PORTLAND, Ore. — July 11, 2013 — Last year, Multnomah County Library circulated 24.8 million items — only New York Public Library circulated more. For the 11th 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 — an average of about 33.4 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.
This news is courtesy of the 2013 Public Library Data Service Statistical Report recently issued by the Public Library Association. The report reflects data from fiscal year 2012.
The 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, or rate of use per item. That means that the library has the hardest working collection of books, CDs, DVDs and more — each item is checked out at four times the rate of the national average.
Among libraries in our population category (500,000 to 999,999), 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.
“Multnomah County residents have a special connection to their libraries,” said Multnomah County Library District Director Vailey Oehlke. “For nearly 150 years, the library has served this community’s changing needs. With the creation of a library district by voters to fund library services, the library is ready to embrace our patrons’ needs for generations to come with more books and materials, more digital content and new ways of providing responsive service.”