Multnomah County Library circulation breaks records nationwide

PORTLAND, Ore. — Aug. 12, 2010 — For the eighth 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, according to the 2010 Public Library Data Service Statistical Report recently issued by the Public Library Association.

Circulation of library materials is one of the primary indicators used by libraries to evaluate their success in serving the public. Multnomah County Library’s circulation of 22.7 million items last year is a new record for any library in the nation serving fewer than one million residents. With a population of about 700,000, that’s an average of 31 items checked out or renewed for every man, woman and child in Multnomah County.

The Public Library Data Service report also found that among large libraries in the U.S. (libraries that serve a population of 500,000 or more), Multnomah County Library has the highest collection turnover rate per capita. That means that the library has the hardest working collection of books, CDs, DVDs and more — each item is checked out at twice the rate of the national average.

Also among large libraries, Multnomah County Library 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 statistics underscore the value of Multnomah County Library in our community and affirm what our patrons tell us every day,” said Director of Libraries Vailey Oehlke. “Your library remains one of the most well-used, well-loved libraries in the nation.”

About Multnomah County Library

Multnomah County Library is the oldest public library west of the Mississippi, with a history that reaches back to 1864. Today, Central Library and the other 18 neighborhood libraries that make up the library system house about 700 computers for the public and a collection of two million books and other library materials. As Oregon's largest public library, Multnomah County Library serves nearly one-fifth of the state's population with a wide variety of programs and services.