Current Library Services

Library staff will keep this page updated as our services change.

HOURS

Monday – Tuesday: 11 AM – 1 PM and 3 – 7 PM
Wednesday – Thursday: 11 AM – 1 PM and 3 – 5 PM
Friday: CLOSED
Saturday: 11 AM – 3 PM
Sunday: CLOSED

11 AM – 12 PM each day is reserved for seniors a­nd high-risk or immunocompromised library users. We ask everyone to respect this accommodation, and visit after noon if you are not in this population.

MASK MANDATE

In accordance with the City’s mask ordinance, anyone over the age of 6 will be required to wear a face mask to enter the library, and at all times while in the building. Any person who does not comply with this policy will not be allowed in the building, or will be asked to leave.

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BROWSING THE LIBRARY

The library will be open to a maximum of 20 visitors at a time. You may have to wait before entering if we have reached this maximum.

We ask all browsing visitors to keep their visits to 30 minutes or less. Unfortunately, this means that you will not be able to spend time socializing or reading in the library. All seating will be removed for this reason.

We encourage families who plan to visit the Youth Services area of the library to make an appointment in advance to ensure that their preferred time is reserved. Please read on for more information.

Staff will maintain strict social distancing with all visitors, remaining a minimum of six feet away. For this reason, we may not be able to assist everyone in the way you are used to. Thank you for your patience while we navigate this together!

If you have items on the Holds shelf, you can pick them up in the library – already checked out and ready to go! However, the library will also continue to offer Curbside Pickup (more information below).

At the end of your visit, use one of our contactless self-check stations, available in all departments, to check out and you’ll be on your way!

Please note that the following areas of the library will not be open for browsing: Magazines, Newspapers, Reference and Special Collections. Feel free to ask a staff member if you need help!

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Youth Services Browsing Appointments

The library will offer 30-minute appointments for families to access the Youth Services area. Please call the Youth Services desk at 603-766-1740 to make an appointment before coming.

You will be asked for the exact number of people in your family group, and we do encourage you wherever possible to limit the total number of family members coming, in order to allow others to visit during popular times.

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RETURNS

As the weather grows colder, we will move all library services to the front of the building. Please bring all returns to the front door of the library during open hours.

The library book drop remains closed.

All returned library materials will be quarantined for 7 days. Only after quarantine will they be checked in – so please do not worry if they still appear in your online account.

Read more about Returns & Curbside Pickup...

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CURBSIDE PICKUP

Now that we are open for browsing, you may pick up your holds in the library. However, if you would prefer not to enter the library, we will continue offering Curbside Pickup by appointment – this will be available just outside the front door, or just inside the door during inclement weather. Here’s how it works: 

  1. To place a hold on an item online, search/browse the catalog to find items you want. When you find an item you want to reserve, click on “Place a Hold.” Then follow the prompts to log into your account, if you haven’t already, and confirm your hold. Feel free to call us at the number below if you need assistance at any time!
  2. When your holds are ready, you will receive an email or phone notification from the library.
  3. At that point, you must call the library at (603) 427-1540 to schedule a pickup time during open hours. If you are a senior, high-risk or immunocompromised, you may schedule a pickup between 11 AM and 12 PM.
  4. Visit the library at the allotted time to retrieve your materials just outside the front door, or just inside the door during inclement weather. At this time, you may also return any items you have out, and/or enter the library to browse if occupancy allows.

We also offer complementary Remote Printing for Curbside Pickup!

Read more about Curbside Pickup here...

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COMPUTER USE APPOINTMENTS

The library will offer 50 minute appointments to use a public computer. Masks must be properly worn throughout the entire 50 minutes. Appointments will be available during all open hours. Only one person per computer, please!

Please call our reference desk during open hours at (603) 766-1720 to make an appointment for a computer upstairs.

Walk up appointments will be made as the schedule allows, but it is best to call ahead, especially for adults.

Please note that we can no longer offer study carrel space by appointment, in order to accommodate browsing.

Read more about Appointments here...

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GET A LIBRARY CARD ONLINE

All Portsmouth residents are eligible for a free library card.

If you've had one before but your account has expired, just call us during business hours at 603-427-1540 and we'll get you renewed. You can also call us if you've lost your card. 

If you’ve never signed up, don’t worry - you can get a library card online!

Read more and register for a Library Card here...

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ONLINE RESOURCES

PPL is committed to keeping you entertained and informed. Here are just some of the great resources we offer online! They are all FREE to anyone with a library card.

  • Hoopla – Download/stream music, movies, ebooks, audiobooks, and comics
  • Overdrive Libby – Download ebooks and audiobooks 
  • Kanopy - Stream films, Great Courses content, and children's programming
  • RBDigital – Download magazines
  • New York Times – Online access to the New York Times
  • EBSCOhost – Search for articles from journals and magazines
  • Portsmouth Exhibits – View our digitized local history collections
  • Lynda.com – Learn computer, business, and technical skills
  • Learning Express – Learn job search and workplace skills improvement, skill building in reading, writing, math, and basic science, career certification and licensure exam prep, college and grad school entrance test prep, GED® test prep, and more.
  • Mango Languages – Learn a new language, including English as a second language
  • Creativebug – Arts and Crafts classes for all skill levels. Class topics include: Art and Design, Knitting and Crochet, Sewing and Quilting, Papercrafts, Jewelry Making, Food and Home Decor, Holiday and Party Ideas, and Crafts for Kids 
  • Genealogy Resources – Heritage Quest, Fold3, Newspapers.com, and more!

Read more about our Digital Services here...

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GET RECOMMENDATIONS

What should you read, watch, or listen to next? We can help you answer this question. 

Personalized Booklists & Bundles

  • Looking for your next great read?
  • Kids, Parents and Teens can use our Youth Book Suggestions Form to receive a customized booklist or surprise book bundle curated by a youth services librarian!
  • Adults, fill out our PPL Rex: What's Next? Form and choose Recommendations - we can send you a list by email, or put items on hold!

Research Help

  • If you're learning about a new topic - delving into your family genealogy, thinking about going gluten-free, starting a yoga practice, thinking about opening your own business, buying a new mattress, anything! - let our reference librarians find you credible resources.
  • Fill out our PPL Rex: What's Next? Form and choose Research Help. We'll send you personalized research materials, and answer any follow-up questions you may have!

Monthly Emails with Titles in your Favorite Genre

  • Have you signed up for our NextReads newsletters? You can choose from a variety of genres, and receive curated monthly emails with book titles, linked directly to our catalog so it's easy to place a hold.
  • To sign up and start receiving recommendations, visit cityofportsmouth.com/library/nextreads.

Read more about Recommendations here...

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ONLINE & OUTDOOR EVENTS

The library continues to offer a wealth of programming that's FREE and open to all. This includes story times, lectures, meditation, discussion groups, and so much more!

For now, most of our events are online, with some Youth Services events being offered outside!

See our full calendar here...

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SAFETY PRECAUTIONS

In accordance with the City’s mask ordinance, anyone over the age of 6 will be required to wear a face mask to enter the library, and at all times while in the building. Any person who does not comply with this policy will not be allowed in the building, or will be asked to leave.

Staff will maintain strict social distancing with all visitors, remaining a minimum of six feet away. For this reason, we may not be able to assist everyone in the way you are used to. Thank you for your patience while we navigate this together!

We ask all visitors to maintain social distancing with anyone not in their family group.

Bathrooms will be available on the first and second floors. Note that our bathrooms are cleaned every day, but we cannot guarantee they are cleaned in between uses.

In concert with the city, the library has taken the following steps before offering these services:

  • Upgraded the library building HVAC system.
  • Completed a detailed cleaning of the library building.
  • Deep cleaned frequently used surfaces.
  • Obtained adequate stores of disinfectant and hand sanitizer, as well as protective gear for staff.

In addition, all returning items are quarantined for 7 days. We also quarantine all newly ordered and received items arriving in the library, before they are added to the library’s collection.

All library services will be operated with the minimum number of library staff. We ask for your patience as we deliver our core services in the safest way possible.