All posts by Bill Young

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

ODL Deputy Director Vicki Sullivan Retires

Vicki Sullivan retired on October 31 after 35 years of service to the Oklahoma Department of Libraries

Immediately after the Oklahoma Department of Libraries Board of Directors appointed Vicki Sullivan as the agency’s deputy director on March 1, 2002, Sullivan and her colleagues were driving down Lincoln Boulevard to go to a celebratory lunch. 

When approaching the State Capitol Building, former ODL Webmanager Michael O’Hasson brought up a story from Sullivan’s past: while applying for the Deputy Director job at the Oklahoma Historical Society, word came back to her that one OHS board member had quipped, “There’ll be a woman as deputy director of this agency when that capitol has a dome on it!”

While passing the capitol building in 2002, seeing the long-awaited dome rising above the scaffolding, it was impossible not to laugh at the irony and the serendipity.

Sullivan officially retired from state service on October 31, and staff held a reception to thank her for her long service to the agency and the state. In addition to serving more than 17 years as Deputy, she also headed the Oklahoma Publications Clearinghouse and the Office of Government Information. In addition to her service at the Historical Society, she also logged some time at the Department of Human Services—before embarking on a library career—bringing her total years of service with the State of Oklahoma to 44.

Continue reading ODL Deputy Director Vicki Sullivan Retires

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.

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

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.

Continue reading Honors for a Lover of Country, History, and Libraries