Library Legends Background
The OLA Centennial Ad Hoc Committee has worked for several years toward the 2007 celebrations of both the Oklahoma and OLA centennials. One of the Committee’s goals is to recognize a group of approximately 100 people and/or groups who have made the most significant contributions to the development of libraries from territorial days to the present time.
Names of potential Legends were submitted by persons contacted by the Committee because of their knowledge of or access to information about various areas of librarianship in Oklahoma through the years. Other names were taken from a history of Oklahoma libraries published in 1937 by the Oklahoma Library Commission (now ODL), Sarah Haney's 1996 dissertation The Origin and Development of the Oklahoma Library Association: 1907 to 1994, and OLA archival materials. Additionally, the OLA membership at large was asked to provide input during a public comment period from January 10-27, 2006. Many additions, corrections, updates, and some self submissions were made to the list at that time.
The Oklahoma Library Legends were selected using the Delphi Study Method, a method that achieves a consensus of opinion from a group of experts in situations in which there is a lack of historical data or which human judgment is critical. The Delphi technique has been used for futures research, policy formulation and decision-making. The process consists of identifying a panel of experts who remain anonymous to each other. Anonymity minimizes problems that may arise in normal group dynamics and encourages members to be completely honest in their assessment. The study proceeds in rounds and feedback from previous rounds is incorporated to structure each subsequent round. In this study, panelists were encouraged to consider the decade in which nominees were active as well as the geographic area in which professional contributions were made in order to have a final list that was representative of all time periods and regions. The composition of the panel helped ensure that librarians and library supporters in all types of libraries were represented.
The study was conducted between January 30 and March 4, 2006. Dr. Jennifer Paustenbaugh, Associate Dean for Planning and Assessment at Oklahoma State University, facilitated the study which was completed in three rounds utilizing SurveyMonkey software. She was assisted by Legends Subcommittee members Jan Keene and Ila Grice Coffman. Dr. Anne Prestamo served as consultant on the project.
Composition of Expert Panel
The expert panel consisted of 22 panelists—17 of whom participated in more than one round of the study. On average, each panelist had worked in Oklahoma libraries for 29.1 years and had worked in libraries inside and outside of Oklahoma for 34.4 years. Eight panelists were from public libraries, 5 from academic, 4 from school libraries, 1 from medical libraries, and 4 from other types of libraries. Half of the panelists are retired and half are still active in librarianship. Half of the panelists are currently or were at retirement directors or deans of libraries. Twelve of the panelists have served as president of the Oklahoma Library Association. Geographically, the panelists came from all four quadrants of the state, with the largest number coming from the northeast quadrant (north of I-40 and east of I-35).