Central Library’s newly renovated building will include a space for teens


Hazel Thomas

Central Library reopened after their renovation process. They were closed from Aug. 1 to Nov. 1.

Central Library reopened Nov. 1 after completion of a refresh project intended to modernize and expand libraries throughout the Portland Metro area. 

Central Library was originally built in downtown Portland in 1913 and was remodeled once in the 1990s. The library was closed from Aug. 1 to Nov. 1 for the first part of their recent remodel. There are plans to close again in 2023 to finalize the renovations. This refresh project is the result of a voter approved 2020 Library Bond Issue.

According to Shelly Jarman, the regional manager of Central Library, the remodel includes an all-user restroom and an outdoor terrace. Additional features to be completed in 2023 will include new computers, gaming software, different kinds of seating, better internet and a media center for movies and games. 

One of the most significant changes is a new operation center that will hold extra copies of books meaning that the library will have room to display a more diverse selection of books.

 “I support this, because our space should be for people, not storing books. It’s just gonna feel different from that classic library,” said Jarman.

Another part of the refresh will be the addition of a Teen Center. Currently only two shelves in the Central Library are dedicated to teens. Marten Malelu is Central Library’s new teen librarian.

“There’s going to be computers. Hopefully we’re going to have some gaming stuff. There’s going to be a lot of seating,” said Malelu. 

The library staff is also hoping for teen input on the Teen Center. 

“I think that is hugely important in making this teen space something that you all want it to be and you can suggest literally anything, even if you think that the idea is impossible,” said Malelu.

Along with Central, all 19 of the Multnomah County libraries are getting refreshes or moving buildings. Most of the libraries will soon be getting fresh paint, carpeting and furniture. 

“This is really an effort for us to create space that’s more welcoming for people, more accessible,” said Jarman.