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 2.6 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 2020-2021:

  • Multnomah County Library patrons checked out or renewed 12.2 million items. That's an average of 15 items per person.
  • Library staff filled more than 1.5 million holds.
  • The library was visited online and in person 6.4 million times.
  • More than 35,000 children participated in the library's countywide 2020 Summer Reading program.
  • In total, virtual and in-person library programming targeted to all age groups, from infants to seniors, reached 77,000. This includes many Black/African American culture; Native American culture; and Chinese, Russian, Spanish and Vietnamese language programs.

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 Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) FY2019 Public Libraries Survey.