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Multnomah County Central Library, Portland

(4.5/5 based on 240+ reviews on the web)
The Central Library is a three-story public library branch in downtown Portland, Oregon, United States. Opened in 1913, it serves as the main branch of the Multnomah County Library system. The Georgian style building was added to the National Register of Historic Places as the Central Building, Public Library in 1979 and underwent major renovations in 1997.HistoryThe Library Association of Portland was formed in 1864. After going through several locations during the first half-century of existence, the library board decided on a new large main branch for downtown Portland in 1911. The building was designed by architect A. E. Doyle, and opened on September 6, 1913. It was one of the first libraries in the United States to feature an open plan design of the interior. Construction on the building lasted for two years and cost $480,000 to complete. Librarian Mary Frances Isom provided input on the design.The Central Library was listed on the National Register of Historic Places as the Central Building, Public Library on June 11, 1979. On July 1, 1990, the private Library Association of Portland officially transferred ownership of the library to Multnomah County. From 1902 until that date, the association owned the collections and buildings, but the operations were paid for by the local governments. From 1994 to 1997, the building was extensively renovated. During the remodel the Fifth Avenue Building, the former State Office Building, housed the library collection.
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Reviews
TripAdvisor
  • Can't reveal too much as I am still ashamed that I owe them pennies in late fees. Ah well, I paid them back with copies of my magazine articles. So please visit for the experience beyond, in my opinio...  more »
  • Didn't even know it was there! Found it by reading the name of authors on the benches outside on the sidewalk. Huge! Great genealogy section.  more »
  • We stopped in to see the gift shop and use the restroom - nice looking library, don't be surprised at the number of 'campers' that are lurking around. It's all part of the Portland experience, I don't...  more »