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.

Author Biography

Buzzy Nielsen is a rural boy with a smattering of big city sensibilities. In his 22 years as a librarian, he has worked in libraries of all types and sizes. His heart remains with rural libraries, however, which is why he currently directs the Crook County Library in Prineville. Buzzy is a selfprofessed policy wonk and currently serves as OLA President.

Copyright statement

© 2017 Buzzy Nielsen



To view the content in your browser, please download Adobe Reader or, alternately,
you may Download the file to your hard drive.

NOTE: The latest versions of Adobe Reader do not support viewing PDF files within Firefox on Mac OS and if you are using a modern (Intel) Mac, there is no official plugin for viewing PDF files within the browser window.