In an effort to modernize and better serve students in its libraries, the Newberg School District hired a district librarian for what it called a "revamped position." Lindsay Riley will take on the new challenge with 18 years of experience in education behind her.
Riley will work out of Newberg High School and serve all the students in the district, collaborating with the elementary and middle schools to create a consistent vision for all libraries. She said she hopes to reach every student and make libraries a more valuable resource for students.
"It's a great opportunity for me to work with kids K through 12," Riley said. "We are going to look at ways to unify our libraries for kids of all ages. How do we leverage our school libraries and library staff to partner with classrooms?"
The nature of libraries has changed as students have grown up in the digital age. They are no longer simply places where kids can pick up books and study, but function as places for students to collaborate, work on projects, go online and utilize the digital tools at their disposals.
Ultimately, Riley said, the library is a place where everyone should feel welcome and willing to learn.
"Our students will be getting an opportunity to engage with an information-rich world," she said. "We will work on information literacy, digital citizenship and boosting reading engagement.
"School libraries and public libraries are still essential places for our students and for adults. Those spaces are no less important than they ever were and they invite civic engagement and provide the tools to learn and succeed."
District Director of Strategic Partnerships Luke Neff was serving as the de facto district librarian while budget cuts put a strain on the district last year. But with more resources available to invest in positions it believes will be valuable for students, the district has decided to bring an expert like Riley into the fold to do the job full time.
"After spending a year trying to be a librarian, I cannot stress enough the importance of having a highly-qualified, dynamic leader for our libraries," Neff said in a district press release.
Riley earned a master's degree from the University of Michigan and recently completed her library media endorsement at Portland State University. She has been in education since 2001 and was most recently in the West Linn-Wilsonville School District for six years.
Riley and her family live in Tualatin after moving to Oregon from Washington, D.C., in 2012. Since then, she has convinced her parents to move from Michigan to Oregon, and the entire family loves it here, she said.
She looks forward to serving the district in this new and "exciting" capacity, bringing to the forefront the importance of the library for students and making sure they have the resources they need to thrive.
Riley points to information literacy as something of particular importance to her. In an era where people online can struggle to discern fact from fiction, it is important for students to be media literate and be good digital citizens, she said.
This job is important not only to Newberg students, but to the entire community, she added. Partnering with local entities, in particular the public library, is one of Riley's goals.
"This is a role that has been revamped to bridge the library to all of our schools and in all of our classrooms," she said. "We have an amazing team of library assistants who will be helping me and the rest of our staff out. I'm hoping to partner a great deal with the public library as well."
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