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Multnomah County Central Library

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  • 98%
    Local Culture

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  • Multnomah County Central LibraryPro 2014
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    + 2
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    Multnomah County Central Library is based in the heart of downtown Portland. It's a large multistory building and has impressive facilities. Book lovers, who rather check out a book, than purchase a book will have a field day with an extensive selection of books.

    Recommended for:Local Culture
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  • Multnomah County Central Library

    Used to go here all the time. Nice big building in the heart of Portland. Lots of stuff here... you can even check out sheet music. As a kid, I used to come here with a friend on weekends and we'd go through and pull out all the duets. Then we'd head over to Saturday Market and start sight reading them. By the end of the day we've have the pieces down pretty good. Then we'd just return the sheet music to the library and head home. Good stuff.

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  • Multnomah County Central LibraryPro 2014
    Member of
    Local Culture
    Outdoor Enthusiasts
    Budget Travelers
    + 6
    • Business Travelers
    • Family Travelers
    • Foodies
    • Green Travelers
    • History Buffs
    • Spiritual Seekers

    The Multnomah County Library system was started in 1864 and consists of 19 locations. It is the largest library system in Oregon and ranks first among libraries serving fewer than one million residents. In this respect, it is the busiest in the nation.

    The Central Library in downtown Portland serves as the main branch of the System. The Building was designed by architect A. E. Doyle, was opened in 1913, and is listed National Register of Historic Places. It contains ~17 miles of bookshelf space and lots of computers over its 125,000 square feet.

    I stopped by recently as part of an architectural walk through Downtown Portland, that also took me to City Hall, the Pioneer Courthouse, the Gerding Theatre and a few grand historical churches. The first cool thing that I admired was the 16-step black granite set of stairs. Contained within are garden-themed area and words that were sandblasted into the stairs' treads and risers, all part of the Library's theme of "A Garden of Knowledge". Past that there are 16 more black granite steps that are incised wit the Greek key motif.

    The garden motif is also weaved into other aspects of the Building. Examples include a garland in the foyer ceiling and carpet patterns of roses and leaves. There's also a bronze tree in the Children's Library, of which the bark combines elements of Oregon's natural history with subjects found in the Dewey Decimal system. And don't miss the large and traditional vase of fresh flowers at the top of the first landing.

    A self-guided tour brochure is available that more fully describes the marvelous indoor and exterior features here. There is also a nice "Friends of the Library" store up front. There are many "Pathways to Wisdom" in Portland, and this Library is a great place to continue that journey.

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Description

The main branch of Portland's library system is a beautiful architectural specimen designed by architect A. E. Doyle and opened on Sept. 6, 1913. The library, listed on the National Register of Historic Places, was among the first American libraries to be designed around an open plan. The library measures in at 125,000 square feet of space and contains some 17 miles of bookshelf space and 130 public computers.

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4.0 out of 5
3 members' reviews
55 people visited Multnomah County Central Library

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