Albina Library history

Located in North Portland in a historically Black neighborhood, Albina Library has been a beloved part of the community.

Throughout its lifespan, Albina Library has been relocated numerous times, but these decisions did not account for the needs of all the communities the library served. Returning Albina Library to the current location on NE Knott St. is part of the library’s larger effort to provide relevant services to people who are experiencing disenfranchisement. 

Today, Albina Library is closed for construction and is slated to open again in spring 2025. Updates will result in 30,000 square feet of space, an outdoor courtyard, large community meeting rooms, a teen space, new technology, art installations, new collections and a dedicated children’s space. The library will grow to be one of the largest in the county.


2023 On March 18, Albina Library closed for construction.

2021 After closure to the public due to the COVID-19 pandemic in March 2020, Albina Library relocated to its former home at 216 NE. Knott St and reopened to the public in August 2021.

2020 In November 2020, Multnomah County voters approved a $387 million capital bond to build and transform library buildings across the county. Albina Library, which shared a site location with the library's Isom Operations Center, was scheduled to be rebuilt and significantly expanded, based on community input.

1999 The branch closed on January 10,  for renovation and expansion, reopening that same year on June 22. 

1977 The Library Association of Portland Board voted to move the library to a new location at NE 15th Ave. and NE Fremont St. This building first opened as a library on October 4.

1967 In June, a new Albina Library opened in a storefront building on the corner of N. Vancouver Ave. and N. Beech St. After the first year, circulation began to decline and continued to do so for the next ten years. 

1912-1960 The library on Knott St served the Albina area from 1912 until 1960.

1912 On October 18, the new Albina branch building opened. It was a stucco building with Spanish renaissance design. The book collection at that time included materials in German, French, Italian, Spanish, Modern Greek, Lithuanian, Norwegian, Swedish, Russian, Polish and Bohemian (Czech).

1911 The gift of nearby property and funds from the Carnegie Corporation of New York resulted in a larger library building at 216 NE Knott, just a block and a half from the previous site. 

1909 Use of the collection continued to grow, so the library moved to larger quarters on Russell Street. 

1907 The library moved to a larger space in a vacant storeroom in the Emporium building on Williams Avenue.

1906 Albina Library’s first location was a small reading room that housed about 100 books. The exact location of that reading room is unknown, and circulation records for that first year do not exist today.