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Dorothea Dale
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Photo of Dorothea DaleIn 1913 Dorothea Dale was appointed librarian at the Hobart Carnegie Library. Dale made the library board a startling proposition. She volunteered her services free, with the proviso that she be allowed to use the sum appropriated for the librarian’s salary to carry out her plans for the library’s expansion. The board accepted her proposition and gave her a free hand. As a result the library in that small community came to be looked upon as one of the most enterprising in the state.

In 1919, five years after her reorganization of the Hobart Library, Dale resigned to become the first, and only, Secretary of the newly created Oklahoma Library Commission. Desks for the Secretary and a stenographer, installed in a room on the third floor of the library wing of the State Capitol, and some empty stacks for books, were the sole equipment of a library which immediately set forth to bravely advertise that it had “Books for Everybody in Oklahoma.” It represented an example of her extreme faith in the belief that if demand is created the supply will somehow rise to meet it. Almost at once, 8,000 volumes arrived, Oklahoma’s share of the World War camp libraries, which were being distributed by the American Library Association. These books formed the basis of a reference collection for the Commission. With a book fund of $5,000, Dale set about ordering books for the Commission’s traveling libraries while the Library Commission’s empty shelves gradually filled themselves through gifts of money and books. Dorothea Dale’s hard work and faith had been rewarded.

She died at the age of 90 in Oklahoma City on October 4, 1962.

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