Collaborations often have the best outcomes because conversations among those with diverse experiences, varied institutional affiliations, and cross-discipline training bring breadth and depth of perspective. The Stories of Southern Oregon project was a good example of how libraries, museums, and academics can work together to surface important historical content, build community, and strengthen relationships. Thanks to a 2017 grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities’ Common Heritage program, Southern Oregon University faculty partnered with the Eagle Point and Ruch branches of the Jackson County Library District and local museums to collect stories and images of heritage work-life like logging, mining, farming, and ranching. Memories of a different time are very much alive in the rural towns of Jackson and Josephine counties, and public libraries and museums are central to the collective heritage of our small communities. This article describes the Stories of Southern Oregon project and how public libraries in Ruch and Eagle Point engaged their communities to bring history to life, and make a real difference to those they serve every day.

Author Biography

Maureen Flanagan Battistella, MLS, is an affiliate faculty member in Southern Oregon University’s Sociology and Anthropology Program. She is lead investigator on several heritage work-life grants, most recently from the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Library Services and Technology Act. Battistella works closely with her Hannon Library colleagues in developing content for the Southern Oregon Digital Archives.

Charlene Prinsen is the Library Manager at the Eagle Point Branch of the Jackson County Library District. Her library serves a diverse population including new residents and heritage families in a community that is the gateway to Crater Lake National Park.

Thalia Truesdell is branch manager at the Ruch Branch of the Jackson County Library District. Ruch was largely settled in the 1850s as a gold mining community outside of Jacksonville, Oregon, and since then, has evolved into the mixed, individualistic Applegate Valley. She is a weaver of textiles, stories, and community.

Copyright statement

© 2017 OLA



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