MORE THAN BOOKS AND BUILDINGS
Expanding and modernizing
our libraries for the future
Community spaces, which sometimes amount to just a simple, carpeted room, are instrumental to the work of librarians, and to the health and wellbeing of our community. Many of our smallest libraries have little or no community space available. Expanding the square footage of our smallest libraries, with a focus specifically on libraries located in the eastern portion of our county, will allow librarians to better serve many of our most vulnerable populations.
Or library's community spaces serve many critical functions. Here are a few examples:
Library staff and volunteers lead more than 18,000 program events a year. Offerings such as ESL classes, storytimes for young children and their parents, technology workshops for seniors, and cultural programming brought more than 311,000 attendees to the library last year alone. At many branches, families are being turned away from storytimes and programs for kindergarten readiness due to lack of space.
Multnomah County Library is the largest provider of free high-speed internet in the entire state of Oregon. Last year the library provided 1.8 million WiFi sessions and 670,000 computer sessions. There are often waiting times to use these computers, which provide patrons with access to online job applications, research tools, and connection to the world at large.
Librarians work with close to 270 schools in the area every year. Every teacher in every public school can get help from the library through the ‘SchoolCorps’ program; and with school budgets always tight, the public library is where teachers and students go for assistance.
Quiet study spaces are popular with students of all ages, but we only have 10 of them to serve 800,000 people. These rooms are only available at three libraries. And libraries like Belmont are so small, they don't really offer a place for patrons to simply sit and read.