New Director: Suzanne Bishop Joins St. Helens Public Library | New
The City of St. Helens has hired Suzanne Bishop as the new director of the St. Helens Public Library. Bishop takes office on June 15.
Bishop brings two decades of library experience and a full career in public service to St. Helens, according to a statement from the City of St. Helens.
Bishop’s most recent job was as Director of Youth Services in the Alexandria Public Library System in Virginia. She has worked for public and private school libraries in Virginia and at the Elmer E. Rasmuson Library at the University of Alaska Fairbanks. She holds a master’s degree in library and information science from Syracuse University.
It also has ties to the Pacific Northwest. She attended Lewis and Clark College in Portland and said she was very happy to return to the area.
“St. Helens Public Library is a vibrant place with a staff that delivers innovative programs,” Bishop said. “I come from an urban library system where things like the St. Helens Public Library Makerspace and Library of Things are not yet done. I am also drawn to St. Helens, which reminds me of Fairbanks, Alaska, where I raised my children and became a librarian. I also look forward to working with the strengths of a smaller library – they can scale so quickly when they see a need.”
Bishop added that she is passionate about public libraries and sees them as the living room of the community.
Bishop said she also has extensive fundraising experience for libraries and other community organizations. Over his career, Bishop has developed collaborations between local government and community partners and worked closely with local officials to develop a strategic plan for public schools, according to the statement.
Bishop said his first goal at St. Helens is to get to know the community and support library staff in the great work they are already doing.
“The strong complement of services and programs, Makerspace and the Library of Things provide a great foundation to build on,” she said.
As she establishes herself professionally in the community, Bishop said you may also find her exploring recreational opportunities in our area. She is an avid birdwatcher and hiker, and her daughter will be attending Oregon State University this fall.
Bishop said his longer-term goal is to ensure the St. Helens Public Library remains relevant to the community.
“Libraries are evolving as the ways our citizens engage in learning and entertainment change,” Bishop said. “The pandemic has taught us that we will best serve the community when we interact with our customers in different ways at the library and in the community.”
Former director of the St. Helens Public Library, Margaret Jeffries, retired in January 2022.
The library manager performs many duties for the city, serving on various interagency committees in addition to the mayor, city council, city administrator and staff on library issues, and manages seven employees, according to Crystal King, communications manager in St. Helens.
“The position performs complex supervisory, administrative and professional work in planning, developing, organizing, scheduling, directing, supervising and implementing a city-wide library program all year,” King told The Chronicle in an interview published in November 2021.
The monthly salary for a library manager offered by the city ranges from $7,494 to $9,176, along with the following benefits:
- Various health, vision and dental insurance packages for employees and family with a premium of only 2%
- Fully compensated participation in the Oregon Public Employees Retirement System
- Two to six weeks paid vacation
- Accumulated sick leave (12 days per year)
- Longevity salary: $50 to $200 per month depending on length of service
- Management leave: 96 hours per fiscal year
- Possible housing incentive
- $50 per month for health club membership