How Things Work: Current Library Services (updated 4/6/21)

Important: Upcoming Changes to Library Services

  • Current library services are very limited.
  • You may browse our collections and request items online.
  • You may pick up items – by appointment – at the Main Library.
  • Both library buildings remain closed to the public.
  • If you need assistance with our online services, please call 767-7660 and choose option #2 for the front desk – or use the Contact Us form – staff are here to help!

On Tuesday, June 1 – contingent on the progress of the utility construction project around the Main Library as well as the current public health situation – the Main Library will reopen to the public in a hybrid model. The successful curbside program will remain in place and the building will open to a limited number of patrons due to capacity guidelines. The days and hours of in-person service have yet to be determined and more information will be released in the coming month. We continue to encourage residents to utilize our curbside service, even when we reopen. The branch Library will remain closed for the time being. Updates, as they become available, will be posted to this page.

Check Your Account

Before proceeding with requesting items, you should first check the status of your library account at the My Library Account portal.

  • If you have fines/charges of more than $6.00, your account will likely have been blocked from use (for information on paying fines, please see below).
  • If you haven’t used the library for a while your account may have expired.  It is very easy to renew your card, using the form found here.
  • Has your library card expired?  Is it lost?  Have you never had one with us?  No problem!  Simply go here, fill out the form, and we will get you set up!


The Library is offering curbside pick up of library materials – by appointment only – at the Main Library Location.  Both library buildings remain closed to the public.

There are currently two ways to request library materials:

  1. If you know what you’re looking for, please place your requests for items online, using the “Search Our Catalog” box on the right side of this (and every) page.

    If you haven’t used our online catalog before – it’s easy!  We have a quick video tutorial online. Using the online catalog can be frustrating but it does work well, once you get the hang of it.

    We know all the tips and tricks so, if you’re frustrated, give us a call, we’ll be happy to walk you through the process! 

    Interlibrary loan service is available for online requesting.

  2. If you don’t know specifically what you’re looking for, library staff have put together several browsing tools, found under the Browse Our Collections menu at the top of the page!  These lists contain direct links to the online catalog, through wish you may directly place your request(s).

    If you’re not looking for specific titles, why not try  Library Grab Bag?  Just answer a few questions and our staff will put together an assortment of items from our collections for you to try!

Users are limited to 15 holds at a time – this is a Minerva-wide system limit and is not a limit imposed by our library.

All items are checked out for their regular three-week lending period.  If eligible, items can be renewed online for an additional two weeks, if necessary.

Current library services do not include the “Walk in Borrowing” program between the South Portland Public Library and other area libraries. We hope to restore this agreement when we are all settled in to our new routines.

The library occasionally offers take away craft kits for kids and/or adults.  Craft kits are limited in their availability and are available on a first come, first served basis.  Craft kits are not available on their own – they are intended as a ‘bonus’ to go along with your borrowed library materials.  When available, these will be announced on the library’s Facebook page, along with instructions for how to request.

Pick-Up / “Curbside” Service

  • We are currently providing contact-free, outside the building, pick up service for library materials.  This service is being provided, by appointment only, at the Main Library, seven days a week.
  • The curbside pick up service has been VERY popular!  In order to keep everyone safe, we structure appointments so as to minimize the chance of patrons arriving simultaneously.  For the safety of our community (and our staff), please be mindful of your appointment time.
  • Please do not attempt to engage staff at the door.  We miss interaction with our users, but we are extremely short staffed and need to keep the process flowing.  We are unable to accommodate requests or respond to questions, etc. at the door.
  • You will receive a confirmation email letting you know that your requested items are ready for you.  Once you receive this notice, you can schedule your pick up appointment, here.  Please do not schedule an appointment until you have been notified that your item is ready for you.
  • If you request multiple items, you MAY receive multiple email notifications.  You do not have to make separate pick up appointments (unless some items come in after you have already been here) we will automatically include all available items at the time of your pick up.
  • If requested items are coming in from different libraries, all items may not be available at the same time.  Though you do not have to pick up items immediately, please keep in mind that items are held for 7 days before they are returned to the shelf or to their owning library.
  • Requested items are checked out to you prior to your pick up appointment.  If you miss an appointment, items remain will remain checked out on your account.  A missed appointment means a shorter loan period.
  • If you must reschedule your pick up appointment, contact us to cancel your existing appointment, and set up a new appointment, here

Renew Your Items

Need to renew an item?  Here’s how…


  • Please return all items to the Main Library – the book drop remains open for returns, 24/7.


  • If there are charges on your account (login to your “My Library Account” to check), don’t panic!
  • If you are reviewing your account online and see an item listed as checked out that you have already returned – do not renew the item.  If you renew, the system assumes you still have the item and that you are renewing late… so it will apply a fine.
  • Fines/charges will block access to a library account if the total owed is $3 or more on a child’s account, or $6 or more on an adult’s account.  If accumulated fines on multiple accounts in a household cross these thresholds, access to all accounts will be blocked until the accounts are settled up. If you owe less than the threshold amounts, please do not worry about paying at this time.
  • Please do not leave payments on the curbside pick-up table.
  • Please do not attempt to give payments to library staff.
  • Please do not put any payments through the book drop.
  • Currently, we can only accept payment via check – made out to “City of South Portland” – sent to us by mail.


  • We are currently unable to accept any donations of materials for the library or for the Friends BookShop
  • If you would like to support the library with a gift, a membership to the Friends of the South Portland Public Library helps to support our program, supply and other needs not funded by the City.