The library is the literary heart of Grieg Lodge and everyone is welcome! Books may be browsed by guests on site, but only lodge members may check them out. Regular literary activities include book discussion, Norwegian conversation, and periodic guest lectures by authors and university academics. The library is open during most major lodge events. The regular library hours are Tuesdays from 10 am to 1 pm and appointments are encouraged. Contact our Librarian for more information, and please note that the library is closed during July and August.
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 4,500 books, now fully searchable online by author, title and subject. Visit our page at LibraryWorld.com to search for books in our catalog. After you get to LibraryWorld, type Grieg Lodge in the Library Name box, then click Sign In. No password is necessary. The catalog main page includes information about the lodge’s book discussion group, which meets in the library once a month.
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 American Civil War, and of the German occupation of Norway during World War II. Novels by Nobel Prize winners like Knut Hamsun and Sigrid Undset are side by side with the latest crime novels and emerging fiction writers from Norway (in both English translations and the original Norwegian).
The library also features extensive collections of the poetry and drama of Henrik Ibsen and Bjørnstjerne Bjørnson, accounts of famous Norwegian scientific explorers and adventurers like Fridtjof Nansen, Roald Amundsen and Thor Heyerdahl; children’s folklore and juvenile literature; Norwegian art, crafts and cookbooks; 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, as 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.