Tulsa City-County Library

The Tulsa City-County Library (TCCL) is the major public library system in Tulsa County, Oklahoma.


The library system serves those who live, work, go to school in, own land in, or pay property taxes on land in Tulsa County. There are 25 branches in the system: Bixby, Broken Arrow, Brookside, Central, Charles Page, Collinsville, Genealogy, Glenpool, Hardesty Regional, Herman & Kate Kaiser, Jenks, Judy Z. Kishner, Kendall-Whittier, Martin Regional, Maxwell Park, Nathan Hale, Owasso, Peggy V. Helmerich, Pratt, Rudisill Regional, Schusterman-Benson, Skiatook, South Broken Arrow, Suburban Acres, and Zarrow Regional.

TCCL’s collection is composed of more than 1.7 million materials, including books, CDs, DVDs (in regular and Blu-ray formats), magazines, audio books, e-books and other formats. TCCL offers numerous services to the public including public use pcs and Wi-Fi at each library branch, a bookmobile, homebound delivery, the Ruth G. Hardman Adult Literacy Service, meeting rooms, and reference support via telephone, email, instant messaging, text messaging, Facebook, and Twitter.

TCCL also maintains specialized collections in some of its library branches. The Rudisill Regional Library houses the African-American Resource Center, the Central Library houses the American Indian Resource Center and the Foundation Center, and the Martin Regional Library houses the Hispanic Resource Center. Martin and Rudisill also both house the Plan4College Center to provide families and students with information about college.

TCCL was named as a “5 Star Library” by the publication “Library Journal” in their “2009 Index of Public Library Service.” [1]


Public library service began in Tulsa County in the early 1900s. The first library was located in the basement of the Tulsa County courthouse. A Carnegie Library Grant for $12,500 was issued in 1904. The grant was raised to $42,500 in 1913 and to $55,000 in 1915. The original Carnegie Library in downtown Tulsa was demolished in 1965.[2]

It wasn’t until the 1960s that what is today known as Tulsa City-County Library was born when, on November 14, 1961, an election was held in Tulsa County to approve “the expenditure of $3.8 million to construct a new Central Library and three branches, plus a 1.9-mill annual levy for funding the system.” Tulsa voters approved “a countywide system to consolidate metropolitan and suburban libraries the following fiscal year” [Thompson, 115]. The Tulsa City-County Library Commission “officially assumed control of the Library System on July 1, 1962, when the 1.9-mill levy went into effect” [Thompson, 119]. “To be absorbed into the consolidated system were the Broken Arrow Library, founded by the Self Culture Club in 1906 but operated by the city since 1929; the Collinsville Library, created by the Comedy of Errors Club in 1913 and converted into a Carnegie library in 1917; a library in Skiatook opened with WPA funds and operated by the City of Skiatook; and Page Memorial Library of Sand Springs” [Thompson, 121].

By 1963, there were 16 libraries operating within the system [Thompson, 125]. In 1975-76, four new libraries were opened while a fifth was completed: The North Regional Library, the Jenks Library, the Pratt Library, the Skiatook Library, and the Martin Regional Library [Thompson, 154-155]. On August 22, 1978, voters approved State Question 507 to enable an increase in the mill levy [Thompson, 157]. A bond passed on May 12, 1998, that allowed TCCL to expand 11 library branches, replace two, and renovate another eight.[3] Today the system consists of a Central Library, four regional libraries, 19 branches, a genealogy center, a bookmobile and homebound delivery service, and a services center.

Mildred Ladner Thompson, a writer and columnist for the Tulsa World, authored a history of the public library, "Tulsa City-County Library: 1912-1991," released in 1991.[4]

In 2014, TCCL began publishing the Tulsa Book Review, an monthly publication distributed around the city and through the branch libraries. Tulsa Book Review is licensed from City Book Review.

The Central Library of the Tulsa City-County Library became one of six libraries in North America to be honored with the 2019 New Landmark Library designation from Library Journal.[5]

Literary awardsEdit

The Tulsa Library Trust, a privately funded public foundation, supports the Tulsa City-County Library. Among other activities, it gives out multiple literary awards.

Peggy V. Helmerich Distinguished Author AwardEdit

The Peggy V. Helmerich Distinguished Author Award has been awarded since 1985 to an "internationally acclaimed" author who has "written a distinguished body of work and made a major contribution to the field of literature and letters." The Helmerich Award consists of a US$40,000 cash prize and an engraved crystal book.[6]

Past winners of the award are:

Anne V. Zarrow Award for Young Readers' LiteratureEdit

The Anne V. Zarrow Award for Young Readers' Literature has been awarded since 1991 to "nationally acclaimed authors who have made a significant contribution to the field of literature for children and young adults." The award consists of a US$7,500 cash prize and an engraved crystal book.[7]

Winners of the award are:

American Indian Festival of Words Writers AwardEdit

Inaugurated in 2001, the American Indian Festival of Words Writers Award recognizes literary contributions of outstanding American Indian authors. It is the first and only award given by a public library to honor an American Indian author. The award is given by the Tulsa Library Trust and Tulsa Library's American Indian Resource Center in odd-numbered years. Recipients receive a US$5,000 cash prize and an engraved crystal.[13]

Winners of the award are:

American Indian Circle of Honor AwardEdit

Inaugurated in 2004, the American Indian Circle of Honor Award honors an American Indian for his/her achievements and contributions that have enriched the lives of others. Induction into the Circle of Honor is a celebration of the honoree’s actions in the face of adversity, commitment to the preservation of American Indian culture and legacy for future generations. The award is given by the Tulsa Library Trust and Tulsa Library's American Indian Resource Center in even-numbered years. Recipients receive a US$5,000 cash prize and specially designed trophy.[17]

Past winners of the award are:

Sankofa Freedom AwardEdit

The Sankofa Freedom Award is presented by the Tulsa Library Trust and Tulsa Library's African-American Resource Center. Sankofa is a word from the Akan language, which is spoken in southern Ghana. Literally translated, sankofa means: “We must go back and reclaim our past so we can move forward; so we understand why and how we came to be who we are today.” The Sankofa Freedom Award consists of a US$7,000 cash prize and an engraved medallion. It is awarded in even-numbered years (usually in February during Black History Month) to a nationally acclaimed individual who has dedicated his or her life to educating improving the greater African-American community.[19]

Past winners of the award are:


  1. ^ [1]
  2. ^ [2]
  3. ^ [3]
  4. ^ Stanley, Tim. "Mildred Ladner Thompson 1918-2013: Former Tulsa World columnist witnessed history". Tulsa World. 2013-07-07. Retrieved 2013-07-16.
  5. ^ Staff, Journal Record (2019-12-21). "TCCL named New Landmark Library". The Journal Record. Retrieved 2019-12-25.
  6. ^ a b James D. Watts, Jr., "Novelist to receive 2013 Helmerich award", Tulsa World, March 24, 2013.
  7. ^ a b Anne V. Zarrow Award for Young Readers' Literature[permanent dead link] at Tulsa City-County Library website, retrieved May 24, 2009
  8. ^ Rich Fisher,"A Chat with Laurie Halse Anderson, Winner of the 2017 Anne V. Zarrow Award", KWGS, May 4, 2017.
  9. ^ James D. Watts Jr., "Author Gordon Korman's career started in seventh grade", Tulsa World, May 5, 2016.
  10. ^ James D. Watts Jr., "Sharon Draper named 2015 Zarrow Award honoree", Tulsa World, November 28, 2014.
  11. ^ "Jack Gantos to Receive 2014 Anne V. Zarrow Award for Young Readers' Literature", Tulsa World, December 15, 2013.
  12. ^ "Jim Murphy wins 2013 Anne Zarrow Award", Tulsa World, February 10, 2013.
  13. ^ a b "Library To Honor Oklahoma Screenwriter And Filmmaker Sterlin Harjo | Tulsa City-County Library". Tulsalibrary.org. 2013-03-02. Retrieved 2017-03-07.
  14. ^ "Tulsa Library to Honor Choctaw Writer Tim Tingle", Native News Online, February 16, 2017.
  15. ^ "Tulsa City-County Library to Honor Award-Winning Author and Storyteller Joseph Bruchac", Tulsa City-County Library, October 9, 2014.
  16. ^ "Library to honor Oklahoma screenwriter and filmmaker Sterlin Harjo", Tulsa City-County Library (retrieved October 6, 2012).
  17. ^ "Book ahead, Tulsa World, October 23, 2011.
  18. ^ "Teaching love, preserving tradition: Tribal elder Sam Proctor has dedicated his life to teaching Creek customs." Tulsa People, March 2016.
  19. ^ a b "Acclaimed Author & Actor to Receive Tulsa City-County Library's Sankofa Freedom Award" Archived 2012-01-18 at the Wayback Machine, TCCL News & Events, August 4, 2011.
  20. ^ Jovana Poljasevic, "Tavis Smiley Coming To Tulsa For Sankofa Freedom Award", KOTV-DT, January 26, 2016.
  21. ^ "Author, Community Activist Accepts Tulsa Freedom Award", KWTV-DT, February 8, 2014.

Further readingEdit

  • "Decision in Tulsa: An Issue of Censorship". American Libraries. 2. 1971. JSTOR 25618268.

External linksEdit

Coordinates: 36°09′01″N 95°59′41″W / 36.150291°N 95.994675°W / 36.150291; -95.994675