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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.


Help is On the Way: Charitable Giving

posted: , by Sonya Durney
tags: Adults | Seniors | Art & Culture | Business | Government | News

You know you want to save the world.   You have a heart the size of our great State o’ Maine and finite finances. Where, oh, where to begin?

The good news is that there are some terrific resources out there to help you make good decisions that suit your priorities. Before your good intentions grind to a confused halt, take a look at some of these websites.

Where to start? A really terrific site to check out is Philanthropedia, Guide to Better Giving.  It is a great tool to help you focus and to understand various strategies for giving. It answers questions you may not know you have!

Sometimes you have a good idea of who you’d like to give to, but you’d like some reliable nuts-and-bolts rating information* about how they use your hard-earned donated dollars.

* Keep in mind that different sites will use different grading scales when rating nonprofits, as outlined in this TEDTalk. This one is well worth a few minutes viewing time. It presents an interesting view of nonprofits’ spending strategies.

That said, here are two sites that sort some of it out for you: Charity Navigator  and Guidestar.

These sites can also provide some focus when you know you want your donation to go toward a particular area of need, but need to find an organization that is a good fit.

It isn’t easy to know who to trust when unsolicited pleas for donations come your way. It might be a phone call, an email, something in your mailbox, or someone at your door. The Federal Trade Commission has a few things to say on the subject.

And let’s not forget that when we indulge our urge to be generous, we do so with the blessing of the US Tax Code. Here are some tips from the IRS.  Charitable giving can really pay off !

There are so many ways to make a difference. Finding what works for you can feel overwhelming. When opening your wallet seems like the best option, these resources may serve as guides. And, let’s just say it: there is nothing like the good feeling you get when you use your head to put your money where your heart is.

Happy Giving! Eileen of the Business and Government Team.

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