Knowledge Base

History of the Youngblood Library

A gift to The University of Oklahoma in memory of a prominent Oklahoma City oilman has created a spacious geology library facility surrounded by a two story atrium in the heart of the Sarkeys Energy Center. With foyer floors of a quartz monzonite from Quebec, walls of a fossiliferous limestone from central Texas, and museum-quality paleontological and mineral specimens, this attractive library space was completed in 1989 and named in honor of Laurence S. Youngblood.

The library collection began in the late 1800's with the personal library of Charles N. Gould (one of the earliest faculty members, the first geologist on the OU faculty, and the first director of the Oklahoma Geological Survey [OGS]). Its growth was accelerated with the depositor status Gould established with U.S.G.S. and which continues today. Several of the subsequent leaders of the OU School of Geology & Geophysics and the OGS were bibliophiles who began to develop a research library. The professional librarians, numerous faculty, OGS professional staff, and alumni have used their knowledge and donations to aid the collection's development. Materials of the University of Oklahoma and the Oklahoma Geological Survey are integrated into one collection. During the 1950's and 1960's numerous complete retrospective runs of foreign serials were acquired through the Farmington Plan (a federal program to acquire literature in specific fields for libraries of identified excellence). Via the Oklahoma Geological Survey's domestic and international exchanges, publications are acquired in numerous languages from nations around the world.

Throughout the 1980's the Oklahoma Mining and Mineral Resources Research Institute provided annual supplements to purchase literature on mining and mineral resources. A $5,000 challenge grant from the Phillips Petroleum Foundation, Inc. yielded $10,000 for purchase of supplemental materials in 1994 and 1995. In 1995, a $50,000 challenge grant from Cyril Jr. and Lissa Wagner was matched with an equal amount by friends and alumni. These funds will be used to supplement the normal acquisitions book budget into the 21st century.

The current collection contains over 170,000 map sheets and approximately 100,000 cataloged volumes on the subjects of geochemistry, geology, geomorphology, geophysics, hydrology, mineralogy, paleontology, petrology, stratigraphy, structure and tectonics. The interdisciplinary nature of the earth sciences is supported by Physics-Astronomy and Engineering branch libraries. Bizzell Memorial Library contains the biological sciences and the internationally recognized History of Science Collections.

The space occupied by this beautiful geological library is named after Laurence Snow Youngblood, a native of Wewoka, Oklahoma. Mr. Youngblood, his wife Loyce Lawson Youngblood, and their company leased over 10 million acres in all the oil producing U.S. states and Canadian provinces. Together they founded the Oklahoma City based Youngblood Oil Company, which Mrs. Youngblood has operated since his death in the middle 1960's. He served as president of the Oklahoma Independent Petroleum Association and director of the Independent Petroleum Association of America. He spent his entire career in the oil business and was instrumental in developing professional standards and educational programs for the profession of petroleum land management. The Youngbloods supported several University of Oklahoma programs. Mrs. Youngblood donated this beautiful space in her husband's memory and attended to the details of its design, decor, and construction.

Mrs. Youngblood also donated several museum-quality fossil and mineral specimens. They include two Cretaceous ammonites, a slab of Devonian cephalopods, a Jurassic crinoid, an Eocene palm frond and fish, and a slab of Pennsylvanian plant fossils. Five selenite crystals accompany the paleontological specimens.