Stillwater children's librarian named ´outstanding' at library conference

elizabeth murray and shari clifton(STILLWATER, OKLA, May 7, 2015) — Stillwater Public Library users have known for several years that their newest children’s librarian is an outstanding addition to the library, but now it is official. Last week, the Oklahoma Library Association (OLA) named Elizabeth Murray the “Outstanding New Librarian” of the year.

Each year at its convention, OLA honors one librarian with less than five years of experience for significant contributions to the profession of librarianship and leadership in innovative and exceptional programs or services.

“Elizabeth is an amazing asset to our community,” said Lynda Reynolds, Stillwater Public Library director. “She has taken children’s library services to a completely new level that is attracting many new readers and parents.”

Murray was selected for the award based on the tremendous growth in the Stillwater Public Library’s children’s programs, services and usage.  Since her arrival, statistics for cards issued, books borrowed and programs attended have increased by as much as 56%, which are the highest numbers recorded for the library.

(Photo: Elizabeth Murray, Stillwater Public Library’s children’s librarian, receives the award for Outstanding New Librarian from Oklahoma Librarian Association President, Shari Clifton.)

Much of Murray’s success has been in applying science and technology skills, popular with children, to library use. Murray started several new programs based on engineering, computer programming and other fields of science. Registration for programs like “Lego Club,” “Minecraft Mondays” and “Picking up Steam,” a hands-on library lab, consistently fill to capacity and are a hit with elementary age children and their parents.

“With tablets, streaming movies and videogames, it can be incredibly challenging to get children to read or to use the library,” said Reynolds. ”But Elizabeth has brought with her a new style of services that not only captures children’s attention, but teaches them invaluable skills at the same time.”

New partnerships Murray made with the Chamber of Commerce Young Professionals of Stillwater, Oklahoma WONDERtorium, OSU Botanic Garden and the Zoology Graduate Student Society have extended the success of the programs even further.

But it is Murray’s priority in getting children and parents into the library early that is providing the community with its long-lasting benefits.

“Elizabeth began new programs for babies and for toddlers,” said Reynolds. “These storytimes introduce children to books at the very start of their lives and help to make them readers for life.”

Murray, who joined the library in September of 2012, is a Nebraska native who received her Master of Arts in Information Science & Learning Technologies from the University of Missouri.

The job as Children’s Librarian in Stillwater was Murray’s first professional position in a library. Her first impressions of Stillwater had Murray slightly overwhelmed.

“Honestly, I was a little shocked at seeing all of the orange,” said Murray. “I had never seen so much orange in my life.”

The young librarian soon became impressed with other aspects of Stillwater as well.

“I quickly realized how lucky I was lucky to have a supportive director who was willing to let me try so many new things,” said Murray. “I was even more excited to see how much the parents and the public support our library.”

Murray plans to continue her hard work and hopes to make the Stillwater Public Library a major community partner that promotes all types of literacy for children of all ages.

The Stillwater Public Library is located at 1107 S. Duck St. (the corner of Duck and 12th Ave.). For more information, contact the Stillwater Public Library by phone at (405) 372-3633 or by e-mail at askalibrarian@stillwater.org or visit the web site at library.stillwater.org.