Multnomah County Library enters its 150th year with exciting changes ahead

February 14, 2013

On the eve of the Multnomah County Library’s 149th birthday, the Board of County Commissioners heard a briefing Thursday on the exciting changes ahead for the long-time community institution.

As a result of county voters’ approval of a Library District, the system’s libraries will be able to restore hours, programs and materials when the district officially begins operations on July 1, said Libraries Director Vailey Oehlke.

And a district also will mean replacing the uncertainty of a serial levy with a dedicated and stable funding source instead, Oehlke said at the Feb.14 briefing.

She expressed her gratitude to commissioners for putting the district question on the ballot and to voters for supporting the district last November.

“The voters spoke loudly and clearly in favor of stable and dedicated funding,” Oehlke said.

Starting in March, the Board of County Commissioners will begin its dual duty as the Multnomah County Library District Board. Commissioners said the district briefing on Feb. 14 marks a key milestone in a long and now-successful effort to get stable and dedicated funding for a much-used and much-loved community service.

“This is an exciting day,” said Commissioner Diane McKeel. “It’s important that we stop and celebrate these moments, these significant steps.”

On Feb. 15, the library celebrates another significant moment -- its 149th birthday of Feb. 15, 1864. Next year will be the library’s sesquicentennial.