The Multnomah County Central Library, circa 1918

The Multnomah County Central Library taken from the corner of SW 10th Avenue and SW Yamhill Street, circa 1918.


Public library exterior, circa 1918: A2004-002.578

Public library exterior, circa 1918: A2004-002.578


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8 thoughts on “The Multnomah County Central Library, circa 1918

  1. There’s an excellent book about the architect, “Beauty of the City: A. E. Doyle, Portland’s Architect,” by Philip Niles (2008, Oregon State University Press). It tells some of the story behind the library building.

  2. Gee…I wonder if that book is in the library! (Sorry…couldn’t resist! Please forgive me!)

    1918 eh…and 40 years later, in 1958, I got my first library card, at the age of 8. It was a manila colored card, heavy stock/bond, about the size of a normal credit card with rounded corners. It had the “logo” of the Multnomah County Library across the top in bold letters. It displayed my name and address and zone number! In the lower right corner, there was a piece of tin, about 1″ by 1/2″, attached to the card and the number 1313 was embossed on that piece of tin. When checking out a book or two, the librarian would place my card into what looked like an old hand-stamping credit card machine, take the book card, which was in an open envelope, glued to the back inside hard cover of the book, and place that book card into another slot in the hand-stamping machine, set the return date, (usually about two weeks), the book I.D. number and then press down on the handle to emboss and print the number from my library card onto that book card and then place it back in the open envelope. There was also some kind of “running paper ribbon” attached to the hand-stamping machine that recorded not only my card number but the I.D. number of the book and the return date. If I failed to return the book, or books on time, I would receive a postcard from the library, indicating the book I.D. number, the due date and the particular fine that was due. Not all books had the same fines, and, as I remember, not all books could be checked out for the same amount of time!
    Why do I remember the library card number? I don’t know…maybe because that library card was the first piece of “official” I.D. I had when I was a kid. I was so proud of it! I showed it off to everyone! Nice memory…thanks!

  3. My girlfriend, Janet, has been wanting to go here and I haven’t been in many years.
    Guess we have a new reason to visit. 🙂

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