Multnomah County Library patrons invited to share 'love letters' to celebrate 150th anniversary

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Reprinted courtesy of: Oregonian Publishing Co.

By: Kelly House

How much do you love the library? Your librarian wants to know.

As part of the Multnomah County Library’s 150th anniversary celebration, patrons are asked to share their love letters to the oldest public library system west of the Mississippi River.

A sampling of the letters some library cardholders have already written (including some translations from Chinese):

The library is a place of hope, humanity and safety. It is a place of joy and discovery. Thank you, dear library. Know you are well loved.

-Tristan, Central Library

I am such a fan of libraries because they made me fall in love with Charlie Brown, Nancy Drew, Hardy Boys, and things I never realized that were in print. My library reminds me of how much I love finding things to love to read, old things to read, and the love of learning.

-Tracy, St. Johns Library

I began my reading life by riding my bike at least weekly, if not more frequently, to the St. Johns library. There, I would sit on a stool in the dim, quiet, cavernous space and leisurely review the possibilities to take home. and enjoy It's one of the more enduring memories of my childhood.

-Leslie, Gregory Heights Library

Let us teach our children to write and think and with any luck, perhaps they will be qualified to run the world when we are gone.

-Debora, Central Library

When I was young, my family moved from South America to Gresham, Oregon. I was about 8 years old and this culture shock was quite devastating for my family and especially for myself. I remember feeling lost in Elementary school, especially since I had to learn to speak English quickly after living in a Spanish speaking country for so long. When I discovered the Gresham Library, the availability of the books changed my life. The library, the staff and the books helped my integration to ever so daunting United States, and I remember the librarians becoming friends rather than staff.

-Melissa Woodman, Gresham Library

My fondest memories of early book exposure began with visits to the old lime green Bookmobile in SW Portland. I was thrilled to climb those steps into a magic world and to get my very first library card. It was pale yellow and I cherished it… No one could whisper "SHHHHUSH!!!" like a librarian!

-Fran Vlahos-Rohm, Auke Bay, Alaska

Dear library workers: You work very hard. You transport books to our senior residence each month, providing books for us old people to read. And it’s convenient not having to go far to borrow books. It is such a convenience. I like to read medical books and books about acupuncture meridians. Thank you.

-Sheng Xiong, outreach services patron

You can read all of the love letters on the library’s website. Or maybe you’re not much of a writer, but still want to get in on the anniversary party. The library system is celebrating all year, so you’ll have plenty of opportunities to participate in an anniversary event at your local branch.

© Oregonian Publishing Co. Reprinted with permission.