The Library is the literary heart of Grieg Lodge and everyone is welcome. While Library hours vary, the Library is open during most major Lodge events. You may call our Librarian at (503) 469-8837 for more specific information.
Books may be examined by guests on site, but only lodge members may check books out. Regular literary activities include a dynamic book discussion group; also a genealogy interest group; children’s story time, and periodic guest lectures by authors and university academics. Computers and wi-fi access are also available. Oh, and coffee of course!
Founded by Portland-based Norwegian immigrants in the 1880s, and housed at Portland’s historic Norse Hall, home of Grieg Lodge Sons of Norway since 1928, our beautifully restored library contains a collection of some 3500 books, now fully searchable online by author, title, and subject. It can be accessed through the Library World portal at www.gllib.org.
The Norwegian-focused library is an important part of the city’s diverse cultural heritage featuring a unique and extensive collection of literature, non-fiction, reference works and periodicals in Norwegian and English dating from the early 1800s to the modern day, many of which are found in few other places in the world. Indeed the collection, which continues to grow, ranks among the most comprehensive of its kind in the region.
Tucked away in the library’s oak bookcases are volumes of Nordic history going back to the earliest written accounts in the Norse Sagas and The Sayings of the Vikings, as well as an extensive collection of books on Norwegian immigrants’ experience as soldiers in the Civil War, and of the German occupation of Norway during WWII. Novels by Nobel Prize winners like Knut Hamsun and Sigrid Undset are side by side with the latest police procedurals and emerging fiction writers from Norway (in English translation and original Norwegian).
The library also features exhaustive collections of the poetry and drama of Henrik Ibsen and Bjornstjerne Bjornson, accounts of famous Norwegian scientific explorers and adventurers like Roald Amundsen, Fridtjof Nansen and Thor Heyerdahl, children’s folklore, young adult literature, Norwegian art, craft and cooking books, genealogy, a variety of magazines and newspapers, and a growing collection of classic and contemporary Scandinavian films.
Apart from providing a rich resource to researchers, lodge members and others who may be interested in the Norwegian focus of the collection, the very existence, preservation and restoration of the library, tells a compelling tale of the Norwegian love affair with books – and before books, storytelling. Norwegian immigrants brought what books they could to America to preserve their culture and history. Indeed, in Sons of Norway lodges everywhere, no matter how small, the slate of officers going back to the organization’s very beginning in 1895 always included a librarian.
Today, the love affair with books continues in Norway’s vibrant, award-winning literary scene, and right here in Portland at the Grieg Lodge Library.