A behind-the-scenes tour at the Oregon State Library

I thought it would be fun to share pictures of a real library on this Reel Librarians site!

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.

Oregon State Library website and brochure
Oregon State Library website and brochure
Oregon State Library sign
Oregon State Library sign

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.

Oregon State Library card catalog room
Oregon State Library card catalog room
Oregon State Library card catalog drawer
Oregon State Library card catalog drawer

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.

Oregon State Library old genealogy room
Oregon State Library old genealogy room

The entire building has this geometric design motif, including in the brass elevator doors and in the ceilings.

Oregon State Library ceiling and design motif
Oregon State Library ceiling and design motif

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.

Oregon State Library government documents
Oregon State Library government documents

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!

Oregon State Library talking book collection
Oregon State Library talking book collection

Have you ever been to a state library? Please leave a comment and let me know!

Advertisements

Author: Jennifer

Librarian, blogger, movie lover

One thought on “A behind-the-scenes tour at the Oregon State Library”

  1. Back when I lived up north, I went to several OLA meeting at that library, and we have the OLA archives down in the closed stacks, so I’ve worked there a bit as well.
    For my library school Pracitcum, when I was at the University of British Columbia, I came down to Olympia to work/shadow for two weeks at the Washington State Library, which was also nice but unfortunately they had lost most of their funding back in the 1990s/2000s, so they are now located in an office building that really isn’t designed to be a library. They still do a lot of genealogical reference and have a great collection of Washington-relevant literature.

Please note that all comments are moderated

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.