Information about COVID-19 (Nova Coronavirus) and the Library

Out of abundance of caution, the City of South Portland is closing the South Portland Public Library and the South Portland Community Center, effective Saturday, March 14.

Both Library facilities – as well as the two community centers – will be closed to the public after we complete our Friday operational schedules.

During this period ALL library programs and events are on hold until it is determined that it is safe to resume regular operations.

We appreciate everyone’s patience and understanding as we work to identify ways in which we may continue to provide some services.  Any updates will be posted here.

If you have any questions, please visit the Contact Us page.

For the latest Citywide information regarding COVID-19 preparedness and response, visit the City’s page, here

Posted 3/12/20

SPPL, COVID-19 (Novel Coronavirus 2019) & YOU

The South Portland Public Library is choosing to follow guidance offered by public health officials in Maine, elsewhere in the country and around the world, in hopes of minimizing potential exposure to COVID-19 (Novel Coronavirus 2019) within our community.  We would rather take action proactively to an expected situation than to respond after the fact.

Out of an abundance of caution and to be consistent with general recommendations for social distancing, we have enacted several changes to our operations.  We appreciate our patrons’ patience and understanding and we look forward to returning to a full schedule of offerings as soon as it is feasible to do so.

Both locations of the South Portland Public Library remain open with normal hours of operation.  As long as staffing levels and public health guidance allow, we will maintain these service hours.

Effective immediately, several ALL (edit, 3/13/20) library programs and events have been put on hold and, as the situation develops, more may be.  The library’s online calendar is the best resource for knowing what is going on: South Portland Public Library

ALL The following programs, series and activities have been put on hold until further notice:

  • After Hours Concert Series
  • Author Talks Series
  • Celebrating Maine at 200 Series
  • Wildlife & Ecology Series
  • Baby Builders play program
  • Construct and Create
  • Game On! Board Games with Diversions
  • Board Games at the Branch
  • Winter Dreaming & Scheming for Gardening Success
  • Tai Chi for Health and Balance (Senior Friendly South Portland)

This list will be updated as further changes are made

Keeping You (and Our Employees) Safe is Our Priority

The following is a list of steps the Library has undertaken to ensure a safe environment for all:

  • Posted signage with recommendations on how to stay healthy and prevent the spread of COVID-19 at all library locations.
  • Elevated cleaning and sanitizing measures in all public areas, including surfaces, door handles and elevator buttons with germicide proven to eradicate COVID-19.
  • Removed high-touch items from service areas such as headphones, board games and toys.
  • Employees are being encouraged to stay home if ill, visitors are encouraged to do the same.

Remember: community health and safety isn’t just about keeping yourself well.  While you may feel fine and show no outward signs of illness, you could be unwittingly carrying a virus.  A brief interaction in a public space could be all it takes to pass a virus on to someone with a weakened immune system.

Please note, the Library does not currently disinfect borrowed materials when they are borrowed or returned. Disinfecting library materials is not operationally feasible and is currently not recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as an effective means of limiting exposure.

Protect, Prepare and Know the Facts

As a reminder, the best ways to reduce risk of getting sick, as with seasonal colds or the flu, still applies to prevent COVID-19:

  • Wash hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze.
  • Stay home if you are sick. If you’re taking a sick day from work or for school, a sick day from the library is probably a good idea.
  • Avoid touching your face.
  • Try alternatives to shaking hands, like an elbow bump, wave or this!
  • If you have recently returned from a country, state or region with ongoing COVID-19 infections, monitor your health and follow the instructions of public health officials.
  • Vulnerable individuals, which is defined as 60+ years or who have health conditions such as heart disease, lung disease, diabetes, kidney disease and weakened immune systems, are recommended to limit outings, avoid large gatherings, telecommute if possible, stay home if they are sick and avoid people who are sick. 
  • The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention does not recommend the general public wear a mask to prevent COVID-19 infection.

Please refer to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website for frequently asked questions.

Maine-specific information about COVID-19 can be found on the Maine Center for Disease Control website or by calling 211.

Posted 3/9/20

Last week, the City of South Portland posted a statement updating the community on its efforts in preparation for the potential spread of COVID-19 (coronavirus) infection in our community.  This statement can be found here:

Here at the library, we have been developing our plans to minimize potential exposure for both library patrons and staff and to plan for operational adjustments, should they become necessary.

  • We encourage staff as well as visitors to stay home and to seek medical care if they are exhibiting any symptoms – if you are home sick from school or work, you should also take a sick day from the library, as many of our users fall into a “high risk” category.
  • Working with the City’s Facilities department, we have stepped up cleaning of the buildings.  In addition to the regular ‘off hours’ cleaning, library staff will be regularly wiping down tables, countertops and other high-traffic touch surfaces with disinfectant cleaners.
  • Children’s toys have “gone on vacation” for the near future.  They will return to use when appropriate and following a deep cleaning.
  • Our regular Baby Builders program (Tuesdays at 10:30) will be on hiatus until further notice.
  • Please avail yourself of the hand sanitizer and tissues found throughout the buildings.

We are working with the City’s Emergency Management team and are monitoring the situation closely.  Should public health concerns increase, the library may cancel other programs or curtail services or hours of operation.  Any changes will be posted to the library’s web site and through our social media channels.

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