Saturday, February 21, 2015

A library of limestone and brick (and the way there)

I have always loved public libraries. All those pages and colorful spines, displays carefully crafted by librarians, comfy chairs for binge reading, plus the almost* absolutely-free cost? Where's my library card already?!

In fact, "libraries" was my top answer to that #1 expat question: What do you miss the most from your home country? Since we landed on the west coast last summer, I've been indulging in library visits whenever possible.

(*this reader may be more prone to overdue fines than most)

Portland's central library.

On weekends when we feel like a good walk, we head over to the downtown library, a gorgeous creation of limestone and brick. It's a seriously, seriously grandiose library. The inside resembles a train station: towering columns, massive lobby, flights of stairs winding into the distance above. There's said to be more than 17 miles of shelves here and 2 million items to peruse. If one tires of words on a page, it's not hard to spot the human drama playing out nearby (mainly fights over whose turn it is to use the public computers).

Comparable to the beauty of the library itself is the scenery of the trip there. Here's what the journey looked like one day last fall-

The skies and trees have long since been overtaken by winter, but it's still a nice walk. Plus, chilly weather makes the library an even more pleasant destination on a Saturday afternoon.

Are you a fan of libraries? What's your local library like? What do you miss the most when you're abroad?


  1. Man, your library is way nicer than mine. Thankfully we have an affiliation with this one which is gorgeous:

    I love libraries! And thought it was adorable that my husband was shocked by the concept of taking BOOKS for FREE!

    1. That's a gorgeous library, Polly! Is it really in Berryville?

      Happy book exploring : )