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Teens smiling and holding books promoting the Student READ number program
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Student READ Numbers

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What is the READ program?

The READ program is part of a national movement championed by the Urban Libraries Council to make libraries accessible to every public school student, even if they already have an existing library card. This program is a partnership between the Portland Public Library and the Portland Public Schools and is designed to provide additional resources to young Portland residents to enhance literacy and love of reading, learning, and engaging.

The READ library account is not a physical library card. It is a unique number assigned to each student based on their school ID # (also known as their lunch #). With their READ numbers, students will be able to use all Portland Public Library locations to borrow up to three items at a time. They will also have unlimited access to the library’s many online resources and databases. There are no overdue fees for late books on READ accounts.

As of September 2022, the READ program now includes all Portland Public School students in every grade. Students at all grade levels will have both digital access and the ability to check out 3 physical items at one time.

How does it work?

Combine the prefix 21220980 with your 6-digit school identification number without spaces. For example: 21220980xxxxxx

Note: if you are a student with a 5-digit lunch # instead of 6, you will need to add an extra zero before your lunch #. For example: 212209800xxxxx

At the library: at the check-out desk, you can tell the staff person you would like to use your READ number to borrow items. You only need to remember your school ID # — the staff member will fill in the rest!

At home or school: you can use your READ number to use any online resource from Portland Public Library and the Digital Maine Library.

My PPL: if you would like to place holds on items and pick them up at the library, follow our online instructions and use your READ number plus the default PIN of 1234 (change that right away to a private number you will remember).

Downloadable ebooks & audiobooks: if you would like to download free ebooks and audiobooks to your personal device, follow our online instructions and use your READ number.

What if my READ number does not work?

If you have any issues, such as your number not working, please contact

I am a teacher at Portland Public Schools. Do I have a READ number?

While not eligible for the READ program, Portland Public Schools teachers/staff are all eligible to apply for a free, full access Portland Public Library card if they do not already have one. Additionally, PPL staff are happy to make themselves available to provide special training on how to use the library’s resources in the classroom and from home. If you have questions or need resources, please contact Kelley Blue, Director of Youth Services: Please note that we require advanced notice to schedule classroom visits or tours in order to meet your needs and to ensure our public service desks at the library are fully staffed.

About this program: The READ program is part of a national movement championed by the Urban Libraries Council to increase collaboration among school superintendents, library directors, and chief elected officials with the goal to improve education outcomes for all students, close achievement gaps, and create a framework for an integrated approach to education. The READ program pilot program was launched as the SEED program in February 2018 with Reiche Elementary and King Middle School, and has since expanded to all Portland Public Schools.