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Barbara Spriestersbach
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Photo of Barbara SpriesterbachDuring my tenure as Director of the Library Media Section at the Oklahoma State Department of Education, there was one goal - to improve Library media services in Oklahoma. How this was accomplished was primarily left to the talented group of library media specialists who worked in this section.

In 1978, there were few elementary libraries and most high school libraries had poor collections, little space and part-time staff. State funded Library Improvement grants formed the foundation of the improvement process, because the criteria required a centralized library staffed by a certified library media specialist.

Our staff provided technical assistance on site, developed and distributed curriculum guides, procedures manual and countless bibliographies of new and recommended materials.

Our most enduring legacy may be EncycloMedia, a conference that has grown to be the largest professional development opportunity in the state each year. Our goal for this conference was to showcase activities that have been effective and to introduce new ideas and products to improve library media services. Nationally know authors and educators added excitement to the event.

In addition to funding and professional development, we worked to increase the standards for certification as a school library media specialist and to strengthen the state standards for library media programs required for accreditation.

Throughout this period of growth, perhaps the most important accomplishment was raising the level of awareness concerning the value of library media programs to a quality educational program.

NOTE: Barbara Spriestersbach died in Chickasha on July 17, 2008 at the age of 75.

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