Library system chosen as finalist for nonprofit award  

The Southern Oklahoma Library System (SOLS) is one of twenty-one Oklahoma organizations that are now finalists for the prestigious Oklahoma Nonprofit Excellence (ONE) Awards, presented annually by the Oklahoma Center for Nonprofits (OKCNP). Out of almost 19,000 nonprofits statewide, only twenty-one were named finalists.
“Excitement doesn’t even begin to describe my reaction to this announcement,” said Executive Director Gail Oehler. “I realize the impact SOLS has made in our eight library communities, but to be recognized statewide is a wonderful tribute and the Southern Oklahoma Library System is honored to be named a ONE finalist.
On April 24, 2021, finalists will join together at Tulsa’s Southern Hills Country Club to celebrate and hear the announcement of the 2021 ONE Awards winners. The event will be livestreamed on okcnp.org/one-awards. Finalists are divided into seven mission categories and receive $5,000, with category winners receiving $7,500. On the night of the event, an overall winner will be awarded $10,000 and the title of Oklahoma’s 2021 Nonprofit of Excellence. In total, this year’s finalists will receive $125,000 to recognize the impact of their charitable work throughout the state. As of 2020, the OKCNP ONE Awards has given nearly $2 million to more than 200 Oklahoma nonprofits.
“Being selected among such significant Oklahoma non-profit organizations reinforces the value of libraries and emphasizes the accomplished work of SOLS staff,” said Oehler. “It also cultivates our driving force in strengthening our communities with the many resources we provide to support lifelong learning.”
Awards are presented in the following categories:
1. Arts and Humanities
2. Community
3. Education
4. Health Services
5. Self-Sufficiency
6. Youth Development
7. Transformation
The finalists were chosen by the ONE Awards Selection Commission, a group of prestigious community leaders from across Oklahoma. The Commission, chaired by Phil Lakin, Jr., includes Kathie Coyle, Lisa Greenlee, Kim Henry, David Hogan, Courtney Knoblock, Will Merrick, Sarah Roberts, Meg Salyer, Wendi Schuur and Mary Kate Wilson.
“ONE Award recipients are selected for their excellence in all areas, from impact and service delivery to clients, to reputation, to internal management and efficiencies,” said Phil Lakin, Jr., Chair of the ONE Awards Selection Commission.
For more than 60 years, the Southern Oklahoma Library System has been serving residents across south central Oklahoma in Carter, Love, Johnston, Atoka, and Murray counties. SOLS offers more than 200,000 books to patrons with a broad base of the latest technology including eBooks, audio books, computer services, 3D printers, databases, hot spots, and frequently accessed websites – all accessible with a personal library card. Most recently, SOLS has outfitted a digital bookmobile to bring library services with Wi-Fi to rural areas in SOLS’ service area.
Programs and activities for adults, youth, and children provide a wealth of opportunity for educational and personal growth. “We believe the library is the heart of the community – a place of gathering, knowledge, and enjoyment,” said Oehler. “Our goal is to continue to make a difference in the communities we serve today.”
To learn more about sponsorship opportunities or how you can support these amazing nonprofit finalists in the 2021 ONE Awards, please contact Rob Gardenhire at [email protected] or (918) 340-7053.
For more information or to apply for a library card, contact your local SOLS branch.

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