As I headed west along Oregon Route 238 from Jacksonville, I felt as though I’d gone back in time. This scenic highway, which feels more like a country road, eventually led me to a wonderful oasis surrounded by mountains, forests, and open grassland: the remarkable Ruch Library. 

Situated atop a small rise, the library offers stunning views and beautiful vistas. Cheerful tile mosaics dot the sidewalk that lead you to the gate of the school next door, a welcoming and colorful invitation for students to visit the library. 

In fact, the library has a long history of collaboration with the Ruch Outdoor Community School. Ruch Branch Manager Megan told me that the library hosts multiple class visits for the bulk of the day on Tuesdays and Thursdays. In addition, there are bi-monthly visits with the middle school classes. 

On top of all that, the library offers a weekly storytime, a tween/teen movie hangout, and, for October, a program every weekend for various age groups.  

One that looks particularly intriguing is Scary Geology Stories for the Halloween season, set for Saturday, Oct. 21. This program for ages ten and up will look at short, true stories from Oregon’s geological past. Geologist Mark Prchal will discuss earthquakes, mega lava flows and mega floods. How cool is that? 

Another program planned for Oct. 26 also seems really interesting: Wild Women of the West: Archaeological and Historical Challenges to Myth and Misrepresentation in Popular Culture.

“This talk, led by historical archaeologist Chelsea Rose, will use more than a decade of research and archaeological investigations to update the ways in which women feature in the history of the American West,” the event description says. 

The Ruch library doesn’t just offer a myriad of quality programming curated and created by the staff. At 10:30 a.m. every Thursday, the library hosts a weekly nonprofit state-funded program called Kaleidoscope Play and Learn. This playgroup, for children ages 0 to 6 and their caregivers, offers an opportunity to support children’s early learning. It is also a wonderful way to meet and build relationships with other families. For a Kaleidoscope Play and Learn offered near you, here is a link

What a treat to visit the library on the day this program was taking place. Happy children and organized chaos welcomed me as I entered the community meeting room. Several activity stations were in place around the room. Some were geared for very young children, others for older kids. A craft table was set up where the lead facilitator was available to help the children if needed. Another team member was on the floor playing with the children, too.  

The program, which runs from 10:30 a.m. to noon, finished up with storytime and snacks. 

On top of all of the above, the Friends of the Ruch Library have their own charming bookstore across the parking lot from the library. This wonderfully cozy, well-organized shop has a room dedicated to children, a shelf with “newer” books, and a fascinating array of books of all sorts.  

The bookstore is open 1 to 3 p.m. Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday, and worth a quick stop in.

To sum up, if you are looking for a little adventure or just a new place to check out, plan a trip to the remarkable Ruch Library. You never know what surprises may await you!