Multnomah County Parks Its Mobile Library

“It has been a complete failure,” one library staffer said.

The mobile library.

The Multnomah County Library parked its trouble-plagued mobile library Feb. 17.

As WW previously reported, the county spent $464,000 in 2022 to purchase a converted RV to serve patrons during numerous branch closures related to a $387 million capital improvements bond voters approved in 2020. Mechanical problems delayed the mobile library’s deployment for several months.

Now, although four branches are currently closed for renovation (Albina, Holgate, Midland and North Portland), library management has ordered the vehicle idled so staff can focus on the imminent reopening of the Central Library on Feb. 23.

“It has been a complete failure,” one library staffer said, speaking on background, adding that the library has not exercised “thoughtful stewardship of taxpayer money, and has not supported underserved communities like it promised to.”

Library spokesman Shawn Cunningham says the vehicle may be back on the road in the spring. He acknowledged critics may be unhappy: “Any new service or approach will have its challenges, and we will navigate, evaluate and learn from those.”

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