This past month, my mom (a retired school librarian), my husband, and I got a special treat — a behind-the-scenes tour at the Oregon State Library! It was the first time for us all, and it was a highlight of my mom’s recent visit to Oregon. I thought it would be fun to share pictures of a real library on this Reel Librarians site! 🙂
The Oregon State Library (OSL) was established in 1905, and the current building completed in 1939. There is a definite (but stately and subdued) Art Deco architectural style to the building, which is featured on the OSL’s website and brochure. The OSL is very near the state capitol building, which in style is quite similar to the OSL.
One of the first stops on the library tour was the card catalog room, and I can confirm some hand-clapping at this beautiful sight. They are working with another government department to digitize all this info, but it is comforting to see an entire room of card catalog drawers.
The OSL is undergoing a transitional period and streamlining its services, and one of the recent changes is that the state genealogical resources have relocated to the Salem Public Library. The shelves in its previous headquarters in the OSL stand empty for the moment.
The entire building has this geometric design motif, including in the brass elevator doors and in the ceilings.
We also got to see behind-the-scenes in the closed stacks! They have a collection of reference documents, as well as an extensive collection of government documents (often called “gov docs” by librarians), as seen below.
We also learned quite a bit about the OSL’s Talking Book and Braille Library, which is quite extensive. It was fascinating to learn all the new technological improvements in talking books, and to know that these resources are available nationwide, in every state, free to the blind and physically handicapped!
Have you ever been to a state library? Please leave a comment and let me know!