Portland Public Library offers a variety of services beyond our physical locations — the Portable Library. With the Library’s goal to “create a City of Readers,” we reach beyond our Main Library and three branches to connect with people where they work, play, create, and live.
The centerpiece of our Portable Library activity is the bookmobile, launched April 2013, with generous support from the Key Bank Foundation.
The bookmobile serves Portland neighborhoods without a nearby Library branch, individuals and families (particularly those with young children) who may lack transportation or the time to travel, or have health problems. We visit over 20 locations throughout the city including schools, residential areas, and special events. The bookmobile holds 1,700 items for all ages – fiction, nonfiction, audiobooks, DVDs, graphic novels, picture books and chapter books for kids. The bookmobile has wheelchair access, wireless Internet capabilities, and solar panels.
We also offer our long-standing outreach services for low-mobility and homebound patrons at residential locations. In addition, we have collections for borrowing on the honor system at various locations including the Reiche Community Center and the METRO bus station waiting area.
While searching for titles in the PPL catalog, you may have noticed items that are located at the “Annex.” For the past five years, PPL has had an off-site collection space generously donated by J B Brown that has served as a high-efficiency, minimally staffed, closed-stacks operation for lesser-used collection items.
The Annex collections appear in the Library’s online catalog, and PPL patrons may request items to pick-up at any of the four PPL locations. Requests from the Annex collections usually take 3-4 days to arrive at a borrower’s pick-up location at which time we send a notice that it is ready for pick-up. Borrowers at other libraries in Maine can also request Annex items via interlibrary loan.
To better manage this part of our collections, the Library – in partnership with Maine Historical Society – purchased a 35,000 square foot building on Riverside Street in November 2013 to house our Collections Annex. This purchase was the result of a lengthy due-diligence process and represents a long-term, sustainable solution for management of our collections. Once renovations are complete in April 2014, this new “Shared Collections Management Center” will enable the Library to cultivate our growing print collection (we aspire to have the strongest fiction collection in Northern New England), expand curation of our Portland Room resources, and ensure that our Main Library and branch locations can continue to be vibrant centers of programing, workspace, and technology that serve all in the community.