About Every Child

Multnomah County Library's Every Child Initiative puts 5.1 million picture books into our community every year.

Stack of books representing 5.1 million booksEvery Child is a library initiative that encompasses all of the libraries’ early childhood services designed to help prepare children to enter kindergarten ready to learn to read. Every Child has an expert staff of library professionals who help young children fall in love with books, and gives them access to the resources that they need to be successful learners and excited explorers.

Every Child provides free, open, equal and democratic access to the books, music, technology and programming that can help prepare any child for kindergarten, in the language spoken in his or her home. This service supports the Multnomah County Library’s key priority of preparing young minds for success and our key values of providing free access for all, advocacy for reading and a being trusted guide for learning.


Our vision

Multnomah County Library will connect parents and caregivers to the transformative experiences and resources that will prepare young minds for success. From birth through age five, these children will flourish and grow, entering kindergarten prepared with reading skills and equipped to succeed.

No other institution — save public schools — can match the library’s reach, audience size, place in the community, public awareness, and century-plus of history for this work. Nobody has been doing it longer, more effectively or reached more children than the library.


The library circulates 90 books for every baby, toddler and preschooler in our community.

The library circulates 90 books for every baby, toddler and preschooler in our community.Multnomah County Library starts at birth. We reach out to families with education and support, helping parents and children where they are. We take the library to them, even in the toughest of circumstances. We educate parents and children’s caregivers about the importance of children’s first five years for later success in school and life — creating language- and literacy-rich experiences and environments.

We do this in five languages, reaching more children than any other institution in our area save the public schools. The library has been successfully enabling young minds to thrive and succeed for more than 100 years and continues to be leader in this work, both locally and nationally.


Last year, Every Child presented 5,934 storytimes and early learning programs.

Last year, Every Child presented 5,934 storytimes and early learning programs.Our promise: We will help create young learners that are ready for kindergarten. We will support parents and caregivers to provide meaningful experiences that help young children develop literacy skills early in life. We will open up the world of books, music, culture, and play through access to a rich collection of books, music, technology, and programming. We will begin our services at birth, helping parents understand that learning begins even in the first few months of life. We will focus service on parents and caregivers who hold the key for their children to become active learners. We will provide the information, motivation and opportunity for parents/caregivers to learn about reading strategies to foster children’s reading readiness. We will promote the library’s unique role to provide high quality books and programs for all young children. We will continue to monitor and incorporate research and service trends as they emerge in early literacy.

Logo for Every Child