Sunday, September 7, 2014

Multnomah County Library Celebrates 150 Years

Last week, I moved from the East Coast of the United States to the West Coast, specifically to Portland, Oregon. Even though I've only been in Portland for a week, I've already come to appreciate many things about the city: its mild and sunny weather (no rain yet!), its cleanliness, and its people's love of books.
Portland, Oregon: A city whose people have an unabashed love of books.
Image by

This love of books is reflected in numerous aspects of life in Portland, from the pride in Powell's Books, which is the largest independent used and new bookstore not just in Portland but in the world; to the brouhaha surrounding the 30th birthday of Literary Arts, a lecture series that attracts a plethora of authors and thinkers to the Northwest and hosts workshops, seminars, and public high school programs; and to the fervent passion toward the public library, the Multnomah County Library, which has manifested itself in some patrons getting tattoos of the Multnomah County Library card.

Whether they have tattoos of the library card or not, lovers of the Multnomah County Library will have the chance this month to help the library celebrate its 150th anniversary. What began in 1864 as a members-only reading room in "a frontier town with frame buildings, muddy streets, and few sidewalks" has evolved into an expansive, 19-branch public library system serving a left-leaning, well-read populace in one of the most vibrant, cultured cities in the world. To mark the occasion of its anniversary, and to thank county residents for their dedicated patronage, the Multnomah County Library will be hosting a community celebration on Saturday, September 27, 2014.
The Multnomah County Library is celebrating its 150th anniversary this month.
Image via @MultCoLib on Twitter

On Saturday, September 27, the Central Library branch, located at 801 SW 10th Avenue, will present a variety of entertainment, speakers, and activities. From 11 AM to 5 PM, the Central Library has scheduled, according to its website:

Inside the Library
  • William Stafford Calligraphy Project exhibition and calligraphy demonstration
  • 150 Years of Library Memories collection of photos and stories
  • Symphony Storytime with the Oregon Symphony
  • Storytimes in English, Spanish, Chinese, Russian, and Vietnamese
  • Cafe Banned Presents: To Cut or Not to Cut: A Conversation About Censorship
  • Honoring Babies, Kids, and Teens--Our Shining Stars of the Library!
  • Central Library and Eco-Roof Tours
  • John Wilson Special Collections Tour

On the Outdoor Stage
  • LoveBomb GoGo
  • Oregon Ballet Theatre
  • Portland Opera
  • Bollywood Dreams Entertainment
  • Aaron Nigel Smith Band
  • Bobby Torres Ensemble
  • Director of Libraries Vailey Oehlke
  • Multnomah County Chair Deborah Kafoury
  • Author Mathew Dickman

Additional Fun Activities
  • Reading fortunes from My Librarian
  • Literary Arts presents Oregon Authors
  • Fear No Technology: Free eBooks! Free Music! Free Movies!
  • Design Your Library of the Future! Nitya Wakhlu Innovations
  • Crafts for kids and adults
  • 3-D printing with OpenFab PDX
  • Bike repair resources from Kerr Bikes

With all of this great stuff slated to go on, the Multnomah County Library 150th anniversary celebration promises to be an event you won't want to miss. For me, it will be an excellent opportunity to further explore what my new city has to offer. If you're in Portland as well -- whether you live here or are just passing through -- be sure to check out the festivities. For more information on the day's events, and on the Multnomah County Library, see THIS LINK.

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