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History of WCCLS

WCCLS was established in 1976 with the passage of the first countywide tax measure to fund library services. The cooperative governance structure was chosen as a way to link together the existing libraries in the county (there were 6 city libraries and some volunteer libraries) and to extend public library service to all county residents. At the time, over half the county population did not have access to a public library. Currently, WCCLS includes the County, nine cities, and two non-profit organizations, serving the 540,000+ residents of Washington County.

A brief timeline

  • 1974-1975: Federal grant to study/implement countywide library service (Beaverton initiated).
  • 1976: 1st countywide property tax levy approved. Libraries included Beaverton, Cornelius, Forest Grove, Hillsboro, Sherwood and Tigard city libraries, as well as community libraries in Banks, Cedar Mill, Town Center (Tanasbourne) and West Slope.
  • 1977: Tualatin Public Library added. Outreach to rural and homebound begins.
  • 1979: Checkouts exceed 1 million annually.
  • 1986: Countywide computer system replaces the card catalog.
  • 1996: 12 public libraries -- Garden Home joins WCCLS.
  • 1998: Rolled into County’s permanent tax base by Ballot Measures 47/50 (General Fund).
  • 1998: Countywide computer catalog converts to web-based system that incorporates Internet technology.
  • 2002: 1st tax failure resulting in funding cuts.
  • 2004: May levy failed to net 50% voter turnout.
  • 2005: Over 17,000 kids participate in Summer Reading Program.
  • 2006: November levy passes – 57% approval!
  • 2006: Checkouts exceed 7 million per year.
  • 2007: 14 public libraries -- North Plains joins WCCLS and Cedar Mill opens Bethany Branch.
  • 2007: Website is redesigned and gets a new URL.
  • 2008: Checkouts exceed 8 million annually.
  • 2009: Checkouts exceed 10 million annually.
  • 2010: Free Wi-Fi offered to the public through WCCLS libraries.
  • 2010: November levy renewal passes -- 66% approval!
  • 2010: Beaverton City Library Murray Scholls branch opens.
  • 2012: Checkouts exceed 13 million annually.
  • 2015: Website redesigned and becomes mobile-friendly.
  • 2015: Voters pass a replacement levy to enhance library services for next 5 years - 64% approval!
  • 2016: New Levy funding begins July 1.
  • 2016: Aloha Community Library becomes a member of WCCLS.