Ah, the field columns, not board columns.
Go to the board config, the card layout section, you can add fields in there (note - that assumes a relatively recent version of JIRA Agile, I seem to remember getting fields into the backlog view is a recent addition)
This doesn't appear to work. I add columns to the Backlog Card Layout but the columns displayed in the Backlog list do not change.
Update: I guess it does technically work. But, the value is not displayed as a column in the list. Instead it is displayed below the issue summary. I have to agree with the original poster that the UX is less than desirable. I would prefer to have more control over the columns that are displayed: remove some of the defaults and add additional fields that are displayed as true columns.
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