A nonprofit organization founded in 2000, LEO serves 50 public libraries in 15 Eastern Oregon counties, encompassing an area larger than several New England states combined. Serving the Oregon Counties of: Baker, Crook, Gilliam, Grant, Harney, Hood River, Lake, Malheur, Morrow, Sherman, Umatilla, Union, Wallowa, Wasco and Wheeler.
The LEO board of directors seeks to enhance civic engagement, social capital and the personal development of individuals - recognizing the benefit to society of a well-informed citizenry and the worth of each person regardless of socio-economic factors. The public library is an essential part of the rural community and contributes directly to rural vitality.
LEO is funded through library memberships, fundraising efforts, grants and direct contributions from individuals, businesses and organizations.
• Partnerships - for cost efficiencies and strength in collaboration
• Community Programs - 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 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 manages Library2Goaccounts for Eastern Oregon public libraries through the Oregon Digital Library Consortium. Library2Go offers 30,000+ downloadable audio books for personal computers, iPods and iPhones or any compatible device with Windows Media Player software. Through the LEO group discount, the nearly 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. Access Library2Go 24/7 from any internet connection, using your library card!
LEO's vision paper was ranked as the state's sixth most important sustainability project under the Oregon Solutions program. "Lighting Up The Libraries" called for rural libraries to step up to meet information and technology needs for the 21st century.