Last week a volunteer made an astute observation: nearly all of Roseburg Public Library’s travel books collection became obsolete because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

That volunteer knew from experience because she recently traveled to San Francisco with her four-year-old guidebook, and she threw it away because so much had changed.

The library’s travel section includes several hundred books, everything from Lonely Planet’s Korea to Rick Steves’ London to The Unofficial Guide to Walt Disney World. This collection circulated well before the pandemic. Unfortunately, most of it now is irrelevant.

Fortunately, we have a plan to move forward. The first thing we will do is post a sign in the travel area of the collection acknowledging that most of the material is outdated. Some of the books will remain there as I complete the next steps. Consider it an opportunity to take a trip down memory lane.

Second, I will assess each item in that section and decide whether to keep it. I expect some of the broader subjects, such as national parks and road trips, may remain pertinent enough to keep in the collection.

The most time-consuming process comes last, when we begin to restock that section with new editions. We have just started by purchasing books such as The Open Road: 50 Best Road Trips in the USA; Lonely Planet’s Yosemite, Sequoia & Kings Canyon National Parks; and Moon’s Pacific Coast Highway Road Trip: California, Oregon & Washington.

Here is where I need your help. As you begin to think about traveling again, where do you want to go? Which guidebooks would help you plan a vacation? I would appreciate knowing locations as well as whether you have a go-to travel guide publisher. Do you prefer DK, Frommer’s, Fodor’s, Lonely Planet, Rick Steves or something else?

Email your suggestions to with the subject line “Travel Guides” or leave a voicemail at 541-492-7050. RARE AmeriCorps Participant Katie Fischer also will post this question on the library’s Facebook and Instagram pages @roseburglibrary.

The library accepts purchase requests year-round, so there is no deadline to provide feedback.

As the world reopens to travel, I will compile your requests, monitor new guidebook publication dates and slowly rebuild that collection.

Kris Wiley is the director of the Roseburg Public Library. She can be reached at or 541-492-7051.

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Kris, thank you for the great work you do.

Personally, I prefer Europe on 5 Dollars a Day....

I experienced it, just out of college, back in 1968, when Frommer's original was already 11 years old, but it was still easy to do, and it was drop-dead easy away from capitals and in Spain, Italy, and Greece.

"Open to any random page in Frommer’s 1957 book, and you’ll see decent lodging for less than $2. If that isn’t surprising enough, the meals are outrageously inexpensive. In London, Frommer found roast veal, stuffing, carrots and potatoes for 42 cents; when he went upscale at the Strand chophouse, he paid $1.04 for roast sirloin of beef with Yorkshire pudding and vegetables."

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