Saturday, April 12, 2014

L is for libraries and lights (Portlandia from A to Z)


Portland's Central Library
Another reason to love Portland? Its libraries!

Children's section
The Multnomah County Library has the second largest library circulation in the United States (New York City is #1); however, because it ranks first among libraries that serve fewer than 1 million people, it's the busiest library in the country. It circulates 24.8 million items per year, averaging 33.3 items per county resident. (I think my own circulation is more along the lines of 75 items per year.) It's also the oldest public library system west of the Mississippi River.

Beautiful lobby staircase
Portland's library system also earned the highest rating possible, five stars, in Library Journal's 2011 Index of Public Library Service.

The crown jewel of the library system is the downtown Central Library, which opened in 1913 as one of the first libraries in the U.S. to feature an open plan. It's listed on the National Register of Historic Places, contains 17 miles of bookshelf space, and has more than 130 computers accessible to the public.

Hillsdale Library
In addition to the Central Library, the Multnomah County Library System has 18 branches. Our local branch is the Hillsdale Library, which was rebuilt in 2004. The new library is a green building, certified as LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Gold. It has 12,000 square feet of floor space and capacity for 75,000 volumes.

The only way I can afford my book habit is to use the library HEAVILY and stock up on paperbacks at our local school's annual used book sale. I rarely buy books for myself, but instead for others. I have a great system for the library--I put the books on hold online, and my husband is my free delivery service! 

Festival of Lights at the Grotto
Portland offers lots of opportunities to see lights during the holiday period...most notably:

Portland also kicks off the summer with the Starlight Parade, with illuminated floats and lights going through the city streets.

Read my other A to Z posts here, and stay tuned for tomorrow: mountains, Multnomah Village, and McMenamin's. 


  1. You are the most amazing delivery service ever! :)