Check This Out! Busy, Busy Libraries

Published by Steve Campion. Category: Education & Research

Libraries are not the hushed mazes of books they once were. Movies, music, and audio books fill shelves, too. And patrons use computers to access e-books, databases, or browse the Internet. The state of the economy the last few years, in fact, has made the local library’s access to the Internet and job resources more crucial (and busier) than ever.

There are many ways to measure library activity– including everything from door counts to questions asked. For today’s list, we’ve chosen circulation (i.e., the number of items checked out) as our ruler. We pulled the statistics for 349 public library locations on Washington, sorted them by check out volume, and listed the top 30 below. The big library in downtown Seattle (exterior shown at right) is tops. No surprise there. But some of the other library branches may surprise you.

You might notice several King County Library System locations on the list. In the aggregate, KCLS libraries checked out nearly 21.8 million items in 2011.  Similarly, all the branches in Seattle finished a distant second with “only” 11.6 million.

BUSIEST PUBLIC LIBRARY BRANCHES IN WASHINGTON STATE, 2011

  Library Library System 2011 Circulation
1. Central Library Seattle Public Library 1,677,146
2. Bellevue Library King County Library System 1,611,085
3. Bellingham Public Library Bellingham Public Library 1,466,811
4. Redmond Library King County Library System 1,430,590
5. Bothell Library King County Library System 1,214,331
6. South Hill Library Pierce County Library System 1,054,724
7. Sammamish Library King County Library System 1,044,555
8. Lynnwood Library Sno-Isle Libraries 1,026,170
9. Shoreline Library King County Library System 968,498
10. Northeast Branch Library Seattle Public Library 959,906
11. Gig Harbor Library Pierce County Library System 927,487
12. Olympia Timberland Library Timberland Regional Library 926,883
13. Ballard Branch Library Seattle Public Library 926,335
14. Marysville Library Sno-Isle Libraries 888,980
15. Federal Way Library King County Library System 886,082
16. Issaquah Library King County Library System 884,839
17. Kennewick Branch Library Mid-Columbia Library System 881,256
18. Kirkland Library King County Library System 847,736
19. University Place Library Pierce County Library System 801,271
20. Mill Creek Library Sno-Isle Libraries 789,106
21. Covington Library King County Library System 783,962
22. Richland Public Library Richland Public Library 774,840
23. Vancouver Community Library Fort Vancouver Regional Library District 770,779
24. Lacey Timberland Library Timberland Regional Library 764,819
25. Kent Library King County Library System 745,994
26. Parkland/Spanaway Library Pierce County Library System 737,510
27. Greenwood Branch Library Seattle Public Library 732,776
28. Spokane Valley Library Spokane County Library District 731,652
29. Fairwood Library King County Library System 725,044
30. North Spokane Library Spokane County Library District 705,155

NOTE:  Links to the various library systems are attached to the listings of the largest branch within each system.

PHOTO © Steve Campion

DATA SOURCE: Washington Public Library Statistics, Washington State Library

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One Response to “Check This Out! Busy, Busy Libraries”

  1. Tami Says:

    Wow! Just think, 33 MILLION library items checked out in King County alone. That’s a lot of reading going on! (and dvd watching, and cd listening, and …..)