The Portland Public Library reopened on a limited basis March 31, then closed again last week. Brianna Soukup/Staff Photographer

A little more than a week after it reopened to the public, the Portland Public Library has closed again.

Library officials decided to close the main library on Congress Street, which had reopened on March 31, because of the recent rise in the number of COVID-19 cases in Maine. On Monday, the seven-day average of new cases was 328, more than double the average in late February.

“Due to the rising number of positive COVID-19 cases in Maine, Portland Public Library is prioritizing the health and safety of our patrons and staff and has decided to return to offering only PPL-To-Go doorside service at all locations beginning Friday, April 9,” reads an announcement on the library’s website. The decision was also announced in the library’s “Free & Amazing This Week at Portland Public Library” newsletter emailed to cardholders this past weekend. 

The library’s PPL-To-Go services will continue at the main library and all branches, with no appointments, according to the website. The library will open again “as soon as we are able to see the COVID-19 numbers stabilize at a lower level,” wrote Zoe Scott, director of advancement and external relations, in an email Monday.

The library had reopened on March 31 for 30-minute visits, with patrons allowed to browse new books, pick up requested items and use computers, printers and fax machines. Only 12 people were allowed inside the library at a time and were limited to the front of the first floor, including an area where four public computers were available for use.


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