Portland (OR) Public Schools to School Librarians: “We Want You!”

With a $3.1M budget increase, the Portland, Oregon public school system is planning to hire more than 30 librarians for the fall.

Portland Public Schools
superintendent Carole Smith

Portland Public Schools (PPS) in Oregon is looking to hire a few good librarians. A proposed increase to its 2015–16 budget by PPS superintendent Carole Smith includes $3.1 million to ensure that school libraries are open throughout the school day, starting in the fall of 2015. “The intention was always to bring back appropriate staffing, but there hasn’t been any funding,” says Susan Stone, a teacher librarian with PPS library services and a teacher on special assignment for the past eight years. “The economy has turned around, but frankly, this was a surprise.” Stone, whose role is to support about 100 PPS teacher librarians and library assistants in K–12 schools, says that Smith has kept library programming “on her radar since she came on board.” A 10-year veteran of PPS, Smith took over the superintendent’s role in October 2007. Stone says that every school currently has at least a half-time library assistant—or what’s known as a .5 position. Additional funds will now be provided to allow school libraries to open full time, with 20 schools allocated funds for a full-time position for the coming school year. Susan Stone

Susan Stone, a teacher librarian with PPS library services

Principals will have some discretion on how to spend the money on staff—whether to allocate funds to a teacher-librarian, a library assistant, or another combination, Stone says. While libraries do not have to be staffed full time, they must be open for the full school day to provide library services, and must have a teacher-librarian there at least half the time in order to provide the instructional program essential for 21st century learning. It is not yet clear what additional positions may be added to remaining PPS schools in PPS in order to keep libraries open. PPS representatives did not respond to requests for more information. Stone says the new hires couldn’t come at a better time. Oregon adopted new School Library Standards in January, which include support for information literacy, reading engagement, social responsibility, and technology integration. New hires will be expected to teach according to these new standards, says Stone. The listing posted by PPS for Media Specialist went live April 10, with a start date of August 17. Stone says that she has already heard from applicants from as far away as Wisconsin and Florida. Applicants must hold a Teacher Standards and Practices Commission license with a Media Specialist/Educational Media Endorsement/Library endorsement, according to the listing. Stone says upward of 30 positions will be hired and there is no closing date for the listings. School starts on August 27. “This is a great opportunity,” says Stone. “When [Smith] made the announcement at a school board meeting, I watched it from home and emailed her directly and said, ‘This is fantastic.’”
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Peggy Christensen

Great news. It's a great move by the PPS leadership team. Portland needed to be the one to take this decisive step.

Posted : Jun 12, 2015 02:31

Jessica Lorentz Smith

As an Oregonian I am thrilled to hear this news! Many of my mentors when I started were working full-time in Portland and I have been so scared each year that I would get reassigned. Safe for another few years. Yay!

Posted : Jun 10, 2015 07:40

Michael Diltz

Nothing would make me happier than to have great librarians join our team here in PPS. Let's collaborate!!!

Posted : Jun 10, 2015 01:46

Katie O'Dell

Come to Portland! You've got passionate colleagues at Multnomah County Library waiting to welcome and work with you!

Posted : Jun 10, 2015 12:48




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