Multnomah County Central Library, Portland

4.2
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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TripAdvisor Traveler Rating 4.5
277 reviews
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3.9
TripAdvisor
  • Everyone should experience this Library! Their resources and staff are amazing! They even have specific libraries within the same building to house specific collections. The children’s library is out ...  more »
  • The building is beautiful and well maintained. The main staircase is worth a trip to the top. We found (January 2018) a fun interactive exhibit on immigration. The gift shop offers cute notecards& mul...  more »
  • In the digital age, Libraries are a bit of a retro thing, but the Portland landmark is a major library but also almost a working museum of what great libraries used to be like. It is the perfect, reve...  more »
Google
  • Library staff are resourceful and friendly. The building seems well maintained and clean. Some of the small exhibits are interesting. The overwhelming presence of the homeless is unpleasant, but I doubt anything better could be expected for a public library in downtown Portland.
  • Possibly my favorite city library in all of the cities I've lived in. Aesthetically appealing, helpful library staff, and a great selection of literature with the added bonus of having easy pickup. Major downside is the homeless population that uses bathrooms for drug use. The homless harass library patrons for money, or just have some mental illness that is scary. I understand that libraries are for the public, and I so want others to appreciate what I see, but the abuse of the facility is making this a place I merely pick up books from and never hang out in. :(
  • I would give this place 5 stars just for the patience the employees must have to deal with all the dangerously mentally ill people that basically live here. I would give the place 1 star based on those mentally ill people that basically inhabit the place. Truly, I hope they get the help they need, but it makes going to the library an annoyance.
  • I met a very friendly librarian here several months ago and was welcomed with an open heart. Thanks do not begin to describe the gratitude I have for this wonderful human being, the library, and the vast multitude of services that are available for everyone who has the courage to walk through the doors. Thank goodness for the Public library!
  • I love this place. I check out DVDs and have seen some great shows. I like to "place a hold" on DVDs and they will email you when it's ready for pick up. Also nice to just sit and read a graphic novel. They have places to plug in your laptop if that's your thing or you can reserve their computers. Great location, it's on the way no matter what errands I'm running.

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