Higher-ups at the Multnomah County Library system have been talking since 2017 about building a new flagship library out in east county, where the population is growing fast and the demand is high for library services, from storytimes to resume help and beyond.

Now, though, things are getting real.

This November, county voters are likely to be asked to approve more than $400 million for library construction and upgrades, including a brand new, 95,000-square-foot mecca for book lovers in Gresham, envisioned as sprawling and comprehensive as the historic downtown branch.

Library spokesman Shawn Cunningham says the new library would mean more space for many of the library’s most popular programs (woe to those stroller-pushing moms who arrive only 5 minutes before Book Babies only to find it is at capacity — better luck next time, ladies). “Our buildings are designed to house books and not really people,” he writes. “Every one of our locations, plus office and warehouse space, would fit inside Seattle’s downtown Central Library. Multnomah County is a busier system.”

For now, plans for the new branch are still conceptual, but library officials are dreaming big. 

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