The 2020 Oklahoma Book Festival has been Canceled

The 2020 Oklahoma Book Festival, scheduled for November 14, has been cancelled by the Oklahoma Department of Libraries (ODL) and festival organizers due to the ongoing Coronavirus pandemic.

Connie Armstrong, executive director of ODL’s Oklahoma Center for the Book, and Vicki Mohr, administrator of ODL’s Office of Library Development, made the announcement in a joint statement:

“This was a difficult decision but we believe it is in the best interest of Oklahoma book lovers. It is simply too risky to have any type of in-person event right now, even with safety precautions. Additionally, we do not feel a completely virtual book festival would garner enough audience participation to warrant the costs necessary to put on such programming. The pandemic is also making fundraising and partner recruitment more difficult for non-profits and community events at this time. We are disappointed, but remain enthusiastic about the future of the Oklahoma Book Festival program. Please look for information in the coming months on a 2021 festival.”

New Digital Prairie Collection Showcases Women’s Suffrage Documents in State Archives

On August 26, 1920, the 19th Amendment, guaranteeing women the right to vote, was formally adopted into the U.S. Constitution by proclamation of Secretary of State Bainbridge Colby. The amendment was the culmination of more than 70 years of struggle by women suffragists.

To celebrate the 100th anniversary of this monumental occasion, ODL’s State Archives division has put together a special collection highlighting Oklahoma’s role in the Suffrage Movement. The Suffrage Collection consists of state government records from the Office of the Governor, Charities and Corrections, and the Legislature. There are 53 items currently in this collection… with more being added!

“Teleworking in March gave me the opportunity to create the metadata for each item,” Archivist Holly Hasenfratz said. “I really enjoyed reading the correspondence (both pro- and anti-suffrage) that was sent to Governor Robertson.”

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50 Grantees Will Utilize ODL CARES Act Funds to Improve Digital Inclusion

Fifty Oklahoma institutions and organizations have been awarded Digital Inclusion Grants totaling $290,000 from the Oklahoma Department of Libraries, courtesy of the Institute of Museum and Library Services and the CARES Act legislation passed by Congress.

This is the second of the CARES Act grants that ODL has awarded. The first grant addressed the health and safety needs of libraries and cultural institutions. You can see these PPE Grant recipients here. Together, the two grants provided $350,000 for COVID-19 response.

This second grant was designed to help public libraries, tribal libraries and cultural centers, adult literacy programs, and museums expand access to their digital services and enhance digital inclusion in their communities. The current pandemic has been a harsh reminder of the digital divide that exists in our state and nation, and ODL planned these CARES Act grants to help more Oklahomans access important services online.

Continue reading 50 Grantees Will Utilize ODL CARES Act Funds to Improve Digital Inclusion

ODL Awards CARES Act PPE Grants to 64 institutions

The Oklahoma Department of Libraries has awarded 64 grants to public libraries, tribal libraries, tribal cultural centers, and museums to help the institutions purchase personal protective equipment, cleaning supplies, customer safety supplies, and other materials and equipment to help keep their staff and visitors safe during the COVID-19 Pandemic.

The funding is courtesy of the Institute of Museum and Library Services through the federal CARES Act legislation. ODL and other state libraries received funding to help libraries and cultural institutions respond to the public health crisis.

The federal directive is a means to help with safety measures in response to COVID-19 and to help institutions with digital inclusion efforts. The pandemic has thrown a spotlight on America’s digital divide. ODL is also offering a grant opportunity to help improve digital inclusion at libraries, cultural centers, and museums. The digital inclusion grantees will be announced in July.

PPE grant recipients and award amounts are listed below by Oklahoma’s U.S. Congressional Districts and then by city or town:

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Oklahoma Public Libraries Continue to Serve During the Pandemic

(Editor’s Note: We start you off with a photo from Miami Public Library and an article ODL contributed to the Friends of Libraries in Oklahoma newsletter, and then follow up with links to news stories about how Oklahoma’s libraries and book communities have been adapting during this unprecedented time. We miss you, and hope to see you soon!)

Children’s librarian Judy Beauchamp drew this chalk message on the side of her library. Photo courtesy of Miami Public Library

All the Ways to Serve

(A slightly shorter, earlier version of this article was submitted May 5 for the FOLIO Newsletter.)

“Libraries always remind me that there are good things in this world.”
—Lauren Ward, American Singer and Actress

When times are bad, Americans depend even more on their community libraries for information, assistance, and entertainment. During this particular bad time—the coronavirus pandemic and subsequent economic upheaval—public libraries across the state and nation were forced to close their doors to the public.

This lockdown and period of social distancing to mitigate the spread of a new and deadly virus has been hard for all public servants, but especially for library staff, who have always been there for their communities when the going gets tough.

Continue reading Oklahoma Public Libraries Continue to Serve During the Pandemic