Because someone cared City of Boley was first brought to my attention back in February of this year. The City of Boley had not had access to a library and computers for over a decade. Today thanks to a donor they have a working media center with four desktops. Several donors have donated books that has lead to a beginning library, which has inspired the major to have a new home – a library – for everything on main street. The success and impact on the community can not be expressed in words. The closest town to Boley, that has a library is about twelve miles away. The miles may sound simple – but not so to families without transportation or the money to pay for fuel to visit a library.
Today as I drive to various locations in Oklahoma to teach Basic computer skills to elders and community members – I drive through towns that are like Boley. I should point out that every time I have visited with community people in small towns – they all need and want a library or media center. The need is great. The community members typically do not have the ability to drive distances but would greatly benefit from the opportunities given at public libraries. I could list the towns here but know that I cannot possibly list them all. That’s what is wonderful about Oklahoma – all the unique towns – hometowns.
Oklahoma Department of Libraries (ODL) is excellent in their outreach, empowering public and special libraries across Oklahoma with support, training and resources to help those libraries empower their community be digital inclusive. It is not possible for ODL to go out and create libraries in every town in Oklahoma. It is a responsibility to the community but once a beginning library has been created or in the planning stages they have lots of support from Oklahoma Department of Libraries. I know first hand of how ODL helps because of being a librarian in a Tribal library that did not have a budget or funding for two years. ODL was my lifeline – helping me know how to teach computer skills by attending train the trainer classes on their databases, that were freely given to my library. The first “new” books held by the children came from ODL. The list of accolades for all the help given to our library is “very long”. I called them so much I should have had them on speed dial. Now working with ODL on this special project has been and continues to be amazing. I still catch my breath when I walk up to the building with the big letters – Oklahoma Department of Libraries – on it.
Our pilot project ends the middle of February, with the donor desktops, Oklahoma Department of Libraries support the new media centers/beginning libraries and the ones yet to come will be greatly appreciated. It is my hope as I visit with people who are listening in hopes that in Oklahoma there will be more digital inclusion for small towns.