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Donna Skvarla

Oklahoma Library Legends

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Donna Skvarla Image

"My main contributions to library service in Oklahoma fall into three categories. The first of these was the promotion of awareness of the need for a voice at the Capitol to monitor legislation affecting libraries. An OLA lobbyist was hired because of this push during my tenure as OLA President in 1987. My second priority was to do everything possible to see that Oklahoma’s small, rural public libraries were as good as they could be, given their sometimes difficult circumstances, such as lack of adequate funding, etc. The third area of great importance to me was Children’s Services, where with the help of many other people, ODL consistently produced the best Summer Reading Program in the country, as well as many programs to educate and encourage children’s librarians in the state. I never had a library job that I didn’t love, and every minute working for Oklahoma’s libraries was a privilege and a joy! Well, almost!"

Donna Skvarla

In 1975, Donna worked at the Norman Public Library as a Children’s Librarian and became Head of Children’s Services for the Norman Public Library and the Pioneer Library System in 1981. From 1985 through 1989 she was a Public Library Consultant for the Oklahoma Department of Libraries. While working for the State of Oklahoma, Skvarla was also an instructor of library and information studies at the University of Oklahoma (OU), as well as an instructor for Independent Study at OU’s Center for Continuing Education.

In 1988, Skvarla became Administrator of ODL’s Office of Library Development. Under her leadership, ODL took dynamic steps to lead public libraries through many changes that resulted from evolving technology, and prepared librarians to meet the information challenges of the 21st Century. During her tenure she oversaw the very successful librarian certification program.

Another accomplishment of ODL’s Office of Library Development during Skvarla’s tenure involved regions that were set up for ODL’s public library consultants.

Skvarla remains active in numerous professional organizations, including membership in the Oklahoma Library Association (OLA), the American Library Association (ALA) the Public Library Association (PLA), the Oklahoma Cultural Coalition, the “Let’s Talk About It, Oklahoma” Executive Board, the Oklahoma Association on Children Under Six, the Cleveland County Christmas Store Executive Board, the University Women’s Association at OU, and the Central Oklahoma Quilter’s Guild.

In 2002, Skvarla won the Oklahoma Library Association (OLA) Distinguished Service Award for her leadership, dedication to the profession, and her many contributions to Oklahoma libraries.

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