Robert

Robert Hatcher is an avid library user and advocate who is originally from Nashville, Tennessee. While both of his parents served in the Army, Robert lived with his grandmother. With her guidance, he developed a love of cooking and baking. Known as "The Elevator," Robert played college basketball at Jackson State College, and Michigan State before going semi-pro in Kentucky. After experiencing a winter of homelessness on the streets of Oklahoma City, Robert became a Curbside Chronicle vendor and worked through Hope Community Services to get back on his feet.

Robert frequently visits the library and enjoys reading the variety of local and national newspapers. He has an Associate's degree in paralegal services and uses the library's legal resources to continue his education. He is currently enrolled in 12 hours of college courses. Robert uses his legal knowledge to help people in prison with their cases. He has been working on a project to provide employment and housing services to young men recently released from incarceration.

Abbey

Eight year old Abbey has had a lifelong love for the Southern Oaks Library. She spends a lot of her free time there and is a regular at many of the programs. She loves reading to therapy dogs at the Children Reading to Dogs programs and she has earned many incentives from participating in the Summer Reading program. She enjoys getting fit at yoga classes and had made countless crafts at craft time. Abbey is a regular attendee of the Neighborhood Arts programs and has experienced many different kinds of live music performances, plays and storytellers.

Her favorite thing about the library is of course the books. She loves to read, especially in the chapter book area at the library. Abbey enjoys reading the Nancy Drew, American Girl and Boxcar Children series. She likes listening to audiobooks on Playaway and is using the library’s subscription to Mango to learn Latin.

Tre Clark

Tre Clark is the Community & Education Pastor at the Britton Christian Church. Tre helps children in his community with academics by offering after-school programs and a summer ministry for mentoring and tutoring.

Tre met Village Librarian, Sally Grey, at an event hosted by a local elementary school several years ago. Since that time, Tre & Sally have worked together to better serve the youth in their community by sharing resources, information and working together to academically prepare children. Tre & Sally even work together to make sure that the children signed up for Britton Christian Church’s “Summer Buddies” programs are also enrolled in the “Summer Reading” program at the Library and have their own Library card.

Callie Collins

The public library system has provided a family tradition through the Summer Reading Program that has spanned from my childhood into that of my children. Some of my best childhood memories are of visiting the library each week and feeling that I could find anything and go anywhere within its walls. I am so pleased to see the extension of the Summer Reading program to adults. My second-grader was so happy to visit our local library and select his incentive, a book. Thank you for all that you do in support of local families.

I’m now marketing director for “MetroFamily Magazine” and the library is one of our best distribution spots for families to pick up a copy. That fact makes me really proud of our reach because I know that the families who come to the library are there to invest in their children and it’s true that time spent with a child is never wasted. I would not be in this executive position without the role of the public library and the ability it gave me to read on my own.

Jennifer Jones

Jennifer Jones​ lived in Southern California and Enid, OK. before coming to the Oklahoma City area at age 15. She considers it a blessing to have worked for the Metropolitan Library System since 2008. She has the same library card she received from the Del City library in 1989, and has visited libraries in many different cities in the U.S., from Georgia, all the way to South Lake Tahoe, California. Jennifer started her library career in eighth grade when she was a library aide at Longfellow Jr. High in Enid. She has also worked at the OSU OKC library, the Del City Library, and recently served at the Children's Services Librarian at the Capitol Hill Library before getting her dream job as Marketing Coordinator. Jennifer loves to write and received her Journalism Degree in Professional Writing in 2002.

When not promoting the library or planning fun programs for kids, she spend time with her two children, Shelby, 16 and Sophia, 11. They love to go to concerts and movies, and find adventure in exploring fun things to do around Oklahoma, and volunteering. She loves to serve at her home church, Eastpointe Community Church, and leads an outreach team there, serving people in need.

Sody Clements

Sody McCampbell Clements moved to Nichols Hills with her family in 1959, and has considered it her home town ever since. She and her husband, Robert Clements, also a life long Nichols Hills resident, have two sons, Robert (22) and William (20). Robert works with his father, Dick, and brother, Edward, in the family business, Clements Foods.

Sody has been a longtime community leader and volunteer and has served in leadership or Board positions for Oklahoma Symphony Orchestra, Leadership Oklahoma City, Festival of the Arts, Literary Voices, Casady School, All Souls’ Church, YWCA, Lyric Theater, Allied Arts, and Junior League of Oklahoma City. She served as Nichols Hills July 4th parade chair for 10 years, and was chair of the NH Parks Commission for 3 years. Sody currently serves as the Ward 1 representative for the Nichols Hills City Council, and will begin her second term as Mayor in May 2014.

Becky Lewis

Becky Lewis grew up on a ranch outside of Okmulgee, Oklahoma and weekly trips to town typically included the local library. After graduating high school, she moved to the OKC metro area and married her husband of 14 years in 1998. Becky graduated in 2006 from the University of Central Oklahoma with a bachelor’s in nursing and is working for INTEGRIS Southwest Medical Center as the Infection Control Coordinator. Her love of books and reading has enhanced her career and she looks forward to being an active advocate for libraries and reading. Every year, she tells herself that she won’t buy too much at the MLS library books sale but she just can’t say no to a good book.

Keith Richards

Keith Richards and his family have used the library for years to learn more about education, cooking, fitness and to simply enjoy family time by sharing a good book together. When starting his business, Mr. Richards used the library’s computers and books to construct a business packet for his clientele. His love for libraries continues as Mr. Richards says “the library is an adventure every day.”

Monica Knudsen

Monica Knudsen grew up with a public library just a few blocks away from her childhood home. It was this library that would carve out a lifelong love of books. Mrs. Knudsen had the privilege of working at the Smithsonian for 13 years in the Air and Space Museum Library as their Rare Books and Reference Librarian. In 1987, she and her husband moved to Oklahoma City to start a family. She was blessed with triplet boys and a daughter. The library has played an active role in her families’ upbringing and continues to be a big part of their lives today. As Mrs. Knudsen said “A library is not just dusty books on a shelf, it’s much more than that.”

Library Advocacy

As we celebrate National Library Week, let's take a look at how our community views our library system.

LaVerne Taylor

LaVerne Taylor was an only child that grew up loving the library and getting lost in a book whenever she could. She was embraced by the staff at the Belle Isle Library who anticipated her reading preferences and set books aside each Wednesday for her weekly visit.

A long time supporter and donor, Mrs. Taylor first began thinking about a gift she could leave to support the Belle Isle Library directly—she later realized her gift could continue to benefit and support the library for generations to come by donating to the Library Endowment Trust.

Preceded in death by her husband, Gordon (a Vice President for OG&E), LaVerne passed away in February 2012. Her dream to leave a legacy for the Belle Isle Library will long be remembered by those that frequent the library as her gift to the Library Endowment Trust is the largest gift the library system has received in its history. While the entire donation has not yet been received, the initial figures are that the Library Endowment Trust will receive approximately $1.4 million from Mrs. Taylor’s estate.

The Belle Isle library is scheduled for renovation beginning in late 2014. We plan to ask the Library Commission to honor the generosity of Gordon and LaVerne Taylor. The staff will recommend naming an area appropriate to the generosity of this gift.

Ruth Stark Parmenter
1954-2009

Ruth Stark Parmenter was first hospitalized when she was only 4 years old, and it was at this time that she began to appreciate the value of books and the library. Although she came from a family of readers, books were a special way for Ruth to escape during those considerable lengths of time when she was ill. When Ruth passed in 2009, her family contacted the Metropolitan Library System about leaving a gift in her name. After thoughtful consideration, it was determined that this gift should be a memorial bench. Placed just outside the front entrance to the Bethany Library, the bench is a special gathering place for adults and children alike. The bench is a lasting legacy and a reminder of the smart, vivacious woman who loved books, reading, and the Bethany Library.

Mary Higgins Clark

Mary Higgins Clark is an international best-selling author who has sold over 80 million copies of her books in the United States alone. Before becoming a novelist, Ms. Clark wrote radio scripts and short stories for magazines, worked for an advertising agency and as a flight attendant for Pan American Airlines' international flights to Europe, Africa, and Asia. She holds 18 honorary doctorates, has had two novels turned into feature films, and several more novels turned into television films. While visiting Oklahoma City as the keynote speaker for the 2012 Literary Voices dinner hosted by the Library Endowment Trust, Ms. Clark granted an interview in which she detailed her writing process and shared her story of why she is passionate about books, libraries, and writing.

Audrey Streetman

Audrey Streetman began writing poetry in 1973 and her poems have appeared in a number of journals, anthologies, and trade publications. She has published three poetry chapbooks, “The Train,” “A Gathering of Bones,” and “Keeper of the Dream” and recently authored the critically-acclaimed memoir, “The Well,” which details her life growing up in rural Texas. Ms. Streetman has been actively involved as a Trustee of the Library Endowment Trust of the Metropolitan Library System since 2007. She is a graduate of Durham Business College in Waco, Texas; attended the University of Central Oklahoma; and is a graduate of the Commercial Lending School at the University of Oklahoma. She earned her living as a banker for thirty-five years, eventually as Senior Vice President before her retirement.

Joe Slack

Joe Slack grew up in Oklahoma City and holds a Bachelor in Fine Arts from Oklahoma City University. He works with power tools to create sculpture and furniture in metal, wood, bronze, and mixed media. Mr. Slack was chosen to create the themed public art installment, ‘Cover to Cover,’ for the newly revitalized Southern Oaks Library. Mr. Slack attributes much of his love for art and for the written word to his experiences as a child in the public library. Of the installment, he writes, “The public library system can transcend economic differences, giving everybody the chance to explore the world without ever leaving their seat. My goal is to translate this in simplified forms that will capture the attention of potential new young readers.”

Judy Burns

I had the great good fortune of growing up in a home that was only three blocks from the Capitol Hill branch library. I walked past the library every day when I was attending Capitol Hill Junior High. Those were the very early years of television so the forms of entertainment were more limited than today. Reading was just a given in those days. My parents were avid readers of most anything. They subscribed to both the morning and evening newspapers; news, family living, and workshop magazines. I spent many hours at the library in the summertime looking for good fiction to read while I was out of school. In those days, we didn't just go out and buy a book that we wanted to read. It was just not affordable. Of course, the library was also the main research facility while I was in public school. Today, I am a senior citizen, still employed, and a family historian to boot. I use the library for e-books for my Nook and the databases for research. My needs have changed and the library has changed to meet my needs. I am very grateful to have the access that I have to the Oklahoma County Library System.

Chantel Boso

I put my love for reading on hold while I was in college, but once my husband and I had our first child, that all changed: I realized my son carried the same passion for reading, for books, and for learning, as me. He reminded me why reading is so very important in our lives. It wasn't until I located a new job across the street from the Downtown Library that I realized what all the library really was able to offer -- I discovered that there were endless possibilities to grow my relationship with my son, to teach my son new things, to learn a few extra things myself, and so much more! I grew up in a small town and our local library had little to offer children, but the Metropolitan Library System has changed the path of libraries -- it is an oasis for my family and I am forever grateful for all that you offer.

Annette Colbert-Latham

When I consider the hours, days and months required to research a topic, I thank God for the public library. No matter how much I surf the Internet, the Librarians and library are my best buds. My best example includes developing research histories. The Internet has its limits in that area, but a library is essentially limitless -- you can research back to the days of antiquities! I enjoy the cultural and arts events, as well -- the classes offered are wonderful to expand your mental and emotional horizons. There are so many reasons I support my library -- it is a cultural potpourri, to say the least.

Teresa

My name is Teresa. I'm 42 years old and have very fond memories of my mother taking me to Southern Oaks Library as a child. I can remember the castle that was there, and I would love to pretend I was a princess. I loved reading and checking out books. It was such a treat. My mother raised 7 children so I am sure she appreciated the break and the ability to have her children read wonderful books without having to buy them. Over the years, I think got caught up in buying my own books and the whole coffee shop bookstore experience. It's wonderful, but I was recently re-introduced to the library and it literally has been a life saver for me. I was completely out of balance trying to juggle a job that I have been at for 20 years, husband, home, pet and a 17 year old and 4 year old. I began to go on my lunch and check out books on CD that ranged from everything to spiritual, weight loss, organizing my home and child rearing. I slowly began the process of finding balance, figuring out things I can improve on, exercise and healthy eating, discovering new ways to show my children and husband I love them and finding some much needed personal time. Just to say the library changed my life doesn't really scratch the surface for me. It has been a life saver. I was able to have all of this information at my finger tips and now it will be forever in my heart and mind.