Use these quick links to find PPL Services during COVID19.
PPL To Go: How to pick up your Holds.
PPL Printing To Go is still available at the Main Library on Congress St.

COVID19 Resources: Find trusted information and city/state updates, with some information available in many languages.
2021 Tax Resources: Information on tax forms and assistance available during the pandemic.

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Portland Public Library Eliminates Overdue Fines

posted: , by Heather Wasklewicz
tags: Adults | Teens | Parents & Teachers | Kids & Families | Discover Portland | News

Portland, ME, Tuesday, August 11, 2020. Portland Public Library (PPL), joining a growing movement in public libraries across the country, will eliminate overdue fines for all patrons, effective September 1. Currently, the Library is not charging new overdue fines during the COVID-19 pandemic. Payment for lost/damaged items can be made at:

Increasingly, research shows that while people are equal in returning books on time, they are not equal in their ability to pay overdue fees which can result in the loss of access to the library. Evidence shows that this disproportionately harms people of color and people from lower-income households. The Library leadership and Board of Trustees believe this policy change ensures that our public library is living up to its commitment to provide free and equal access to information, knowledge, independent learning, and the joys of reading for our diverse community.

PPL has explored eliminating fines for several years, looking for ways to replace the revenue generated, totaling nearly 2% of the annual budget. Oddly, the COVID crisis presented the opportunity, as the financial turmoil created by the pandemic forced the Library to reevaluate every line item in the budget. PPL will use a portion of the individual donations to its Annual Fund to help offset this loss of revenue. Coupled with the national dialogue about racial and social inequity, the Board saw the opportunity to join colleagues in many major urban library systems such as San Francisco, Nashville, and Chicago to remove this significant barrier to library access.

“Eliminating fines allows PPL to realize our long-term goal to best implement the core values of librarianship – the unfettered access to all the Library can offer,” says Sarah Campbell, Executive Director of Portland Public Library. “We look forward to welcoming back those patrons who simply could not afford to clear their accounts. We hope that some long-lost items may make their way back as well. There is every reason to return them now.”

Studies have shown that overdue fines are not an effective tool to encourage timely returns, but often serve the opposite function. Libraries that have eliminated fees report multiple positive outcomes:

  • Increased patron access to materials and services, particularly for low-income and marginalized patrons and their children
  • Record returns of borrowed materials
  • Reduction of the inequitable impact of overdue fines
  • Improved patron relationships with their library
  • Optimization of library staff time and increased staff efficiency

The Library is also eliminating fees for replacing lost library cards. Patrons who need a new card in order to access Library services can contact Lending Services at or 207-871-1700 ext. 730. While fines for overdue materials will no longer be collected or billed, some patrons may see outstanding fines on their accounts temporarily as Library staff works to update the system and clear accounts. The Library will still charge fees for items that are lost or damaged. Donations to help defray the costs of eliminating fines can be made at


Maine Voices: Portland Public Library committed to welcoming you back safely

posted: , by Heather Wasklewicz
tags: Adults | Teens | Parents & Teachers | Kids & Families | Discover Portland | Seniors




We’re offering a popular no-contact pickup service, we’re seeking submissions for a COVID archive and we’ll soon eliminate overdue fines.

Research Shows Virus Undetectable on Library Materials After Three Days

posted: , by Heather Wasklewicz
tags: About the Library | COVID-19 Closure | Director's Updates | Portland community | Adults | Teens | Health | Welcome | Health Resources

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.

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