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Historic document highlights challenges caused by 1918 flu pandemic in Maine

Published: Oct. 1, 2020 at 7:19 AM EDT
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PORTLAND, Maine (WMTW) - A document found at Mechanics' Hall in Portland highlights a small part of the impact caused by the 1918 flu pandemic.

The document is an annual report from 1919 that showed more than 1,000 fewer books were taken out of its library in 1918 compared to 1917.

The library had to close for four weeks at the height of the pandemic.

Members found the document while looking for any paperwork from the period.

They said the document could have been easily thrown away but shows the importance of making sure the library is easily accessible during this pandemic.

“In some ways, there’s a little bit of reassurance that our organization and our library has been through something like this before and we’re still standing and we’re still here,” said Annie Leahy, Executive Director of Mechanics' Hall.

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