New Holgate Library to open in July as larger, modern library

Grand opening celebration begins July 13 with ribbon cutting, food, music, fun

PORTLAND, Ore.--June 17, 2024

Multnomah County Library is excited to announce the grand opening of the brand new Holgate Library on July 13, 2024. Holgate is the first new, permanent library to open in Multnomah County in more than a decade and the most energy efficient library ever built in Multnomah County. It’s a bright and modern space, built to be open, flexible and sustainable.

Multnomah County Library is transforming library spaces as part of a November 2020 capital bond. As a result, the library has rebuilt and expanded Holgate Library as a brand new two-story building. The new library, which cost approximately $27 million, is triple the size of the previous 6,400 square foot space, expanding to a total of 21,000 square feet — making it one of the largest libraries in Multnomah County.

Celebrating Holgate alongside the community 

Recognizing Holgate’s role as a cornerstone of the diverse community in southeast Portland, the new Holgate Library is the result of extensive community and staff engagement with features for everyone in the community to enjoy. 

To celebrate the opening of the new, expanded Holgate, the library is hosting three, fun-filled days of activities for the community from Saturday, July 13 to Monday, July 15. From Indigenous hoop dancers to face painting and more, there will be plenty to do while exploring the new features of Holgate Library. Patrons can stay up-to-date on the library website

Exterior of the new Holgate Library

  Exterior rendering of Holgate Library courtesy of Bora Architecture and Nephew


New features at Holgate include:

  • Large learning and play space for children and families.

  • Teen room with space for technology, homework and creative expression.

  • Multiple flexible programming and meeting rooms.

  • Updated technology and internet.

  • Automated Materials Handling to increase the efficiency of checking in and sorting books, ensuring materials get to patrons much faster.

  • A new Book Locker for patrons to pick up their material(s) on hold.

  • Modern self checkout stations to provide a better patron experience.

  • Outdoor plaza for community members to relax and connect. 

  • New art that represents the community in partnership with the Regional Arts and Culture Council, including:

    • Interior wall mural connecting the north and south entrances and line work for the routed exterior trim material.

    • Exterior mosaic mural for the site enclosure wall which includes both staff bike parking and trash receptacles. 

  • Solar panels to help offset energy use.

Centering community engagement

Holgate Library supports one of the most culturally diverse areas in the region. To amplify the community’s ideas, the library worked with Colloqate Design to host focus groups, online public meetings, one-on-one meetings with community members and public surveys. The library received over 6,000 comments from more than 40 events. Community members cast nearly 3,000 votes for Holgate’s interior color and exterior colors, with the winning options being soothing green colors inspired by nature. 

Additionally, 14 Community Design Advocates (CDAs) were part of a paid program to connect with their communities about how this library can represent them. CDAs represented many communities that are impacted by library projects, including Black and African American communities; Indigenous communities; immigrants and refugees; Asian and Pacific Islander communities; Latino / Hispanic communities; seniors; and many more.

For teen spaces, project teams gathered innovative ideas and feedback through a paid teen program with Your Street, Your Voice, an organization where students learn design as a tool for social and environmental justice. 

Rendering of Holgate Library teen space

Rendering of Holgate Library teen space courtesy of Bora Architecture 


A new teen space

Holgate Library’s new teen space is extra special: not only is it guided by teen input, but it’s the first enclosed teen space to open in the entire Multnomah County Library system. With 570 square feet of space, teens will have access to an area designed for them, where they can study, play games using state-of-the-art video equipment on a 75” screen and just be in community with other teens. Teens have an opportunity to plug-in (or unplug!) in a new space. 

Learning and playing in the children’s area

As part of the library’s continued commitment to early learning and development, Holgate Library has a large new dedicated children’s area. This area has unique furniture developed in tandem with the design team and Burgeon Group, the premier firm designing, building, and installing creative early learning spaces in public libraries. 

Designed with the themes of woodland transformation, the space is filled with interactive pieces, reading nooks, a woodland car to spark imagination, and seating areas for reading together and child/caregiver interactions. A bench designed on the concept of a nurse log will have a baby crawl-through to stimulate and delight young crawlers.

Rendering of Holgate Library lobby

Rendering of Holgate Library lobby courtesy of Bora Architecture 


Places for connection

With multiple community rooms available for patron use, people can connect much easier at Holgate Library. Going from one meeting room before construction to seven meeting rooms with 900 square feet total after construction, the library is excited to expand these places.

To increase connection, the technology team has equipped eight rooms in Holgate with audio/visual (A/V) materials:

  • Three large community rooms

  • One medium-sized community room

  • Two small community rooms

  • One teen space

With more A/V-equipped spaces, the building can accommodate advanced meeting needs and collaboration. Need to connect remotely for a job interview or host a presentation? Holgate has you covered! All of the meeting rooms support state-of-the-art video conferencing when connected to a library-supplied laptop. 

Holgate is the first new library location to introduce Multnomah County’s new fiber network, providing increased internet speeds and bandwidth. The building boasts a strong wi-fi signal throughout. 

Artwork for all

As part of these building projects, each major location gains engaging new artwork thanks to the Multnomah County Percent for Art Program which is led by the Regional Arts & Culture Council (RACC). RACC advocates for equity, inclusion and access within the arts and connects artists and creatives to opportunities throughout the region. 

At Holgate Library, Salomée Souag’s artwork is etched onto exterior panels of the building's façade creating a permanent sculptural drawing on the outside. Elements of these exterior panels were also replicated inside along the full length of the ground floor lobby wall as part of a large-scale, site-specific, two-dimensional digital mural. Salomée is a muralist, designer and creative from Switzerland who holds her Peruvian and Algerian ancestors close to her heart, her community and her work. As part of this work, Salomée hosted an inviting and inspiring printmaking workshop which close to 150 people attended. Salomée captured elements of the community-created patterns and prints to embed into the permanent artwork, so that library patrons and community members see themselves woven into the fabric of the building.

Additionally, arts activist Crystal Meneses created a mosaic mural for Holgate Library’s exterior site enclosure. The artwork wraps two sides of the enclosure, creatively anchoring the north entry outdoor patio. Located between the new library and the new parking lot, the artwork is highly visible from SE 79th Avenue as people arrive at the library. In addition, the artwork acts as the backdrop to ground floor flex spaces that will be used by library staff and patrons for classes and events. Crystal creates from a communal perspective, centering connection and relationship and ensuring inclusion. As part of her process, Crystal hosted approximately 12 community events and put together over 200 tile-making to-go kits for those who preferred to create at home. In total, the community will have made over 1500 tiles as part of the permanent artwork at Holgate Library and the joy of the project has reached many more. 

A resilient building

With Bora Architecture & Interiors leading the design, Colloqate Design contributing to community engagement and Swinerton as the General Contractor, Holgate Library is on track to be LEED Gold certified, one of the highest levels of energy efficiency awarded to buildings and a County standard. Contributing design elements include a mass timber structure; high efficiency mechanical systems; and energy efficient radiant flooring. In addition, approximately 111 photovoltaic panels on the building rooftop convert sunlight into electricity. 

“Holgate is the first new library as part of the 2020 library bond approved by voters. And the library is so excited to welcome patrons back,” said Annie Lewis, Interim Director of Multnomah County Library. “When community members come through the doors of the new Holgate, we hope they feel that this is their library. Their diverse vision helped guide the design of Holgate every step of the way.”

“One of the most important eastside libraries has finally gotten the makeover this community deserves. Multnomah County is excited to present this incredible new Holgate Library on time and on budget,” said Multnomah County Chair Jessica Vega Pederson. “With more spaces and features for patrons, Holgate Library meets the high standards of both the community and Multnomah County.” 

Download renderings of Holgate Library via Dropbox. 


About Multnomah County Library

A treasured community institution since 1864, Multnomah County Library is one of the nation’s busiest public library systems, providing social, educational and cultural programs, resources and services, online and through its 19 public locations. With an eye toward the future of community-centered spaces, the library is working to build, rebuild or expand nine libraries through a voter approved capital bond. In addition to being Oregon’s largest provider of free internet access, the library offers millions of print and digital resources, in multiple languages for people of all ages. From kindergarten readiness to job training, computer-assisted design and 3D printing, the library supports all people in their pursuits to connect, learn and create. Learn more at

For media inquiries related to the Regional Arts and Culture Council, please contact