Updated: Multnomah County Library statement on November 19 use of public meeting rooms

PORTLAND, Ore. — November 19, 2023 — A member of the public reserved the Hollywood Library meeting room on November 19 from noon until 2 pm with the following detail: “Women will be holding a speaking event on the subject of protecting women's and children's rights where several women will give short speeches.” The library reviewed the application using the same criteria and policies it considers in all meeting room use applications and determined it was an allowable use of the meeting room. 

[11/28/23 update: The group listed in the meeting room application and in the library’s prior statement has denied affiliation with the event and has been removed from this statement.]

Multnomah County Library provides free use of meeting rooms to the public, so long as the use complies with the library’s guidelines and rules. The library provides this service regardless of the affiliations or views of the person or group using the room. The library does not support or endorse any viewpoints in association with use of public meeting rooms. 

In accommodating such uses, Multnomah County Library supports and endorses the American Library Association's Library Bill of Rights. That document includes this principle: “Libraries which make exhibit spaces and meeting rooms available to the public they serve should make such facilities available on an equitable basis, regardless of the beliefs or affiliations of individuals or groups requesting their use.”

The library strives to provide a welcoming environment to everyone. Library staff can help you find alternate locations or ways to receive the library services you need. 

Update: November 19, 2023, 9 am

In the interest of the safety and security of library patrons and staff, Hollywood Library will close for normal operations today. Scheduled activities in the meeting room will continue for outside groups. 

Public meeting room event organizers and attendees may enter the building through the rear exit. Any member of the public is welcome, up to the maximum room capacity of 42 attendees.

The library is coordinating with law enforcement, and security partners for onsite support during the day. The library regrets this disruption for library patrons. Hollywood Library will resume normal operations on Monday (see hours and locations).

Multnomah County Library resists censorship in all forms. It is the responsibility of our staff and leadership to provide free use of our locations to all patrons of the library. As an organization that adheres to free expression as defined by the Library Bill of Rights, Multnomah County Library does not discriminate against any organization, regardless of political viewpoint. Our primary goal is to provide a safe place for freedom of expression and speech. 

While Multnomah County Library does not exclude any organization from using our meeting rooms resources, we have a deep commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion which is evidenced by our programming, collections, and partnerships.

For regular programming and collections, patrons can use the following libraries:

Find a location nearest you on the library’s website

Holds of library materials at Hollywood library will be extended one day and available for pick up on Monday, November 20 during regular business hours. 

Update: November 19, 12 pm 

After library leadership conferred with Multnomah County security, Portland Police Bureau, and organizers, event organizers have chosen to hold their activity outside of the library. Hollywood Library will resume normal operations tomorrow. Because this is not a library program we have no other information regarding this event.