – the materials you borrow and the programs and outreach that grow out of those collections – is all it should be.

How can I pay my fees?

Any of our Lending Team members can help you with fee payment. You can also pay your fees securely online. Once you use your card number to log into MyPPL, just check the “fines” tab for information and an online payment link.

Still have questions? Contact the lending staff at your preferred PPL branch location during open hours or call the main lending office at 207-871-1700, ext. 730.

 


Librarians <3 Neutrality

posted: , by Samantha Soucy
tags: About the Library | Library Collections | Online Services | Adults | Teens | Seniors | Government | News | Science & Technology

There is one word that makes a librarian especially happy, and yesterday it was said again and again. “Neutrality” was the word of the day, as the Federal Communications Commission agreed to recognize Internet infrastructure as a public utility. This is exciting news. It has been an issue for over 10 years, starting in 2005 when the FCC voted to reclassify DSL broadband service, away from being an “information service” to instead be called a “telecommunications service,” effectively allowing Internet service providers to hide their infrastructure allowing it to be riddled with unfair practices.

But yesterday’s decision ensures that access to the Internet will be based on fair and equitable practices. FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler says: “the landmark open-Internet protections that we adopted today should reassure consumers, innovators and financial markets about the broadband future of our nation.”

So, next time you access Netflix, Twitter, Google, or one of Portland Public Library’s own digital resources, rest assured you’ll be connecting to each of these sites with the same network speeds available—not faster tiered levels of service (with companies paying for higher speeds) that prioritize network traffic to ensure streaming services are better quality and pages load faster.

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