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.
The 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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Multnomah County Central Library Reviews
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TripAdvisor Traveler Rating 4.5
303 reviews
Google
3.8
TripAdvisor
  • Portland has funded its library system through bonds passed by our home owners for over 25 years. As a community, we determined they are an important aspect of the city and we use them! Come see the f...  more »
  • Gorgeous building from the turn of the century. Inspired children's section. Check out the marble staircase with carvings. Rare books and fun curator on 10th floor. I could spend all day here. The hou...  more »
Google
  • I did just give a review of the Midland library, located in the s.e. area of the city. I gave it a bad rating. I now go to the Central branch located in Downtown. It is a great deal farther to travel. It is a much nicer library and the staff are well more qualified. I know that an element exists in this city. I am originally from this city. I am not one of the element. I do mean a negative element. Terrible it is reflected in the library. Though they are a good distance apart they are both part of the Multnomah County Library. I find the downtown or Central branch very nice, better selection and better qualified staff. I would require, prefer, one twice the size or greater.
  • Overrun with homeless people. Bathrooms stink for that very reason. Went to use the lower level bathroom and was greeted by a guy who asked me if I could use a different bathroom. Apparently there was someone in there who had overdosed on drugs. Awesome! I'll never come back to this location.

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