Its ideation came in 1889, in the early meetings of the Philomathea Club, a women’s study group. Set out to improve community culture and education, members raised funds to establish Oklahoma City’s first public library, which found its first home in an unused room in the Commercial Club, now the Chamber of Commerce. This fledgling institution grew to become Oklahoma City’s Metropolitan Library System, and, nearly 130 years following, operates wide and proud. Now incorporating 19 locations spanning across the greater OKC area, the Metropolitan Library System provides a plethora of resources, programs, and events to its citizens year-round.
The Metro Library System contains online and physical databases spanning far in subject, from auto engine repair to health & wellness, or from job preparedness to simple homework help. It also offers programs on GED preparation, adult education, and even how to become a US citizen. The Metro website provides book lists covering multiple topics, and also features an eBook collection titled “Indie Oklahoma”, which is fueled by the Self-e program, where young authors can submit works.
One of our favorite things about the Metropolitan Library System is its constant list of events occurring throughout all the locations, all the time. The Northwest Library hosts “Teen Time” every Monday evening, featuring varying activities. Nicoma Park and Harrah libraries are each hosting a “Spy School” in July, designed for younger children to learn if they have what it takes to be a spy. Also in July, Southern Oaks and Harrah libraries will host “OKC Zoo: Animal Acoustics-The Remix!” where kids can come learn about the musical styles animals are fond of.
The highlight of the Metropolitan Library System’s events is the Neighborhood Arts programs, where, every June and July, the Metro Library hosts performances of family-friendly music, theatre, and comedy. This year, Neighborhood Arts features four performing acts, appearing at various locations: Rhythmically Speaking, an educational theatre troupe, will present a moral story about a dinosaur egg; Sugar-Free Allstars, a musical duo, will perform their signature family funk; Adam & Kizzie, another musical pair, will show audiences just how many different ways you can rock out; and OKC Improv, a comedic acting group, will encourage audience involvement in their fun and games. You can find out more about these performances here.
People often forget about the library: it is often not so flashy, popular, or exciting compared to other institutions of learning. Neither is it a school, nor a stage, nor a home, but it can be all of these things still. What it is, assuredly, is a place for you and your family to grow with the community around you. Whatever you’re trying to accomplish, be it fixing your old lawn mower or putting a smile on your child’s face again, there’s going to be something waiting for you at your local library.