Learning to Walk Before We Run. Need a Book or a Film?

Here’s our first step toward restoring library services…

Beginning on Monday, June 1, we will begin offering very limited hours for contact-free, outside of the library, pickup of materials.

  • All requests must be placed online (currently active)
  • Pick up is by appointment only (also, to be done online)

To start, this service will be very restricted and we enter into it knowing full well that it will be far from ideal for… well… almost everybody.  Initially, this is a ‘toe in the water’ for us – we have no idea what the demand for service will be, how all of us will be able to adhere to the guidelines, and how manageable any of it will be.

The Library’s staff are all entering into this with eyes and ears wide open, understanding that what we start doing on day one may have evolved into something entirely different by the end of the day.  This is a process of not only reopening, but of rapid evolution.

Our philosophy is to start small and restricted and to expand and open up more options as we progress.

Please keep in mind that the restrictions below apply to our INITIAL offering of service.  These will change rapidly and options will be added once we know that these basics can be handled safely and responsibly.

  • All requests for items must be placed online, using our online catalog.  This process REQUIRES a valid SPPL card.  To start, we will be unable to accommodate phone or email requests.
  • Only items from the South Portland Public Library’s collections (Main and Branch) will be available for use – no Interlibrary loan.
  • If available, requested items will be ready for pick up the next day.
  • Requested items will be checked out to you prior to your arrival.
  • This service will be available at the Main Library location only.
  • The service will be available Monday through Friday, from noon until 5pm.
  • Patrons will be limited to 15 items checked out at a time.
  • You will need to schedule a specific time for the pick up of your requested items.  Instructions for doing this will be provided when your items are confirmed to be available and ready for pick up.
  • There will be no public access to the library building.

Here are some questions we suspect the above will raise…

Requesting online?  What’s that?
Our online catalog has been the backbone of our lending services for close to 20 years now and requesting materials online has been the best way for you to get the items you want from us, quickly and accurately, even outside of the current situation!  It’s quick and simple to use.  We’ve even put together a brief tutorial, HERE

What about the Branch Library?
It is not practical for us to try and duplicate a pick up process from both buildings right now.  Library staff will be retrieving requested items from the Branch – daily – for pick up at the Main Library.

These hours are not convenient!  Can you offer pick up times after 5:00?  Before noon?  On the weekends?
We have every intent to expand and adjust the hours as we move forward, once we have an understanding of the need.

I don’t yet have a card / I misplaced my card / My card has expired, what do I do?
Your access to our services, unfortunately, will have to wait until a later phase of our reopening, as we will not – initially – have a secure means of handling these transactions.  If your card expired at any point earlier this year, we have taken the liberty of preemptively extending its expiration date through the end of July, so that you may utilize this service.

Can I call to place a request/schedule a pickup time, etc.?
To start, online requests – through the Minerva catalog – will be the only option for requesting materials.  We expect to be able to add phone and email requests – as well as librarian-assisted materials recommendations – in fairly short order.

What about InterLibrary Loan?
The statewide Minerva network remains shut down for the foreseeable future.

If you have any other questions or feedback, please get in touch with us through our CONTACT US page!

SPPL: A New Beginning

You love us, and we love you.

That’s what makes this first step all the more difficult.

We’ve heard how much you’ve missed having access to your library and its collections.

We have also missed the joy we receive daily from being a place where our community comes together to connect, to share, to discover and to relax.

Because we care so much, we will be taking what some may feel are extreme cautions when we begin to reinstate services and, while services will be added with careful consideration as we move forward, it is clear that the library being “open” won’t be the same as it once was for quite some time.

In all likelihood, what we offer initially will not be exactly what you’re looking for from the library.  We understand this, and will strive to expand upon our services as we move forward. Everything we do will be guided by our commitment to keep you – and our staff – healthy and safe, using the best and most current information compiled by public health professionals. 

We ask for your patience as we take small – careful – steps forward.  We don’t want to offer services in a way that we’ll then have to take away if they prove to be untenable. 

We will see you soon.

Get Artsy, Online!

Introducing the online version of Artsy Afternoons!

Join us on Saturday at 9am for the premiere of Shannon’s first craft tutorial: Making paper Swallows!

Have you been by the Main Library recently?  … Read more.

You Can Help Keep Our Community Healthy!


The South Portland Public Library is collecting homemade fabric face masks for InterMed and for city workers!


As the City of South Portland prepares to transition back to working with the public, we want to make sure that we are taking precautions to keep everyone – the public and our staff – safe.

Read more.

Kid’s Graphic Novel Chat

Let’s talk graphic novels! Join Miss Jess on Zoom on Wednesday, June 10th at 3 pm to chat about what graphic novels you’ve been reading, and what you want to read next!… Read more.

Seed Library

Our doors may not be open yet, but our Seed Library is!

Last spring, in partnership with Girl Scouts of Maine Troop 16, the SPPL Seed Library was created as a way for the community to share seeds for planting in home gardens.… Read more.

Virtual Story Time…

Here’s a selection of  video read-aloud of some of our favorite books!


Stranger Things’ actor David Harbour reads our friend Julie Falatko’s book, Snappsy the Alligator (Did Not Ask to Be in This Book).Read more.