Books That Inspire

Books That Inspire 2010

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In April 2001, in observance of National Library Week, the University of Oklahoma Libraries held the first Books That Inspire exhibit. This year we celebrate the tenth anniversary of the exhibit. Over the past ten years, it has been my goal for this popular exhibit to call attention to the important role that books play in our lives. Once again I would like to quote one of my favorite verses that aptly summarizes the value of books and reading:

He ate and drank the precious words
His spirit grew robust;
He knew no more that he was poor,
Nor that his frame was dust.
He danced along the dingy days,
And this bequest of wings
Was but a book. What Liberty
A loosened spirit brings!

Emily Dickinson,
Part One: Life XXI

Over the past ten years, the Books That Inspire exhibit has allowed readers to share how books have loosened their spirits and brought pleasure. The power of this exhibit is shown every time a student stops to thumb through one of the books on display and in the fact that these books tend to be checked out continuously after they appear in the exhibit. These books truly are passing inspiration on to all those who view the exhibit.

This year?s selection committee for the exhibit essays was chaired by B. Byron Price, and the members of the committee were former selection committee chairs. I would sincerely like to thank B. Byron Price, the Charles Marion Russell Chair of Art and Art History and Director of the University of Oklahoma Press, and this year?s committee: David Levy, Professor Emeritus of History; Marjorie Callahan, Associate Dean of the College of Architecture; Ron Schleifer, George Lynn Cross Research Professor of English; Martha Skeeters, Associate Professor of Women?s and Gender Studies; Don Pisani, Merrick Professor of Western American History; and Gerald Gurney, the Athletics Department representative to the Books That Inspire selection committee.

I would like to congratulate the selection committee for this excellent selection which includes: University of Oklahoma President David L. Boren, On Liberty by John Stuart Mill; First Lady Molly Shi Boren, Going to the Territory by Ralph Ellison; Senior Vice-President & Provost Nancy Mergler, And Still the Waters Run by Angie Debo; Robert Goins, The Range Cattle Industry: Ranching on the Plains from 1865-1925 by Edward Everett Dale; George Henderson, Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison; and Nicki Moore, The Courage to Teach: Exploring the Inner Landscape of a Teacher?s Life by Parker J. Palmer.

I want to extend my thanks to all the sponsors of this year?s exhibit. It is because of their continued support that we have completed our tenth year. I am also extremely grateful to the University of Oklahoma?s Athletics Department for co-sponsoring the exhibit. Under the leadership of Athletics Director Joe Castiglione, the Athletics Department has been a partner and contributor providing unprecedented support to the exhibit over the past ten years. I would also like to express my appreciation to those who were selected for this year?s exhibit and to all the contributors from the past exhibits. I sincerely hope that all who view this exhibit will find inspiration.

Sul H. Lee
Dean, University Libraries
Peggy V. Helmerich Chair