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

This past month, my mom (a school librarian in Texas), 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, http://www.oregon.gov/OSL, and brochure. The OSL is very near the state capitol building, which in style is quite similar to the OSL.

Reel Librarians | Oregon State Library website and brochure

Oregon State Library website and brochure

Reel Librarians | 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.

Reel Librarians | Oregon State Library card catalog room

Oregon State Library card catalog room

Reel Librarians | 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.

Reel Librarians | 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.

Reel Librarians | 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.

Reel Librarians | 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! (See the NLS site for more info.)

Reel Librarians | Oregon State Library talking book collection

Oregon State Library talking book collection

And OF COURSE, my mom and I had to pose by the State Library sign! We really enjoyed the behind-the-scenes tour at the OSL, and I hope y’all enjoyed these behind-the-scenes pics! 🙂

Reel Librarians | Posing by the Oregon State Library sign

Posing by the Oregon State Library sign

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

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

  1. popegrutch says:

    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.

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