Our First Post: The Road to libraries.ok.gov

ODL website announcementWelcome to the Wright News, a blog that will report on projects and programs of the Oklahoma Department of Libraries, share news and views from the world of libraries, and post various and sundry other items of interest to our community. Our blog is named after our building on 200 N.E. 18th Street in Oklahoma City—the Allen Wright Memorial Library, which is named after the Choctaw Chief credited with coming up with the word “Oklahoma.”

The launch of our new blog coincides with the launch of ODL’s new website, located at libraries.ok.gov, and these launches come one year after our new Online Media Manager,  Fara Taylor,  joined ODL to resuscitate our web and social media presences.

While the agency has developed and subscribed to a good number of online information services for our customers, the good ol’ ODL website was stuck in the 1990’s. It was like a member of the brat pack with left-over big 80’s hair walking onto a 21st century movie set. The styles had changed. We were out of date. It was time to cut off that big hair and get a new wardrobe.


First Things First
When Taylor joined us, we had a number of social media accounts and blogs, set up by go-get-‘em staff members who embraced sharing their news and projects via Facebook, Twitter, and blog posts. Youth Services Librarian Adrienne Butler had even started a podcast with fellow CYA librarians in the state that features reviews of books for children and young adults. Taylor’s first order or business was to round-up these resources so they could be easily found.

OK LibShare
Years ago, ODL had set up a domain name with OneNet for staff members to create their own online content. Taylor took the domain and turned it into the round-up site for all of our social media accounts, blogs, the podcast, the performers showcase, the public libraries website hosting service, and more. In fact, the Wright News blog resides on this very domain. Taylor also managed to get control of one of two ODL Facebook accounts (one generated by those oh-so-helpful-(not!)-folks at Facebook, and one created by a mystery person). She then established Twitter and Instagram accounts for ODL. And… we were off and running! Tour odl.oklibshare.org to connect to our social media accounts and discover other features of particular interest to librarians.

Next up!
With the blogs and social media accounts properly corralled, Taylor started working with graphic artist Bill Struby on the design, and with office and division heads Kitty Pittman, Arlene Paschel, David Hanky, Jan Davis, Vicki Mohr, Steve Beleu, Christine Chen, and Leslie Gelders and their staffs to update content, and create a customer-centric organization for the site. Hover over one of the customer groups on the home page (For Oklahomans, For Libraries, For State Employees) to get a mega menu of options. If you are accustomed to surfing for info by visiting pages for our different offices and divisions, hover over About ODL to find the division you’re seeking.catalog itemsBe sure and check out our new “Find Your Library” locator, which will help Oklahomans around the state zero in on the closest public library. We also have a new calendar, and an updated SoonerSearch state government search service that is still being developed.

Things to Come
We’ll soon be providing some advanced search functions for the new SoonerSearch, which is powered by DigitalGov Search, the federal service that provides USA.Gov. Plus, we’re also exploring a service called GovDelivery, which will provide new ways to keep in contact with libraries and other customers. We’re investigating using Data.OK.Gov to make library annual report information accessible, and we’re also dreaming about doing a digital literary map of the state.

So, watch for new developments! In the meantime, surf the new site and provide us with your feedback. The old 90’s era site (www.odl.state.ok.us) will remain online for a couple of months to give our users time to locate and bookmark information on the new site.