top of page
Albina banner.jpg

Planning for our future

Room to learn, collaborate, and connect with one another and our community — these are the hallmarks of a 21  century library.

Over the past decade, many of our 19 libraries have outgrown their original footprint. They are often overcrowded, with inadequate seating, little or no dedicated space for quiet reading or study, and limited space for library programs. Smaller neighborhood libraries have been forced, for years, to turn families away from children's reading programs. Only one library in our system has a dedicated creative learning space offering 21  century tools today. There are only a handful of study rooms across our entire library system. The lack of space is especially acute in East County, where 40% of our county's population has only 20% of our library system's space in close proximity to their home. This is why our libraries are now undergoing a dramatic transformation.

Multnomah County Library embarked on a six-year building plan in 2020, designed to meet the 21  century needs of each unique community it serves. This plan includes building or expanding eight libraries and remodeling the 11 remaining libraries. The projects are will increase our library system's usable space by nearly 60% and provide innovative, culturally relevant resources and services, from early learning spaces and makerspaces to job resource centers and technology labs. These improvements will transform neighborhoods, bringing new life to the cramped, aging buildings and infrastructure we have today. While these public-facing buildings are modernized, a new operations center will speed turnaround times for books and materials. This new center will also serve as an organizational hub for the library's multicultural, multilingual outreach team.

Over the next four years, the plans include:

  • A new, East Country Flagship Library comparable to Central Library in size

  • The replacement of Holgate Library in SE Portland with a new building on the existing site

  • A new Northwest Library to replace the small neighborhood library that is currently in a leased space

  • Much-needed expansions to Albina, Belmont, Midland, North Portland, and St. John's Libraries

  • Remodels and upgrades to 11 other libraries, including Central Library

  • An advanced materials handling center that will provide faster and more efficient delivery of books and materials, and free up library staff for outreach and work with library users

  • Gigabit speed internet and the latest technology infrastructure at all 19 of our libraries.

The Library Foundation will support the design and build-out of cutting-edge learning environments for children and teens in each of these libraries, while continuing to sustain the library's successful array of literacy programs.




bottom of page