MORE THAN BOOKS AND BUILDINGS
The library we need
Multnomah County Library is busier than ever, but our library system is, quite literally, running out of room. Today, at many locations, librarians are forced to turn away families from storytimes due to lack of space. Teens are unable to find quiet spaces to read and study. Waiting lists for programs, classes, and library computers are the norm.
The population of Multnomah County has grown by nearly 30% since we last voted to expand library facilities. And it's predicted to grow another 30% by 2040. Library staff and volunteers are doing a stellar job of working with limited space and outdated infrastructure, but they can't work their magic forever. We need library buildings that will meet the growing needs of our community.
With more than 5,400 storytimes a year and more than 110,000 kids participating in Summer Reading, families at our libraries contend with overcrowding every day. Multnomah County Library is one of the busiest library systems in the nation. Yet our system is one of the smallest — we are 4th in circulation, yet only 102nd in square footage among libraries in the U.S. Our entire library system, all 19 location, would fit into Seattle's Central Library with room to spare.
In November of 2020, voters will have the opportunity to change these metrics, and ensure our community has the library it needs. An initiative that will address space and facility constraints has been referred to the ballot. This measure, based on four years of in-depth work and community feedback, will fund changes to outdated library buildings and systems and allow our library to meet the emerging needs of our growing community.