My library stories

Submit a library love letter.

 

Since moving to Portland when I was in middle school, my experience of Portland has been shaped by my local library branch. I've lived in the SE, NE, SW, and NW areas, and each branch has their own flavor and feeling. I owe many good high school memories to the downtown based central library with its high ceilings, beautiful art, and amazing collection of multiple medias and helpful librarians. In fact, throughout high school, college, and graduate school the library was a valuable resource for help with finding materials for research, a place to compose papers and get away from the ordinary. I owe some of my success to our wonderful libraries and the continued use of their fabulous resources to read things that expand my horizons, learn new skills, and have rollicking fun in other worlds.  Thank you library, thank you books, and thank you librarians! My love for you and what you bring to our society remains undimmed. May you bring joy to someone today, tomorrow, and always.

Anne
Library: Hollywood

 

I was on the third floor of Central on 28 February 2001 when the Seattle Ash Wednesday Earthquake happened.  While other people in Portland felt it, not even a page was ruffled in Art & Music. When I have more time, I'll have to remember to tell y'all the long list of things I love about my library.

Jan
Library: Central

 

I love that passion and kindness for community. I have lived and used  in U.S. and Multnomah library for 6 years, and  through that moment I never met a unkind librarian. They always help my son' s needs to find some book with explain, and serve my daughter' s story time and craft time. All kinds of librarians actions and helps made a library is full of enjoyable and fun place to my family. It also helps my kids attitude for books. They loves all kinds of book and story. It has given to us skill which has lived bilingual citizens. So, I truly love all librarians ' passion and helps in Multnomah library.

Sea
Library: Troutdale

 

I absolutely adore the atmosphere in this county's libraries. My favorites being Midland, Hillsdale, and of course Central. They are so gorgeous;  if only I lived closer to the latter two. Especially Central!
I actually went to Central on an elementary school field trip in 3rd grade, which is why I love it so much I think. The reason I have actually gone to the library recently is to work on my novel, which is quite exciting. The resources here are amazing, so it makes research a breeze, relatively. I don't know what I would do without the library, honestly. With some of the books I check out, they end up becoming nearly permanent residents of my bookshelf with how often I renew them.  My running record at the moment is 23 renews… kinda crazy. …Speaking of which, I probably should get around to actually reading that book… Meh, so many interesting books, so little time ;) The library makes it that much easier though. Thank you to everyone that makes it possible for me to take a little retreat to my would-be personal library! It's certainly quiet enough, jesting aside. Merci beaucoup!

Christina
Library: Midland

 

As a girl, the library was the only place I could walk to on my own.  I would walk briskly there and walk slowly home, my nose pressed firmly in to a book.  I remember that Summer Reading was the official start of summer vacation and signed up as soon as I could each year, devouring books like I was trying to break a world record.  I remember the wonderful moments where I would discover a note or bookmark from a previous reader and how that meant someone else had read the exact same page I was reading and how I found that connection to be mystical. Now that I'm an adult, I think I've only grown more fond of my library.  The amazing services that are provided these days like audiobooks, ebooks, and personalized book recommendations make the library a more convenient solution to my reading addiction than any other.    I feel absolutely at home within those doors and the incredibly kind and helpful librarians have solutions for everything! I've fortunate enough to be able to introduce my little niece and nephews to the wonders of the library and we visit the Woodstock branch weekly with little field trips to the Central Library for fun.  This summer my nephews 3 and 4 years old signed up for Summer Reading for the first time and now have started their own tradition.

Sierra
Library: Woodstock

 

The library inspired me to write books!  Thank You!

Crystal

 

Storytime  and   I  like  that  it's quiet and it is a lot of  fun doing   Summer Reading.

Fiona
Library: Woodstock

 

It a reliable, quantitative source for many topics. ergo, there is not only a source document addressing a field of interest, but there are usually several respected sources, such as looking for books by Karl Jung.

Forrest
Library: Gresham

 

Of all the public services I use (roads, buses, public radio, etc.), I enjoy the library the most. I love to read and I could not possibly afford to buy all of the books I read. And many of them are not in print any more so they are not readily available anywhere else. I visit the library at least once a week and frequently use the library website. I don't even mind paying the rare fine for an overdue book since it goes to a great organization.

Bill
Library: Belmont

 

Just a quick note to say Thank You to the library's purchasing team on bringing in so many good medical education books lately! ( specifically USMLE titles ). Love from a fan :)

Jarvis
Library: Hollywood

 

I always enjoy the amazing, beautiful, and gargantuan floral arrangements on the landing of grand staircase at the Central Library in downtown Portland. Yesterday it was a huge vase filled with dinner-plate-size enormous peach colored peonies. I could scarcely believe they were real! Glorious!

Jannie
Library: Central

 

I love that it's a lot more extensive than my school library and that when I need a book I'm not out of luck.I can just put a hold on it. The library has saved me from many school research papers and helped me just entertain myself on rainy  and sunny days. Thanks for just being there and assisting! :)

Abby
Library: Holgate

 

The Holgate Library is very cozy.

Hannah
Library: Holgate

 

The library is one of my favorite places! :) I love to read, and the library always has some of my favorite books. Multnomah County Library is one of the best public libraries I have EVER seen!

Sydney
Library: Hollywood

 

I love the fact that when I walk into the library the books just make me feel happy, ever since I received my first library card as a little girl there is nothing like holding a real book and taking a long adventure.

Cathy
Library: Central

 

The library has been my friend, source of learning and wonderment since I have been a child. Now, in my sunset years it has become my companion, solace, my comfort. The library has always been there for me. Offers so very much  to all rich or poor, found or lost. That is why I still love the library and always will.

Chris
Library: Gresham

 

I moved to Portland in the 1980s after college, and strangely, didn't spend much time at the public library. I grew up in Salem, and the old Carnegie and then the 1970s new library are major landmarks in my own geography. When I moved to Portland, I ended up working at Powell's down the street; I had more books in my life than I could possibly consume. But, I remember what Central looked like before the 1990s renovation, with the sunken Popular Reading Room and all that. After moving to San Francisco in 1991, I didn't see the Central Library again for a decade, when I returned for a New Years' party to celebrate the Millennium. We partied in the 2nd floor lobby with a huge crowd of like-minded folk — and now every time I walk underneath the sunburst chandelier these days I start to hum "gonna party like it's 1999...."

Liz
Library: Central

 

  • Central Library
  • Daily checking the hold shelf
  • New and old book smell

Brad
Library: Central

 

Listening to Music on grooveshark.com and soundcloud.com and getting news which could be censored and getting my nose into business that isn't really considered mine but I have a concern about the world and the future of the society which seems to be shunned by the powers that be.  Getting robbed.   Drinking bottles of cough medicine and playing with music then drinking coffee it's really a good thing since my wife kicked me out 32 months ago because I was doing that, listening to Bob Marley and The Wailers music and drinking coffee.  It's really what I need is the music in the start of the day and to have gotten my work done and typed would have been better and gotten published and paid.  But, I guess it's  an unfortunate endeavor for me to place faith in people with people sitting there looking over your shoulder, I don't know I can't get on the computer at Portland State University or Reed College when I really need to be able to study and work and type and print and educate myself.  I have been here nearly a year and have used the library nearly everyday.  I would apply to work at them but I am homeless and have lost my birth certificate and social security card and identification card, so, it's impossible and have even been cast out even by the places that are supposed to help the homeless.  Now I have nothing but the clothes on my back and I love you so much!  The Power of the Trinity.   Listen to Bob Marley and The Wailers "War/No More Trouble" live version.

Chase

 

Learning - opportunity - acceptance - equal access.

Catherine
Library: Hollywood

 

Being able to order copious classic literature and Christian books and having them there on the hold shelf ready for me to take home.

Juliet
Library: Northwest

 

It has been more than forty years since I have lived in Multnomah County.

My earliest exposure to the system was in the late 1950s - Vernon Branch off NE Alberta. On the outside it looked like a normal residential dwelling. It was a white painted wooden building with wide concrete steps leading to the main entrance. There was a sign - metal, shaped like book, - indicating that the building was part of the Multnomah County Library service. Behind those entrance doors and straight ahead was the issue desk where we checked out books. The library card in those days had a metal strip and a clunking sound was made when books were issued to borrowers. Due date slips, hand stamped, were put into cardboard pockets in each volume. And if memory serves a note on the pockets reminded readers of fines if books were not returned on the due date. 2 cents per day for children, 5 cents for adults.

Off to the right of the main door was the terra incognita of stuff for grownups and big kids. I wasn't interested, at least not then I wasn't. To the left and in the rear of the building was the children's department. It was there I met for the first time Rufus M, Curious George, Madeline, Babar and a great collection of Dr Suess characters and creations too numerous to mention. Later I encountered Eddie and Gardenia, the Bobsey Twins, the Betsy stories of Carolyn Haywood, the Blaze stories of CW Anderson and many others.

In the early 1960's Rose City Park branch morphed into the Space Age styled building - the Hollywood Branch and I increasingly went there instead of Vernon. Vernon I think was cut back to extinction in the early 1970s. It 'merged' with Albina.

They could merge the branches, but they could not merge people's memories and my personal love of the building with its hardwood flooring, its aroma, its fenestration. Vernon Branch - a wonderful building...which helped kindle for me a life long love of reading.

Thank you MCL and thank you Vernon Library.

Anne

 

I like how you have so many nice books and so many different genres.

Sophia
Library: Midland

 

What I like about my library is that it is quaint and friendly. I see the same people there every time I come. I also like that I can find anything there. I can look up any odd subject and they have it. If they don't have they can borrow it from some other library. That's cool. The best thing I discover about my branch is the community awareness that it.

Linda
Library: North Portland

 

There are so many books! I love to read. I started to read when I was in pre-k. Most of the time, the books that I want are on the shelves. Some weeks I come nearly every day. It's so quiet, and I can just relax after a long day lugging around textbooks to my different classes. The chairs are pretty comfortable, and the sections are labeled.

Rachel
Library: Kenton

 

We have lived in Portland for 16 years now, and have probably made more than 500 visits to the library during that time. We have thought about leaving Portland, and the library is one thing that has kept us here. I can't imagine having raised my children without the Multnomah Library System.

Chris
Library: Belmont

 

I love the library for so many reasons, there aren't enough petals on a daisy to count:

  • I love it for its huge and diverse collection
  • I love it for its accessibility
  • I love it for the knowledgeable and helpful people it employs
  • I love it for its art and culture
  • I love it for the contribution it makes to the livability of of our community
  • I love it for how convenient it is to use. Everywhere.

Yes, I love my library. Happy sesquicentennial!

Brian
Library: Hillsdale

 

The music collection is amazing.  I occasionally search for older classical CDs, and I noticed that my searches were also returning entries for full scores of orchestral pieces, classical sheet music for piano and chamber music, and more.  This is a strong (and probably overlooked) resource.

Also, I recently began a hunt for missing issues from the MAC's collection of The Winged M, its publication since 1914.  Sure enough, I found the 1916 issues carefully bound up in the Multnomah County Library's collection.

George
Library: Central

 

I love that the library is an eclectic and safe place where knowledge is obtained from books and love is demonstrated by non-judgmental and patient librarians. My library gives me hope that people can expand their lives through the discovery of self-knowledge.

The library reminds me of my youth when my daddy would take me and my sister to the North Portland library on Saturdays. Daddy always supported my book choices and lovingly helped me to gain a deeper understanding of the books I read. The books ranged from Frederick Douglas, Mary McCloud Bethune, Malcolm X, Sacagawea to Ramona Beasley—and the list goes on! Some of these books introduced me to injustice, freedom, social justice and forgiveness. These readings profoundly shaped my worldview.

I spent my later grade school years at the Hollywood library. Again, my daddy took me to the library, but as I became older, I rode my bike there with my best friend Lori (now deceased). We had so much fun getting books and sometimes talking a bit too much—to the chagrin of a librarian. We frequently ended our library excursion by reading our books across the street at the Arctic Circle.

Today books are my mentor(s). They guide me on my journey of personal and professional expansion. Thank you for giving me the opportunity to share my heart-felt memories of the library.

Tracy
Library: Albina

 

Oh, a love letter to my favorite branch! How embarrassed my kids would be, if they only knew. Libraries have always been one of my favorite places. From learning about dinosaurs, my love of the Hardy Boys, to hundreds of hours hiding in a library during graduate school, libraries are full of comfortable memories for me . .  and the Holgate branch is the branch I love. It's my library. Any and every time I visit, staff are friendly, informed, welcoming, and patient with this technophobe. I appreciate the staff. I like the welcome quiet of the place. I more often than not find what I'm looking for, and staff also seemed to have mastered the art of knowing when to sit back and not interrupt us when daydreaming and soaking up the ambiance of a wonderful place.

Steve
Libary: Holgate

 

The staff is helpful.

Allison
Library: Hillsdale

 

Library love letters from patrons of Belmont Library.

Love letters to the library from patrons of Belmont Library Love letters to the library from patrons of Belmont Library

Love letters to the library from patrons of Belmont Library

 

亲爱的图书馆工作人员:你们辛苦了。 你们每个月运书到老人公寓让这些老人有书看。
又方便,不用跑很远去借。 非常方便。我喜欢看医书和经络常识的书。谢谢。

胜雄 敬上

Dear library workers:  You work very hard.  You transport books to our senior residence each month, providing books for us old people to read.  And it’s convenient not having to go far to borrow books.  It is such a convenience.  I like to read medical books and books about acupuncture meridians.  Thank you.

Sheng Xiong
Patron: outreach services

 

感谢图书馆为我们服务, 给我们带来资讯, 娱乐及知试. 我为你们骄傲. 在一次感谢你们.

Thanks to the library for providing service to us, giving us information, entertainment and knowledge.  I’m proud of you all.  Thanks again.

Benjamin & Yuan Tie
Patron: outreach services


我们大厅的老人多谢图书馆给我们文化和世界各地风土和人情(影片和书刊)知识等.

谢谢图书馆的个人.

Our lobby’s seniors thank the library for bringing us DVDs and books about cultures and traditions from around the world, etc.

Thanks to everyone at the library.

Unsigned
Patron: outreach services


感谢图书馆为我们提供精神粮食,打开我们心灵的眼睛.际此150周年庆,献上我的感谢。祝愿图书馆的设施和服务与时俱进,有永续的发展!

Thanks to the library for providing us mental nourishment and opening our mind’s eye.  On this occasion of the 150 Anniversary, I offer my thanks.  May the library’s facilities and services progress with the times and continue to grow!

Betty

 

多谢图书馆每月带许多的书籍和DVD 给Kirkland。使我们不必老远到图书馆!

Thanks very much to the library for bringing books and DVDs to Kirkland each month.  We don’t have to always go all the way to the library!

Siu Tin
Patron: outreach services
 

 I love the breath of the MCL's collection.  Living near the Tigard library, I check out many books from the Washington County system.  However, there are books I want to read that are not available from any of the WCCLS  libraries.  Most of those books I find at MCL.  I often request books from your art collection.  In addition, I find early 20th century fiction, usually in their first editions.  Thanks so much for not weeding out those older books of fiction.   Happy 150th!

Judy
Library: Capitol Hill

 

Oh, how I love e-pub books from the library. It would have been impossible to endure being snowbound on MAX this week without "Life of Pi" glowing with beautiful consolation in my frozen hands. It was worth taking the gloves off to keep turning pages.

Jennifer
Library: Central

 

The librarians are always so helpful and the selection of materials is extensive when you consider all the branches available.

S.
Library: Sellwood-Moreland

 

I love our Multnomah County Library.

Anne
Library: Belmont

 

Why I Love My Library [a poem]

I love my library because it takes me places.
Snow on mountains, blue moons, lilacs in spring,
smell of rain after a dry spell in summer,
roar of model airplane engines, purring sleeping kitten,
pink lady slippers, yellow adder tongues,
sound as driver hits a golf ball, rainbows
after storm, crowds at baseball games,
taste of blackberry wine, hearing a new joke,
visiting with a friend, reading a good book
the first time or the second
if it is well written, multi-colored maple leaves,
smell of ocean on a hot afternoon in August,
walking alone in a forest as the sun nears the horizon,
feel of ice cold Coke in hot weather,
smell of new-mown hay, violets and mayflowers,
burning leaves, pick-up football games,
cumulonimbus clouds driven by west wind:
resemble pirate ships.
Night.
Milky Way a white fog.
I lie and look up wondering.

Edwin
Library: Rockwood

 

I love you with my whole media-loving heart!

Nick

 

This library system MUST be the best in the land. surely. what is there NOT to like? amazing.

Kelly

 

Love our libraries!

Denise

 

I love all public libraries, but MultCoLib is the best one I've ever had the pleasure of using!

Aviva

 

My multi location Oracle and office away from home.

Hugh

 

Best library ever! Love this place. North portland branch is the bee's whiskers.

Davey

 

The library is a place of hope, humanity and safety. It is a place of joy and discovery. Thank you, dear library. Know you are well loved.

Tristan
Library: Central

 

I love my library because it is 5 short blocks away, It smells fantastic, there's nothing like the smell of books in a library. If they don't have it in the library, I can order it on kindle or have it delivered to my library. I am such a fan of libraries because they made me fall in love with Charlie Brown, Nancy Drew, Hardy Boys, and things I never realized that were in print. My library reminds me of how much I love finding things to love to read, old things to read, and the love of learning.

Tracy
Library: St. Johns

 

Congratulations! Library staff is absolutely remarkable! What Multnomah Library does for the community is priceless. The more people will be coming to the library to borrow a book, attend a class or participate in activities, the better our society will be. Keep up your great work! You are the heart and soul of our communities.

Tamara
Library: Midland

 

I began my reading life by riding my bike at least weekly, if not more frequently, to the St. Johns library. There, I would sit on a stool in the dim, quiet, cavernous space and leisurely review the possibilities to take home. and enjoy It's one of the more enduring memories of my childhood. As I grew, my home library switched to other local branches. The children's librarian at the Hollywood branch was wonderful in finding the very book my non-reader son could enjoy. Later I would spend afternoons in the comfortable chairs by the large windows of the Gresham library just familiarizing myself with the books I planned to check out. Later came the joy of the internet and the ability to place on hold the books I'd discovered through friends and reviews, and even to start keeping a record of those books. I also love checking out CDs to review before I decide to buy work by a new artist, and DVDs I can see without charge. I've been using the Multnomah County Library system continuously for 50 years. I belong to an on-line book club and I hear how sad others around the country and around the world are about the lack of books in their local libraries, or short hours. I'm always proud to let them know that here we live in a place that supports a vital library system that serves its community in multiple ways. Almost everything I've ever wanted to read has been available locally, and what isn't can be accessed through Interlibrary Loan. I vote yes for every library levy and always will. The access to books you've made possible has made me the person I am today and I'm proud of you, and our citizens, for helping the Multnomah County Libraries to succeed and grow.

Leslie
Library: Gregory Heights

 

When I come to the library, I can truly focus on my work. There are few distractions; however, it is inspiring to see others intently reading, studying and writing as well. The community events, the fostering of literacy in other languages, the regard for information in general, and the ever-helpful staff....I am grateful for all.

Eunice
Library: Midland

 

From storytime at the Hollywood branch, to the eagerly anticipated Bookmobile stops, to the amazingly beautiful remodel of the Central branch, to the evolution of their online presence, Multnomah County Library has nurtured and rewarded a lifelong reader. Thank you!

Collier
Library: Central

 

I have loved and used the library in all stages of my life. Reading about pregnancy as I started my family, checking out board books then picture books then story books and chapter books as my children grew. Helping them get books out for school research and reports. Keeping my own interests going with books about self care, CDs in Spanish to keep my skills up, books my book group reads, music. I volunteered for several years at Belmont and loved giving back too. But among my 25 years of ongoing use my FAVORITE memory is having small children, going to the library to select picture books and coming home with a stack of them, putting on jammies and all climbing into the big bed to read and read and read. We had a wealth of books, plenty of time and all shared a love of them. it was one of the happiest and most peaceful time of the week I would have with my 3 very active, usually hard to corral boys.

Christina
Library: Belmont

 

I signed up for my first library card when I was five and I still remember how excited I was to check out books with my own card! I have never lost my love for libraries; when I travel I love to visit other libraries to see what the "locals" are reading and thinking about. The best things about Multnomah County libraries is that they are such a part of the the community where they are located. Each library has its own personality but they are all still related (like siblings). Thank you for being such a great part of the community and a part of my life to constantly expand my knowledge and appreciation for the world around me.

Brandy
Library: Central

 

MULTCOLIB is the FAR-OUT BEST LIBRARY I have enjoyed - eighty years in five states: many fine times, but this is the FINEST. I'm so glad that the library district vote passed.

Jane
Library: Hillsdale

 

I love the Multnomah County Library so much I tattooed my library card on the inside of my right arm. Honestly. Thank you library people! You're the best!

Sue
Library: Woodstock

 

I love that I can stop in and use the computers and printers there. I love getting new books off the lucky day rack. I love being able to put a hold in for books I want to read and then being able to pick them up so easily. I love that I can wander around the stacks and see what's there, I often find books I want to read that way.

Natalie
Library: Kenton

 

I started coming to the library as a child and continued as a teenager to study after school. I loved getting lost in the stacks perusing all the books. I don't get to library as much anymore but when I do I love its ambiance. The Central library downtown calls to me each time I am in the city. Thanks for the memories!!

Barbara

 

One of the things I'm most proud of as a Portland resident is the value we place on our libraries. They've been such an oasis for me and my family, especially when our kids were young. I love walking from work during lunch down to the Central Library. I love the quiet, calm of this beautiful building.

Mike
Library: Sellwood-Moreland

 

Every two weeks my kids (ages 9,6,5 and 2) and I load up all our ( many!) books into bags and head to the library. The kids take very seriously bringing their own bags and filling them up with books that interest them. Often times the ride home from the library is in silence as they all have their nose in a book, even the toddler. We have a special bin in our home where we keep all our library books and as a parent, it's the best feeling to see my kids rummaging through it, selecting books and initiating reading on their own. I know that my kids' love of reading and interest in books has a direct correlation with the great selection found at the library. Thank you, Multnomah County Library, for the way you better our community, and the positive impact you've had on my children.

Jillana
Library: Midland

 

Some of the things that i love most about not only my library, but also all Multnomah County Libraries is that they are all conveniently located on the city transit system, they have many different types of medium to study such as magazines, dvds, and books. They have many different subjects to research and study for free, and last the inner library loan system.

Shirelle
Library: Central

 

I grew up in a small town in Iowa 1 block from the library and it was my favorite hang-out. I learned to play chess there. In between the stacks in the back there was a table with a chess set. Neither my friend not I owned a chess set so we learned the game there. Chess remains one of my favorite hobbies and I am now hosting a chess session at the Hillsdale Library on Sundays.

Jon
Library: Hillsdale

 

I love that I can find recent, rare and international films at the library!

Amy
Library: Northwest

 

The professionalism the personnel display when in need of help...Every-time I visited the site I felt like a VIP...Congratulation for the 150th anniversary...We will see if the next generations to come still will enjoy such a lovely place.

Mario
Library: Central

 

Libraries have been so important in my life - when I was a child, when I was a young mother, and now as a grandmother. When my grandchildren were younger, I would always take them to Storytime at a nearby library here & afterwards being able to check out some books was a big thrill for them. Now that they are almost middle school age, I still take them to crafts events at the library & to get books - they both just love to read. They love computers, video games, TV etc as well, but they also love books & that's with the help of our local library! Thank you to all librarians!

Zoe
Library: Holgate

 

I love the library! It is an amazing place to study and learn and look for peace and quiet. I come to the library to do research, read, get extra lessons, and to have fun.

Bryce

 

I love that our family can walk to the library, that we can always find something to read, that it feels so comfortable. I love that my kids nag me about putting a book on hold, that they love reading as much as they do, that they get excited to discover a book is in that they've had an eye out for. We take refuge in the library on a hot day, we sometimes stay and read, just to enjoy the peace. We are so grateful to have such an amazing resource in our community.

Cloie
Library: Northwest

 

I am a very smart person. There is a good reason I am a very smart person. The Multnomah County Library. I visited the library for the first time when I was 8. It was located 5 blocks from my house. Every Saturday I went to the library and read for 4 hours and then checked out 3 more. My brothers thought I was crazy. I read them and brought them back every Saturday. I did that until my branch closed in the early 70s. Then I began going to the Central Library Downtown. It became my home away from home. I could go to the library and get lost in the history books on the Civil War and the Reconstruction or Alexandrian Law and Egyptian rulers going back to Ptoelemy 1st. I learned about Greek Mythology and Roman Gods and the Dawn of Christianity. I became interested in criminal law and abberant psychology. I became interested in Civil Rights and politics. I went to high school and college and found out that I already knew a great deal more than what I was being taught. And I knew these things because of the library. I learned about time travel and the theory of relativity through the novels of Edgar Rice Burroughs and HG Wells.

I wish that time travel was possible because the library seems to be in need of a trip back to the time when people valued books and learning and intellectual pursuits. Our intellect as a city, county, state and country has taken a huge turn for the worse. Instead of aspiring to brilliance, we celebrate stupidity. Our reading, retention and language skills have deteriorated to an alarming degree. These days my beloved library seems to be a hangout for the homeless, video enthusisasts and internet surfers.Don't let our national gift be that of intellectual laziness. Let us teach our children to read BOOKS. Not iPads or Kindles or Nooks. But books with pages and spines that you hold in your hands. Magazines with articles that inspire personal research to know more about what you have read. Newspapers that follow news and informs you of what is happening in the world around you. And all of the history that these tomes entails.

Let us teach our children to write and think and with any luck, perhaps they will be qualified to run the world when we are gone.

Debora
Library: Central

 

The staff are very human. I mean that in a very good way.

Silas
Library: Northwest

 

I have a place within walking distance where I can always find more books to read and if the books I want aren't at Albina, I can put it on hold and the library will notify me when it arrives. I never would have fallen in love with books if the library haven't been there for me.

Cory
Library: Albina

 

The books! I love checking out a wide variety of items! Whatever I am interested in at the time the Library has or can get for me! I have been coming to our Library since I was a small child. I love this Library so much I decided to work here! I am proud to say I have worked here for almost 35 years! My life would not be the same without Multnomah County Library!

Angie
Library: Fairview-Columbia

 

I love the Multnomah County Library because the variety and quality of resources couldn't be better. Rarely have I searched for a book, film or music and not found it in the MCL system; My experience has been that if a title I am looking for isn't in the system it wasn't up to the library's high standards. Thanks to the friendly clerks and fellow patrons of this library system.

Jereamy
Library: Hollywood

 

I grew up in Portland’s northwest hills, and as a child I would go to the St. John’s library every two weeks to check out the maximum number of books. I remember feeling a sense of awe and possibility every time I walked into that building; it was grand, with an imposing entrance and welcoming spaces inside. A few times we came downtown to the Central library, and then I really understood what a grand library was like! The rooms were so large, the aisles held so many books, I knew I could find out everything about anything. Requesting a book from the stacks involved writing the call number on a slip of paper and giving it to a person who put it in a tube. Minutes later, a book came whizzing back. The library really was a magical place! As I grew up, moved away to college, and then moved back to Portland, I had less reason to use the library. Once the economy turned and I couldn’t afford to buy every book I wanted to read, the Multnomah County Library was still there, waiting to welcome me back after almost 15 years. I really appreciate having books delivered to my local branch, and the “Ask a Librarian” service which has helped me discover new authors to enjoy. I still think of the library as the place to go to find out everything, about anything.

Jennifer
Library: Albina

 

I love the integrity of the architecture of the Central Library. It is a beautiful public space. The collection of the Multnomah County Libraries is outstanding across the board: leisure reading, entertainment resources, children's literature, special collections as well as books, periodicals, and databases for research.

Kimberly
Library: Central

 

What's there not to love. The staff have always been so helpful. There have been changes in schedule since I became a member in 1989, due to funding issues, but staff and members have always shown a positive attitude. I was so pleased when ebooks became available. It is so handy to be able to use any branch of the library, both in borrowing and returning books. And the extra programs that the library provides for children and the community in general is very much appreciated. I have not expressed my appreciation very much before, but am pleased for this opportunity to say thank you.

Keith
Library: Gresham

 

I love the Library. The librarians are always nice. I always like meeting new people, and seeing my friends. The library is a place to gather, and have fun. I love browsing through books and choosing the right one. The library is a fun place to be.

Nicolas
Library: Sellwood-Moreland

 

When I was young, my family moved from South America to Gresham, Oregon. I was about 8 years old and this culture shock was quite devastating for my family and especially for myself. I remember feeling lost in Elementary school, especially since I had to learn to speak English quickly after living in a Spanish speaking country for so long. When I discovered the Gresham Library, the availability of the books changed my life. The library, the staff and the books helped my integration to ever so daunting United States, and I remember the librarians becoming friends rather than staff. I would walk out daily with a pile of 15-20 books that I would read the minute I got home. I became very literate and knowledgeable in English, and from not knowing the language, I began to excel in school. I participated in every Summer Reading I could, and was greeted by wonderful librarians who not only gave me advice, but provided me with new books and Summer Reading assignments and rewards. I moved away to Texas a few years later, and kept in touch with only one librarian, and she still sent me Summer Reading assignments and prizes from abroad. I will never forget the Multnomah Country Library, and how it affected me. 11 years later, I am now a well educated young woman, living in London, England and studying at a prestigious university. I couldn't have done it without the support of the library that influenced me and inspired me to read. Thank you for everything.

Melissa Woodman
Library: Gresham

 

Girl reading to a cat at Capitol Hill Library

Yesterday I was in line with my daughters in New Seasons, ready to check out. This is usually where I find myself several times a week, however, yesterday was different. The woman in front of me was very familiar- I asked if she was a librarian, and she said yes, at Hillsdale. She had been the children's librarian when I was growing up and I mentioned to her how much I enjoyed sitting in the train with the books I had carefully chosen and relished any opportunity to visit the library. I continued to say that all of that truly had an impact, since now my daughters (one and a half, and three and a half) adore library visits too. We live close to the Capitol Hill library, and had the pleasant surprise of learning that the summer reading program applied to my young girls as well. Not that my kids needed any incentive to visit the library last summer, but it was an awesome program to be a part of. My then two and a half year old loved having her chart marked off as she and I read books together, and couldn't wait to go in to the library to get a goody once we met a certain goal. She already has big plans to be a teen volunteer as soon as she is old enough, and can't wait to dole out stickers and bookmarks to her fellow neighbor kids. She didn't believe me for all of the summer and most of the fall that the libraries were truly closed on Mondays. She is now delighted to know that she and I can take her little sister to the library 7 days a week this summer starting July 1. And our friend in line yesterday still works at Hillsdale, and will get to see my kids when they visit with Grandpa and go to the Hillsdale branch with him on Saturdays. Here's to another generation growing up with the joy of the library!

Naomi D. Leavitt
Library: Capitol Hill

 

I remember getting my first library card at the Midland Branch (in the old building!) and putting the card in its special pocket in my pink-and-purple Beauty and the Beast purse. I remember scouring the stacks and new books display, piling up as many books as possible. I remember being very particular about renewing my books and getting embarrassed if I had fines on my account. I remember putting books on hold and having them sent to the satellite branch at Parkrose High School. I remember my mom taking me and my sister to Central Library, which was always extra special because we took the MAX and ate at a little Italian restaurant around the corner. I remember when my library card broke in my backpack, and the librarian didn't charge me for a new card.

These memories played a huge part in my application for library science programs, and while in my program at the University of Pittsburgh, I used Multnomah County Library services as prime examples of what public libraries can accomplish, as well as searching the catalog to see what Dewey call numbers are given to more obscure items. I'm now the Youth Services Librarian at the St. Johnsbury Athenaeum in Vermont, which is a wonderful place, but I will always consider "MultCoLib" my home library.

MacKenzie Ross
Library: Midland

 

I just love the nice touches of culture The Multnomah Library System provides! I love the opera that brings me to tears. I love the classical orchestra that resonates throughout the floors. I love the flowers that greet me as I go up the steps. I love the nicely dressed and helpful, smiling librarians that keep the place humming with and educational yet relaxed feel. I know there is much that goes on behind the scenes and at other branches however, my perspective is just great! When I come to the library I can't help but feel like a professor that lives in a mansion! (that I share with the county) Thank you for using all our dollars to keep us looking up to accomplish goals and out to new horizons.

Michelle L. Miller
Library: Central

 

I am home-bound and without the library's LOS I don't know what I'd do. Books are my entertainment, research source, and my refuge. When I was able to work with fused glass and other crafts the Books on Tape were helping me along. Now when I'm resting the CD's do the same. I love the library!

Beth Parker

 

When I became homeless a couple years ago my only haven was the library, there I concocted my plan to get out of homelessness as quickly as possible for I was ill-suited for that life (nobody is well-suited). I began researching places to stay and agencies that could help me and even applied for colleges. I am now a happy student with a permanent roof over my head and hope for the future and I think I owe this in part to the library.

Barry Werdell
Library: Central

 

My early memories of the public library was with the book mobile that came to Powell Valley Elementary School in east Multnomah County in the 1960's. During the summer my mother would drive into the Rockwood branch a couple times a month. However, my favorite memories were from when I was a young mother and lived in Parkdale, Oregon in the upper Hood River Valley.

In the community center at the old Parkdale school a classroom in the basement housed a branch of the Hood River County Library. Every other month a new selection of books would be traded out from the main branch. Our little town library was open on Tuesday and Thursday afternoons. Each of those days I would gather up my four young children and a handful of neighbor children and we would walk to the library and carry home stacks of books. In the morning after breakfast and in the afternoon after lunch we would sit and read through several of our books. As many children that showed up at my door would join us and we would all crowd on the couch together and talk through our books.

I believe we read through every picture book in the library. When young ones were old enough to sit through longer readings without pictures, I began reading the Winnie the Pooh series, Wind in the Willows, Little House on the Prairie, and books by Beverly Cleary. These were such delightful times. Today what I love the most is when my grown children share photos of themselves reading to their young children.

Now that my children are grown I have become a reading teacher and I still enjoy sharing the adventures in books. My university classes through Eastern Oregon University allowed me the time to explore children's and young adult literature. My favorite class was reading books that promoted global literacy. I could always count on finding the books on my book lists through the Multnomah County Library. With my hectic schedule of work and school, I learned the advantages of placing books on hold and having someone else gather the books. I also took advantage of the many services and resources for teachers offered through the Multnomah County Library.

This summer I moved to Lafayette, Indiana. One of the first things I did was to check out the libraries. Libraries can be very different from region to region. I discovered that the management, services, resources, and patrons at the public library can tell you a lot about a community. You can get a real feel for the people in a community by observing who uses the library and the many ways the library connects with the community through its displays, resources, and services. You can also determine how important families and literacy education are in a community. I must say that because of my experiences with the Multnomah County and Hood River County libraries, my expectations for libraries are quite high.

Anita Phillips
Library: Gresham

 

The first library that I visited was in Hollywood, California. I was about ten years old.

My life in Hollywood as a child was about agents, lessons and academics. And long hours alone because my mom was a divorce who worked long hours in downtown L.A. and traveled four hours a day between Hollywood and downtown on public transportation. As a kid I was pretty much on my own when there was nothing scheduled and I spent long hours by myself or with my friends hanging out on Hollywood Blvd. Those were the days that you could see two movies for 50 cents. This was 1960. Gold Finger was showing at the Grauman's Chinese Theater for years, not just a week or two and Ben Hur also played for two years, if I remember.

Wandering along the boulevard I discovered a historical cement building which turned out to be the city library. I was alone, as I always was, when I visited the library, which I would do so many times there after. I became a constant visitor, as I was to the movie theaters and different shops along Hollywood Blvd. And many, many times my older brother would have to bail me out and pay my library fines.

Wendy Martin
Library: Central

 

My name is Alyna. I have been using MCL pretty much my whole life. My first card was one of old dark gray ones. When I was younger, I would participate in the Summer Reading Program as a Reader; now I still participate as a SRV. I also use the library to keep up to date on several of my favorite authors and series. I also use the library computers to connect to the Internet, since I don't have it on my home computer. There have been times when I don't know what I would have done with MCL.

Alyna Couture

 

"Central Library View" (left) and "Library Ceiling with Skylight" (right) by Paul Whiting
See the rest of Paul's story in photos

 

I keep a journal. A diary you might call it. I see myself as a captain Ahab on a ship keeping a ship's log. I keep the log for fun but also out of necessity. For like captain Ahab there is a white whale in my life. An obsession. A delusion. Ahab is nearly mad. I am.

Well Moby Dick is a great book but it doesn't explain my story that well. Instead, maybe I'm Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz. Visiting an unusual place. The land of Oz. And talking to a wizard. And keeping company with three odd characters. Scarecrow, lion, tin man. Oh and I had a little dog like Toto. And there is an Auntie Em.

My illness is schizophrenia. I hear voices. And if you think the Wizard of Oz paradigm is far-fetched, let me tell you. I hear a voice that I am Dorothy and that I want to live in Kansas. I'm not fooling. It's true. Voices are strange.

I see psychiatrists. Dr. Smith I pretended was the wizard of Oz. The land of Oz is this strange place, mental illness. And I want to get back to Kansas. Recover from mental illness.

Well enough of the Oz paradigm. This story is about the library and what it means to me. I am mentally ill. I am in recovery. I'm disabled.

Many people don't believe mental illness is a disability. They think it's a canard, a fraud. I hear voices. I wish they were privy to that. It's awful. Schizophrenia is a profoundly disabling mood and thought disorder. Says the psychiatric journal. I'd like to serve on jury duty. I can't. I'd like to work. I can't.

But I can write. And read. And that's where the library comes in. I'm trying to be a writer. I'm in a writing group. For the mentally ill. I've been in WRAP groups, Write Around Portland. For the mentally ill.

The library sends me books. Thru the mail. For free. Portland is not a bad place to be disabled. I also take the lift bus. Portland's solution to transporting the disabled.

I will recover some day. Dorothy will get back to Kansas. Oz will help though he's a bit of a faker.

In the meantime I read. I write. Thanks so much to the library. And the way they treat the disabled. Not just physically hurt people. But also the mentally ill.

Jack B.
Library: Hollywood

 

I have been going to the Hollywood library for as long as I can remember. In 2002, when the library moved to another building, I brought my little red wagon and hauled books to the new location just a few blocks from my house. When I was about ten I started volunteering for the Summer Reading Program, helping kids join, pick their prizes, and enter the grand prize drawing. I have volunteered with the SRP every summer since, and it is one of the steady things I look forward to in ever-changing summer plans. Volunteering for the SRP was one of the first volunteer experiences I was exposed to, and I'm so glad it was because it showed me that volunteering is a wonderful way to share something you love with other people. A few years later I joined the book club at Hollywood and then the Teen Council, and I always looked forward to those meetings. In short, the library has helped me make a lot of connections and has provided a place where I feel welcomed, no matter what is going on. Thanks ever so much!

Clare McClellan
Library: Hollywood

 

I have always been an avid reader, but after a traumatic brain injury in 2010, I found I could not enjoy reading. I had trouble paying attention to written words and remembering the story being told. A friend pointed me to the digital audio downloads offered by the library, and my world opened up. I am able to better pay attention and follow the spoken stories, and I have now been "reading" audio books almost every single day of the week for a year now (more than before the injury) exploring areas of fiction and non-fiction I never did before! I can read fine now but don't want to give up the excitement the audio readers bring to the stories. So I'm still listening and am grateful for this library service.

Cheryl Green
Library: Albina

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I was one of the Boat-People who escaped to America when Sai Gon fell in April, 1975.

The Multnomah County libraries where I had spent countless hours of my early childhood and adult life have shaped me to what I am today.

The library have allowed me to discover deeper in to my roots by providing tools where I can continue to learn, remember my language, my tradition so that I can pass it on to my children and grandchildren ...

With valuable information provided by the library, I am able to explore the horizon beyond my culture by sharing the hopes, the possibilities within the people, the community I am living in, and most important, helping me to immerse in the old roots of yesterday, embracing the new roots of today by continuing to thrive on the branches and leaves of tomorrow.

I am living the American's dream. I am the ultimate success story of what freedom is.

All of it, I owe it to the Multnomah County libraries that had educated and sheltered me.

For that, I am grateful.

Thi
Library: Central

 

Hats off to your jobs lab/jobs lab staff!

I recently retired from the U.S. Coast Guard after a little over 25 years Active Duty Honorable Service on 01November2011. Although I retired, I wanted to still work. Since this past mid-November 2011, I have utilized your jobs lab on an almost daily basis. I cannot thank you enough for this & support I have received in there when trying to cut/paste my resume to a job application. While I received a good many more "No Thank You's" to jobs I applied to than "Yes's," I am proud to say that after only my 3rd job interview since January2012, I will begin a part-time job with a local hotel starting tomorrow. I found the job via Craigslist utilizing your jobs lab about 10 days ago. I never-ever would have be working otherwise. Please tell folks in your jobs lab to keep at it, be diligent, send out those resumes, & things will happen. I know because it happened to me. I e-mailed my resume w/out a cover letter too. So I had to write & say HATS OFF to the Multnomah Library, your jobs lab, & jobs lab staff! Thank you for your continued support. :)

John Healy
Library: Central

 

Thank you Library. You are the main source for my extended family's education and entertainment 17+ years. My kids love the summer reading program. When times get hard and money tight, you make me feel like Royalty. When I meet newcomers to our town, I tell them they don't need a drivers license, just a Library card. Always vote for any bonds with your name in them. Nice to have tangible results of our tax dollars.

Love your lifelong reader,

Daniel

Daniel Johnson
Library: Albina

 

I had this crazy idea that it might be cool to leave everything behind and go off to somewhere new and record my experiences in a journal. I wanted an adventure. I was drawn to Portland for reasons unknown to me. I had never been here before but the more I read about the city, the more it seemed like it was where I should be.

When I got here, it was cold and raining. That was no surprise. In fact, I welcomed the predictability of it all. Didn't everyone tell me about the weather?

As adventurous as I thought I wanted to be, homelessness was always going to be the last resort. But as I wandered lost and wet in a new city, I was worried I might actually end up having to live in the streets.

I did not lose faith though. I knew there was a place I could go- where lost souls could find temporary refuge and regroup. Sacred buildings where people talked in whispers and everyone was welcome. I went to a library. And, unlike churches, they had computers I can use.

Once I stepped foot in Central Library, I felt like I was home.

Earl Dizon
Library: Central

 

I have always been a big fan of libraries. But it wasn’t until I moved to Portland in 1998 that I really fell in love. I’m an advertising copywriter so I need to be curious about everything. After all you’ll never know where an idea might come from. So I might get a book on women artists at the Museum of Modern Art one day and a Deep South cookbook the next. One of the things I appreciate most is how broadminded the collection is. Yes the classics and “important” books are all there but you can be sure to find the most obscure pop culture references too. (“1970s Nigerian psychedelia? Why yes we have that CD.”) The generous hold system is also incredible. When I go to my branch to pick up what the good library fairies have brought me it’s just like my birthday. I get embarrassingly giddy. Then I rush home to fill up my hold queue again. Sometimes I think the Albina librarians worry on the days I show up and there aren’t any holds for me. They want me to be happy.

Tracy Ball
Library: Albina

 

I live in Scotland now, but grew up in Portland. I will be forever grateful for the free library card I had as a child. Let me explain why it was especially important to me: my home was a dysfunctional one. I was often beaten and abused and my mother was mentally ill; we moved every year, sometimes twice a year, but always within Portland. I was always the new kid in school, but wherever we lived, there was a library. When we moved to Sellwood, we actually stayed there four years, and it was the happiest time of my childhood. Part of that was going to the Sellwood library and checking out 5 books every week (I believe that was the limit) and discovering that there was a world where good things happened. Books were often my only friends as a child and I am still an avid reader. I am retired now but thanks in part to being able to read for free, I was able to study and learn fluent French, leading to a job as an interpreter.

Nancy Gemmell

 

I am a retired senior, living on a limited income. The library's Interlibrary Loan system has been a lifeline for me, allowing me to continue my studies in philosophy, biography and theology -- studies which would be otherwise limited by my inability to purchase these expensive books or to travel to specialized libraries.

Recently, a much-anticipated book arrived from Illinois, but I accidentally canceled the hold from my home computer. The library staff -- both at my branch and at the Central Library, took extra pains to find the volume before it was returned unread.

What seems so marvelous to me is that our library is so efficient as a system, and at the same time has a human touch. I am enormously grateful for this community resource.

James Thompson
Library: Midland

 

Yes, MCL contributed to changing my life in many ways. I grew up in Portland and went to PSU in the 1970s. I visited the Central libary at least once a week for many years. A passion of mine was delving into the music library and listening to as much and as many kinds of music possible. It set the foundation for a substantial, lifelong relationship with music that was passed on to my three sons, all born in Portland in the 1980s. We have lived in Norway since 1990 and I have traveled to many large cities around the world, visiting their libraries when I get the chance. I still think MCL has the best music library I've ever encountered.

David Burke
Library: Central

 

I have been the Storylady at an elementary school in southeast Portland for 30 years, each week spending 20 minutes with first–third grades, reading a story and fitting it into the larger framework of an annual theme. Most years I have at least rough outlines of the scripts for the 30 sessions by September, but last year things happened and I was flying by the seat of my pants. I had used the library's reference line before, but last year I was desperate, and I started using it OFTEN. At first I felt guilty, but then I discovered that the librarians’ answers were so thorough and almost always gave me ideas I would never have thought of no matter how much time I'd spent researching on my own. My theme was "Recipes," and it turned out to be one of if not the very best of 30 years of Storylady themes. This year my theme is “Time,” and already I have new reason to be thankful for the reference line. I hesitated to write this for fear that word might get out and the staff will be swamped. But my gratitude has finally overwhelmed my selfishness. THANK YOU!

Cheryl Adelman
Library: Belmont

(Note: Reference Line is our telephone reference service, and provides answers for quick reference questions and referrals for more in-depth questions.)

 

I had made a habit of using the Library's internet computers almost daily — looking for an apartment or perusing job listings mostly, but mostly to eat into the hours I needed to kill every day. I had lost my library card years ago (maybe in 1980), but using my driving license the librarian would issue me a daily pass good for one hour. Then one day, a librarian insisted I get a replacement card. I argued. I'd only lost it. She won. That day, I only checked out one book. Since then, nearly three summers ago, I've read over 500 books. Obviously, that library card changed my life.

Mark Bowman
Library: Central

 

My two young children and I spend time at the library, reading and searching for books on topics that interest us. I realized the true value of libraries in their lives when, among so many other activities they might choose, they will often ask to visit the library. And when we recently moved across town, we actively sought out our new community branch! Our library adventures started when they were young, at North Portland's branch. I'd pick up books for our night-time reading. As they got older and could make their own selections, the world of ideas, great pics and fun stories expanded. I can relate to their curiosity and interest in various topics. I'm thankful that our public library system offers a wonderful selection of great books and a supportive staff that makes great suggestions for our age group and favorite authors.

Ben Wager
Library: Northwest

 

The Multnomah County Library changes my life a little bit each time I visit. I gain new knowledge by each book I see, pick up and touch. When I moved away from the area the thing that I missed most was going to my neighborhood library. I couldn't believe that libraries are not all over every area as they are here. Libraries that have new books and resources in buildings that could tell stories themselves. In my travels away I found many outdated, rundown and sad looking libraries. I am now back in the area and my friend the library with all of its books. I now feel that my life is more balanced and that thing I was missing (the library) and me are back together. Thank you to all who work so hard to share one of the greatest public institutions for all.

Carrie Wilcox
Library: Fairview-Columbia

 

Way back when I was 7-years-old I went to the Belmont Branch to research Monarch butterflies for a class project. With the help of the librarian, I found books to help me draw the steps in the life cycle. I eventually became a scientific illustrator and a full-time public library reference assistant. I wish I could tell that librarian what an influence she had on me!

Jessi
Library: Belmont

 

I am in LOVE with the library. I have 2 boys, ages 6 and 8. I come every other week and check out about 30 books (I stop when I can't lift the bag anymore). I come home, and it's like Christmas — all of us are excited to dive into some new adventures. How else would I have access to so, so many fun and interesting books? I am really grateful for this tremendous resource in our community. Many, many thanks!

Anonymous
Library: Woodstock

 

When I moved to Portland to realize my dream of becoming a writer, I had no idea how important the library would be to me. Yes, I knew I would rely on the reference librarians to help. But I had no idea about the Sterling Room, about the online databases, about the ability to reserve books online and to request interlibrary loans quickly and easily. What this means is that I can do my research from home, pick up the books in batches, and find most everything that I need (except the most technical materials). And, when I need entertaining, I can request books to download, music, and video to watch.

I've been a fan of the library since I was a small kid. Who knew that the library would become the most important partner in my business.

Thanks to everyone at Hillsdale, at the Reference Desk, the Sterling Room, and the Interlibrary Loan crew, as well as those that ship the books around the system. Using the whole collection takes all of you, so thanks to everyone.

Carol Frischmann
Library: Hillsdale

 

When my husband and I realized in late 2008 that our family would be fortunate enough to attend the inauguration of President Barack Obama, we knew that we had some homework to do. We wanted to provide our then 11-year-old son with a solid framework of knowledge from which he would truly understand why this particular inauguration was so important for our country. We turned to our neighborhood library for help. We found a wealth of books that told the story of the African American experience in many different voices. We also found a copy of the PBS series Eyes on the Prize.

Over the weeks preceding our trip to Washington DC, we read and discussed the many books we borrowed. The experience culminated in sitting as a family over a period of 8 weeks to watch the 14 episodes of Eyes on the Prize.

We are grateful to the Multnomah County Library system for having such great resources for us. Our trip was much more meaningful for having spent the time immersing ourselves in the history that lead up to that amazing moment last January.

Kelly Brickner
Library: North Portland

 

Last October, for a number of reasons, I killed my TV. Instead of watching over four hours of television per night, I now watch probably only four hours of DVDs per week — including weekends. I credit this to MCL's vast selection of shows and the extremely well run reserve and hold program. I usually work out on my exercise bike while I watch the DVD which means one less fat fifty something heading for heart failure.

My sincere thanks to the dedicated library professionals who do what they do so well and make it look so easy.

Sandy Malloy
Library: Central

 

I am 71 & retired from Tri-Met. I was a Coach Operator & when I had a route that started in the downtown area I used to come to the library before each shift to enjoy the "surroundings" and prepare myself & relax, too! At that time I was living with, & taking care of my mother, who passed in '04. My funds were limited so I really made use of my Library card!

Now I am retired and living in Tigard. For sometime I had been trying to find an article I had read in the Reader's Digest 2 decades ago. I contacted them and finally determined that the article probably was in a Nov. '88 issue. But, alas, they had no back issues available ... . So, after spending many years getting this far I was stalled again.

Now that I'm retired it's a bit hard getting around and into Portland. Yesterday I had occasion to be in town, but had a limited amount of time. I needed to update my library card because I had moved, & was hoping the library somehow had copy of the 11/88 RD issue I was looking for ... . But could I do this all in the half-hour that I had?! What an amazing experience I had! About 25 minutes from the time I entered the library I LEFT WITH A NEW CARD AND A COPY OF THE ARTICLE I HAD SPENT YEARS TRYING TO FIND! A MIRACLE, TO BE SURE!!

The staff was of great help! I would especially like to commend MR. MICHAEL STORWICK at the Periodical Desk for his help in letting me know where the microfilm collection for The Reader's Digest was located. By the time I was back trying to locate the film box he had even found the exact page that the article was on using the brief information I gave him! Amazing! Wonderful!

I love the Library System!!

Bless Your Hearts! Love, Light, Life & LIBRARIES!!!!

Tommy Lewis
Library: Central

 

I'm not only grateful for the library's collection (and I don't want to minimize my gratitude), but I'm also very grateful for the online system that enables me to put things on hold, even before the library gets the new books in. What a wonderful way to make sure I remember the recommendations of friends, and what an excellent way to prevent myself from making impulse purchases. By reading the library copy first, I can ensure that my tiny book budget goes to books that I want to make room for in my home, like old friends. It's great to be able to renew books online and check my hold list to see what's waiting for me when I get one of those helpful recorded messages. The online catalog is so useful for my research, and the ability to have things delivered to my branch library saves me time, frustration, and parking fees.

Hurray for the library and all the wonderful folks who work there. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

Debora Chandler
Library: Albina

 

In 2001, I had the great honor to be a part of the crew reopening the newly remodeled St. Johns branch, which was my home-away-from-home as a child. I developed my love of books there, as well as an understanding of the power of the written word. My brother had also worked there, prior to the remodel, so it is a bit like an extended family. Several years later, it is still my home branch and one of my favorite places in the city. The staff may have changed over the years, but they are still some of the best people I've met.

A Dawn Rae Johnson
Library: St. Johns

 

My fondest memories of early book exposure began with visits to the old lime green Bookmobile in SW Portland. I was thrilled to climb those steps into a magic world and to get my very first library card. It was pale yellow and I cherished it. I wore it out checking out books such as The Five Chinese Brothers and Paddle to the Sea. When we became a 2 car family, (rare in those days) mom would take us to Hillsdale when the new library opened. I was so excited when I could finally check out 5 books at a time. Sometimes in adolescence "studying at the library" became a cover for meeting up with friends and hanging out, and very little studying was done. But the siren call of the books and the calm space called me back. No one could whisper "SHHHHUSH!!!" like a librarian! I value the privilege of being a library user, and will never take it for granted. I still visit the downtown library when I am in Portland, and it still makes me feel almost like being in church.

Fran Vlahos-Rohm
Auke Bay, Alaska

 

This is not so much a story as a heartfelt thanks for the wonderful service provided by the library and staff.

I was recently "downsized" from my job, and can't afford to buy books, CDs, or to rent videos. As a lifelong avid reader, film, and music buff I would indeed be in a sad state if not for Mult. Co. Library.

The central library is such a beautiful space. I love just being there, perusing the shelves, always finding something fascinating to read.

Anna Stone
Library: Central

 

It's not so much a story, but I just wanted to say thank you for the amazing service you provide to the community! I teach little after school classes through Portland Impact, and the subject matter is always different, so I don't want to own 700 kids books on whatever. All I have to do is a Google search for kids books and then see if you have the titles I want — and then I can even put them on hold so they're waiting for me! I am never disappointed. Thank you so much for running such a reliable and well appointed library system!

Keri Piehl
Library: Sellwood-Moreland

 

I have always loved to read — being in my own little world. My freshman year in high school I received an award for reading the most books.

I read to my children starting when they were infants. I thought it would be a good place for them to volunteer and so my two daughters volunteered at the library when in the 3 and 5 grades — great experience.

Now I live approximately 3 blocks from the Northwest branch of the Multnomah County library and I am there once or twice a week retrieving books or DVDs that I have requested. What a great service the web site is. Also, HUGE THANKS to those people that round up all of the holds. I volunteered at the library and pulled holds — it can be frustrating when you can not find a certain item. And shelving ... you have to have a special personality for that as well. Thanks.

Nina Fleckenstein
Library: Northwest

 

I'm a retiree who volunteers at the Woodstock Library, beginning my day there three or four mornings a week. I love my job for many reasons. I enjoy the camaraderie of the friendly library staff and other volunteers, the exercise (both physical and mental) and certainly don't mind the occasional goodies in the break room. Today, however, I finally realized why the library calls to me.

I'm quite a news hound and pride myself on keeping up with current events, both local and world-wide. I watch the news on TV, read the news on the Internet and memorize the daily newspaper(s). So much of the time, though, that "breaking news" is very negative, showcasing the worst of the human condition, rather than the best. Today, I experienced the best.

Today Woodstock Library sponsored one of the library system's regular "Storytime" presentations. This involved a fun lady who dressed in costume, played the guitar and sang with the children. Dozens of little children attended, accompanied by caring parents, grandparents or caregivers. The children sat enthralled, listening to the songs, then joining in with the songs, all the while having a wonderful time. They didn't know or care that they were being taught, taught to know and respect other people and animals, taught to be kind to each other, taught to use good manners, taught to be good citizens in a diversified, civilized world.

We old grannies know, however. We know that it takes knowledge, respect, kindness and manners to have a happy life, a happy family, and happy relationships with others. The library, in so many ways, contributes to that body of knowledge and it's all free for the taking. I feel I couldn't make a better investment of my spare time and talent than to help out the dedicated people at the library.

Nona DeDual
Library: Woodstock

 

Being able to take out DVDs is a tremendous source of satisfaction. Rentals are expensive and purchases are prohibitive. I derive hours and hours of entertainment [films] and learning [documentaries] from the Hollywood Library's cache. Thank you!

Robert Fineberg
Library: Hollywood

 

Mi nombre es Maria Elena. A mi me fascina ir a la biblioteca porque mis hijas son felices ahí. Cuando las veo leer su libro favorito también se desestresan del día y ahí se motivan más a salir adelante en la vida. Yo creo que si uno motiva a sus hijos a seguir leyendo ellos serán más inteligentes y más conocedores de la vida. Nos encanta ir a la biblioteca porque ahí nos atienden bien. Son personas amables y te hacen sentir como si estuvieras en casa.

My name is Maria Elena. I love going to the library because my daughters are happy there. When I see them reading a favorite book, I see how reading de-stresses them and motivates them to succeed in life. I think that if you motivate your children to read they will be more intelligent and knowledgeable about the world. We love to go to the library because they provide great customer service. They are friendly and make you feel right at home.

Marie Elena Diaz
Library: Fairview

 

The way that Multnomah County Library has changed my life is that the library has helped me obtain a Bachelor's Degree in business. I would have not been able to obtain my degree without having the library available to me. I was not able to afford a computer/laptop which was making it very difficult to finish school. I had to work full time jobs while attending school so you have to have a computer at your finger tips. Anyway I finally got my degree in June of 2008. Have a great day. I had been trying to go to school since 1994, so I could get better employment.

June Cochran
Library: Holgate

 

The Multnomah County Library has literally provided me with a way to make a living. I do not have a computer at home, but use the library's about five times a week. Earlier this year, I decided to set up my own business (pet and house sitting) and the access to the library has made it possible for me to respond to clients' inquiries and establish a network of information concerning my job.

Additionally, the library's extensive selection of classical music on CD and wide-ranging choices of DVDs is truly one of the most amazing ways to build up one's "cultural literacy." Not to mention books, of course.

I recently looked at my activity on the library's website, and found, even to my own astonishment, that I have checked out nearly three hundred items in the year 2008 alone!

I am forever grateful for the services that Multnomah County Library offers.

Thanks very much!

Olin Williams
Library: Central

 

My two children, age 2 and 3 ¾, are both avid readers even without the Summer Reading program. They can’t read in the conventional sense, but they love nothing more than being read to, and often spend long periods of time looking through books on their own, and reading them to each other. So, why do I feel so strongly about the positive impact of the Summer Reading program on our family if the kids already love to read? Because rather than seeing the library in the usual ways (a place to go find new books to borrow, a place to find a book about something they have questions about, a place with a cool slot to push books through when “our turn” is over), they see that here someone in the larger world cares about what they are reading, what they are interested in. They notice other kids coming in to get prizes too. They notice other kids being rewarded for what they are reading, what they are interested in. We so often think of reading as a private, quiet, isolated pastime! By helping kids connect reading with the excitement of a challenge, a game, and yes, a prize, you are helping to connect them to their community through reading.

Anonymous
Library: Hollywood

 

I love the library. It's a great place where you can read books, go on the internet, or do crafts on special days. And guess what: so long as you don't run up fines, it's all free! You can check out pretty much any book, movie, or CD ... and it costs nothing! The librians rock, just like everything about the library. It even has a Summer Reading program, which I am volunteering for. The library rocks!

Amy
Library: St. Johns

 

I go to the St. Johns Library, and it's like a second home to me. I go there practically everyday, and sometimes even twice a day. It has practically all the books and movies I could look for. Every single year that I could remember I've done Summer Reading, and this year I'm volunteering to help with Summer Reading.

The library rocks!!!

Marie (12 years old)
Library: St. Johns

 

Dearest Belmont Branch Library,

I have lain awake many sleepless nights trying to conjure up words that might adequately describe the feelings of my heart. But every time I have made the attempt, I have failed miserably. Please forgive my poor effort and accept a trite and simple phrase: I love you.

I recall my first visits to you, 2 year old in tow, belly swollen with crazy monster #2. Your heavy front doors would swing open so obligingly at the touch of a button, the air conditioning cooling the sweat from my fevered brow. I knew then that this love was reciprocal. But still I was not ready to melt the frost from my heart. Too many libraries in the past had attempted to seduce me with fragile promises of literary bliss, only to dash my dreams with irregular hours and indifferent librarians. You were the Mr. Darcy to my Elizabeth Bennett. Prickly and yet so perfect for each other.

When you were closed for renovations I felt as though my heart were being ripped out. Yes, I could go to storytime at the Hollywood branch, but it was cold, sterile, full of strangers. I longed for your familiar touch.

But you have won me over, body and soul. When I bring my son in for the "Read to the Dogs" program, I know this is not just puppy love. Wally the dog, you do not fool me while pretending to sleep through the "Star Wars Pop Up Book," I know your canine heart pants for one more story.

Just when I thought my heart would burst from fullness, your "Summer Reading Program" opened its’ arms to a shy 10 year old volunteer. His shaggy blond hair obscuring any possibility of eye contact, yet his weekly 2 hour presence confirmed his mumbly devotion. This year I offer to you 2 volunteers, to sign up readers, rubber stamp gameboards and hand out prizes and T shirts.

Without you I am incomplete. What would I read? How could I live without the hypnotic caress of the perfect audio book, soothing the crushing boredom of housework. The stacks of crisp Manga to entice my 12 year old into a relaxing stupor. And "Star Trek" DVD sets, how could I exist without the geeky splendor of "Star Trek?!"

It not just the thousands of dollars you have saved me in video/ DVD rentals and book purchases. It is the non-judgmental love that flows between us. I love you Belmont branch library, I love you. Never leave me again.

Fall in love with your library, it’s the easiest relationship you’ll ever have.

Katy Wolk-Stanley
Library: Belmont

 

Restraint at the Library
(Capitol Hill Library)

I came to smell the new rug, to remember the patina of old shelves
And August light filtering through oak leaves into the children's library.
As a kid, I determined to win a summer prize
By reading so many books that my paper airplane
Would fly to the warped ceiling above the librarian's desk.
The librarians steered me to classics and horse books. 
Now computers order our books and check us out with barcodes.
Email special deliveries announce, "Your book is in."
Today I browsed and smelled the library,
Looking for the remembered smells of shelves and old pages.
The choices...I'm stunned at spectrums
from coin collecting to Chinese calligraphy,
haiku to holocaust,
drumming to Darfur,
topographies and titillations,
from Paris to petunias.
(Want to travel that road with me?)
biographies of heroes and hip hoppers,
Anthologies of nonsense rhymes and pirate girls,
fairies and dollhouses
(You knew I'd linger there).
There were five books on guilt. 
Many, many more on forgiveness. 
The internet station caught me -- 60 minutes of free time
(isn’t time always free in some sense?)
I clickety-clacked an email to you, at home,
Working hard to get to hardly work. 
(Why in the world of historical librarian shush mantras
are the keyboards here louder than anywhere else on earth?)
I miss you.
I'll look under L.
There are thousands of stories
about love and lust and luck and loss.

Tricia Knoll
Library: Capitol Hill

 

I am disabled with severe rheumatoid arthritis and am unable to leave my home. I discovered the online card catalog and my whole life changed. Now, I can place any book on hold and have my husband pick up and return books for me on his way either to or from work. With a son stationed in Iraq with the 3/2SBCT out of Fort Lewis, having access to so many books helps me cope with the constant worry for his and his fellow soldiers safety. I feel that through the online services offered by the Multnomah County Library system my sanity and independence has been returned to me. Thank you!

Tamara Moody
Library: Capitol Hill

 

As a young girl, I received a white Easter purse to match my dress each year. The only possession in it was my OWN library card. My Easter outfit was my NEW clothing for the year, as most of my shoes and clothing were hand-me-downs from older cousins. I valued my purse with my valuable card.

My father valued reading. We would make a weekly trip via bus to the Central library after we moved to the Portland area when I was 5. He would drop me off in the children's section while he carried my 2 younger brothers up the stairs to get the books he wanted. I would be able to check out as many books as I thought I could carry in my bag (as a 5 yr old--not too many, later as a 7 year old I was able to get up to 10), usually I carried about 5 books. I remember sitting and pondering the great decision of which book to take this time. The wonderful librarians taught me that ALL libraries are basically the same--once you know where FICTION starts and NONFICTION starts. That knowledge saved a child who moved frequently in her early years. I could find "friends" where ever I moved.

I remember walking on top of the cement fence. The large white stairs that echoed hushed voices down the stairwell. The smiles of the ladies that worked there. The feeling of "being safe" and among "friends".

I am currently a middle school librarian in Albany. The lessons stuck. The library is a place of peace, learning, and "friends". Our future deserves all the wonderful benefits of having a place to ponder the question of which "friend" to take next. Even if it is in the form of an e-book, a picture book, a novel or a moving (video) book. What new friend or dream will you find on your next visit?

JaKay Greer
Library: Central

 

To the Multnomah County Library

How do I love thee? Let me count the ways. 

I love thee to the depth and breadth and height 

My arms can reach, when books are out of sight 

Except for trusty stepstools’ saving grace. 

I borrow thine infinite treasure for every day's 

Most quiet need, by lamp and candlelight. 

I love thee freely, my taxes seem so light; 

Thy kind librarians merit highest praise. 

I love thee with the passion of long use; 

From youth to middle age we’ve kept the faith. 

Those times I paid a fine for a book I’d lose 

You bought another! I love thee with the breath, 

Smiles, tears, of all my life - and when I choose, 

My will can support thee better after death.


(And thank you for Elizabeth Barrett Browning, too.)

Lin Harmon
Library: Hillsdale

 

I have two stories about Multnomah County Library. The first dates back to the olden days - during the late 1950's. Every Saturday my mother would load up the big station wagon with her five children ranging in age from 13 to 6 and head for the Woodstock Library. Back then the library was located across Woodstock Street from Bi-Mart in a little store front. The rule was that you could only check out five books per person. Looking back now I am thankful for the patience of the librarians and the patience of my mother.

My other story is of the day I came to the Main Library looking for gardening books - I was going to redo my whole yard. I received some great advice from some wonderful librarians - enjoy YOUR yard. Plant what you want where you want and if you don't like it later change it. Most plants are wonderfully resilient. I ended up leaving with only two books rather then the whole stackful I had planned for.

Sally Karlin
Library: Hollywood

 

It was 2001 and I had taken the train from Seattle to visit my boyfriend. After picking me up from the train station, he insisted that we stop by the downtown library so he could pick up a book. We climbed the stairs, up, up, up until we reached the top landing. There, with patrons walking all around us, he dropped to his knees and asked me to marry him.

I said yes.

Joy Oliver
Library: Central

 

I was born and raised in Portland, have lived here all my life. As a child growing up in the 1960's, one of the special treats we looked forward to in the summertime was making a trip as a family downtown to visit the Central Library. Dad and us kids, youngest to oldest, would head off to our separate areas of interest, each emerging with an armload of books to take home. I remember going upstairs to the music room to listen to records in a private glassed-in room. I loved the challenge of looking for a book title in the old card catalogs on the second floor, then "hunting it down" and finding it amongst the myriad of rooms and library shelves. It was an event, a place to hang out and have fun that was free--very helpful to the budget of a young family.

More than 40 years have gone by and I have used and enjoyed the library resources in every stage of my life. Such a rich variety of resources available to everyone!! Multnomah County Library is an incredibly well-run system, well worth our tax dollars. I just hope that everyone that takes materials from the library can really appreciate how lucky we are to have such a system.

Anonymous
Library: Rockwood

 

Doing community service at the Library has definitely changed my life. I've not only learn lots of things about other people, but I've also learned a lot about myself. I help out on Tuesdays in the computer lab. I've work with all kinds of people. I've help them fill out on-line job applications, I've also helped them become familiar with the computer and the internet. It's the most fullfilling experience ever. Knowing that you are doing something that benefits people in the community is one of the most incredible feeling you can get. I've learned to be patient and to know that not everyone learns or thinks the same way. But most important of all I have learned that even a teenage girl like me can make a difference and that motivates me to do greater things that would not only be helpful for me but also for people in the community.

Sandra Castellón
Library: Gresham

 

I love the Multnomah County Library. If I had two favorite things (there are so many) they would be the caring and accessibility to the public. When funds are on the low end, the library always does a survey to see when the best times to be open would be. And then they are open then! They don't just automatically, say, "close on Monday (or Sunday)." This is so nice!

The other thing is the Song Catalog. I play the guitar and sing. Usually I can figure out a song. If not, I try to get it on a tape, record, or CD. If I can't figure it out that way, I ask the Telephone Reference Librarian to look for the original version of the song — which usually is pre–1940. I ask for all copies the library has, to be ready for me to view up in the Music Library. Then, I come in, and find the one that works best for me. This almost always completes my search for learning the song I crave!

One more thing — I can no longer carry loads of books. I now am able to get my books by mail, for disabled people.

Marian Drake
Library: Central Library

 

I can't count the number of trips I made to the now–closed University Park Branch library as a kid. Mrs. Stark, the librarian there during the late 60's and early 70's, was probably the most patient woman on the face of the earth, once even allowing a group of 5th and 6th grade girls to stage a play there. (All we did was giggle and argue.) To this day my mother quotes Mrs. Stark, who once told her to "never deny that child a book". This is probably part of the reason that my 10–year–old son owns so many books!

The University Park building is now part of the campus of the church next door to it, and this spring I had the opportunity to once again rehearse a play there. (No arguing this time, but still lots of giggling.) It is smaller than I remember, but the walls are lined with bookshelves, and I found myself quoting Mrs. Stark to the other actress–moms there: never deny your child a book. Thank you, Mrs. Stark, for advice I know I'll never forget.

Debbie Larsen-Walker
Library: St. Johns

 

I walked to the growing up, checking out as many books as I could carry. My parents wisely taught me to pay my own fines, which I have continued to do. I have always supported the library to the tune of $20-$50 a year. All it takes is an illness or a vacation with one or two books hidden from sight and bam! I'm whipping out my checkbook to check out...

They know me and my family by name at the Midland branch. One of the librarians used to enjoy bringing my library card up on the computer before I could dig it out of my purse! Homeschooling my children when they were young involved at least one trip to the library each week and often more! The rule has always been that they may check out as much as they can carry! We keep a canvas bag on the pantry door in the kitchen and the kids are encouraged to drop the books into the bag as they finish them, so that when it's time to go to the library, we just grab the bag and drop off everything in it and recheck out anything we missed, if possible...

Ginger Clausen
Library: Midland

 

We first moved to the Hollywood area when I was nearly four and I remember almost immediately after moving in going to the Hollywood branch (then in its old location) and getting a library card of my very own, my name printed in my father's capital letters.

Throughout the years the materials varied greatly, beginning with nature films and picture books to elementary chapter books as well as book on tapes which I would listen to over and over again including while I did my homework in second and third grade.

It has proved a wonderful resource for reports, as well as flights of fancy. And this was made easier by the friendly, helpful staff that helped me overcome my anxiety and allowed me to check out books when I had misplaced my library card. This problem was solved as I easily rattled off the long string of numbers of my patron barcode from memory.

Now, I plan on completing the Dove Lewis Therapy Dog program and participating with my corgi in 'Read for the Dogs.'

Annie K.
Library: Hollywood

 

I think that everyone should know about Belmont Library because it is great! it is not huge and once you have gone there more than once you know exactly where you would need to go to get the book. The people are nice and they remember you when you come back if you are a frequent visitor. I also love how it is open until 8:00 at night and is open more days of the week than most libraries. If all libraries could stay open that much it would be wonderful. I always like going into the Belmont Library because it is not dead silent, it is welcoming and warm. It's also great because every time I need something for an essay or report I pretty much KNOW that it will be there! Libraries are my friends! Belmont (as far as I am concerned) is the best.

Addie Flora
Library: Belmont

 

Since I was a child I've always visited the St. Johns Library, doing research or taking a basketball book home after school.

I've checked out one of my favorite books: Night Hoops. Which is about a boy who does nothing but play basketball and he has to compete with another boy to show who's better. I like this book because I play basketball a lot and there is a lot of competition out there, so I have to work my hardest to be the best.

The St. John's library has helped me a lot with school. At my high school our library wasn't open after school so it was difficult to do my work after school much faster. So because of this I had to go to the library which gave me more search opportunities which got me extra points on my school projects.

I hope this library will still be around to give help and support our neighborhood and still be a place where my children's children can go.

Victoria Coakley
Library: St. Johns

 

One of the best parts of working in a public library is getting to know our regular customers. It's always fun to shoot the breeze, chat about books, and see how the library provides such a positive influence in the lives of so many. I know without a doubt my own life would have been very different without it.

I grew up in Portland in the early 1970s, the youngest daughter in a large immigrant family. We weren't exactly wealthy--we didn't have the best house on the block, and we didn't have the best car. Our clothes were either homemade or had been handed down one too many times (for my taste, at least!). We didn't take exotic vacations every summer like so many of my friends. But we did have one saving grace, and that was our local public library.

Thank goodness for our weekly library trips! Every Thursday night (my father's only day off), we would pile into our car and drive to our local library. There, my siblings and I went through the place like locusts, checking out books to our hearts' content. Personally, I loved the art and craft books and managed to teach myself how to crochet and knit by the time I was 10. But that's not all I learned. I also learned to love reading and improved my reading level several grades. (Not bad for a child of immigrants!) I learned responsibility and the importance of returning my books on time. I learned that whatever questions I had or subjects I wanted to explore, the library was there with the answers and resources. Throughout the years, the library has helped me research colleges and scholarships, learn to cook, grow vegetables, fix leaky faucets, learn languages and so much more. The library is truly the gift that keeps on giving.

These days, I'm on the other side of the desk, helping others. And I like to make sure everybody's library experiences are just as valuable to them as mine are to me.

May Dea
Library: Hollywood

 

Some people don't feel quite comfortable until the kitchen is clean, the lawn mowed, or the checkbook is balanced. For myself, I can not rest easy unless my library card has 15 items reserved on it at all times.

This bibliophilia leads to reading, and reading leads to ideas. Because of my library card (and a healthy measure of good luck), I have had three books published. But I know full well that not one of those books would have been possible without the library's resources. In fact, the wealth of material and the guidance of library professionals has often made researching a genuine pleasure.

My fondness for our county libraries manifests itself in a devotion to the various branches: The dignity of Hillsdale, the sanctuary that Midland provides, the majesty of Central, and the modesty of Albina. But while each branch has its own unique charms, Hollywood will always be first and foremost in my heart. (After all, I got free cookies there tonight at a community workshop.)

Bart King
Library: Hollywood

 

I have an auto immune disease. What this means is that I can't leave the house by myself and I can't do very much. I spend a lot of time in bed and there are only a few of activities I can still do. But my love of reading has sustained me. Since I can't work I don't have money so the library has become a huge resource for me. I can put several books on hold at once and send my mom to get them for me or pick them up when I have a doctor's appointment. In other's stories I can escape my illness and experience theirs for a while. Thank you so much for your online catalog; without it, my life would be much less thrilling.

Anonymous
Library: Hollywood

 

Nothing, but nothing, surpassed my hours perusing the Bookmobile as a child. A voracious reader, the smell of the dusty volumes mixed with a hint of diesel made me quiver....

However, a the third of four children, I was a bit shy..."The Lost Child" those into family dynamics would label me. I couldn't read aloud well, for fear of embarrassment....

One year, I believe I was seven, my teacher wrote on my report card, "Your daughter would benefit from having a library card."

My mother vehemently penned, "She has her own library card, and uses it!"

Now as a writer, I continue to use that precious card, though, waxing nostalgic, I don't know if I prefer paper or plastic. I still have some hesitation when I read aloud (unless it's to my grandchildren).

Lindsey Morrison Grant
Library: North Portland

 

Everytime I walk into a branch of the multnomah county library I think what a wealth of knowledge I have a free opportunity to learn from. I work at a public radio station and I have counted on the library numerous times to provide music and biographic information for programming and promotions on my employer's airwaves.

The ability to search and order what I'm looking for online has been a lifesaver to me on several occasions.

Plus, everytime I visit the library I find something else to satisfy my curious nature about the world I live in. The library is one of my favorite places to visit, I take advantage of what the library has to offer numerous times every month. There is so much information I would have no financial access to if it weren't for the libary.

Mary Burlingame
Library: Gresham

 

I work as a physician. You might think that means I am a good reader; well it doesn't. My reading has always been slow and difficult. If not for the Multnomah County's EXCELLENT supply of audio books, I would be ignorant of a world of knowledge and literature that is opened up with audio books. Thank you, Multnomah County Library.

J. Chris Anderson, MD
Library: Belmont

 

I am a mother that home schools my 8 children. The library is full of excellent resources such as books, DVDs, videos, books-on-tape, magazines, etc... that I'm able to incorporate into my lesson plans regularly. The online catalog is very comprehensive and convenient. I simply reserve the materials I need and a phone call to my home lets me know when they become available. Best of all, this is of no extra cost to me. My children could not receive the best education possible from me without my public library! Thank you!!

Michelle Anthony
Library: Gresham

 

I use the library every week for fun and education, but I'm most grateful for the library's help i becoming a Spanish medical interpreter. Over the last year, I've borrowed language learning cassettes and Spanish language movies, books, and books on tape to improve my Spanish. I couldn't have afforded buying all these materials, or paying for classes instead. This month I passed my exams! Now I have a valuable new job skill and can help hundreds of patients communicate and get the health care they need. Thanks so much!

Anonymous
Library: Belmont

 

The Multnomah County Library system is so efficient at getting books to us through the hold system! I now live in New York, and though there were only a few people waiting in line ahead of me, it took me eight months to get some of the books I requested. Now I have to buy a book if I want to read it in any timely fashion. The Multnomah Library saved me so much money, it was surely worth far more than the taxes I paid toward it.

Sarah Standish

 

I didn't understand the magic of public libraries until I became a parent. For me, libraries had always been about quiet introspection and academic solace. And then I had children. The library of my children's youth is all about community, activities, and exploration.

One of my favorite memories is when my older daughter Madeline, then 3 years old, wanted to have a "Paris Day" at the library. She woke up one morning and asked me if the "librarier" (librarian) would have any books about Paris. I was stunned. It didn't surprise me that she wanted to go to the library; with two "storytime" aged children, we spend a lot of time at the Sellwood and Woodstock branches (for our regular weekly trips) and the magnificent Central Library (when I am feeling more energetic). But our library trips always have a vaguely frantic, shopping spree feel about them. We rush into storytimes with our coats half off and the girls grab their weekly reading selections based on color and bulk rather than content. My younger daughter, Gracie, has a savant-like ability to find the most extraordinary books as she scales the sides of the shelves. But this was something different. This was Madeline's nascent desire to obtain more information to satisfy her intellectual curiosity. This was a quest.

For this type of odyssey, only the Central Library would do. Entering Portland's downtown library always makes me catch my breath. It is a grand institution. Madeline marched with purpose through the lovely foyer and posed her question to the Children's reference librarian. Together, they found wonderful books about Linea in Monet's Garden, Eloise, a Parisian Cat, and, of course, Madeline. Our excursion was a success.

With this moment of wonder, and so many others, the public libraries won me over.

Lainie Ettinger
Library: Sellwood-Moreland

 

LIBRARY BOOKS

(A Poem)

One day I realized
our house could contain
not one more book.

We have books everywhere:
bookcases are full
most shelves double-stacked
a hard way to find a book.

There are bookcases in closets,
three cases in the garage.
Time to do something really creative.

Borrow books from our Public Library!
no need to store books
just order them via computer

Drive to the Library
bring them home,
someone at the Library
sends you an e-mail when
book is ready.

There is one drawback:
some readers fold
page's corners over.

There are other better choices
on how to mark a page
one wants to remember:

There are bookmarks, scraps
of paper, Post-its, magnetic clips,
and anything else that's thin:
like six-inch plastic or metal rulers.

Most never take time to
unfold the corners or jot down
the definition of a word
you've never seen before.

Edwin Jacques 
Library: Rockwood

 

We moved to Portland when I was three years old, in 1949, so that my dad could teach at Reed College. My mother used to walk me and my baby sister up to the Woodstock Branch, which was then in a storefront heated by a wood stove, for story time. I also got to help pick out some picture books to check out for our bedtime story hour at home.

I loved these visits, and, to this day, "use" a trip to the library--now Hillsdale, Capitol Hill, or occasionally Sellwood Branches--as a refreshing and fulfilling break as the busy mom of a teenager.

Diane L. Bleything
Library: Hillsdale

 

My husband and I have renewed our love of books through the Multnomah County Library. I have not had a library card for over 25 years due to career and living in another city. Coming back to the Multnomah County Library was like coming home.

When I was in grade school, the Woodstock library was my sanctuary. Since the Library is currently using the latest computer technology, we now go on-line, find what we are looking for, place it on hold and go to the Albina library, where the staff are all so friendly. What a joy to be back in the world of knowledge at the Multnomah County Library!

Debbie Engel
Library: Albina

 

Since becoming a "self-taught" reader at the age of 5 (a "few" years back - OK - quite a few decades back!) a big part of my life has been reading. But with my job, family and outside interests, reading is one of the things that has taken a back seat. Until one of my biggest time burners came along five years ago: my daily 2-hour round trip commute. That's the bad news (well - the price of gas is probably the really bad news) but the GOOD news is that with books on tape, I've read countless books in the last five years! I've "read" everything from classics to whatever strikes my fancy on the shelf at the time. I usually keep my eyes and ears open for books that sound interesting and reserve them in advance. And . . . I've usually got a "paper" book going, too! Thank you Library!

Nancy Dickinson
Library: Midland

 

My family moved to Portland from Seattle in 1956. One of the first things we did was visit the "big" library downtown, get library cards, and as many books as we could carry home on the bus with our mother. Robby and I were intrigued by the beautiful, grand staircase that even then graced the library. We were so taken with it that we staged dramatic scenes, raced up and down its slick surfaces, and became increasingly rowdy; we were finally asked to leave and escorted out of the building, a shame-faced and very annoyed mother holding each of us by an arm. The funny thing is, both my sister Robin, and I became librarians; she in academics and me as a medical librarian.

Libraries have always held a special place in our hearts, providing playgrounds for the imagination, and sometimes even a real stage for little girls to float down a marble stairway.

Madelyn Priebe Hall
Library: Capitol Hill

 

As a child attending James John Elementary School across from the St. Johns Branch of the Library I read my way through that branch. Then my mother took me to the University Park Branch and then to the Lombard Branch and sometimes to the North Portland Branch. I became such a regular user that just before my 16th birthday I was asked to work for the library at the St. Johns Branch. I worked there for two years and transferred to the Central Library, checking in books, for two years. I am now a Family Learning Coordinator for the San Jose Public Library. I have spent most of my life working in libraries in many different areas and places. Reading, books and libraries are my passion and I could not have found a better career than the one I started at the St. Johns Branch of the Multnomah County Library.

Sharon Snow