I’ve lived in cities with large central libraries before (like Boston) but the locations I’ve lived recently tend to have smaller ones (with access to more books via inter-library loan). Portland has one of those old-fashioned but refreshing monuments to reading. A library where you actually want to spend time, not just kill it.
Multnomah County Central Library
801 S.W. 10th Avenue
Portland, OR 97205
Three floors of book collections. Grand old staircases (and an elevator). And a children’s room to die for. This place is bigger than some local branch libraries I’ve been in.
The bronze tree marks the front desk and it’s a beautiful sculpture (more pictures). The wood wall to the left leads to a playarea/mini theater. The tables have puzzles on them. And the rear room stretches back further than the picture.
As you can probably guess, I spent most of my time in the children’s section, but the rest of the library was just as spacious. The bathrooms had some light scent but were quite usable.
Right in front of the library, on SW 10th Ave, there is the Portland Streetcar that runs often and is free in the immediate downtown area.