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Supporters of a new Multnomah County Library District say a new tax structure is necessary for keeping one of the nation’s busiest libraries "working for all of us." In a mailer, the Libraries Yes! Committee paints an already dim picture of the system.
The mailer notes reduced hours and compares them to other metro-area counties: "Right now, our libraries are open 44 hours per week, down from 57 hours just a few years ago. That’s the lowest of any library in the four-county region."
PolitiFact Oregon was well aware that the system has cut back in certain areas, but it surprised us that the cuts had gone so far as to put operating hours behind Clackamas, Washington and Clark counties. We thought a quick check was warranted -- and quick it was.
We checked the website for each of the counties’ libraries and calculated the weekly operating hours for the main branches. Here’s what we found.
In Multnomah County, the Central Library is open 44 hours each week.
In Washington County, the Hillsboro Main Library is open 64 hours each weekand the Beaverton City Library is open 63 hours.
In Clackamas County, the library system is open 52 hours a week.
And up in Washington’s Clark County, the main Vancouver Community Library is open 60 hours a week.
We also called the group responsible for the mailer and asked them about the statement. They sent us a slightly different group of numbers -- the average number of hours a library was open in each county. Their findings supported the same conclusion: Multnomah County library hours are the lowest in the four-county region.
We find this statement True.
Multnomah County Library website
Clackamas County Library website
Washington County Library website
Fort Vancouver Regional Library District website
Libraries Yes! Committee campaign mailer
E-mail from Libraries Yes! Committee spokeswoman Liz Kaufman, Oct. 24, 2012
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