Hillsboro Public Library

The Hillsboro Public Library is a two-branch public library system in Hillsboro, Oregon, United States. First opened in 1914 in a Carnegie library building, the system provides services to a population area of 157,000 people. As of 2004, the system had a usage of 674,000 visits per year. One branch is located near downtown in Shute Park, with the other newer location in the central portion of the city near the airport. Circulation exceeds 1.75 million per year, and the system has over 59,000 registered users. As of 2008, the director of the library is Mike Smith.


The first library in Hillsboro opened on December 9 1914 when the Carnegie City Library was dedicated. This was one of 2,500 plus libraries built by money donated by Andrew Carnegie around the world, and the only public one in Washington County, Oregon (the Carnegie Library at Pacific University was a private, academic library). The land at Northeast Second and Lincoln Streets where the library was built, was also donated to the city. Designed by architect Ernest Kroner, the $10,000 building was constructed by the firm Book & Engeldinger.

On January 21 1975, a new library opened to replace the Carnegie building, located at Shute Park. The next year a library was opened in the Tanasbourne area on the east side of Hillsboro. In 1990, the city took over those operations, moving it in 1996 from the former Tanasbourne Mall location. In 1998, a Books-by-Rail branch was opened at the Hillsboro Central MAX Light Rail station in a space.

Two times in 2002 and again in 2004, the city had property tax levies on the ballot to build a new $25 million library. Plans called for building a building on Cornell Road at 206th in the Tanasbourne area to replace the Tanasbourne branch. The levies to build the new library and remodel the Shute Park location failed. The first measure in 2002 received majority support at the voting booth, but lost due to low voter turnout and the state’s double-majority law.

The library closed the Books by Rail branch in 2003 due to a reduced budget. Hillsboro cut their library funding by $350,000 that year. In 2005, the city decided on an alternate plan of buying an existing building and renovating it at a total cost of $13 million, with $1 million of the funds coming from private donations.

The city purchased a two-story, office building on Northeast Brookwood Parkway near the Hillsboro Airport for $6.8 million in September 2005. With the opening of the new location in a more central area of Hillsboro, the Tanasbourne location was closed with its inventory moved to the new main branch. The new library location opened in May 2007 after the building was renovated.

Facilities and services

The Hillsboro Main Library branch is housed on the first floor of the city owned building, utilizing . The library’s collection includes more than 200,000 items. Story readings at the main library are given in a variety of languages including Mandarin, Japanese, Bengali, and Spanish. Additionally, the branch has books in roughly 50 languages. This branch includes a privately owned coffee shop with leased space in the building. There are approximately 300 parking spaces at the site.

Opened in 1975, the Shute Park Branch is the oldest of the two libraries in the system. The building was designed by Will Martin and cost $760,000 to build. With , it is also the smaller of the two locations. The building is triangular in shape, with the north facing wall all glass. Shute Park houses over 105,000 library articles ranging from books and videos to audio materials and periodicals. It contains 36 seats and 31 computer terminals. The branch also houses the collection of the Hillsboro Independent and The Hillsboro Argus newspapers, dating back to 1887.


As of 2004, the library system had a service area population of 150,000 residents. That year the Tanasbourne branch served 401,000 people and the Shute Park branch 273,000 people. In 2006, the library system had a rating of 683 from the Hennen's American Public Library Ratings, down from 705 in 2004.

For 2006 to 2007, combined the library has over 286,000 items in its collections and a circulation of over 1.75 million. Revenue for the library totals $5.6 million, with expenditures slightly exceeding that number. Between the two branches there are 55 staff members including librarians. Hillsboro Public Library has 59,275 library card holders, and is part of the Washington County Cooperative Library Service. Total visits were 644,000. The library is the third largest in Oregon by population served.


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