Oklahoma Department of Libraries, U.S. Government Information Division

Exterior of  the Oklahoma Dept. of Libraries

The Oklahoma Department of Libraries (ODL) is being spotlighted by the U.S. Government Printing Office this June, 2009. The ODL is the official state library of Oklahoma.

In 1890, libraries were a major concern of the first convening Legislative Assembly of the Territory of Oklahoma. As a result, the assembly passed legislation creating a Territorial Library that provided legislators with reference services and also housed federal publications. The Oklahoma Territorial Library began receiving Federal depository materials soon after formation in 1893. That is fourteen years before Oklahoma was granted statehood in 1907!

Today the Oklahoma Department of Libraries works to expand the knowledge and enrich the lives of the people of their state. The mission of the library is to serve the information and records management needs of state government, assist with public library development, coordinate library and information technology projects for the state, and serve the general public through its specialized collections. They do so by pushing content to their users through various mechanisms. For instance, the library produces numerous pamphlets that highlight resources and special collections. Their work brings Federal documents to light on important topics such as Oklahoma history.

Being a service oriented library, it serves as one of two regional libraries for Oklahoma's 20 depository libraries. They have been acting in this capacity since the formation of regional libraries in 1962. The regional coordinator, Steve Beleu, actively works to educate libraries about the benefits and opportunities of being a Federal depository library, especially working to bring tribal college libraries into the program. He also shares his specialized knowledge of tribal resources at conferences and through Web pages. His latest Web page Federal Websites for Tribal Libraries and Tribal College Libraries pulls together many resources of interest to tribal libraries and for those interested in researching tribal issues.

Instructor for the Oklahoma Department of Libraries

The library also focuses its efforts on the needs of its users. For example, Mr. Beleu runs extensive training workshops for all libraries. These 2 to 5 hour workshops cover a range of topics that are tailored to the needs of the hosting library, such as health statistics, American Memory information, and Census information. Mr. Beleu has undertaken extensive agency training and is certified to teach the sessions whenever agency certification processes are available.

This one-on-one training and regular visits to the Oklahoma libraries helps the entire state provide the best quality services and collections for their users. To further the committment to services, the ODL and the Oklahoma City area libraries (aka "Metrodocs") have adopted an outstanding  Metrodocs Reference Service Standards for Federal information.

For these reasons, GPO would like to extend to the ODL a big "mvto" ("muh toh," that's Muscogee for "thanks") for their continued service to the Federal Depository Library Program!