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.

In 1999 she joined the City of Guthrie as special projects coordinator, kicking off a decade of local government experience. In 2002, the Guthrie City Manager asked Kellogg to become director of the Guthrie Public Library.

“I went into that position with the understanding that I would concurrently attain a master’s degree in Library and Information Sciences,” Kellogg said. “It was a challenge I was eager to take.” 

She completed her degree through the University of Oklahoma in 2004 and served three more years at the library before becoming City Manager of Guthrie, directing a city workforce of 115, and developing and administering the municipality’s $18 million budget.

After a two-year stay at a non-profit church ministry where she served as assistant to the organization’s director, she returned to libraries in 2011 when she was hired to manage the Edmond Branch Library for Oklahoma County’s Metropolitan Library System. By 2015 she was serving as a Regional Director for Metropolitan, supervising three of the system’s library branches. A year later other departments were added to her responsibilities, including a new call center and the team responsible for system-wide programming.

“Melody was always being tapped for leadership positions within her organizations,” Moss said. “That speaks volumes.”

Kellogg’s leadership abilities have also been recognized and rewarded by her library colleagues in the state. She was elected president of the Oklahoma Library Association for 2016-2017 and represented the association and Oklahoma’s libraries on the national level. 

“My plan is to continue and expand upon the progress and service that has been established under Susan McVey,” Kellogg said of her new role as State Librarian. “ODL has made great strides toward connectivity in our rural libraries, and the agency has led the way in the digitization of Oklahoma’s state government records. I embrace those accomplishments as we look for new opportunities.”

Kellogg said emerging information technologies means libraries will continue to walk that line between providing the traditional services patrons expect, and introducing communities to new resources. 

“Our job is to help Oklahoma libraries evolve and adapt to meet the needs of their communities.”