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posted: , by Heather Wasklewicz
tags: Adults | Teens | Teen Reads | Teen Events | Teen Health | College & Career | Homework Help | Parents & Teachers | Kids Programs | Early Literacy | Kids Reading Lists | Fun & Games | Discover Portland | Seniors | Art & Culture | Business | Careers & Jobs | Government | Immigration | Health Resources | Health Outreach Specialist | English Language Literacy | Readers Writers

September is Library Card Sign-up Month and libraries nationwide are joining together to remind parents, caregivers, and students that signing up for a library card is the first step towards academic achievement and lifelong learning!

Chances are you already have a PPL Library card and use it regularly to grab the newest bestsellers, stock up on audiobooks for your daily commute, or pick up magazines or DVDs to enjoy on a leisurely day. However, in addition to all these great resources, you might not be aware of the array of other unique offerings you also have free access to. We asked PPL Staff to share some of their favorite perks that PPL library cardholders may not be aware of:


Boy watches a video on his tablet while lounging on a couch. biblio+ icon is in the bottom right corner.

Browse CloudLibrary for the latest books and audiobooks and discover an array of additional digital resources including free access to unlimited movies, documentaries, and TV shows from biblio+, unlimited access to newspapers and magazines from NewsStand, and unlimited access to comic books from Comics Plus!

Enjoy unlimited access to an ad-free catalog of films and TV available on mobile phones or tablets, content can be streamed, mirrored, or cast to a compatible TV.


Young boy stands in front of a large troll sculpture made of reclaimed wood. This troll has a beard made of sticks and is named Birk.

Your library card gives you a free pass to local adventures right in your community and beyond! Visit museums, parks, and cultural sites including the Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens, Portland Museum of Art,  Maine State Parks, and Portland Stage, among others. To explore and discover something new, find out how to access these passes with your library card here.

“I loved the troll with the crazy beard, Birk, one of the 5 trolls I saw!” – Abbott, age 10


For teens ready for driver’s ed, our Teen Library recommends using your library card to access complete DMV practice tests and helpful guides including easy-to-follow directions for obtaining a Maine Driver’s License & Permit FAQs. This resource also includes information for motorcyclists and those seeking commercial vehicle licenses, all free and accessible with your library card.


Did you know Wifi hotspots are about the size of a deck of cards and can link up to ten devices to the internet and are simple to use? Your household can check one out with a library card. This is an excellent resource if you plan on being in an area where access to WiFi is limited or unavailable. is one of the most trusted sources for information and advice on consumer products and services providing overviews, ratings, and recommendations. If you value your time and how you spend your money, this is the best way to quickly research products before you purchase them, but you’ll need your library card to access it!

For entrepreneurs, non-profits, and small businesses, your library card serves as a powerful tool to access valuable information that supports and informs your work. Reference Solutions is a business and consumer research database that offers business and residential listings useful in searching for people, researching business executives, creating marketing plans, conducting competitive analysis, fundraising and more.

This is only a sampling of perks your PPL library card gives you access to. Not sure if PPL offers a specific resource? Ask A Librarian. Do you have a favorite resource at the Library or a unique story about your Library Card experience? Please share, we’d love to hear from you …and if you know someone that does not have a PPL library card, bring them by any branch and we’ll sign them up!

A library card holder holds their card in front of a computer screen displaying the "Digital Library" page on PPL's website.

Library Heroes: InterLibrary Loan Connects A World of Materials

posted: , by Heather Wasklewicz
tags: Adults | Teens | Homework Help | Parents & Teachers | Kids & Families | Early Literacy | Seniors | News

There is a code in the Interlibrary Loan world that if you can borrow, you should also lend. Thanks to a brilliant network of libraries powered by dedicated staff, Portland Public Library is able to perform this dual service. We believe that everyone should have free access to resources, and, if we can locate it, we do our best to get it into your hands! If this sounds magical, it is! 

Simply put, Interlibrary Loan (ILL) is the process by which a library requests material from, or supplies material to, another library. This means a library user of one library can make a request at their home library to borrow books, documents, DVDs, music, maps, and a range of other materials that are owned by another library.  

“I am a big fan of Portland Public Library, especially your Inter-Library Loan. The ILL is an incredible service that allowed me to request and read, according to my borrowing history, almost 200 books in my native language over the last years. My life wouldn’t have been the same without this opportunity. It changed my life.”  – DOLGORMAA H, House of Languages (2022 Maine Award for Minority-owned Small Business) 

PPL’s ILL Team works behind the scenes performing this Library Magic for patrons every day, and, although they do not work directly with the public,  their  work builds communities and changes lives.


Although she never sees the patrons she serves, ILL Supervisor Allie manages and meets their requests: her day consists of reaching out and requesting materials from all over the world for patrons and locating and sending out materials for other libraries’ patrons. This work bridges libraries from around the world, connecting and strengthening our library communities around the globe! 

“I’ve built some great relationships with other library workers, and I don’t know of many other jobs where you can connect or commiserate with someone at Yale on the same day you troubleshoot with a university in Germany! It’s a joy to locate and request items on behalf of our patrons.” – ALLIE 

Totes at the PPL ILL office filled with material requests are ready to be shipped out and into the hands of patrons all over the globe.


Libraries take care of each other to provide patrons with the best service possible no matter what library they use. PPL’s ILL works alongside other Maine libraries throughout Cumberland and York counties to find materials for their patrons, too.  In some of our smaller surrounding library systems, where busy staff wear multiple hats— working reference, circulation, children’s and everything in between –  PPL serves as back-up and support to those libraries to help with ILL transactions. 


Many of our patrons use MaineCat – our statewide CATalog – for the system’s quick-turnaround. We can thank a van delivery system for this speedy service! There are schedules and routes that potentially can deliver an item requested from Bangor on Monday and have it in the ILL office on Wednesday…again, at no cost to the patron!  


  • In the summer, requests for novels increase with the assumption that people (1) love their beach reads (2) generally enjoy vacation time in the warmer months.  
  • In the fall and spring, ILL starts  to see more non-fiction and periodical requests  suggesting an alignment with school semester timelines. 
  • The ILL team can always tell if there has been an interesting interview on NPR or a rave review printed in the NY Times  because suddenly they will receive requests that align with the topic which is always fun to observe! 
  • Movies and CDs are steady requests year-round with French films and independent films taking the lead and hip-hop or rap leading the musical category.  

 “I think it’s fun to see what kind of graphic novels and manga people are always requesting as I am a big fan of both, and this way I can get some recommendations!” – JELENA 


At the core, Public Library collections are diverse, ever-changing, and deserve to be shared!  

My favorite part of the ILL process is seeing how we differ from other libraries’ collections. It’s always gratifying when we can supply an item to major institutions such as Harvard or RISD or Berkeley. It’s equally as interesting when a PPL patron is seeking something, and it’s only available in Alaska. Libraries are always purchasing (or weeding) materials requiring us to be diligent and determined in our searching and our requests.” – ALLIE 


“Recently a bumper crop of films came in. A patron had requested them to watch with his wife who is undergoing cancer treatments. It’s such a sweet story and a reminder that our work has an impact on the lives of people. Having free access to resources is a vital and valuable service to our community.” – GAIL 


        • Once a requested item is identified, the ILL team must verify it’s not lost and that it is in good condition. 
        • Items are shipped via USPS within a day or two, depending on staffing and holidays.  
        • Materials usually get to their intended destination within 8-9 days but because other libraries have their own processes, the reverse can take about 2 weeks. 
        • Each year, ILL processes roughly 2,500 out-of-state items and around 23,000 in-state items for PPL patrons and loans around 24,000 items each year to other libraries  
        • ILL is provided free for our patrons, but it is labor intensive! PPL covers the costs for this service including the shipping costs. 


        Interlibrary Loan is just one example of how dynamic and far-reaching public library services actually are! So, if you think you can’t listen to an original recording of your favorite artist or get your hands on a copy of your 1965 high school yearbook, remember, there is a team of people
        working behind the scenes that just may find a way to get those materials to you and it will feel like magic! 


        Special thank you to the Portland Public Library ILL Team – Allie, Jelena, Gail, and Eileen for their dedication to this special library service. 

Streaming Videos on cloudLibrary

posted: , by PPLMovies
tags: Library Collections | Adults | Teens | Parents & Teachers | Kids & Families | Seniors | Art & Culture

If you have downloaded cloudLibrary, you may have noticed that in addition to ebooks, audiobooks, magazines and comics, you now have movies

That’s right, streaming videos that you can access for free with your library card.

As the site says, “Welcome to biblio+.”

Browse the site and you’ll find categories like Oscar Winners and Nominees, Classics, Movies Based on Books, World Cinema, Music Documentaries, Featured Kid movies, Faith and Spirituality, Romance, and Most Watched Series.

Go on a world tour with Margaret Atwood; join British concert pianist Paul Barton as he plays classical music in a Thai sanctuary for traumatized elephants. Follow Chef Masaharu Morimoto as he opens his two-million-dollar restaurant in Philadelphia. See Oscar-worthy films such as A Man Called Ove, Loving Vincent, Pelle the Conqueror, and Farinelli. Watch diverse movies like Any Day Now, Critical Thinking, and Mother of George. Explore the history of film, visit Antarctica, learn about sharks, or accompany Dr. Jeff Kempf as he travels to Haiti to perform pediatric heart surgery. Introduce your children to Caroll Spinney, the puppeteer behind Big Bird and Oscar the Grouch. Taxi to the dark side, binge watch true crime, or view priceless paintings at the Prado Museum.

These are just a few of the experiences available to you with your Portland Public Library card. If you already have the cloudLibrary app, make sure you’re updated to version 5.7 or greater on your android or IOS device. If you need help downloading or using the app, visit this page, or call or come into the Library and we’ll walk you through it.


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