This decision will feel like an unexpected and difficult loss for many Albina Library patrons who have shaped their lives around neighborhood amenities like the library. Relocating any neighborhood’s library is not a decision we take lightly. A variety of factors contributed to our decision, including this pandemic, which has caused us to make hard choices and think in new ways about how the library can serve the community.
The current location is the smallest branch in the Multnomah County Library system at just 3,500 square feet. It is so small that it doesn't have a public meeting room. Because of the operational constraints around physical distancing for the foreseeable future, it is unlikely that the building would be feasible for much more than sidewalk service. The Knott St. building is about 2,000 square feet larger.
The library’s lease of Albina Library expires on June 1, 2020, with an option for a three-year renewal at a cost of more than $260,000. As a steward of public resources, the library is unable to justify that expenditure, when a suitable and larger option exists nearby. The building where Albina Library is moving to currently serves as The Title Wave Used Bookstore, but it was the home of Albina Library from 1912 to 1960.
The distance between the two locations is 1.1 miles, a 23-minute walk, a seven-minute bike ride, a five-minute drive or about 15 minutes by bus. The Knott St. location complements the nearby Matt Dishman Community Center, Urban League of Portland and other community-facing services and affordable housing. We are working hard to get the new location ready. We will notify Albina Library patrons about holds pickup and when sidewalk service will begin.
The sale of retired library materials to the public will continue, with specific details also to be determined.
For information about our phased reopening plan, an FAQ and instructions for using the holds pickup service at other locations, please visit multcolib.org/covid19.
We look forward to serving you soon at the new Albina Library location.