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Portland Room Special Collections

The Portland Room, located on Level 2 in the Main Library, houses the Library’s Special Collections and Archives and is the city’s hub to preserve and provide access to Portland history. The growing collections include printed books and periodicals, maps, archives, manuscripts, photographs, digital records, as well as microfilmed and digitized Portland newspapers. All are welcome — researchers, students of all ages, and classroom groups.

Portland Room photoOur Special Collections

Among the Portland Room’s rare books are items from 19th and 20th century Portland publishers, notably comprehensive collections printed by the Southworth and Anthoensen Presses, Thomas Bird Mosher Press, Cuala Press, and Shagbark Press. The Portland Room is also home to an extraordinary collection dedicated to book arts and artisanry reference.

You can also tap into our genealogical source materials, which include the electronic databases Ancestry Library Edition (in-house use only) and HeritageQuest Online (access anywhere with your Library card number), as well as complete sets of Portland City Directories, microfilmed Maine Vital Records up to 1955, and microfilmed Portland newspapers.

The Portland Room also offers the Maine News Index and Jordan Index of Maine newspaper abstracts dating back to the 1780s. Portland Room staff are available for research assistance at 207-871-1700 x747 or portlandroom@portland.lib.me.us.

Proctoring Services

We will proctor student exams at no charge in the Main Library’s Portland Room. Because tests have differing proctoring requirements, prior to scheduling the student should clearly understand both their test’s guidelines and the Library’s proctoring protocols to decide whether the Library is the correct “fit” for their needs. Schedule a proctoring session with Portland Room staff at portlandroom@portland.lib.me.us or at 207-871-1700 x747.