Story by Christina Sneed, Strategic Communications Intern, Spring 2023
Sapulpa Public Library makes it their mission to seek and continuously provide a variety of resources to the local community. The library is able to provide patrons with 52,000 books, videos, audio books and DVDs, in addition to magazines and newspapers for patrons to check out at their convenience. They also have 12 patron computers and two literary-focused learning computers for children. Amongst the library’s vast resources, it also provides patron hotspots, homework hotspots, and Chromebooks and tablets for checkout.
While providing resources is essential for the library, it also provides patrons with a variety of services. The Library Annex located north of the library offers literacy services to those interested in learning to read and offers classes for volunteers who want to support by serving as volunteer teachers and tutors.
Since the pandemic, providing services now comes with an unexpected twist—minimizing health risks and promoting a safer environment for all. The library has actively made changes to adjust to the new circumstances by adding more cleaning to minimize the COVID transmission and offering a curbside pickup option for users.
The Sapulpa Public library is located in Sapulpa, Oklahoma, which is the county seat of Creek County and an estimated 12 miles southwest of Tulsa along Interstate 44. State Highways 33, 97, and the historic Route 66 lead travelers to the city. The town is named after Chief James Sapulpa, who was a member of the Lower Creek tribe from the state of Alabama. Around 1850, Chief Sapulpa trekked to the area and created a trading post one mile southeast of the present-day community.
The rich history of Sapulpa holds significant value for the library’s patrons. The public library plays a role in bonding the community together. Providing residents with a variety of resources has been impactful for patrons who cannot access these resources from home. The library is a vital resource for the community, where it can be challenging to access reliable internet.
“Many of our patrons are unable to afford the high price of internet and technology, with the library participation in the E-Rate program, we can serve our community by printing, scanning and faxing items. Patrons can come in and access our computers to get the information they need at a fast speed. Whereas, depending on where they live, just getting a website to load can take longer,” said Kristin Haddock, who serves as the library’s director.
The Sapulpa Public Library fulfills another important purpose in the Sapulpa community that goes beyond books and computers. The library is essential for businesses, as well, and the library meets the needs of businesses operating in this rural area.
“Quality internet connectivity is vital, because most libraries in rural areas have patrons that are unable to get cable or fiber lines. Patrons and small businesses or at-home businesses rely on our connectivity for their personal and business use,” said Haddock.
Accessing technology is important for rural communities, because they have the same need for resources as urban communities, yet these needs tend to be unfulfilled due to limited accessibility to high-speed internet.
The library has used OneNet for their broadband needs since 2008, starting with a T1 circuit. Since 2018, the library has expanded their infrastructure to a 200Mbps circuit. Haddock, who has been with the library for six years, said the library chooses OneNet because of the cost and the reliability of its internet.
“OneNet’s connectivity benefits the library by providing the staff the ability to do their jobs, thus helping our patrons. The library staff and our patrons can rely on internet services being maintained and few, if any, dropped internet data,” said Haddock.
Serving rural libraries in Oklahoma has been a valued part of OneNet’s mission since 1996. Providing internet connectivity to rural areas allow for communities like Sapulpa to continue to grow.
“The success of rural libraries is a result of the expansion and continued growth of technology initiatives across the state. OneNet currently serves 71 libraries. We appreciate our partnerships with library directors like Kristin, and we continue to make it a priority to provide reliable internet and services to libraries,” said John Hennessey, OneNet’s executive director.