The Portland Public Library will reopen for limited in-person visits on March 31. Michael Kelley / The Forecaster

The Portland Public Library will reopen its main building on March 31 for timed visits to a limited number of people, library officials announced Friday.

The main library on Congress Street will be open for 30-minute visits, with patrons allowed to browse new books, pick up requested items and use computers, printers and fax machines, according to a release from the library. Only 12 people will be allowed inside the library at one time, the release said.

People will be limited to browsing only the front of the first floor of the library, and the area where four public computers will be available. The library’s hours will be 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday through Friday.

The Portland Public Library’s branches – Peaks Island, Burbank and Riverton – will remained closed for in-person visits but will continue to offer to-go services.

Sarah Campbell, the library’s executive director, said in the release that library officials recognize “the need for our patrons to have access to the library’s essential services.” The library has been closed to the public since last March because of the pandemic, but people have been allowed to order books and pick them up.

“So many people in our community need the library to be open, and with the guidance of the Maine CDC, we are planning a low-impact, safety-first way to welcome people back to the downtown library,” Campbell said.

People entering the library will be required to wear masks, and the library will provide them if needed, the release said. People will also be required to use hand-sanitizing stations and keep a 6-foot distance from others. To get ready for the reopening, the main library will be closed for all services March 29 and 30.

For more information on the Portland Public Library, go to

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