As an intercounty rural library district, Mid-Columbia Libraries (MCL) provides its resources and services to the residents of Benton, Franklin and Adams counties.
The mission of the Mid-Columbia Libraries is to enhance quality of life by providing excellence in books and services for our residents and communities.
We proactively engage our customers through targeted on- and off-site programs for adults and children; we create and sustain strong reciprocal partnerships with local organizations and businesses; and we continually seek ways to plug in and stay relevant in our customers’ busy lives by providing new and popular materials and services the most effective ways possible.
Among library systems in Washington, MCL has the:
• Highest per capita Summer Reading Program participation.
• Third highest per capita program participation.
• Third highest collection use/turnover rate — highest in Eastern Washington.
• Fifth highest per capita library visits.
• Fifth largest eBook/downloadable audiobook collection — largest outside of the Seattle metropolitan area (Source: Washington State Library, Washington Public Library Statistics).
MCL is able to accomplish this despite not having the financial resources or population base as comparable systems in the state. However, we are able to remain a competitive, responsive and innovative service provider, with customer satisfaction ratings on par with Nordstrom.
In the past 10 years, Mid-Columbia Libraries’ service population grew 31 percent — one of the highest rates of growth among library systems in Washington, to 231,920. During that same time period, our property tax levy rate decreased 21 percent to 37 cents per thousand. For most systems, this massive influx of new customers combined with constricting taxes would present a dilemma of titanic proportions. Thanks to the determination and creativity of staff, cardholders grew to 131,705 customers, circulation expanded to 2,152,660 items checked out, and program attendance increased to 88,468 during the same time period. In the face of adversity, we have thrived.
In times where libraries across the nation are closing their doors or cutting back service hours, MCL is building new branches and remodeling existing branches. In 2013 MCL opened a new branch in West Pasco, and last year we successfully remodeled the Pasco and Merrill’s Corner branches. This year, we will complete the remodeling of the Prosser and Keewaydin Park branches. We have also responded to our customer’s needs by extending hours of service, investing in improving digital access, and launching new programming and outreach efforts, proving to our taxpayers we are an outstanding institution making significant and exceptional contributions to the quality of life of our residents and communities.
In spring 2014, MCL conducted a statically valid and representative customer satisfaction survey with 2,332 respondents in both English and Spanish. Our customers rated the overall value of the library system at 9.3 out of 10. Most importantly, in fulfillment of our mission, 95 percent of customers asserted their life is enhanced by use of their library.
We provide the largest digital and downloadable collection in the state outside of the Seattle metropolitan area with approximately 55,000 titles, and our digital library is our second-most circulating branch in our system. We will continue to invest in eBook and downloadable audiobooks.
In September 2014, Mid-Columbia Libraries launched a new brand and redesigned website to the public, enhancing digital content integration, and furthering our vision of being a relevant and forward-looking library.
In 2015, our bandwidth will double to improve our customers’ Internet connectivity experience as well as internal infrastructure.
MCL is continually excited by the potential and opportunities our future brings. We look forward to finding new and improved ways to better serve our communities and taxpayers. We thank you for your continued support and appreciation as your regional public library.