From Facebook Live events to our vast digital collections and online resources, we’re committed to learning, creating, connecting and growing together through remote options.

The Portage Lake District Library and the Hancock School Public Library are now open for grab and go services. All in-person library programs and public meetings will remain cancelled at this time.

UPDATE: Phased Reopening Plan Announced

The Portage Lake District Library (PLDL) will soon be able to resume library services due to the lifting of Governor Whitmer’s Safer at Home Executive Order. On Monday, June 8th, PLDL will begin the first phase of their reopening plan, which sees library staff return to work to clean the library, begin accepting library returns, quarantine returned materials, and prepare for curbside pickup services.

“We are thrilled to get back to work in the building and determined to do so in a way that ensures our staff and patrons safety,” Said Dillon Geshel, Library Director. “A phased reopening approach will give us the time we need to prepare the library for in-person use, and make sure we do so in a measured, strategic way to keep everyone safe.”

On Monday, June 8th, library staff will reopen their outdoor book drops, which have been closed since the library’s closure in mid-March. “We currently have over 4,500 items checked out,” Said Geshel. “It’s going to take us some time to process those returns and get them back on the shelf so our patrons can request them.” Phase one will also allow patrons to begin requesting items from PLDL and other libraries across the Upper Peninsula. Staff will also spend their first week back in the building preparing for limited in-person services that will be offered during phase two.

PLDL’s second phase in their reopening plan, which begins on June 15th, will allow patrons to request and receive library materials through a curbside pick-up program. Library hours will be adjusted to 10AM – 6PM, Monday – Friday, during the duration of phase two. “We expect this phase to last up to two weeks,” said Geshel. “Library patrons will also have the opportunity to sign up for a new, no-contact home-bound book delivery program.”

The Library is tentatively planning to move into phrase three on June 29th. Phase three will include limited access to the Library building by public patrons. Library staff will reconfigure spaces to ensure that social distancing guidelines are met, and remove chairs or other furniture to ensure compliance. PLDL may have to limit the number of patrons in the building at a time, and in-person group meetings or public events will still be prohibited.

Phase four, the final step in PLDL’s reopening plan, sees the library return to providing full access to in-person services and programs. No date has been announced yet for the start of this phase. “It’s so hard to know what might be required of us in the next few weeks and months, when it comes to social distancing guidelines and other best practices that ensure a safe experience for our staff and all library visitors,” Said Geshel. “We’re taking our phased reopening plan one step at a time, and hope to have more information about a phase four timeline in the near future.”

For more information about PLDL’s phased reopening plan, visit or contact the library at 906-482-4570. You can also contact the library via email at .

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Assistance During COVID-19: Information You can Trust

Sharing accurate information from trusted sources is critical to reduce misinformation. Find reliable and current information about the outbreak from local, state and national agencies below.

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Library Updates

UPDATED: March 27, 2020

Dear Library Friends,

A lot has happened in the last two weeks. We decided to suspend our curbside pick-up program after the first reported case of COVID-19 in the Upper Peninsula. Governor Whitmer’s Stay-at-home directive means many of you are home with your families, and without all of the everyday amenities and resources you are used to. We want you to know that we’re here to help.

PLDL and the Hancock Library are closed alongside area schools until at least April 13. Still, we have been busy making sure you have access to our digital resources, which are available 24/7 from the comfort of your home. We’re also hosting many recurring and new library programs on Facebook Live, where you can tune in from a smartphone, tablet or other digital device.

On Friday afternoon, we hosted our very first Facebook Live concert for the public. At the time of this writing, over 750 of you tuned in live or viewed the recording later, to relax with one of our favorite local musicians, Bob Hiltunen. As many folks commented during the broadcast, it was such a nice escape from the stress brought on by this pandemic. For me, it was inspiring to see our community come together to socialize and enjoy music in a time when we can’t rally for engagement face-to-face. We hope to bring more of these events your way soon.

I want to leave you with a quote that was shared with me this week, and I hope it lifts your spirits as it did mine. Take the time this weekend to thank your friends and family members who are healthcare workers, teachers, and other essential workers that are keeping our world turning during a crisis. Here’s to your health and happiness going into the weekend.

“When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, ‘Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping’.”
Mr. Rogers

Dillon Geshel
Library Director

UPDATED: March 23, 2020

Today, an update on our limited services plan from Library Director Dillon Geshel:

Dear Library Users,

On Sunday, March 22, the Chippewa County Health Department reported the first presumptive positive case of COVID-19 in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. At PLDL, we decided on March 16 that the confirmation of COVID-19 in the U.P. would be an indication that we need to suspend our curbside delivery program of library materials. Effective today, March 23, we will no longer offer curbside pickup of library materials at PLDL.

I believe this is what’s best to ensure our library team stays healthy. I don’t want our limited service plan to be the reason an employee gets sick, or have an asymptomatic employee be the reason an at-risk patron gets sick. Library staff are also concerned, and I worry that our curbside pickup program might encourage folks to leave their home for a non-essential trip, at a time when we are all encouraged to stay home.

On Sunday evening, Governor Whitmer announced that the mandatory closure of libraries and other places of public accommodation has been extended through April 13. I’m afraid we are in this for the long haul. We will continue to share the many digital resources we make available to library users, and do our best to bring you our recurring storytime programs through Facebook Live each week. Look for more details about upcoming virtual programs later this week.

Be well,

Dillon Geshel
Library Director
906-482-4570 x2

UPDATED March 21, 2020

Our website has been down for a week after an unexpected crash. Now that we’re back online, we’ll continue to use this page to share information about our state mandated closure and our plan for limited services. Here’s what we’ve been up to:

  • We continue to offer curbside pickup of library materials at both libraries during our reduced hours. No public patrons are allowed in the building. See our March 13 update below for our curbside pickup hours.
  • PLDL’s virtual storytime events are hosted on Facebook Live every Monday morning at 10:15am for infants; and every Wednesday and Thursday at 10:15am for toddlers and pre-school aged children.
  • This week, over 4,000 free, public domain titles we’re added to our digital collection of eBooks and audiobooks. You can access these titles by downloading the Libby app on your smartphone or tablet, or by visiting the collection in your browser at
  • This week, both of our libraries subscribed to a new digital resource to assist children and families with learning from home while schools are closed. TumbleBookLibrary is a collection of animated talking picture books, read-alongs, eBooks, quizzes, lesson plans, and educational games. No library card is required to access this resource.
  • All previously expired library cards have been reactivated. Library cards that have been barred due to unpaid bills have also been reinstated. We hope this helps ensure all community members retain access to our digital resources and other limited services we’re offering during this difficult time.

UPDATED March 13, 2020

The Portage Lake District Library and the Hancock School Public Library will be closed beginning Saturday, March 14 until Monday, April 6. All library programs and public meetings will also be cancelled.

Both libraries will provide limited services beginning Monday, March 16. Limited service will run until Monday, April 5 and will include continued closure of our buildings to the public, curbside pickup of library materials, and staffing our phone lines to provide reference services and help patrons place items on hold.

During our three week closure and limited service period, we will make curbside pick-up and phone reference available at our libraries during the following times at each location:

Portage Lake District Library
Monday – Thursday: 10AM – 5PM
Friday: 10AM – 4PM

Hancock School Public Library
Monday – Thursday: 10AM – 4PM
Friday: 10AM – 3PM

Here’s why we made the decision to close:

  • Governor Whitmer announced last night that all Michigan K-12 schools must close for three weeks beginning Monday, March 16. Schools are scheduled to reopen on Monday, April 6.
  • These school closures will put an increased burden on public libraries as children and families turn to us for their social, educational and even childcare needs. This is an odd dilemma for public libraries, as we are typically safe places the public can turn to during emergencies (blizzards, snow related school closures, etc.).
  • However, staying open during a pandemic may contribute to further spread of COVID-19, especially considering the likelihood of increased dependence on our spaces and resources for children and families displaced by school closures.

UPDATED March 12, 2020

This is an emerging, rapidly evolving situation.

  • We’re in communication with the Western Upper Peninsula Health Department and so far they haven’t recommended cancelling public gatherings.
  • The library is doing its part by sterilizing high-traffic surfaces, public and staff work stations, phones, door knobs and more. We are providing lots of hand sanitizing stations and removing unnecessary items in our children’s area such as toys, puzzles and other play things that are difficult to sanitize.
  • If you’re worried, immunocompromised, or sick, please stay home.

Stay up-to-date with these trusted sources and factual information.

Take these steps to protect yourself.

  • The most important thing to do at this time is to wash your hands often and avoid close contact with people who are sick
  • Globally, the World Health Organization continuously provides updates with helpful information for individuals and the workplace

If you’re staying home, you can still use the library.

  • Our digital libraries have free eBooks, audiobooks, streaming movies, popular magazines, and more
  • Call us if you have questions about your checkouts or holds at (906) 482-4570 or email us at

Click on each poster below to enlarge or download/print.

The Library has resumed regular hours and is offering grab & go access to the building. Click here to learn more.