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Sandy Ellison
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Photo of Sandy EllisonI have always believed in goals. My personal goals included to visit all 50 states and to retire as soon as I was eligible with enough savings to enjoy it. When ODL began encouraging public libraries to do long range planning and goal setting, I felt very comfortable introducing dozens of libraries to the concept of planning and helping them to write a plan and set goals for themselves. Many times library directors or Board members would say “It’s a pretty good library for a town this size”. IF the town was smaller, would that make the library better? I never thought so, and I never heard anyone say that about the football team! I wanted libraries to be concerned with an excellent collection, an excellent staff and excellent services. Excellence isn’t based on the size of the town, but the determination to provide quality. Quality counts and I wanted public libraries to understand that.

When I started working for ODL as a consultant in 1971, I was part of a team that included Esther Mae Henke, Mary Ann Wentroth and John Hinkle (all included on this OLA Library Legends list). Over the years the team members changed but the commitment to improvement remained, and without consultants like Ginny Dietrich, Blane Dessy, Cathy Van Hoy, Dean Doerr, Catharine Cook, Donna Skvarla and Gary Phillips, Oklahoma public libraries would not be the viable, vital places they are today. Multi-county library systems, state aid for libraries, adequate funding from the city or county, summer reading programs, continuing education and certification, and long range planning were all programs that we encouraged. We were the ones with whom library directors could share a concern or daydream of what they wanted to happen. The tools we used were help, support, understanding, encouragement and once in a while, a little pushing.

When I reflect about my time at ODL, I think we made a positive difference.

Sandy Ellison accepts the Library Legends Award

Sandy Ellison accepts the Oklahoma Library Legends Award
from OLA President Pat Weaver-Meyers

April 2, 2007

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