Ruth Murray, MS ’93, has received the highest honor for librarians in Oregon. At its annual conference in April, the Oregon Library Association (OLA) named her the 2012 Librarian of the Year. She is the first school librarian to ever receive this distinction. The award was presented to her for “exceptional service and her many contributions to serving libraries and youth.”
Ms. Murray taught English and theater in Ohio for 20 years before moving to Oregon, where she received her MS in library media from PSU. She taught in Gresham-Barlow School District from 1993-95 and then moved to Athey Creek Middle School in West Linn Wilsonville School District, where she taught from 1995-2008. She also taught in PCC’s Library Assistant Program, in PSU’s library media program, and continues to teach and advise in the GSE’s program.
“Ms. Murray has been involved in the Graduate School of Education library media program for many years—teaching multiple courses, helping make the program accessible by putting courses online, advising students, advocating for the program and for retaining library specialists in our schools, and recruiting both instructors and students,” said Associate Dean Cheryl Livneh. “She is a wonderful colleague and has positively impacted thousands of students throughout Oregon and SW Washington. We are so proud that she is a member of the GSE.”
Ruth Murray is a past president of the Oregon Association of School Libraries (OASL) which recently merged with the OLA. In 1996, she received the OASL Library Media Specialist of the Year award. An OASL board member for 20 years, she was appointed liaison between the two organizations and assigned to work with a joint committee to organize a merger. She provided insight and leadership, using strategies that would make the resulting new organization even stronger. As a result of her determination, both OLA and OASL voted overwhelmingly to merge.
“She is a tireless advocate for school libraries, traveling to Salem and Washington DC to promote the importance of school libraries to the literacy education of students,” says Mary Ginnane, past president of the OLA.
Ms. Murray is a staunch advocate for all libraries, having met with both Oregon legislators and national leaders for library and education support. Upon returning from a recent trip to Washington DC, she decided to skip the OLA state conference the next day, but friends intervened and she arrived in Bend on time to receive her award. “I was so shocked,” she said. “I had no idea they would say all those nice things about me.