75 years and counting for Pierce County libraries

75 years and counting for Pierce County libraries

Then (the earliest Lakewood branch of Pierce County libraries, as seen in 1956 photo) and now (the libraries’ 75th anniversary).

When the Pierce County Library System opened its first doors in 1946, it served 55,000 people with 6,385 books from seven locations, and 1,108 people had library cards. Today, it serves 620,000 people with nearly 1 million books, movies and other items from 20 branches and online, and 360,000 people have library cards.

That’s the backdrop in 2021 as the Library System (PCLS) marks its 75th year—a milestone that’s as much about the public as it is about the libraries themselves, said Georgia Lomax, the libraries’ executive director.

“’Happy birthday to the Library System’ really means a big thank you to Pierce County communities for the true honor of being their choice for the discovery and exchange of information and ideas and to spark success for residents for 75 years,” Lomax said. “The communities have transformed a lot since 1946, and we have changed along with them to provide services meeting their most important library needs.”

A big difference from 1946 to 2021 is technology. Today, people can send electronic documents remotely to be printed at a library and pick up their copies at the curb. Also, they can check out books and read them instantly from their computer, electronic tablet or phone.

As Pierce County expands, Lomax said, PCLS will continue to change to meet the needs of everyone in the many diverse communities, neighborhoods and families it serves.

Community members appreciate the effort. Nancy Nelson, a Gig Harbor resident who has had a library card for 40 years, said she “absolutely loves the library for its incredible service. Learning to read is by far the most significant experience for me, and I thank libraries for that tremendous gift.”

More information about the PCLS’ 75th anniversary and libraries themselves is available at visit 75.pcls.us (https://www.piercecountylibrary.org/about-us/75th-anniversary.htm).