North Portland Library history

North Portland Library began as the North Albina Reading Room in 1909. The Jacobethan-style library was built in 1913 and renovated in 1999. The original architect was Joseph Jacobberger and Alfred H. Smith Architects.

North Portland Library became home to the Black Resources Collection, a systemwide multimedia collection of materials relating to the African American experience.


2024 North Portland is scheduled to be complete.

2023 The building closed for construction on April 5. Construction includes adding 1500 square feet, with a new Black Cultural Center, outdoor space, updated technology and new artwork. 

2020 In November 2020, Multnomah County voters approved a $387 million capital bond to build and transform library buildings across the county. North Portland Library was identified to be renovated and expanded. 

1990s An elevator was added to provide second floor meeting room access to people with disabilities. Additional public restrooms were added, and new interior lighting and furnishings were designed to reflect the historic nature of the building.

1987 On Juneteenth, the Black Resource Center opened in a wing of North Portland Library, housing both scholarly and popular materials relating to the African-American experience.

1923 Visiting nurses used the library for baby clinics. 

1913 Doors opened for the first time on February 20. The Jacobethan-style building offered a children’s room and a 150-seat assembly hall. The library hosted 42 lectures in its first year, including a course in municipal government that drew 2,622 attendees.

1912 The land for North Portland Library came from the generous gifts of many community members, and construction soon started. Carnegie Corporation donated funds for the building.