Multnomah County Library: Northwest Library – 2/21/2013

2013-02-21 10.25.02I hate to admit this, but breakfast was my real motivation for visiting the Northwest Library. No, the library wasn’t serving breakfast (Though wouldn’t that be cool – don’t even get me started on my feelings about the possibilities for food in libraries and – I could go ON and ON…) but a lovely cafe around the corner was. After having eaten more than my fill of huevos rancheros – who doesn’t love salsa in the morning? – I figured I should pop my head into this small branch library. It was totally worth it!

Why? you ask. Yes, the building is cute and the library displays were heartwarming in their neighborliness but what really made the detour was one of their window displays:2013-02-21 10.25.45

I’d heard of libraries doing programs for kids using Legos before and thought it was a neat idea, but my interest stopped there. Well, this window display was all it took to rekindle my excitement! Hello, Flying Murder Ship!  Yes, the title is maybe a tad violent, but frankly, I don’t care.  Even now, a few weeks later, imagining those excited kids looking up to see their Lego creations so prominently displayed makes me all warm and fuzzy.  Yay for library programming and for the Northwest Branch Library for making my morning!

To visit the Northwest Library’s displays yourself, check out their website at https://multcolib.org/library-location/northwest

Multnomah County Library: Central Library – 2/20/2013

2013-02-20 13.00.52If the photo of the second floor reading and Science and Business room at the Multnomah County Central Library (left) doesn’t set your heart aflutter, I might need to question your humanity.  Those are pink walls people, and I’ll go ahead and assert that they are simply impossible not to love!

Before entering the library, though, I found myself engaged in the time-honored tradition of standing outside the library (a historic building dating from 1913) waiting for it to open.  As I stood, I was approached by a woman who asked me the library’s hours.  On the surface, this woman seemed to be nothing like me: she was older and her face appeared worn by what was at the very least a hard life.  And yet here we were, both waiting for the library to open and discussing our shared predicament.  This brief experience reminded me of what I love about public libraries and of why I wanted to become a librarian in the first place.  There is something truly beautiful (to me, at least) about a place that welcomes all kinds of different people and gives them the opportunity to interact.  The Central Library in downtown Portland, OR is truly one such place.

2013-02-20 13.02.49In addition to the lively mix of patrons, the library houses an impressive collection that includes zines, independent comics, over 12,000 rare books (visit the John Wilson Special Collections if you have the chance, I did and it was well worth it) and a ton of other resources.  The children’s section on the first floor is home not only to a great selection of books but also to a story theater and a truly lovely tree sculpture (sorry no picture) that I would deem a must-see.

The library also has ample seating, outlets, and wireless internet access, which makes it a great stop if you’re traveling through the area.  Be advised, though, that unlike other, (often) smaller libraries, comfortable seating is not a priority here: I saw no cushioned chairs or couches, so you might want to bring your own pillow if you have lumbar issues.

Finally, the weather and my own inability to ‘get my shit together’ prevented me from touring the library’s green roof.  They do have one though, and if you’re visiting the library, I hope you check it out (and then let me know all about it!)

For more information about the Multnomah County Library’s Central Library, visit their website at https://multcolib.org/library-location/central

Klamath County Libraries: Main Library – 2/15/2013

Klamath Falls, OR has let me down before.

In high school I tried taking my SATs there while on a field trip in nearby Ashland, only to find myself rushing out midway through, overwhelmed by my incapacity to correctly answer any of the questions.  Then, several years later, I stopped in Klamath Falls (K Falls for short) for pizza only to be served what I can honestly say was the worst pizza I have ever consumed!

2013-02-15 13.12.03These experiences made me (understandably,  I say) wary of expecting too much from the main Klamath County library, located in downtown Klamath Falls.  The library building did little to raise my hopes.  I had heard that the library used to be housed in a lovely historic structure (several of which dot downtown) but that an earth quake in the early 1990’s had damaged the building and it was forced to move.  The current location is large, but mostly nondescript both inside and out.

What the library lacks in architectural flair, though, it mostly makes up for by providing a wide range of awesome collections and services that seem to really reflect the local community.  In addition to large children’s and adult collections, the library has an impressive number of Spanish language materials, reflecting the growing portion of the city’s population who identify as Hispanic or Latino.  (1)  The library is also home to a Genealogy section and a collection of materials related to Southeastern Oregon (field guides, local histories, etc.)

2013-02-15 13.11.34Some of the interesting non-collections-related features of the library include a piano (though it’s not clear whether this is available for public use), the Gates Foundation sponsored and super-busy computer bank, and some crazy public art.  The library also has a nice, bright, open area with comfortable seating where people could sit, rest, and read.

In addition to housing the public library collections, the main library is also home to the Loyd De Lap law library where patrons can access a variety of legal materials.

Despite my initial prejudice, my visit to the Klamath County Main Library was undeniably positive.  I might even consider giving Klamath Falls another chance…

For more information about the Klamath County Main Library visit their website at http://www.klamathlibrary.plinkit.org/  and to learn more about the Loyd De Lap law library, check them out online at http://www.klamathcounty.org/depts/library/law.asp

1.  Klamath Falls demographics from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Klamath_Falls,_Oregon