Multnomah County Library worker receives major national honor

PORTLAND, OR – Steve Roskoski, a library assistant at Central Library, was recently named Library Journal's 2008 Paraprofessional of the Year.

This national award includes a $1,500 cash prize, a cover story in the library profession's equivalent of Time or Newsweek, and a reception in the winner's honor at the American Library Association's annual conference in June.

Roskoski, 30, began his long association with Multnomah County Library by volunteering at the St. Johns Library at age 10. Since joining the library's paid staff in 1995, he's worked at various library locations, most recently in Popular Library in downtown's Central Library. As a library assistant, his regular duties include answering reference questions and helping customers find the books they need.

"Steve is a high energy person, and he's always focused on connecting our customers with everything the library offers," said Director of Libraries Molly Raphael. To see one of Roskoski's innovative ideas at work, look no further than Central's Popular Library, where many workers sport "What I'm Reading Now" badges designed to spark ongoing conversations about great reads.

Roskoski was unaware he had been nominated until he received a call from Library Journal confirming his selection. A former coworker, now living in California, had submitted his name for consideration. She wrote that his accomplishments "touch upon almost everything the library does" and cited a long list of accomplishments, including developing employee trainings, conducting storytimes and participating in the development of L-net, Oregon's statewide online chat reference service.