As one of the library building projects funded by the 2020 Multnomah County voter-approved bond, North Portland Library will close to the public on April 5, 2023, to begin construction processes for its renovation and expansion.
North Portland Library has been an essential part of the North Portland neighborhood for over 100 years.
For decades, community members have come to check out books, find community resources, attend storytimes, and more. North Portland Library has been the home of community events like the yearly African-American Read-In, Juneteenth and Kwanzaa celebrations.
Two key features of the updated North Portland library will be a new Black Cultural Center, for connection and celebration of Blackness, and art representing the community. In keeping with Multnomah County policy, each library that is newly constructed or expanded will allocate two percent of project funds to public art administered through the Regional Arts & Culture Council’s Public Art Program. Project teams select artists and art based on community input.
The renovations and expansions will add 1,500 square feet of space to highlight the diversity and history of the community. The new and expanded North Portland Library will include updated technology and internet and an outdoor space for community members to relax and connect.
"North Portland Library has been in partnership with the Black community for decades. With the inclusion of new technology and new community spaces, we're excited to continue that partnership with the next generations of learners and leaders,” says Kirby McCurtis, director of location services at Multnomah County Library.
Through focus groups, tabling events, one-on-one conversations, public meetings, surveys, and workshops, the local community has guided the vision and purpose of the new Black Cultural Center. The new center will be a place of gathering and celebration for the Black community.
“Community input has been at the center of our work for North Portland's renovation and addition," said Suzanne Chou, community engagement coordinator for the library building projects. "From gathering feedback through our paid youth design program to hearing from Black, Indigenous, Spanish-speaking communities and more, we've been working to integrate community perspectives at every stage."
In February 2023, patrons voted on the interior design for North Portland. With over 1200 votes both online and in-person, the winning option is a beautiful blue color that embraces the theme of Afrofuturism.
North Portland is scheduled to be completed in the fall of 2024.
Learn more about North Portland Library and new libraries coming your way