August 1, 2012

Survey results are in from more than 20,000 people who answered questions over the past month about their usage and impressions of Multnomah County's library system, as well as about how to fund those libraries.

The online survey that concluded on July 31 was a key part of the county's month long community conversation about our libraries. That conversation included public meetings throughout July at the Central Library and four library branches in different parts of the county, as well as a public hearing July 31.

On Thursday, Aug. 2, the Board of Commissioners will consider whether to ask voters this November to create a library district that would replace the library's current financing system of serial levies with a permanent taxing district. That vote will take place at 9:30 a.m. in the county's boardroom at 501 S.E. Hawthorne Blvd.

Among the survey results in advance of that vote are the following:

  • More than three in four respondents rated local library services as "very important" (76.0 percent). Another 20.6 percent of respondents rated library services as "somewhat important." 
  • Nearly 62 percent of respondents favor creating a library district to restore services over maintaining the current levy or increasing the cost of the levy to restore services.
  • Nearly half of the respondents (48.7 percent) visit the library weekly.
  • While almost all respondents (98.7 percent) use the library system to check out books and other media, other significant uses include computer access (19.3 percent of respondents) and programs aimed at young and school-aged children (17.0 percent).

The survey results from more than 20,000 people provide vital information for the board before that vote, said county Chair Jeff Cogen.

"The survey gives us a strong indication of the community's sentiment. More than 20,000 people is about the same as a sold-out Timbers or Trail Blazers game,'' Cogen said. "That's a great testament to our community. We're grateful that so many people took the time to respond." 

Click here to download a statistical summary of the survey. Final statistical summary of library survey (36.04 KB)

Click here to download the complete results. Complete library survey results (6.88 MB)