Ready to reopen

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In March 2020, Multnomah County Library could never have known that what we hoped would be a brief closure to help stop the spread of COVID-19 would become a wave of starts and stops in our planning and drastically alter library operations for more than a year. 

Although we’ve been working hard to serve you virtually, at our holds pickup, and meet you out in the community, I am excited to begin more fully reopening and welcome you back to your neighborhood libraries. Several libraries in Multnomah County are open now and more are on the way! 

We are encouraged by Multnomah County’s increasing vaccination rates and Governor Brown’s announcement that she will be lifting COVID-19 restrictions statewide as of June 30 or when the state reaches a 70% vaccination rate, whichever comes first. And while we still have some work to do to bring us back to “normal,” I’m pleased to share that 75% of our libraries will open their doors by the end of July 2021:

  • Capitol Hill
  • Fairview-Columbia
  • Gregory Heights
  • Gresham
  • Hillsdale
  • Holgate
  • Kenton
  • Midland
  • North Portland
  • Northwest
  • Rockwood
  • Sellwood-Moreland
  • St. Johns
  • Troutdale
  • Woodstock

Due to active facilities projects, these libraries are offering holds pickup only. We expect them to open for in-building services by the end of August:

  • Albina
  • Belmont
  • Central
  • Hollywood

There has been no more difficult way to confirm that our library facilities are undersized than to face a pandemic that requires us to quickly alter spaces for occupancy, physical distancing and materials movement. The much-adored towering stacks of shelves that you can browse for hours, and the fixed computer stations and tables providing our community technology access, became operational challenges. Thanks to voters in Multnomah County, many libraries will see significant expansions and improvements to spaces in the coming years.

As library teams worked behind the scenes with Multnomah County partners to figure out ways for the community to safely use and navigate our small buildings, library staff provided services in new and innovative ways — from online tech help and tutoring to curbside holds pickup at all 19 locations. Their creativity and dedication has created new pathways for library service that will endure long after the pandemic subsides. 

While some things in our buildings won’t be the same as before, our exceptional staff are ready to help you with whatever you need. Thank you for your support, excitement and patronage of Multnomah County Library. We miss you, and we look forward to serving you soon

Vailey Oehlke
Director of Libraries