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 houses a collection of nearly 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.
- Multnomah County Library patrons checked out or renewed nearly 22 million items.
- Library staff filled 2.5 million holds.
- Library staff answered 637,474 reference questions.
- The library was visited online and in person nearly 33,000 times each day — more than 11 million times.
- More than 100,000 children participated in the library's countywide 2012 Summer Reading program.
- In total, library programming targeted to all age groups, from infants to elders, reached nearly 300,000.
- Volunteers donated more than 66,000 hours of their time to the library, the equivalent of 8,200 eight-hour days.
Circulation of books, e-books, compact discs, DVDs and other library materials has increased 17 percent over the past 10 years.
Multnomah County residents use their library. In 2011-2012, they checked out or renewed an average of 33.4 items per person. Among U.S. libraries serving fewer than 1 million residents, Multnomah County Library ranks No. 1 in annual circulation of books and other materials, according to the Public Library Association's 2013 Statistical Report (which reflects data from 2012).