The Ronald J. Norick Downtown Library offers a variety of services to meet the needs of a diverse group of guests.
With more than 173,000 resources, including books, DVDs, microfilm, educational programs and electronic reading materials, the library has something for everyone, said Julie Ballou, manager of library operations. Guests range from homeless people who are trying to escape extreme weather or search for jobs to a growing business community. The diversity is something Ballou loves about the library community.
"There's always something new and different happening," Ballou said.
Other resources include a Holocaust collection, a genealogy section and a room dedicated to the history of Oklahoma, with an emphasis on Oklahoma City and the surrounding area.
Guests often comment about how beautiful the building is, Ballou said. The library has large windows and plenty of community spaces.
The 114,130-square-foot building, located at 300 Park Ave., also includes administrative offices, classrooms and an auditorium.
People can attend the OKC Downtown College — a consortium of five colleges and universities that hold classes at the library.
Guests also can enjoy live performances in an auditorium on the fourth floor, or stop by during the lunch hour on Thursdays to hear local musicians featured in the Noon Tunes series. Several dozen computers are available for public use. The building also has free Wi-Fi and a cafe.
"We have a wide variety of customers, so there's a wide variety of experiences," Ballou said.
She encouraged anyone who has not been in a while to stop by.
Denise Slattery, of northwest Oklahoma City, volunteers in the genealogy department on Saturdays. She spends a few hours every other weekend documenting obituaries or helping people research their family history. Slattery said she enjoys the open feel of the building.
"When the sun comes in, everything is lit up," Slattery said. "It's very nice."
Library staff members do everything they can to incorporate as many people and interests as possible, Slattery said.
Jerry Stephens, of Edmond, visits the library every Saturday morning with his wife. Stephens enjoys attending book discussions and musical performances. If the library doesn't have what he's looking for, staff members are always willing to consider getting it, Stephens said.
"I think people fail to appreciate how good our local library is," Stephens said. "Oklahoma City is really fortunate to have such a great library system."
Oklahoma City libraries and extension libraries:
-Belle Isle Library, 5501 N Villa
-Capitol Hill Library, 334 SW 26
-Downtown Library, 300 Park Ave.
-Northwest Library, 5600 NW 122 (will open in 2011)
-Ralph Ellison Library, 2000 NE 23
-Southern Oaks Library, 6900 S Walker
-Wright Library, 2101 Exchange