UPDATE JULY 20: MaineCat requesting has been restarted. Please be aware quarantine protocols will result in longer than usual delivery times. PPL To Go is up and running! Place a hold. Wait for your pickup notice. Then make an appointment to pick it up. We look forward to seeing you! Our COVID-19 page continues to have links to current health information in multiple languages. Reference will be answering questions Mon-Fri, 10am-4pm, 871-1700 x725. If you would like to open a temporary eResource library card, please email lending@portlib.org

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Research Shows Virus Undetectable on Library Materials After Three Days

Posted .

Monday, June 22, 2020

The results are in! New research determines that the COVID virus is not detectable on the most common library materials after 1-3 days.

Today is an important day for libraries on our path to safely welcome staff and patrons back to using library collections in the context of COVID-19. This Spring, a key research study was designed specifically to help libraries and museums reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission by testing how long the virus survives on library collections and suggest ways to prevent exposure.

Battelle, the Ohio-based not-for-profit scientific research laboratory that conducted the study, just announced their results that the Novel Coronavirus which causes COVID-19 dissipates from the five most common library materials in 24 to 72 hours in standard temperature and humidity conditions typical to an air-conditioned office or building. These materials include book covers (hard and soft), plain paper pages inside a closed book, plastic book covering, and a DVD case.

This is very important for libraries, as the current Maine DECD checklist and Maine State Library guidance had suggested a period between 3-7 days. Portland Public Library, opting to be most certain, has been quarantining returned library materials for 7 days before handling. We will now shorten that to 3 days, which means we can check-in items sooner and pass popular items to their next patron faster.

This study is the first phase of the Reopening Archives, Libraries, and Museums (REALM) Project, a collaborative effort amongst Battelle, the Institute of Museum and Library Services which provides federal funding to museum and libraries, OCLC which is a nonprofit global cooperative serving libraries with shared technology and research, and the Columbus (OH) Metropolitan Library. Subsequent phases will continue to refine the research, update reviews of other research, and provide toolkits to libraries.

Portland Public Library’s Commitment to Work for Racial Justice and Equity

Posted .

 June 19, 2020

In our more than 150-year history, Portland Public Library’s mission has been to promote a city of readers through access to learning and opportunities for the free and full expression of ideas by all. 

Portland Public Library is a central institution in Greater Portland that is accessible and free to all who seek its resources. However, the recent murders of Black men and women, magnifying years of racial injustice, impel us to recognize that PPL must take action to dismantle racism in our systems — education, healthcare, law enforcement, employment, and others — especially for the Black community and other people of color. 

To fully embrace the Library’s mission and live our values, we must examine and be accountable for our practices, internally and externally, and structure new ways forward. We commit immediately to: 

  • Review policies and change those that result in inequitable treatment of all who access the Library 
  • Intentionally develop the Library Board and Staff to reflect and magnify the rich diversity of our Greater Portland community 
  • Equip the Library Board and Staff for greater self-knowledge and understanding about their role in anti-racism 
  • Build collections that tell the many stories and images of our evolving community 
  • Initiate programs and dialogues that encourage broad and divergent perspectives to engage with one another and advance a community committed to equity and racial justice. 
  • Join with community partners in all sectors who share our commitment to actively identify and break down barriers to racial justice and equity 

Join us in our work to achieve racial and social justice. We will know we are living our commitment when we all hold each other accountable. 

Sarah Campbell, Executive Director

Peter Richardson, PPL Board of Trustees, President  


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