The Oregon Association of School Librarians (OASL) honored the GSE’s Ruth Murray with a Lifetime Achievement Award: Outstanding and Lasting Contributions. Murray received the award at the OASL fall conference in Bend and will add it to her collection of previous awards she has received from the OASL and the Oregon Library Association (OLA).
The honor is conferred upon those who have made exemplary contributions to Oregon school libraries. Murray certainly has. She is a past president of OASL and has tirelessly lobbied for school libraries at both the state and national levels while continuing her teaching duties and mentoring scores of school librarians.
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 the Gresham-Barlow School District and then moved to Athey Creek Middle School in the West Linn–Wilsonville School District, where she worked for 15 years. She also taught in Portland Community College’s Library Assistant program and in PSU’s Library Media program and continues to teach, advise, and supervise practicum students for PSU.
Murray’s advocacy has had significant statewide impact. In 1996, Murray worked to merge the OASL with the OAL, creating a stronger organization that is united in promoting library services and access in Oregon. In 2014, she worked to create new Oregon School Library Standards, which were adopted by the State Board of Education in January of 2015.
“Your wit, intelligence, professionalism, dedication, and humor have inspired and motivated countless individuals as they move forward to advance the purpose of OASL,” Peggy Christensen, president of the OASL, wrote to Murray. “It is evident by the numbers that few have done as much to affect Oregon School Libraries, the people who work in them, and the children who use them, but you, Ruth, are among this elite group.”
This is only the sixth time the award has been offered in the OASL’s 50-year history. Previous award winners include authors Beverly Cleary and Walter Morey, PSU Library Media Professor Phyllis Hochstettler, State Library Board Member Jim Hayden, and former Oregon State Librarian Jim Scheppke.