NEW UPDATE JUNE 1: PPL bookdrops are open! Materials are due June 29 and no overdue fees will be incurred until after that date including MaineCat and ILL items. See our FAQ page for more details. We are developing plans for re-establishing services at our locations in conjunction with city and state authorities. We look forward to being able to welcome you to the Library again, and we will make a public announcement when our re-open date is set. See our COVID-19 information page for 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 us at

Life of the Library

What’s new?

Meet Peter: PPL Rebrand Consultant & Brand Ambassador

posted: , by Heather Wasklewicz
tags: Adults | Discover Portland

In 1979 the buzz around Portland (at least among kids) was that the new Portland Public Library building in Monument Square had electronic stacks that MOVED BY THEMSELVES… at the press of a button! The Star Wars/Jetsons-like future had arrived, and it was right here in Portland.

This was a pretty big deal in 1979. It was the kind of story that’s worth talking about, and it spread fast, even in the pre-social media days.

I used the library often over the next decade for term papers, consulting more books than necessary as an excuse to operate the electronic stacks. I came to love the library for its free access to books, music, and videos, and also for offering what we now call “third space;” a public place to do your thing while feeling connected to the community around you.

In 2015, I moved back to Portland after many years away. With no term papers to write, and media accessible by smartphone, I confess I wasn’t thinking much about PPL.

In the span of one week, however, I attended a business meeting in a PPL conference room, went to an art opening in the Lewis Gallery, and brought my daughter to story reading in the Sam L. Cohen children’s library.

I discovered a PPL that was completely transformed. In addition to the art gallery, meeting spaces, and daily storytelling, there are music performances, author readings, lecture series, film screenings, maker fest, comic arts festivals, 3D printing, and so much more.

PPL has become a vibrant center for culture, performance, science, tutoring, and community events, and it’s all free. It is vibrant and buzzing with life.

PPL welcomes more visitors each year than any other cultural or educational institution in Maine. Those who know about the library love it.

But my impression is that many in Greater Portland have not entered the main branch in years, maybe decades, and have no idea what PPL has become, and all that it offers BEYOND the traditional resources we associate with libraries.

I was honored to work with Sarah Campbell and her team to design a new brand for PPL that we hope will have something of the effect the electronic stacks did back in 1979 — create a buzz, encourage people to take a second look, and discover what the vibrant, 150-year-old “startup” in the middle of Portland has in store for you.

It’s not what you may think of when you think “library.”

Visit a show in the Lewis Gallery, or check out the Press Herald photo archive online at Attend a lecture or author talk. Host a business meeting in the conference space, or eat your lunch in the atrium. Bring your toddler to story time, your tween to Legos, or your grandparent to technology tutoring. And talk to the librarians! They are experts waiting to connect you with the portals to discovery you are looking for.

PPL is a jewel in the crown of today’s dynamic, vibrant Portland.

It’s the kind of story that’s worth talking about.




Measles Resources: What You Need to Know

posted: , by Rebecca Starr
tags: Library Collections | Adults | Parents & Teachers | Seniors | Health | Health@PPL | News

According to the Centers for Disease Control, over 700 cases of measles have been reported in the United States this year. With Maine’s first confirmed case in two years, you may have many questions about how it was reintroduced, and how to take care of yourself and your family.

Here are some librarian-approved resources to help answer your questions:

What is measles? How is it diagnosed and treated?

MedlinePlus is run by the National Institutes of Health, and it is a go-to website for quality health information. They are providing a page with comprehensive information about measles, including symptoms, diagnosis, and treatment.

Who is contracting measles, and how?

Interested in getting the facts about the current outbreak? The Centers for Disease Control offer information on outbreaks, including where cases have been reported and information about the origin of each outbreak in the United States.

How can I keep young children from being exposed to measles?

The American Academy of Pediatrics offers advice on keeping babies who are too young for the MMR vaccine from measles exposure.

Where can I find more current information about the measles outbreak?

The Health & Wellness Resource Center is a database offered for free through the Maine State Library. You can use it to find current newspaper and magazine articles about measles.

Where can I find more information about vaccines?

Explore this list of books and online resources to learn more about the past, present, and future of vaccines and vaccination.

Who can I contact for more information?

What should you do if you’re exposed to measles? How effective is the measles vaccine? How does the CDC respond to measles cases? Find answers to frequently asked questions on the CDC’s Measles FAQ page.

If you have personal health questions, it’s best to contact your healthcare provider. You can also contact your local health officer of the Maine CDC with any measles-related questions or concerns.

Are you doing research on measles, vaccines, or other health-related topics? If so, please contact Rebecca Starr, PPL’s Health Librarian with your questions. I’m happy to help you to get informed!

PPL Is Bolder Than Ever!

posted: , by Heather Wasklewicz
tags: Adults | Teens | Teen Reads | Teen Events | Teen Health | College & Career | Homework Help | Parents & Teachers | Kids & Families | Kids Programs | Early Literacy | Kids Reading Lists | Fun & Games | Discover Portland | Seniors | Art & Culture | Business | Careers & Jobs | Genealogy | Government | Health | Health@PPL | Welcome | Health Resources | Health Outreach Specialist | Medlineplus | Latest Health News | Language Learning | World Languages | English Language Literacy | News | Portland History | Science & Technology | Readers Writers

Portland Public Library unveiled a new look on Wednesday, May 15, 2019.

It’s a big week at PPL! We are making some noise! Noise, you say, in a library? Yes!

Did you know that Portland Public Library is the most visited cultural institution in all of Maine? Over 600,000 people visit PPL each year at our four locations (not counting all who use our online services for language-learning, practice tests, small business info, Consumer Reports, and more!).

Did you know that PPL offers over 1,000 workshops, discussions, exhibits, and events throughout the year?

You already know we have great wifi, but did you know we lend wifi hotspots to take home? How about hosting free tax filing support? Ballot issue discussions? Coding workshops? And Legos!

PPL is constantly evolving to mirror the dynamic community we serve, growing and changing as we facilitate the vibrant conversations of our city. We provide the rich experiences and access to resources you’d expect from a big city library tailored to the unique flow and interests of life in 21st century Portland.

When you have a library card, you’re a Library insider. And even library insiders don’t know all this about PPL, so chances are our friends and neighbors throughout Greater Portland don’t know about it either. Help us spread the word. We are excited to change our logo, colors, and messaging to boldly speak out about the Library’s evolution as an epicenter for lifelong experiential learning, civic and cultural gatherings, and partnership in community-wide innovation. Today’s PPL is vital to our great city, that is on-the-move in so many ways!

There is literally something for everyone at today’s PPL, whatever your stage of life. And it is FREE. Enjoy our expert staff, services, collections, and programming. Our storytimes, performances, business seminars, computer help, music-making, telescopes, 3-D printer. Our amazing partnerships with creative leaders and thought trailblazers. It’s all to share, discover, and build more…together.

Welcome to PPL!

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