Portland Public Library
Portland is a city of readers, with the busiest library system in the United States. A landmark for bibliophiles, Multnomah County Library system’s Central Library (801 SW 10th Ave., 503/223-7201, www.multcolib.org, 10 a.m.–6 p.m. Mon. and Thurs.–Sat., 10 a.m.–8 p.m. Tues.–Wed., noon–5 p.m. Sun.) is an architecturally stunning renovation of a 1913 building designed by Alfred Doyle (architect of the Benson Hotel and the U.S. Bank downtown) that houses an accessible (60 percent open stacks) collection of books, CDs, videos, and periodicals.
Climb the sweeping staircases to the top floor to get a sense of the scale of this building—three stories have never seemed so monumental. There’s even a Starbucks coffee shop on-site. Per capita this is the most-used central branch of a public library in the nation.
For travelers, the library offers a selection of national and international newspapers, plus free use of Internet-linked computers. Free Wi-Fi is also available. You’ll need to be a local resident to check out materials, but otherwise the library’s full facilities are available to all.
by Judy Jewell and W. C. McRae from Moon Oregon, 8th Edition, © Elizabeth & Mark Morris and Avalon Travel