Multnomah County Library has declined to renew the lease for the current Albina Library location at 3605 NE 15th Ave. On July 1, the library will relocate back to its former location at 216 NE Knott St into a larger, historic Carnegie library building that currently serves as Title Wave Used Bookstore.
This is unexpected and due to be a loss to many who have relied on the library in its current location. However, Eliot residents will probably be happy to have the library return to our neighborhood. Relocating any neighborhood’s library was not a decision that the Multnomah County Library staff took lightly. As Vailey Oehlke, Director of Libraries, stated in her letter to library patrons recently, “A variety of factors contributed to our decision, including this pandemic, which has caused us to make difficult choices and think in new ways about how the library can serve the community.”
Albina Library is the smallest branch in the Multnomah County Library system. Its current location is just 3,500 square feet. It doesn’t even have a public meeting room. The small space would not accommodate physical distancing which may be a necessary precaution for the foreseeable future. Therefore it would be likely that the space would allow only sidewalk service. However, the new location on Knott Street is about 2,000 square feet larger.
“The library’s lease of Albina Library expires on June 1, 2020. A three-year renewal would cost more than $260,000. As a steward of public resources, the library can’t justify that expenditure, when a suitable and larger option exists nearby that is already owned by the library,” stated Oehlke.
The new library will be 1.1 miles closer and easily accessible to both Eliot residents as well as not to far from the residents that were used to the Fremont and NE 15th Avenue location. The staff is working hard on getting the inventory relocated. If you have an item currently on hold at Albina Library the library will notify you about holds and pickups.
For information about the phased reopening plan, an FAQ and instructions for using the holds pickup service at other locations, please visit multcolib.org/covid19.