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Frances DuVall

Oklahoma Library Legends

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Frances DuVall ImageFrances DuVall, a native of Arkansas, was first employed by Northwestern State College as Reference Librarian in 1947; later her title was changed to Library Director and Associate Professor of Library Science. During the decade of the 1950’s, DuVall, with the assistance of fellow librarian, Edith Gorman, created and developed a statewide program centering on DuVall’s love of children’s literature. This program, which is recognized as the third oldest children’s choice award in the nation, is the Sequoyah Children’s Book Award. The Oklahoma Library Association later assumed sponsorship and the program continues today. Based upon DuVall’s original concept, the award is presented annually to the author of the book chosen as the favorite in voting by children in grades three to six throughout the state. The first winner of the award in 1959 was Fred Gibson, author of “Old Yeller.” DuVall served as the first Chair of the Sequoyah Committee as well as Executive Secretary of the committee. In 1966, OLA honored DuVall for her leadership in this awards program.

DuVall was one of the co-founders of the Library Science program at Northwestern. Throughout the years, the program expanded to include both a Bachelors degree program and certification programs for both public librarians and school media specialists. DuVall and fellow librarian, Edith Gorman, were instrumental in the planning and design of the J.W. Martin Library at Northwestern, the first separate library structure for the institution. DuVall died in March of 1977.

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