Inside the library: Bustling Belmont Library

Belmont Library is a cornerstone of inner southeast Portland’s Sunnyside neighborhood. The small building at the corner of SE César E. Chávez Blvd and SE Taylor St. opened in 1924 as the first neighborhood library to be built on its own by a community. 

With only 4,259 square feet of public space, Belmont Library is not much larger than a neighborhood convenience store. Despite its small footprint, it is a beloved and heavily used community space. Over the past year, Belmont Library had more than 230,000 visits, hosted 862 programs and filled more holds than any other library in the county!

Belmont Library is one of the busiest libraries in Multnomah County; however, the community is missing out on enjoying library activities and resources because it lacks adequate seating and has only one small meeting room. The free meeting room is in such high demand that library staff had to deny more than 70% of meeting room requests over a three-month period in 2018. In addition, popular children’s programs like storytime often fill to capacity. We’ve heard from you about Belmont’s lack of space: 

Belmont Library
“I loved to hang out before Belmont was stuffed to the gills with computers. I do feel offering computer access to people who don’t have it is a really important service. But there really is no room for much of anything else.” — community survey respondent

“We have tried to come to children’s storytime 3 times. Each time we arrive 10 minutes early and storytime is full and we have never been able to attend. . .” — Belmont patron

Multnomah County Library wants to fix this problem at Belmont and other undersized libraries so that all people have access to modern, relevant library spaces. Learn more at


I recently switched my home branch from Belmont to Midland because of the poor indoor air quality at Belmont.

Add new comment