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June 3, 2020

NoveList’s Book Club Resources

The Digital Maine Library provides every resident of Maine with access to online resources that include a collection of full text articles and abstracts from magazines, newspapers, journals and reference. It also provides students, business people, public library patrons and higher education students and educators the ability to use online learning tools.

One of my favorite databases on the Maine Digital Library is NoveList’s Quick Link to Book Club Resources. It is recommended for librarians, book club leaders, and readers.

Book Club Resources has custom discussion guides, exclusively from NoveList’s Readers’ Advisory Librarians. Hundreds of choices, from literary fiction to fantasy and all points in between. Each guide includes a concise summary, hand-picked read-alikes from Reader’s Advisory professionals and engaging discussion starters with notes for discussion leaders.

Discussion guides are great for breaking down the plot and even include sample questions. Discussion group leaders can reference included answers to further the group’s discussion.

NoveList has lots of articles on managing your book clubs, from tips to get you started to suggestions for new book club ideas.

Find the very best book club reads with best Bets for Book Club Recommended Reads lists. These picks are hand-selected by NoveList staff, and are sure to satisfy all the members of your book group!

NoveList’s Quick Link to Book Club Resources is just one of many great tools on the Digital Maine Library.

Susan Remsen

May 18, 2020

Exploring the Hobbies and Crafts Reference Center

Finding a hobby you love is a great way to not only pass the time, but also to take your mind off of your worries by giving you something fun to focus your energy on. And with all of this time we are spending at home, what better time to continue a favorite hobby, or explore a new one! Whether you are interested in Arts & Crafts, Games, Science & Technology, or something completely different, you can find lots of resources through the Hobbies and Crafts Reference Center!

To access this great resource, just click on the Digital Maine Library icon on our website. Once there, choose Art & Culture from the subject drop down menu, then scroll down and click on the Hobbies & Crafts Reference Center. There you will find thousands of magazine articles and excerpts from books
on everything from Altered Art to Yard & Tag Sales! You can search for a specific topic by entering keywords into the search box, or browse topics by category.


Another way to find things is through the ‘Publications’ link at the top. If you know the title of a publication you would like to search for, enter it in the search box. You can also search for a subject by entering a keyword and selecting ‘By Subject and Description’.

When you find a magazine that piques your interest (and I’m sure you will!), you can select specific issues to browse by clicking on the links in the right hand column.

There are even several options for you to save articles that you want to refer back to. You can download, print, email, or save a link to it.

I encourage you to take some time to explore the Hobbies and Crafts Reference Center – maybe you’ll find some new projects for an old hobby, or some inspiration to try something completely new. I know I found some gorgeous knitting patterns that may have just inspired me to pick up my needles again!


May 6, 2020

Keep Your Car Ready for the Road With the Online ChiltonLibrary

Whether you’ve got a little or a lot of DIY mechanic in you, here’s a go-to source we thought you should know about. The name “Chilton ” has been around almost as long as there have been cars on the road—and now their up-to-date auto repair manuals are available online through ChiltonLibrary

With ChiltonLibrary, you’ll find accurate, digestible information that’s continuously updated to cover most cars, trucks, vans, and SUVs on the road today, including: 

  • Step-by-step repair procedures for everything from suspension, brakes, clutch, and gearbox jobs. 
  • More ambitious electrical and engine projects. 
  • Troubleshooting guides for additional support. 
  • Maintenance schedules to help prevent costly repairs. 

Not only will you find repair manuals, you will also find the Delmar ASE Technician Test Preparation (TTP) Quizzes. From Basic Auto Repair to Advanced Engine Performance use the quizzes to prepare for the exam or to test your basic knowledge of cars. 


  • Visit, 
  • Scroll down to ChiltonLibrary at home or on the go. 

Happy car caring!


April 29, 2020

Down the Rabbit Hole of

MarieIt was another rainy and windy grey morning during the pandemic.  Having nowhere to go, I turned to one of my favorite activities: research.  I decided I would look into finding the names and places of my ancestors.  I sat down at my laptop and went to the site though the Maine Digital Library link on the South Portland Public Library’s home page.  After putting a name of one of my relatives in the search, the fun began.  Time passed following links that took me further back in time and gave me more names to fill in on my family tree.  Primary documents came up in the form of vital, military, and census records.  The Find a Grave Index is now a part of and I found pictures of the headstones of some family members.  My favorite finds were family trees in progress by other genealogy researchers that included my ancestral line.  With these secondhand trees, it’s necessary to check the sources listed to connect the family members. Since most of my family came from Canada, I also used the Drouin collection to gather information. Though challenging to decipher ancient writing in French, I found the vital and church records of Quebec in the collection to be helpful.  It was quite a research adventure. Days later, I became aware that I had lost all track of time and had been completely immersed in  I had followed some lines back to the 1500s in France!

This is the time to do some genealogical research.  Usually, is only accessible through the Digital Maine Library in Maine libraries.  During the corona virus pandemic, is available through the Digital Maine Library anywhere in Maine or, if you happen to be out of state, by using your South Portland Public library card. is a popular genealogical database that holds billions of records in census data, photos, directories, vital records and more.  It is a great starting point to research your family tree but can be overwhelming for the beginner. In addition to the Learning Center at, the Niche Academy at the Maine State Library has a great tutorial. Other free databases that may be helpful in your research are FamilySearch, Heritage Quest – accessible with your Portland Public Library card – and My Heritage, another database in the Maine Digital Library.  Though it is suspended for the time being, the South Portland Public Library has a genealogy group that meets monthly.  It’s a great place to meet other genealogists and get help with some of your dead ends.  Watch our website to find out when this dedicated group will resume their meetings.

And don’t miss this great opportunity!  On Thursday evening, B. J. Jamieson, the Genealogy Reference Specialist at the Maine State Library, will be teaching a webinar for beginner genealogists.  The information is below.

Getting started tracing your family tree, part 1

Thursday, April 30, 2020 07:00 PM Eastern Time (US and Canada)

Join Zoom Meeting

 A note of warning- once you start your research, you won’t want to stop!


March 23, 2020

We’re now just over a week into the library’s shutdown, due to the worldwide COVID-19 crisis.  We’re setting up this page as a clearinghouse of (hopefully!) useful links to educate, entertain and enhance our community during this challenging period when we’ve all been asked to hunker down and physically distance ourselves from one another in order to preserve and protect the community’s health.

To start, here you will find the City of South Portland’s page for Community Support & Resources If you need assistance or if you have assistance to give, you may find information on this page to direct you.

If not, the city has also established the City Resource Assistance Hotline at (207) 347-4177 where operators are available Monday-Friday 8:00am-4:30pm to help.