PORTLAND, OR – Multnomah County Chair Ted Wheeler announced today that Vailey Oehlke, currently deputy director of Multnomah County Library, has been selected as the agency's next director of libraries.
"Vailey emerged from our national search as the clear choice for this critical leadership position," said Wheeler. Adds Merris Sumrall, CEO of The Library Foundation, "This is wonderful news. Vailey's energy and vision will set a strong direction for the library at a time when the economy, the changing role of technology and our children's education make the library more important than ever."
Oehlke succeeds retiring director Molly Raphael and will begin her new position May 1. "I'm very excited to have the opportunity to lead Multnomah County Library into the future," said Oehlke. "I look forward to working with the county's leadership, library staff, library supporters and community leaders to ensure that our library system remains a dynamic and vital resource for people of all ages."
A longtime library professional, Oehlke began her career at Multnomah County Library in 1997 as a youth librarian in the School Corps program, working with educators and students in the schools. She then joined the staff of the downtown Central Library, first as a section administrator and then as its director. Appointed the library system's deputy director in 2008, Oehlke currently oversees all the library's direct services, including Central Library, the 16 branch libraries, various outreach programs, and planning for the two new libraries in Troutdale and Kenton.
Her background also includes experience as a librarian with the Beaverton City Library, the ITT Technical Institute and the Oregon City Public Library. She received her bachelor's degree from Northern Illinois University in 1988 and her master's degree in library science from the University of Illinois, Urbana in 1992. A longtime resident of Northeast Portland, Oehlke is an active member of the American Library Association and the Oregon Library Association.
Oehlke's appointment as Director of Libraries is subject to the approval of the Multnomah County Board of Commissioners on April 30.