Timberland Regional Library

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File:Centralia Timberland Library.jpg
Timberland Library in Centralia, Lewis County, WA

Timberland Regional Library (TRL) is a public library system serving the residents of southwestern Washington state, USA including Grays Harbor, Lewis, Mason, Pacific, and Thurston counties. Timberland Regional Library has 27 community libraries, 2 cooperative library centers, and 3 library kiosks.



TRL was created in 1968 as an "Intercounty Rural Library District" by a vote of the residents of the unincorporated areas of Thurston, Mason, Lewis, Grays Harbor, and Pacific counties after a Demonstration Project (1964-1968) funded by federal, state and local grants.

The service area covers nearly 7,000 square miles (18,000 km2) and serves a population of approximately 459,100 (2007 est.)[1] residents through 27 community libraries (or branches) with a collection of nearly 1.7 million items. The District is governed by a seven-member Board of Trustees appointed by county commissioners, with a trustee from each county and two additional trustees filling at-large positions.

Before TRL was created, Lewis County had no library service in the rural areas. In the rural areas of the other counties, service was provided by the South Puget Sound Regional Library, the Grays Harbor County Rural Library District and the Pacific County Rural Library District. During the 1964-68 Demonstration Project, grant funds enabled new library service through rented buildings in Tumwater and Lacey and bookmobiles in previously unserved rural areas.

Many cities within TRL provided their citizens with library service for years prior to the creation of the rural county library districts. Seven of these cities owned original Andrew Carnegie-funded buildings or other gifted facilities. Others provided service from space in city halls or other city buildings. After TRL was created, most of these cities began contracting with TRL for library service to take advantage of economies of scale and more services and resources. By 1975, seventeen cities with independent municipal libraries had contracted with TRL. The last city to bring its library into TRL was Shelton in 1988.

All eighteen cities continue to contract with TRL for service or have annexed to the District. Through the branches in these cities, TRL serves most of the population of the District—both city residents and rural residents. A key part of TRL’s model of service is to combine the revenue from both the rural areas and the cities and use it to provide enhanced services and resources through the city branches. In more remote rural areas far from cities, TRL has replaced bookmobiles with buildings using grant funds and timber revenue. Better library service has been established in the far corners of the District. Also in rural areas, TRL has created partnerships with schools and tribes to create service points called cooperative library centers which provide library services to the general public a few hours a week.

Present Day

Besides the books, magazines, newspapers, DVDs, CDs, CD audiobooks, programs, meeting space, and other services available in community libraries and cooperative library centers, TRL also provides Outreach services to groups and individuals District-wide. TRL offers access to information services via online reference databases, library catalog, toll-free telephone 6 days a week as well as many other resources 24 hours a day 7 days a week. Ebooks and digital audiobooks, provided by the digital distributor OverDrive, can also be downloaded from the library's website. Music can be downloaded via the Freegal digital distributor, and music, audiobooks, movies, and TV shows can be downloaded using Hoopla Digital. Most patrons use the library as a physical place, but an increasing number of patrons use the library as a virtual library.

2009 Failed Ballot Measure

On February 3, 2009, approximately 53% of voters within TRL's 5-county district turned down "Levy Lid Lift Proposition 1" in a special election.[2] This proposition would have lifted the 34.5-cent (per thousand dollars of assessed valuation) cap on TRL's property tax levy rate. As a result, the Library Board determined that approximately 2.5 million dollars would need to be cut from TRL's 2010 budget.[3]


Reciprocal Library Systems

TRL participates in reciprocal borrowing agreements with the following public library systems in Washington State. Under this program, TRL cardholders can obtain free accounts at these library systems, and vice versa.


  1. Dwyer, Scott D.; & Dwyer, Mary B. (Eds.) (2008). Washington State Yearbook. Sammamish:Electronic Handbook Publishers, Inc. ISBN 0-9785825-4-3
  2. Thurston County Elections website. Accessed 3/28/2009. http://wei.secstate.wa.gov/thurston/Pages/ElectionResults.aspx?e=20090203
  3. The Olympian, March 16, 2009. Accessed on The Olympian's website on 3/28/2009. http://www.theolympian.com/opinion/story/788736.html

External links