(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!)
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.
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.
Now in its eighth year, Oklahoma’s Health Literacy Initiative is attracting almost 20,000 participants annually
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.
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.
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.