The Oregon library community consistently amazes me with its innovative, enterprising, and patron-focused activities. Indeed, we hear about these many activities through Libs-Or, OLA conferences, and this journal. While certainly not by design, many of the voices we hear come from libraries along the I-5 corridor. Cool things happen in those libraries, of course, but this issue of the OLA Quarterly amplifies voices we hear less frequently: the rural institutions that constitute the majority of the libraries in Oregon.
I have spent most of my career working in small and rural libraries. My first library job was at my hometown library: Langlois Public Library (service population: 785) on the southern Oregon coast. The experiences I had at Langlois and other rural Oregon libraries taught me two lessons that, while perhaps truisms, are nonetheless worth saying. First, serving patrons in rural areas—no matter your library type—bears similarity to larger library counterparts, but it differs in significant ways that require a shift in mindset. Second, “rural” is not some monolithic concept that comes with a defined set of needs, just as “urban” and “suburban” are not; each rural community and group of patrons is unique.
Volume 23 Issue 3 Introduction.
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