Helmerich Award Profiled in Library Journal

The Peggy V. Helmerich Distinguished Author Award Dinner was profiled in an article entitled Author! Author! in the May 6, 2015, issue of Library Journal. Pictured is 2014 winner Ann Patchett with fans at the book signing immediately following the Saturday morning public program on December 6, at the Hardesty Regional Library. Patchett was the recipient of a the award and the accompanying $40,000 prize.

Shaffer & TCCL Host 70+ Librarians from Across Four States in Tulsa

Tulsa City-County Library's Hardesty Regional Library was the site of the first of six Library Journal Lead the Change workshops entitled Transform Your Stacks to Drive Circulation. Led by NYU Professor, Author, Marketing Trainer and Forbes Blogger David Vinjamuri the all-day interactive workshop provided insights and tools to redefine collection development and reader’s advisory strategies to transform library stacks into vibrant discovery centers that engage readers and drive circulation. Vinjamuri was joined on stage by Ebsco/Novelist's Nancy Dowd  and Tulsa City-County Library CEO Gary Shaffer who shared he and his colleagues' experience transforming their collections to meet the needs of the 21st Century customer. They were pleased to be joined by over 70 librarians from Texas, Kansas, Missouri, and of course Oklahoma.

TCCL's Shaffer & Runnel's Cherokee Language Work Profiled in Library Journal

Tulsa City-County Library's CEO Gary Shaffer and its American Indian Resource Center Coordinator and Assistant Branch Manager Teresa Runnels both Library Journal Movers & Shakers were once again featured in the publication for their efforts in getting the first indigenous language (Cherokee) on the Mango Language digital library platform. Both worked tirelessly to advocate with the Nation and the vendor to get the two connected and the language in the Mango application. It is now free for library customers at over 2000 public libraries across the nation to download to their mobile device or PC. Now the diaspora and other interested parties can start to learn this endangered language. 

Different Cities Same Challenges: Baltimore & Tulsa Explore Solutions

Visited Baltimore, MD with colleague Kate Silvey and partners Tulsa Public Schools, Reading Partners: Tulsa, and Impact Tulsa. We were joined by the Baltimore City Public Schools, Reading Partners: Baltimore, Baltimore's Promise, and the Enoch Pratt Library. All were hosted by Tulsa's Charles & Lynn Schusterman Family Foundation and Baltimore's Harry & Jeanette Weinberg Foundation. We spent two days exploring and discussing what's working to help children living in poverty succeed in school. Access to books, summer reading programs, and a good school library were revealed as keys to success.

IMLS Funds University of Okla. & Shaffer's Proposal

Today the Institute of Museum & Library Services (IMLS) a federal department, announced that it had green-lighted a research planning grant proposal submitted by the University of Oklahoma (OU) School of Library & Information Studies (SLIS) and Shaffer this last fall. IMLS received over 100 applications through the Laura Bush 21st Century Librarian Grant Program, requesting over $32 million in funding. Only 16 were chosen with a total of just over $5 million awarded; the OU-SLIS/Shaffer proposal being among them. Dr. Betsy Martens of the OU-Tulsa/SILS program will lead the study. She and her team (OU-SLIS Director Dr. Cecelia Brown,  Tulsa City-County Library CEO Gary Shaffer and Tulsa City-County Library COO Kim Johnson) will investigate the best components and structure for an accelerated 21st Century Public Library Leadership online Master's in Library & Information Science (MLIS) for working library professionals in rural and urban libraries in the states of Arkansas and Oklahoma. The program looks to redefine the MLIS by introducing electives taught by professors in fields as varied as Social Work, Marketing, Fundraising, Public Administration, Employee Relations, Project Management, etc. If able to launch the program as envisioned, participants who have not quite finished their bachelor's degree would be able to earn credits that simultaneously count towards fulfillment of their BS & MLIS degrees. 

Tulsa City-County Library a Finalist for the National Medal


Today the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) announced the finalists for the 2015 National Medal. The Tulsa City-County Library placed among the top 15 libraries and top 15 museums in the nation. Over 150 institutions were nominated. When asked about the honor Library CEO Gary Shaffer said," This is truly a testament to the great work my colleagues and our volunteers are performing day-in, day-out on behalf of the residents of Tulsa County. I am so proud of the work they are doing to change lives for the better here in the county.

Shaffer Visits the Santa Monica Public Library

Gary Shaffer was in Santa Monica visiting their main library and one of their new branches (Pio Pico) soon to be featured in Architectural Record a national publication. He met with staff, Library Director Maria Carpenter (a dear friend), and toured their facilities. He was in Los Angeles to attend the University of Southern California Center for Library Leadership & Management, Future of Libraries event with library thought-leaders from around the country.

University of Pretoria Welcomes Shaffer

The Merensky Library staff welcomed Gary Shaffer who presented "Not Your Mother's Library: From Book Warehouse to Centre for 21st Century Learning." His talk focused on the misperception many hold that libraries are not making full use of the Internet and instead will be replaced by it. Staff were excited to see how public libraries in the US are adapting to customer needs, which are more akin to the practices of academic libraries in South Africa. Shaffer also attended the opening of the University of Pretoria's main library's maker space. (Pictured Library staffer Isak Van Der Walt presenting Shaffer with a copy of The Art & Heritage of the University of Pretoria by Duffey, Tiley-Nel, Kamper, & Ernst.)

Visiting Mamelodi Township School Library outside Pretoria S.A.

Visited Mamelodi Township today. My host was Dr. Leti Kleyn whose day job is running the open scholarship department at the Merensky Library at the University of Pretoria. In her spare time, among other charitable pursuits, Dr. Kleyn builds school libraries in township schools where books, adequate space, and electricity are often hard to come by. She advocates hard on behalf of the students to create beautiful spaces for them to read where there was none before. She is my hero. We also visited the library on the Mamelodi campus of the University of Pretoria. 

Visiting the Sandton Library in Johannesburg, South Africa

In the Sandton branch of the Johannesburg Public Library, visiting the local librarian and checking on local concerns. The same as in other parts of the world, I'm afraid: Lack of funding and a public perception of irrelevance. The building is beautiful but the book budget has been decimated and the city has not addressed a long standing network issue. This said a few individuals were still making use of the library. But in this vibrant part of the city so many more could be making use of the branch if they had adequate funding and a champion fighting for it.

Mango Languages, Cherokee Nation & TCCL Enter Partnership

Tulsa City-County Library (TCCL) CEO Gary Shaffer announces a partnership between Mango Languages, the Cherokee Nation and the TCCL to bring Cherokee Language lessons to the Mango Languages learning platform. Soon public libraries across North America, who offer access to Mango Languages, will be able to offer access to the first North American indigenous language (Cherokee) on Mango's popular platform and app to their customers. 

Shortly after the announcement Shaffer and TCCL American Indian Resource Center Coordinator/Librarian Teresa Runnels inducted the Cherokee Nation, as the 2014 inductee, into the TCCL Library Hall of Fame. Cherokee Language lessons are set to debut at Mango in early 2015.

Governor presents TCCL with Oklahoma Quality Award

C. Frazier, OQA Award & Gov. Fallon

On Thursday, Oklahoma Governor Mary Fallin presented the Tulsa City-County Library with the Oklahoma Quality Foundation's Pursuit of Excellence Award. The award recognizes Oklahoma businesses and organizations for achievement in quality, business performance and best practices. Award criteria include seven categories to gauge overall performance of an organization, including: leadership, strategic planning, customer focus, workforce focus, process management, results and measurement, analysis and knowledge management.

Library CEO Gary Shaffer reports staff worked for three years meeting application criteria. This included a top to bottom organizational change framework, staff working tirelessly to make the changes, a 50-page application in the first round of evaluations, followed by a visit from a team of examiners from across the state to various library locations for a week this last September. 

“However, the work is never done,” Shaffer said. “... The library system plans to continue on its quality journey for the foreseeable future — improving internally so that better service can be offered to customers externally.” The Oklahoma Department of Commerce started the award program in 1993. The award is affiliated with the Malcolm Baldrige National Quality Award. Oklahoma’s Quality Award program is regarded as one of the more rigorous Baldrige programs in the country.

Helping Open the Kaohsiung Central Library in Taiwan

Speaking at a conference entitled, "Flipped Libraries: International Forum on New Paradigm in Space and Services of Public Libraries," in Kaohsiung, Taiwan. Because Tulsa, Okla. is a sister city to  Kaohsiung, I, along with library directors from other sister cities, were invited to help them open their new Central Library. The system has over 60 branches but did not have a Central Library previously. 

Library directors from Amsterdam, Bangkok, Brisbane, San Antonio, and Seoul also shared their knowledge on the latest in library planning. Additional speakers came from the National Library of Taiwan. Shaffer is pictured in front of the new Kaohsiung Central Library on the home page of this website. Here he is speaking to conference attendees.

Shanghai Public Library Book Exchange

eReading Room Shanghai Lbrary

Today my traveling companions visited the Shanghai Public Library. It features the coolest maker space in a library I've seen to date. It also has an eBook room replete with tablets for checkout and a large monitor catalog. Every record features a QR Code. Snap a picture and the eBook checks out to you and is instantly available on your device. 

By the end of the visit the employee who toured us around the library and I had set up a Chinese - English book exchange. Our gently used English books for their gently used Chinese books. A win-win for both our customers.

Visit to Beijing Libraries & Schools

Posing as a Chinese Teacher in Beijing. Just found out I passed my Ph.D. Exams.

The Beijing Normal University Library (an architecturally award-winning public library) is so popular that students have to reserve a spot via a computerized reservation system just to study. Here I am already posing as a teacher in a model of a classroom from a previous era. The occasion: I had just learned I had passed my comprehensive exams for my Simmons College Ph.D. program.

Privileged to also visit the heavily used National Library of China while in Beijing. This educators trip was with a group of Oklahoma teachers and librarians. All  guests of the People's Republic of China and the University of Oklahoma Confucius Institute.  

Shaffer invites Children's Educational Author Matthew Winner to Tulsa

Gary Shaffer and the Tulsa City-County Library were delighted to host 2013 Library Journal Mover & Shaker Mathew Winner in Tulsa. Winner is co-author of Teach Math with the Wii: Engage Your K-7 Students through Gaming Technology. Winner is an elementary school librarian at  Ducketts Lane Elementary School in Elkridge, Maryland. His work is perfectly aligned with Tulsa City-County Library's #1 Strategic goal: To help the children of Tulsa County grow up able to compete globally. While in Tulsa Winner spoke to the library's youth staff and its leadership team., as well as to parents, educational advocates, and school media specialists. Winner blogs under the handle The Busy Librarian.


Shaffer & Tulsa City-County Library Host Nancy Pearl

Gary Shaffer, Tulsa City-County Library, and the University of Oklahoma Tulsa campus were delighted to host Nancy Pearl during her recent visit to Tulsa, Oklahoma. Nancy, who once worked at the Tulsa City-County Library, was in rare form as she delighted an audience as part of the university's Seed Sower series  with her talk, "The Perils of a Life of Reading."

While in town she toured library branches with Shaffer and sat on the review committee for MLIS Student Laura Raphael's successful defense of her portfolio project, which focused on readers' advisory services.

Cartoonist Raise Funds for Tornado-damaged Okla. School Libraries

Kinney, Pierce, Buddy Bookworm, Pilkey & Pastis

Tulsa City-County Library, working with Pioneer Library System, partner with four leading cartoonists to raise money to help rebuild Moore, Okla. public school libraries damaged or destroyed during the May 20, tornado.

Cartoonists Jeff Kinney, Lincoln Pierce, Dav Pilkey, and Stephan Pastis join the library's mascot Buddy Bookworm as they perform at two Drawn Together: Cartoonist Benefit Moore Oklahoma School Libraries in Tulsa and Norman, Okla. Together over $70,000 was raised. Today the libraries are rebuilt and are used every school day.