The Oklahoma Department of Libraries (ODL) is the official state library of Oklahoma. We 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 our specialized collections.
The Department is governed by a seven-member board of directors appointed by the Governor and confirmed by the State Senate.
From Carnegie to computers, the Oklahoma Department of Libraries has worked to expand the knowledge and enrich the lives of the people of this state. Libraries were a matter of concern to the very first Legislative Assembly of the Territory of Oklahoma, which convened in 1890. One of this body’s first acts was to pass legislation creating a Territorial Library, to provide legislators with reference services and to house federal publications.
Oklahoma joined the union and the “State Library” continued to serve primarily as a legislative reference library and federal depository. Then, during the early years of the new century, iron magnate Andrew Carnegie channeled over $500,000 into a state building program resulting in 22 public libraries and one institutional library. So, in 1919, the Oklahoma Library Commission was established to help these Carnegie and other struggling libraries across the state.
The Commission was merged with the State Library in 1953. Passage of the Oklahoma Library Code in 1967 created the Oklahoma Department of Libraries (ODL). Succeeding legislatures have increased the duties and scope of the Department.
Today, ODL administers a variety of library and information services, including state archives, records management, state and federal government documents, and interlibrary referral. Our staff of consultants assist with public library development in the state. Oklahoma Statute 65, Sections 55 & 56 give ODL the authority to expand the delivery of information via electronic telecommunications. The agency coordinates projects of the Oklahoma Library Technology Network (OLTN) to develop and improve information sharing and access across the state.