Books That Inspire exhibits have traditionally promoted reading and libraries and have been coordinated with National Library Week. Those motives are again in the forefront of this year’s exhibit for which the opening coincides with National Library Week, April 15 – 21st. However, 2007 is also the centennial year of statehood for Oklahoma and the 7th annual Books That Inspire exhibit is celebrating this anniversary with books about Oklahoma or written by Oklahomans.
To most who were born and raised in Oklahoma, the state is part of the American West and is populated by strong, independent-minded citizens undaunted by adversity and eager to face and overcome all challenges that confront them. Oklahomans are also a very generous people who share their material wealth readily with others less fortunate. Those who settled here and grew up here are of diverse backgrounds and cultures who, despite differences in the past, have learned to live together harmoniously. Oklahoma’s early settlers came from most all European backgrounds and the Hispanic nations of Central and South America; African-Americans from the South came too, and Native Americans have constituted a large segment of the population from the early days of Indian and Oklahoma Territories.
The books recommended this year reflect the state’s diverse cultural background, its unusual and varied geography, and its exciting history. Our contributors represent both faculty and staff of the university and offer exhibit viewers a wide and interesting range of books by Oklahomans and about Oklahoma. There is literally something for everyone.
I am very grateful to President David L. Boren and First Lady Molly Boren; Provost and Senior Vice President Nancy L. Mergler; Dean Joe Foote; and Head Women’s Basketball Coach Sherri Coale for their contributions to the exhibit. Thanks are again extended to Joe Castiglione, Director of Athletics and the staff of the Athletics Department for being co-presenters again this year. The University Libraries and the Athletics Department have partnered successfully for seven years to promote libraries and reading as an avenue for academic achievement for student athletes and other university students.
The sponsorship of the exhibit has grown and reflects the general acceptance and success of the exhibit. I am especially grateful to Arvest Bank for its commitment to the exhibit. Arvest Bank has steadfastly supported Books That Inspire since its inception in 2000. The list of university sponsors also has increased from three colleges in 2000 to include every college on the Norman campus and several vice presidents’ offices. A complete list of the sponsors is part of the exhibit. Their contributions make the exhibit, poster, and publication financially possible. I very much appreciate their support.
Sul H. Lee
Dean, University Libraries and
Peggy V. Helmerich Chair