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Beaverton City Library has Oregons second-highest circulation

When the staff of the Beaverton City Library learned the facility had the second-highest circulation in the state, the milestone was marked not with pomp, circumstance nor celebration.

There simply wasn't time.

'What we were doing is trying to keep up with the workload,' quipped Library Director Ed House. 'No, we made an announcement to the staff, and we enjoyed learning that. We hope we'll continue to grow and people continue wanting to go to the library.'

At 3,373,916 items checked out in the fiscal year that ended in June, the main library at 12375 S.W. Fifth St., along with the new Murray Scholls Branch Library, 11200 S.W. Murray-Scholls Place, suite 102, now falls behind only the Portland-anchored Multnomah County Library system in circulation numbers.

The items that more than 971,400 visitors checked out last year mark an average of more than 9,500 items for every day the library is open. Circulation from the children's sections alone topped the 1.5 million mark.

Since moving from a converted Albertson's store along Hall Boulevard into a new facility on Fifth Street in the fall of 2000, circulation at Beaverton City Library - part of Washington County Cooperative Library Services - more than doubled from 1.5 million to the current 3.3 million.

While House came on board less than a year after the building opened, he declines to take the primary credit.

'I would say it's the staff that gets the credit,' he said. 'But we're constantly trying to figure out how to improve our services and how to the meet the demands.'

Since it opened in June 2010, the Murray Scholls Branch's monthly average of 50,000 checked-out items exceeded staff's expectations by nearly 20,000. The branch has already exceeded circulation of eight of the 15 library outlets in Washington County in its first year of operation, according to library officials.

Beaverton's circulation numbers have been closest in recent years to those of the Eugene Public Library, but the library overtook its cousin to the south this year.

'We've been neck and neck with some other libraries,' House said. 'But we've been one of the busier libraries in the state for awhile.'

That said, House said it's unlikely the Beaverton libraries, which serve a population of about 140,000 would overtake the Multnomah County system, which serves a population of more than a half-million.

Among the library amenities likely contributing to its popularity are the adult service's division, which offers materials for the general reader, along with resources for continuing education, avocation hobbyists and others.

The Beaverton facilities also offer free computer training classes, book discussion groups, cultural programs, e-books for download and wireless Internet.

The Beaverton City Library's green operations have also enhanced its appeal, officials said.

The library has added electric vehicle charging stations, which are powered by solar arrays, as well as solar-operated outdoor compacting garbage cans. The library also plans to add solar panels to its roof next spring.

Mayor Dennis Doyle praised the Beaverton libraries' ongoing success and popularity.

'We're very proud of our library and how it is making a difference in people's lives,' he said.