WCCLS Exceeds Expectations for Nine out of Ten Residents

For immediate RELEASE
Date: July 31, 2013
Contact: Jodi Nielsen, Senior Program Educator
Washington County Cooperative Library Services

WCCLS Exceeds Expectations for Nine out of Ten Residents

13.1 million items checked out in last year

Washington County, Oregon: With the close of the 2012-13 fiscal year, the Washington County Cooperative Library Services (WCCLS) reports 13.1 million items checked out from member libraries. Items borrowed represent a cross section of the collection, with the adult collection drawing 49% of check outs and the children’s and young adult materials representing 51% of checkouts.

The biggest increase in item check outs, at 43%, was in downloadable audio, video and e-book items through the Library2Go service. While growing, checkouts of downloadable materials only equal about 2% of total circulation; this is expected to continue to grow as WCCLS increases purchases of e-resources and patron use expands. Print materials still comprise the majority of checkouts at 60%, and media (DVDs, CDs, electronic games, etc.) make up about 38% of checkouts. 

The results of a recent WCCLS survey through Westside Voices www.joinwestsidevoices.org show strong community support for libraries and reading. Over 2,000 residents signed up to participate in the web-based survey conducted by DHM Research. Washington County libraries exceed the majority of resident’s expectations for library services and satisfaction with libraries’ use of tax dollars. Nearly nine out of ten County residents (88%) feel that the WCCLS member libraries exceed their expectations either somewhat or greatly (with 31% who say it greatly exceeds). And a strong majority of residents (73%) believe that their library does a good or excellent job of managing taxpayer dollars.

Both of these questions were asked in previous WCCLS surveys and support has increased. In the last survey in 2008, 79% of respondents thought libraries exceeded expectations, and 72% thought the libraries managed tax dollars well. “I’m pleased that Washington County residents continue to value their library service, and they believe public libraries are a good investment of tax dollars. I’m even more delighted that the public’s satisfaction and trust in libraries has increased over the last five years,” said Eva Calcagno, WCCLS Director.

The majority of survey respondents (57%) also noted that their use of e-books and e-resources is increasing, and 75% reported that their use of print books and materials is not decreasing. This seems to support the continued strength of print circulation at WCCLS member libraries. “Patrons seem to be diversifying how they access information, rather than replacing one format with another. This mirrors national trends,” says Calcagno.

The Banks Public Library led the 15 member Cooperative with a 9.85% increase in items checked-out over the previous year. The growth in the library’s circulation is attributed to a 1,000 square foot expansion which opened in July 2012, made possible through the renovation and repurposing of the library’s community room. There are future expansion plans to restore the library community room.

The top five library locations based on total items checked-out in FY 2012-2013:

1. Beaverton City Libraries (Main & Murray Scholls): 3.57 million
2. Hillsboro Public Libraries (Main & Shute Park): 2.82 million
3. Cedar Mill Community Library & Bethany Library: 2.64 million
4. Tigard Public Library: 1.41 million
5. Tualatin Public Library: 790,006

Washington County residents enjoy the benefits of using their local libraries. Over fifty percent of the 539,721 population are WCCLS library card holders. Last fiscal year 32,951 new patrons registered for library cards. And with 1.67 million items to choose from, the many active patrons seem to find what they want and need.  

The Washington County Cooperative Library Services (WCCLS) includes: Banks Public Library, Beaverton City Library, Beaverton City Library @ Murray Scholls, Cedar Mill Community Library, Cedar Mill Community Library @ Bethany, Cornelius Public Library, Forest Grove City Library, Garden Home Community Library, Hillsboro Public Libraries (Main and Shute Park), North Plains Public Library, Sherwood Public Library, Tigard Public Library, Tualatin Public Library, and West Slope Community Library. Two specialty libraries are also a part of the Cooperatives library card service — the Oregon College of Art & Craft and the Tuality Health Education Resource Center.