ODL’s Health Literacy Initiative Exceeds Expectations and Becomes a National Model

Now in its eighth year, Oklahoma’s Health Literacy Initiative is attracting almost 20,000 participants annually

Mustang Public Library’s First Tai Chi class at Mustang Town Center

It’s Thursday morning in Mustang, and the local public library is welcoming 82 participants to Mustang Town Center for the first of six classes on Tai Chi, the ancient Chinese exercise that helps people improve their balance, movement, and memory.

Leslie Gelders, Literacy Coordinator at the Oklahoma Department of Libraries, is happy but isn’t surprised by the popularity of the Mustang program. 

“ODL’s Health Literacy Initiative has been growing every year, and more public libraries and adult literacy programs are joining the effort,” she said.

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Headliners, Poetry Readings, and Genre Panels Highlight Successful Book Festival

Veteran Journalist and 60 Minutes Correspondent Steve Pelley shares stories from his book Truth Worth Telling. More than 150 were in the audience to hear Pelley for the festival’s first Headliner session. Honorary Co-Chair Jane Jayroe [inset] recruited Pelley for the festival.

A rainy morning and a day where the wind came sweeping down the plains didn’t stop a record crowd from turning out for the 2nd Oklahoma Book Festival on Saturday, September 21. 

Festival vendor Factor 110 estimates more than 3,000 individuals headed to the Oklahoma City Boathouse District to hear the 100+ presenters from Oklahoma and across the nation as they discussed their latest books—an increase from last year’s estimate of more than 2,500 in attendance. 

Headliners were the big draw, with a total of 427 people attending sessions in the Ida Sutton Williams Headliner Tent to hear presentations on popular current titles, from Scott Pelley’s Truth Worth Telling, to WK Stratton’s book on the movie The Wild Bunch, to Mystery writer Anne’s Hillerman’s latest work, The Tale Teller

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Honors for a Lover of Country, History, and Libraries

Major Helen Freudenberger Holmes, the first WAAC from Oklahoma, pursued a love of history and libraries following her service during World War II. She was also a local political leader who served as Mayor of Guthrie, Oklahoma from 1979 to 1981.

Twenty-two years after leaving this life, Helen Loretta Freudenberger Holmes is being remembered and honored with two posthumous hall of fame inductions this year.

On March 6, she was inducted into the U.S. Army Women’s Foundation Hall of Fame in Washington, D.C. On April 26, she’ll be inducted into the Oklahoma Historians Hall of Fame.

Many in Oklahoma’s library community celebrate her for another reason. Holmes was a founder and first president of the Friends of the Guthrie Public Library. She also served as a delegate from Guthrie to the 1978 Oklahoma Governor’s Conference on Libraries (which led to creation of the statewide friends group, Friends of Libraries in Oklahoma) and a delegate from Oklahoma to the 1979 White House Conference on Library and Information Services.

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New State Librarian Brings 30 Years of Public Service Experience to ODL

Melody Kellogg, new director of the Oklahoma Department of Libraries (ODL), brings with her a three-decade long portfolio of public service in libraries, state government, local government, and the non-profit sector.

Kellogg was hired by the ODL Board in December to succeed Susan McVey, who retired January 31 after 17 years as director. As the agency’s chief officer, Kellogg will work with ODL staff and Oklahoma’s library community to continue to build and improve library and information services for all Oklahomans. 

She is Oklahoma’s fifth State Librarian and State Archivist since ODL was created in 1967 when the State Library merged with the Oklahoma Libraries Commission.

ODL Board Chair Phil Moss said Kellogg’s extensive experience in a variety of public service settings was instrumental in setting her apart during the interviewing process.

“Melody brings a unique combination of backgrounds and skills to ODL,” Moss said. “I think her work as a public servant at both the state and municipal levels will benefit the agency, and her various experiences in libraries are also noteworthy. Plus, she has a passion for libraries and the important services they provide to the state and its communities.”

Kellogg’s public service path began in 1985 when she began a 13-year tenure with the Main Street Program at the Oklahoma Department of Commerce. She was promoted to assistant director in 1988 and later led the program as its director.

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Susan McVey Announces Her Retirement from ODL

Photo of Susan McVey outside the Allen Wright Memorial Library, headquarters for the Oklahoma Department of Libraries.
Susan McVey is retiring after 32 years of service to the State of Oklahoma and more than 40 years as a professional librarian.

(This press release may be downloaded in Word of PDF format)

January 14, 2019

Contact:Bill Young
405-522-3562 or 405-370-3750
bill.young@libraries.ok.gov

Department of Libraries Director Announces Retirement

Susan McVey has announced her retirement from the Oklahoma Department of Libraries (ODL), effective February 1, after 17 years as State Librarian and State Archivist. 

McVey has served as the agency’s fourth director since ODL was created in 1967 when the State Library merged with the Oklahoma Libraries Commission. Prior to appointment as director in 2001, she served six years as deputy director. She also headed the agency’s law and legislative reference division from 1991 to 1995. 

A native of Duncan, Oklahoma, McVey received her masters in library science from the University of Texas at Austin, and a masters in public administration from the University of Oklahoma. She was reference librarian and later director at Oklahoma City University’s Dulaney-Browne Library before joining ODL as a legislative reference librarian in 1986.

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