Oregon Public Library Needs Assessment

Public libraries innovate in ways big and small, from constructing new community-centered buildings to finding creative ways to increase library access for marginalized and underserved populations.

In an effort to learn how to best support Oregon’s public libraries as they address the challenges of serving a diverse public, OCF commissioned a needs assessment on behalf of the Lora L. & Martin N. Kelley Family Foundation Trust and the Betsy Priddy Fund of Oregon Community Foundation.

Well Used But Underfunded

Oregon’s public libraries enjoy the highest circulation per capita of all U.S. states—over 17 items per capita in FY12, more than twice the national average of 8 items per capita. However, they have a much greater dependence upon local funding (92% of total budget) than is the national average (84%) and also receive significantly less state support (0.8%) than is the national average (7%). There is great disparity across Oregon with respect to local tax support for public libraries, which leaves some Oregon libraries in a constant struggle for sustainability.