Library fact sheet

Background

Multnomah County Library is the oldest public library west of the Mississippi, with a history that reaches back to 1864. Today, Central Library and 18 other neighborhood libraries make up a library system that offers more than 2.5 million books and other library materials. As Oregon's largest public library, Multnomah County Library serves nearly one-fifth of the state's population.

In 2019-2020:

  • Multnomah County Library patrons checked out or renewed 14.8 million items. That's an average of 18 items per person.
  • Library staff filled more than 1.4 million holds.
  • Library staff answered nearly 650,000 questions.
  • The library was visited online and in person 9.5 million times — that's more than 28,000 visits each day.
  • More than 112,000 children participated in the library's countywide 2019 Summer Reading program.
  • In total, library programming targeted to all age groups, from infants to seniors, reached 223,000.
  • Volunteers donated 47,000 hours of their time to the library, the equivalent of more than 5,800 eight-hour days.

National data

Among U.S. libraries serving fewer than one million residents, Multnomah County Library ranks No. 2 in annual circulation of books and other materials, according to the Public Library Association's 2019 Statistical Report (which reflects data from 2018).