A Library Anniversary and a Hop

Sellwood-Moreland celebrated its 10th anniversary in its current location on February 11th. They had a lot of activities planned throughout the day, which I attended.

First was a walking tour of “Five Libraries and 100+ Years of Library History” led by local historian Eileen Fitzsimmons. I was happy to see a large group gathered in front of Sellwood Middle School that Saturday morning interested in checking out where four previous library locations had been.

A little over one hundred years ago, off to the left of the school, the first Sellwood library took up space in a storefront as a reading room housing 150 books! Due to high demand and popular use of its services and resources, it moved to a larger location (another storefront) near where the streetcars used to run along the neighborhood’s shopping district. The space would have been in the parking lot right across from Columbia Sportswear.

In 1915, the library relocated to a bungalow-style building (the original purposely built to be a library) which is currently being remodeled as a private residence. The new owner gave a brief talk about taking over the vacated lot and how amazed he was at the durability of its construction.

The fourth location of where the library used to be was at the corner of SE Milwaukie and Lexington. The building’s still there but taken over by a business.

What was great about the tour was how we weren’t bombarded with dates. Eileen Fitzimmons spoke about the significance of those times and gave a rather comprehensive history of not only the library but the neighborhood as a whole as well. We even stopped by a church basement to get some pierogis before heading to the library’s current location, where she presented a slideshow presentation of Sellwood-Moreland Library’s history. And then there was cake!

I wanted to provide some details to show that I was actually listening during the tour but if you want to read more about the history, click here. I didn’t even realize the MCL website had this treasure trove of historical data about its libraries!

After the library hop through history, I decided to keep on “hopping” to places I’ve been meaning to check out. The first stop was the Ledding Library Pound House Used Book Store.

It’s run by the Friends of the Ledding Library and, even if it’s only open very limited hours (Fridays and Saturdays, 11am-4pm), it’s worth checking out. I love how they’re promoting literacy by offering a kid a free book every time they visit the store.

And, even though I had visited Ledding Library a couple times before, I was still excited to explore it again. I loved seeing the local pride inside proving just how integral libraries are in the community!

Next up was Oregon City. I remembered visiting the library when it was at a shopping mall. Apparently they moved to its old Carnegie location and I couldn’t resist visiting the place. I found out this is only temporary until they find another site- and, for sure, I’ll go there as well!

A few blocks away was the Friends of the Oregon City Library Used Book Store. It’s great to see when the Friends get a nice space to run their business side of things since what they do is so important to the libraries they support.

Coming from downtown Portland and then making my way to Sellwood and then Milwaukie and finally Oregon City- and, of course, back again!- was rather exhausting (especially having to take public transportation) but it was worth it. I had a wonderful time library hopping that day!

Truer words have never been written!

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