Where are the art book troves of Portland? There are a handful – both public and private. Here’s a quickie tour of the best.

Portland State University – there is neither enough oxygen or librarians in the Millar Library, but they maintain a dusty collection of mid-sixties standbys. But their online database is worth the non-student library card.

Powell’s Fourth Floor – really glorious for Portland, a nose-picking provincial town, to have all these texts just sitting out and ready to be bought.

PNCA maintains a little reference library with a cozy area for reading and pawing through the latest magazines. Get a coffee from Yo Tin and snuggle down for a good read. Is it public? As long as you look like a PNCA student you’re unlikely to attract attention.

Multnomah County Library – gets high marks for traffic as one of the top circulators in the nation, for housing the homeless and the lost, for infinite patience playing Aqualung daily for mad Nils, but the best of the art books have been thieved and sold off, gone forever.

New to the list and a swell new favorite is the James and Anne Crumpacker Family Library on the second floor of the Mark Building. (Jim is of CBRE). Now as I remember, that particular Masonic meeting room was very very much off limits prior to renovation. But there are no ghosts evident. All is clean and new and fun for we data dependent individuals.

One – there are plenty of texts, new and old. Many come from well-meaning donations. Many were purchases from Gilkey and Jenkins and other longtime curators.

Two – they have the online database of the PAM collection!

Three – nice librarians who sweep up behind artists and keep track of the past present and prefer the future get on with it.

I found the remains of the Portland Center for the Visual Arts, all packed up in archival boxes, waiting for some future art historian to come on and get busy.

Five – Plaster Perseus has a good niche. Four – Open on Saturdays, but closed on Fridays and Sundays. How eccentric and convenient for eccentrics. They know their audience!

Six – no one knows about this spot yet. So in the midst of the city, a most valuable resource; peace and quiet and art books. All together.

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