Print Page   |   Contact Us   |   Sign In   |   Join OLA
Arthur McAnally
Share |

Photo of Arthur McAnallyDr. Arthur Monroe McAnally was born in Arkansas on January 4, 1911.  He graduated from the University of Oklahoma with a B.A. in English in 1933 and in library science in 1935. In 1936 he received a Masters in English from OU. He later obtained a Masters (1941) and a Ph.D. (1951) from the Graduate Library School at the University of Chicago.

After holding a wide variety of positions at a number of academic libraries in Texas, Illinois, Wisconsin and New Mexico, he became Director of Libraries at the University of Oklahoma in 1951. He was also Director of the library school at OU from 1951 to 1964.

McAnally was professionally active throughout his career, and served as President of the New Mexico Library Association in 1947, President of the Southwest Library Association in 1960-62 and President of the Oklahoma Library Association in 1967-68.

During his time at OU, he was able to obtain faculty status for his staff. He oversaw a major addition to the university library and was responsible for tripling the size of the collection, from about 450,000 volumes to 1.3 million.  He wrote about 60 articles over the years, many of them being published in College & Research Libraries.

Arthur McAnally died unexpectedly of a heart attack while on a hunting trip near Norman on November 30, 1972.  He was 61 years old. Dr. McAnally was well regarded by all of his colleagues and the state lost a valuable librarian and supporter at his death.

In a remembrance published in the Oklahoma Librarian a few months later, Dr. Arrell Morgan Gibson of the University of Oklahoma reflected on his friend:

Arthur McAnally was a strong man, tough-minded, versatile and volatile, compassionate, and never timid, but swift in action almost to the point of being impulsive, following intuitive hunches and flavoring decisions with a bit of the gambler's flair. Abrasive, he deliberately created tension and provoked controversy and challenge to better open the heart of the issue.  And he was a purist and perfectionist, a fly fisherman so compulsively committed to flies that he scorned salmon eggs or worms when that was all the trout would take.  . . . [T]he McAnally legacy survives in the living world he enriched with vision, action, creative performance, and above all else friendship.1

1Arrell M. Gibson, “Arthur M. McAnally: Portrait of a University Librarian,” Oklahoma Librarian 23, no. 2 (April 1973): 32–33

Further reading:

Downs, Robert B. “Arthur M. McAnally.” In Bobinski, George S., Jesse Hauk Shera, and Bohdan S. Wynar, eds. Dictionary of American Library Biography, 347–349. Littleton, Colo.: Libraries Unlimited, 1978.

Gibson, Arrell M. “Arthur M. McAnally: Portrait of a University Librarian.” Oklahoma Librarian 23, no. 2 (April 1973): 6–7, 31–33.

Zink, James K. “Arthur M. McAnally.” Oklahoma Librarian 23 (January 1973): 29–30.

Return to the Oklahoma Library Legends

Site Search
Sign In



Oklahoma Library Association
1190 Meramec Station Road, Suite 207, Ballwin, MO 63021-6902
Phone: 1-800-969-6562 Ext 5 | Fax: 636-529-1396 | Email:

Follow us: OLA on Facebook