Happy New Year! With all of the holidays behind us—and the snow day behind us, and all of the entries in the 2019 Oklahoma Book Awards here or on their way—it’s time to give you that fall roundup of Center for the Book activities that we’ve been intending to do for the past two months.
In case you missed our salute to Ida Sutton Williams at the Book Festival, here it is.Ida’s daughter Laurie Williams was a major sponsor of the festival, and it was her desire to honor her mother, who dreamed that Oklahoma would have its very own book festival someday. Dreams come true.
More than 16,000 children, teens, teachers, librarians, parents, and library friends participated during the state’s four-year Reading Roundup Author Tour, which held its finale in Hennessey on September 25. Almost 3,700 people attended this fall’s tours featuring author Lutricia Clifton (Seeking Cassandra) and illustrator Christopher Nick (Dust Storm).
Conceived in 2015, the “DoubleR” tour was inspired by a grant from the Reading Trust that helped place recent Oklahoma Book Award-winning children’s and young adult titles in all of the state’s public libraries.
Sad news. Former ODL Director Bob Clark died on May 26. He had been suffering from Post Polio Syndrome for the past several years, but his wife Audrey says he remained active despite his physical difficulties. In fact, he remained active until five days before his death.
Below is the brief paragraph we shared with the national library press, which has very limited space for such announcements. If we had had room, we would have also mentioned that he was instrumental in establishing the Oklahoma Center for the Book, the fourth such center established under the Library of Congress program. It’s always good when Oklahoma is not at the bottom of a list.
Memorial donations may be made to:
ACLU of Oklahoma
Oklahoma City, OK 73103
Robert L. Clark, 72, director of the Oklahoma Department of Libraries (ODL) from 1976 until his retirement in 2000, died May 26. During his tenure as State Librarian he headed two Governor’s Conferences on libraries and led a strategic planning process that redefined Oklahoma’s state library and its role in the information age. He championed preservation programs, government openness laws, and library and information services for institutional populations. A staunch supporter of Intellectual Freedom, he and the agency made news in 1997 when a federal judge granted ODL intervener plaintiff status in the strange obscenity case of the Academy Award winning film “The Tin Drum.” When an Oklahoma County judge ruled the film contained obscenity, VHS copies of the movie were confiscated from the Metropolitan Library System and area video rental stores. The Video Software Dealers Association (VSDA) sued and ODL was granted standing in representing access and censorship concerns on the local level. The VSDA prevailed in the case and the film was ultimately returned to library and store shelves. Clark received the Oklahoma Library Legend Award from the Oklahoma Library Association in 2007.
Every January or February, ODL Director Susan McVey and Deputy Director Vicki Sullivan head to the State Capitol Building to meet with the Oklahoma Senate and House appropriations committees to report on past agency accomplishments and to answer questions about the ODL Budget Request, which was submitted the previous October.
During the hearing, we share our successes and expenditures in a way to demonstrate the agency’s accountability to our lawmakers and the state’s taxpayers. Some of the information we put together is used by Oklahoma Library Association members for advocacy purposes as they visit with their legislators.
Later in the spring (usually in May), Director McVey heads to Washington, DC with a group of Oklahoma librarians for National Library Legislative Day to talk about library funding and policies with our U.S. Reps and Senators.