It is with great pleasure that I present the University of Oklahoma Libraries’ eighth annual Books That Inspire exhibit. This exhibit, which seeks to promote reading, traditionally coincides with National Library Week. This year we honor books originally published by the University of Oklahoma Press. The OU Press was the first university press established in the Southwest. It is now internationally recognized as a preeminent publisher of books relating to American Indians and the American West. As our contributors’ selections reveal, the OU Press also has a wide variety of books about Oklahoma history, military history, natural science, classical studies, African American studies, gender studies, literature, biography and political science.
The University Press and the University Libraries each play a crucial role in the production of knowledge at the University. Many of the books published by the University Press are written by University of Oklahoma faculty who rely upon the holdings, resources and services of the University Libraries to conduct their research.
The University Libraries and the University Press are close allies not only in the production of knowledge, but also in the distribution of knowledge. Each year the University Press sends copies of new books to the University Libraries. This annual relationship grows richer over time. For as Norman Cousins states, a library is “the delivery room for the birth of ideas – a place where history comes to life.” The alliance between University Libraries and the OU Press is a birthing ground for knowledge as it honors the past while simultaneously creating the future of knowledge. Because of the joint efforts of the Press and the Libraries, the knowledge created and published here is sent abroad into the world.
This year’s selections for the exhibit present contemporary publications alongside classic texts. Recent books include: University of Oklahoma President David Boren’s A Letter to America; Rilla Askew, Harpsong; Charles Robert Goins and Danney Goble, Historical Atlas of Oklahoma; and David Levy, The University of Oklahoma: A History.
There are also several books published before 1970, including: George L. Cross, Blacks in White Colleges; Savoie Lottinville, The Rhetoric of History; Edward Everett Dale, The Range Cattle Industry: Ranching on the Plains from 1865-1925; and J. Everett Haley, Charles Goodnight: Cowman and Plainsman.
Each book attests to the rich heritage of the OU Press and the University Libraries.
I would like to extend my thanks to all the sponsors of this year’s exhibit. It is because of their continued support that we have now completed our eighth year. I want to thank Byron Price, Director of the University of Oklahoma Press, for the assistance provided by the staff of the Press. I am also extremely grateful to the University of Oklahoma’s Athletics Department for co-sponsoring the exhibit. The Athletics Department, under the leadership of Athletics Director Joe Castiglione, has been a partner and contributor providing unprecedented support to the exhibit since its inception in 2001. I would also like to offer my appreciation to all those who contributed essays to the exhibit. I hope that all who view your essays will find inspiration in this selection of University of Oklahoma Press books.
Sul H. Lee
Dean, University Libraries and
Peggy V. Helmerich Chair