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Release Date: September 12, 2003

Contact: Bill Young
Public Information Manager
Oklahoma Department of Libraries


OKLAHOMA CITY – One Book, One City and One Book, One State projects have swept the country, bringing people together to discuss issues and ideas stimulated by reading a common text. Modeled after these popular projects, Oklahoma’s first ever statewide reading and discussion program makes its debut in September, 2003 with the launch of the Oklahoma Reads Oklahoma website, okreadsok.org.

Visitors to the site may learn more about the project, review the six titles proposed by the Oklahoma Reads Oklahoma committee, and cast their vote for the book they believe Oklahomans will most enjoy reading and discussing during 2004, the inaugural year of the project.

Oklahoma Reads Oklahoma is unique from other One Book projects in that it features works with content and themes related to Oklahoma. Also unique to Oklahoma is that readers will determine through popular vote which book is selected.

This year’s selections include three fictional works, The Honk and Holler Opening Soon by Billie Letts, Shell Shaker by LeAnne Howe, and The Stricklands by Edwin Lanham. Also featured are three non-fiction works, The Burning by Tim Madigan, Red Dirt: Growing Up Okie by Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz, and Way Down Yonder in the Indian Nation: Writings from America's Heartland by Michael Wallis.

“We are excited to bring this project to Oklahoma,” stated Susan McVey, Oklahoma Department of Libraries Director and co-chair of the Oklahoma Reads Oklahoma committee. “The One Book phenomena has captured the imagination of communities everywhere and encouraged people to share in the enjoyment of reading and discussing the same book. It is a wonderful way to bring a community together.”

Anita May, executive director of the Oklahoma Humanities Council and ORO co-chair, approached the Oklahoma Department of Libraries with the idea for the project. “As Oklahoma prepares for 2007 and its 100th year of statehood, we are increasingly exploring our diverse heritage,” May said. “The Oklahoma experience has inspired writers across the country, and the Centennial is the perfect time to read and discuss these written works. Through the Oklahoma Reads Oklahoma project, I believe we can inspire citizens across the state to investigate our history and literary heritage.”

Voting is open through October 31, 2003 on the okreadsok.org website. The winning selection will be announced in November, with community programs held across the state in 2004. Adults and teens are invited to read the state-selected book and join in discussions at local libraries, schools, bookstores, coffeehouses, and on the Oklahoma Reads Oklahoma website.

Oklahoma Reads Oklahoma will run through the state’s Centennial year in 2007, with a new book selected each year.

Twenty-two statewide organizations are partnering to make the Oklahoma Reads Oklahoma project a success. ORO partners include: The Eastern Oklahoma District Library System, Friends of Libraries in Oklahoma, Metropolitan Library System, Oklahoma Arts Council, Oklahoma Center for the Book, Oklahoma Center for Poets and Writers, Oklahoma Council for the Social Studies, Oklahoma Council of Teachers of English, Oklahoma Department of Libraries, Oklahoma Heritage Association, Oklahoma Historical Society, Oklahoma Humanities Council, Oklahoma independent Booksellers, Oklahoma Library Association, Oklahoma Reading Association, Oklahoma State Department of Education, Oklahoma Today magazine, Pioneer Library System, State Regents for Higher Education, Tulsa City-County Library System, Barnes and Noble Booksellers, and University of Oklahoma Press.