Member Library Benefits
LEO goes far beyond supporting libraries: its mission is to provide expanded horizons for the people of this region. LEO's efforts support lifelong learning and communal gathering as essential to quality of life in each community that is served.
LEO activities to serve rural libraries include:
Partnerships: for cost efficiencies and strength in collaboration;
Community Programs: informal, lifelong learning for all ages;
Infrastructure: help with facility, technology and collection needs;
Professional Development: workshops for area library staff and volunteers;
Advocacy: recognition of the library as the heart of the rural community.
LEO manages Library2Go accounts for Eastern Oregon public libraries through the Oregon Digital Library Consortium. Library2Go offers more than 30,000 ebooks and downloadable audio books. Through the LEO group discount, the 50 participating public libraries receive Library2Go at a substantial discount based on overall population served by the library; for the smallest libraries the annual fee is a few hundred dollars, rather than nearly $3,000 if the service was purchased by the single library. Patrons can access Library2Go 24/7 from any internet connection, using their library card.
Throughout the past twenty years, LEO has worked with member libraries to bring collaborative, coordinated learning and entertainment options to rural communities. This has included arranging for discounted pricing for summer reading programs; coordinating the Big Read, where nine LEO member communities read Amy Tan's The Joy Luck Club, with complementary programs and activities related to themes of the award-winning novel; STARS (Science, Technology and Rural Students) science programs for all ages; Read Aloud sessions, where where area writers of all levels were encouraged to read aloud from their works; OMSI exhibits and programs for libraries; programs (and $15,000 worth of meteorites!) from the Cascadia Meteorite Lab at Portland State University's Geology Department were brought to rural schools and libraries in 55 Eastern Oregon communities; FINRA's "Smart Investing @ your library" financial literacy programs, which were held at 15 member libraries; and Books for Babies, where 40 public libraries received funding to expand their board book collections.
Major Grant Support: ARTPlace America
In an example of the convening role LEO can play for member libraries, over the course of 15 months, LEO coordinated a grant-funded project, titled “Harvesting Our Stories,” which paired artists and producers in Baker, Hood River, and Wasco Counties to tell the tale of the changing face of agriculture and the power creativity plays in keeping communities and cultures vital for the future. Through the project, LEO focused on helping participating member libraries highlight the role the arts and libraries have on rural economic development. In particular, the project focused on the region's transition from former 20th century dependence on natural resources (logging, mining) and traditional agriculture to an emerging economy of tourism that focuses on art, culture, and value added agriculture (niche foods, farm and ranch stays).