Chickasha Public Library’s Services and Community Impact

The Chickasha Public Library, which has the distinction of being the first free library in what was then Indian Territory, was founded as a Carnegie Library on March 23, 1905.  This library has operated continuously for 115 years, and has grown and developed as new technology, resources, and information becomes available, and is a vital part of the educational and cultural landscape of this community. 

The library provides a variety of information, services, and resources for both education and recreational purposes to the residents of Chickasha and Grady County.  These services provide personal, social, and economic benefits in many different ways.

Since the beginning, the Chickasha Public Library has offered access to books and other printed material.  Library cards are free for anyone who lives, works, or goes to school in Grady County, and each person can check out up to 20 items at a time.  Besides printed books, there are audio books on CD, Playaways, magazines, and kits available.

Due to COVID-19, the library’s services are currently being delivered in modified ways to ensure public safety.  Individuals can call and reserve an appointment to visit the library to browse, check out books, or use the computer during available days and times.  Books can also be requested and held for curbside pickup either by phone or online through the library’s catalog.  Additional curbside services include printing (documents can be emailed to, copying, and short-term laptop usage.  There is also a notary service free of charge. 

The library’s virtual services have been widely utilized during the pandemic.   Ebooks, audio books, and magazines are available through the Oklahoma Virtual Library and can be read on your Kindle, phone, tablet, or computer.  Sign in with your Chickasha Public Library card and then enter the last four digits of that number as the PIN. 

For those wanting to supplement online learning, Universal Class is a database containing over 500 courses (free with your library card) that cover academic subjects, technology usage, health, finance, workplace skills, and recreational hobbies.  Once completed, each course provides a certificate and CEUs that can be used for continuing education credits.  History and genealogy researchers can benefit from EBSO Host, OK2Explore, ProQuest Black Freedom Struggle, and Oklahoma Digital Prairie.  Free streaming movies are available through Kanopy. These databases and more can be found on the E-Resources tab on the library’s homepage.  Ancestry is also available at home for the duration of the pandemic and can be accessed by signing into your account on the library’s homepage. 

Regular programs, including Tai Chi and classes from the Oklahoma Healthy Aging Initiative, are currently accessible through Zoom.  Those who are interested in health literacy can participate in a community walking challenge, watch videos with healthy recipes on the library’s Facebook page, and check out kits with information about healthy living.  

Finally, anyone can call or email the library and receive information and help from the staff.  We will work to find new and innovative ways to search for answers to questions, find resources, help navigate the vast world of online information, and to provide contact information for official organizations.  For more information about any of these programs or services, please call the Chickasha Public Library at 405-222-6075.

Readers’ Advisory

Open book in front of book shelves.

As 2020 wrapped up many of my friends across social media lamented that they had not read as many books this year as they normally do. I had this problem as well. Very few books held my interest for more than a few pages.  Each time a friend asked for advice on what to read to help them through this slump I suggested reading a middle grade fiction or “chapter book”. 

Front Desk by Kelly Yang

I often pick up a chapter book when I need a palette cleanser between heavier books and this year that habit found me reading Front Desk by Kelly Yang. The Tang family recently immigrated from China and are struggling to find their place in Southern California in the early 1990’s. Mr. and Mrs. Tang take a job as live-in managers at a small motel while Mia starts fifth grade.   The reason I always suggest middle grade fiction is in its simplicity.

Middle grade fiction touches on the topics that humans face on a daily basis like friendship drama, family relationships, physical changes, and encounters with a new grown up world, but in a simple, straightforward way.  The main characters are children who (hopefully) haven’t learned the adult art of ignoring their own feelings just to appease others so while they may not express themselves with finesse, they do it better than some adults in novels do.  Compare how Jane Eyre expresses her unhappiness by running away from Thornfield Hall in the night versus Ramona Quimby who simply shouts “Guts!!!!” as she swings at the local playground. Maybe we need more gut-shouting and less slipping away in the night. The guilelessness of young main characters is refreshing. 

Authors of middle grade fiction have to express complex topics like poverty in simple terms that their young readers will understand. Even though Mia is very intelligent she is still a 10 year old speaking English as a second language. She is not going to use five dollar words like penury and indigence when worrying about the hospital bill after Mrs. Tang is attacked. “But we’re dirt poor!” she exclaims to the hospital clerk after they deny the family relief. 

My absolute favorite thing about children’s books is how they end. All the themes of the book are wrapped up in a neat little bow at the end. I know that life doesn’t always end with a pool party, but it sounds better than some endings we are faced with in adult novels and especially life.