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Hillsdale Library Closure, March 3 - Summer 2024

[Friday, February 23, 2024]

The Hillsdale branch of the Multnomah County Library will close for upgrades on March 3, 2024. There is no firm date for completion of the work, but it is expected that the library will reopen before the end of the summer.

The closure was announced beginning February 8 in an email to patrons with holds already in the system for pick-up at the Hillsdale branch.

Voters passed a bond measure in 2020 to pay for major improvements across the library system. Projects funded include construction of new libraries, major renovations of existing branches, and a "refresh" at others. The upcoming work at the Hillsdale library falls under the "refresh" category.

Hillsdale Library Administrator Amy Miller says the project will replace 20-year old carpet, new decor will be more colorful, and furniture will be rearranged and upgraded to create more comfortable spaces. New chairs will replace the current hard wooden ones, some with arms. In addition to work spaces, there will be zones with “cafe seating” in more modular conversation areas. Plans include a technology space with faster internet, computers, scanning, copying, and faxing.

Some shelving units will be reduced in height to improve sightlines for safety and to create a more welcoming atmosphere. In some cases, HVAC and lighting are built into the shelves–those shelves will remain at the same height. The new shelving height will be similar to that in the existing children’s area.

Some of the taller shelving units will remain. Others will be replaced by lower units such as those in the photo above.

Lowering the shelving will reduce the overall amount of space for books to be held in the branch. A portion of the Hillsdale branch holdings will be housed in a "sort center" in the newly constructed Library Operations Center in SE Portland. The upside, Miller says, is that modernized technology in the sort center means that, although fewer books will be kept on site, books on hold will actually arrive more quickly.

The children’s area will be improved, with more open space for families. This will be “a huge improvement for kids and families,” Miller says. The teen space will be expanded with more study space and a clearly defined area to accommodate the students coming after school from Robert Gray and Rieke.

The photos above show some of the new spaces at the Capitol Hill branch, after the completion of a "refresh."

Hillsdale staff were given options to choose from for temporary postings during the closure. Miller expects most staff, if not all, will be back at Hillsdale once the project is completed. 

The February email from the library system advises that during the closure active holds for pick-up at Hillsdale will be paused. Patrons may login to their library account and change the pick-up location or do nothing and they will be filled at Hillsdale once it reopens. The Capitol Hill and Central branches are open following refresh projects at those locations.

—Valeurie Friedman


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