The Multnomah County Library is one of the busiest in the U.S.
Last year, the county system’s library branches circulated 22.7 million items — only the New York Public Library circulated more. Moreover, for the ninth year in a row, Multnomah County Library patrons have checked out and renewed more items than patrons of any other U.S. library serving fewer than one million residents.
With a population of about 735,000, that’s an average of about 31 items checked out or renewed for every man, woman and child in Multnomah County. Circulation of library materials is one of the primary indicators used by libraries to evaluate their success in serving the public.
Among libraries in the same population service category, Multnomah County has the highest in-library materials use per capita — the number of books, journals, newspapers and other materials that patrons use in the library but do not check out.
“These numbers tell a very human story about the place of this library in our community,” said Director of Libraries Vailey Oehlke. “It shows that our patrons highly value a lifetime of learning opportunities, and they view the library as an indispensable cornerstone of the community. These numbers also give a glimpse into the staggering amount of work and dedication of library staff — from the front desk to the warehouse — that makes all of this service possible.”