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

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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An Oklahoma Center for the Book Fall Roundup

Oklahoma Center for the Book Logo

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.

Our Four-Year DoubleR Author Tour project closed out this fall. Read about the 2018 tour and find out how many have attended the programs since the Reading Roundup launched in 2015. (Hint: It’s a bunch!)

Yeah! We had that Oklahoma Book Festival. It was a blast and we learned a lot. Check out the important stats from this inaugural festival. (Plus, browse photos from the festival.)

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.

Both The Center and its Friends support group—which makes so many of our programs possible—wish you all the best in 2019.

Did you miss this at the Book Festival?

With all of the crowds, presentations, activities, and book signings going on at the Oklahoma Book Festival on October 20, you may have missed our signs saluting Ida Sutton Williams. Ida’s daughter Laurie Williams was a major sponsor of the festival, and it was her desire to honor her mother, who once dreamed that Oklahoma would have its very own book festival. Below, see the photos and the biography from the signs outside the festival’s Headliner Tent and Entertainment Zone.

Photos of Ida Sutton Williams
Ida Sutton Williams from early days to life as a civic and cultural leader in Ardmore. Click the image above to see a larger graphic.

The Oklahoma Book Festival’s Headliner Tent and Entertainment Zone are named in honor of Ida Sutton Williams, former member and board chair of the Oklahoma Department of Libraries. Williams was an enthusiastic advocate of libraries and reading, and a tireless civic and cultural leader in Ardmore, Oklahoma. 

Selected as “Outstanding Girl” by the 1950 graduating class at Ardmore High School, Williams left Oklahoma to pursue her education at Smith College in North Hampton, Massachusetts, where she graduated in 1954 with a degree in education and religious studies. She also attended classes at the University of Oklahoma, where she was initiated into the Kappa Kappa Gamma sorority. Following her marriage to James W. Williams, she moved to Washington, D.C., where she attended graduate school at George Washington University. 

Williams returned to Ardmore, with her beloved husband Jim and their bright, humorous daughter Laurie, where she followed her lifetime passions of community service, philanthropy, and politics. Known affectionately as “Ida Red” by those closest to her, she was truly a “Renaissance Woman.” 

Williams reflected later in life that she realized as a young person the importance of the honor system; to read and listen to a variety of thoughts, opinions, and positions; to see, study, and meditate to find answers; to use a direct source if possible such as Plato or The Federalist Papers, rather than a secondhand or textbook opinion; and to question, to think for yourself, and to have the courage to rely upon your own opinions. She also understood the importance of interdisciplinary studies, stating “what a person learns from history can be applied to art, government, ethics, science, etc.—for in human life there is an interconnectedness among all things.”

The Ida Sutton Williams Headliner Tent and Entertainment Zone honor the many local library boards and friends groups, city and county officials, and civic leaders who understand that libraries make a profound and lasting impact on the life of the individual as well as communities.

Oklahoma’s Inaugural Book Festival by the Numbers

Costumed characters from Jedi OKC and the 501st Legion added to the fun of the Oklahoma Book Festival. See more photos from the festival.

A rain-soaked Friday, October 19—that almost made planners push the panic button—gave way to a sunny and successful Oklahoma Book Festival on Saturday, October 20, in Oklahoma City’s Boathouse District.

A book festival the state could call its own has long been a dream of Oklahoma’s literary community. Budget cuts that effectively slashed ODL’s number of employees by more than 50% over the past two decades didn’t bode well for the agency and its Oklahoma Center for the Book (OCB) to take on such an endeavor.

But take two determined employees (Vicki Mohr, administrator of ODL’s Office of Library Development, and Connie Armstrong, OCB Director), an agency director willing to use federal LSTA funds to help fund the project (Susan McVey), some influential and generous sponsors and partners, some enthusiastic volunteers, and a host of willing authors and illustrators…well, you get a book festival!

Let’s take a look at the successful event by the numbers…

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Oklahoma’s Reading Roundup Corrals Thousands of Participants

Artist and book illustrator Christopher Nick entertains students in Okeene.

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.

The Oklahoma Department of Libraries and its Oklahoma Center for the Book (OCB) approached the Friends of the Center, Friends of Libraries in Oklahoma (FOLIO), and other sponsors to fund tours of the authors and illustrators of those books each fall from 2015 to 2018.

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