Multnomah County Library statement: May 24 use of Central Library Community Room 1A by “unaffiliated women”


PORTLAND, Ore. — May 21, 2024 — A member of the public reserved Central Library’s Community Room 1A on May 24, from noon to 1 pm with the following detail: “May 24th is the 10-year anniversary of the Radfems Respond event held at Central Library, this is an anniversary event centered on the past ten years of women's rights.” The library reviewed the application using the same criteria and policies it considers in all community room use applications and determined it was an allowable use of the meeting room. 

Multnomah County Library provides free use of community rooms to the public. The library does not support or endorse any viewpoints in association with use of public meeting rooms. The use complies with the library's meeting room policy, and the law prohibits the library from denying the request based on the viewpoint of those reserving the room, if the use complies with the library’s meeting room policy and library rules. Library rules prohibit “conduct that creates a hostile environment, which may include the use of abusive or threatening language or gestures.”

Oregon law prohibits “bias crimes” but it does not explicitly prohibit or define “hate groups” or “hate speech.” Multnomah County Library supports and endorses the American Library Association's Library Bill of Rights, which states: “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.”