McFarlin - The University of Tulsa


Staff Spotlight – Bobby Frame

Bobby Frame

Special Collections Graduate Student, McFarlin Library

Q: What is your undergraduate degree in and what area are you pursuing your graduate degree in? Also, what type of career are you planning to pursue post-graduation?

A: My undergraduate degree was in anthropology from McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada. Currently, in my master’s studies, I am working within the fields of cultural, medical and psychological anthropology to look at the mental health of student-athletes after suffering concussions. I have recently applied for my Ph.D. for schools in Canada in the fields of anthropology, kinesiology and health studies with the hopes of becoming a professor post-graduation.

Q: As a graduate assistant, what is your role at McFarlin Library?

A: As a graduate assistant in special collections, my primary role is to serve the patron in any way that I can. Often this requires me to search and retrieve materials, sit in the reading room with patrons and handle the technological side of things, mainly answering emails and handling scanning requests. I also have personal projects where I process collections and create information about them to add information to our finding aid on the website. Overall, my role as a graduate assistant is to provide as much help as I can for patrons and around the department, to be efficient and to best serve the patron’s research needs.

Q: What do you enjoy most about working at McFarlin Library?

A: As an anthropologist, I find working with the materials in special collections fascinating; it really is a privilege working on a daily basis with such interesting materials. What I enjoy most about working in special collections is the challenges that I face on a regular basis with various tasks. Often times, I will have to research and look for information when it may not be obvious. This has helped me benefit as a researcher and allowed me to improve with my own research. Another great perk to working here is my colleagues; it is an enjoyable environment for me to work in every day.

Q: Where is your favorite spot within McFarlin Library?

A: My favorite spot in the library is definitely the quiet reading rooms on the main level. They are the perfect place to go to get work done, and I have taken full advantage of them. As I come to the end of my graduate studies at The University of Tulsa, I am now focused on writing my thesis and having a location to spend hours in to write has been incredibly important to my studies.

February 2019 McFarlin Library Message from Dean Alexander

Dear Friends,

To those of you who may have missed our evening of TU basketball (against Memphis) on January 30, I wish you a heartfelt Happy New Year, and I hope that your holiday season was as merry and bright as ours. At McFarlin Library and The University of Tulsa, though, the holidays ended all too soon as campus reopened on January 3 and classes began the following Monday.

It’s hard to believe we’re already five weeks into a 16-week semester. Final exams and graduation on May 4 will be here before we know it! My staff told me back in December that the fall semester was one of the busiest we have ever experienced in terms of student and faculty traffic in the library, along with more academic-related events in the Ann & Jack Graves Faculty Study and other library spaces. And this semester thus far has been the same. McFarlin Library truly has become TU’s “Academic Town Square,” since our last major renovation/addition project was completed almost a decade ago this spring.

And on that note (as my wife likes to say), I should add here that 2019 marks the 90th anniversary of the beginnings of what we now call McFarlin Library. This month in 1929, it was announced publicly that Robert and Ida McFarlin had pledged $275,000 (almost $4 million today) toward construction of the university’s new library. Groundbreaking for the library, along with Tyrrell Hall and Phillips Hall, took place on May 3, 1929. McFarlin Library was officially dedicated thirteen months later, on June 1, 1930.

We will have much more to talk about over the next year or so regarding the “birth” of McFarlin. In the meantime, I’m very excited about the rest of our McFarlin Fellows season, and I hope you can join us for two wonderful guests: Professor Maya Jasanoff from Harvard on February 21 and Tulsa’s own Joy Harjo. And the marvelous artist book exhibit is on display until March 22 in the Special Collections reading room. I hope you have a chance to see it!

Thanks for all you do for McFarlin Library and TU.



Adrian W. Alexander

Staff Spotlight – Ann Blakely

Ann Blakely

Head of Reference Services, McFarlin Library

Q: Tell me about your role at McFarlin Library.

A: Currently, I am serving as head of research and access services, since we have merged two departments.

I supervise and coordinate all activities related to these areas, such as making sure public service points are staffed properly and that both the public and the staff are tended, that Interlibrary Loan operates well, that circulation policies make sense, that the OPAC is up to date, that the webpages are current, and that all staff are trained. It also includes making sure we are meeting the research needs of our patrons and that our circulation services are functioning smoothly.

Q: What research assistance do you provide to students?

A: The research staff provide classes for students at all levels, from the beginning orientation to advanced research for graduate students. In the classes, we teach them about our databases, how to conduct thoughtful research and how to actually access the material.

Q: What is the best kept secret about McFarlin Library’s services?

A: I would say our best kept “secret” is our research service for individuals. If patrons fill out a form ahead of time and set up an appointment, they can have individual research help from experienced librarians who work on the topics beforehand and help find the best paths for the research. We have our most experienced research librarian, Andy Lupardus, coordinating this and anyone working with her is lucky indeed.

Q: How are libraries changing?

A: Libraries are rapidly adapting to a changing information world. In truth, librarians are usually familiar with trends early, and given the opportunity, can help their patrons navigate the information jungle. Although libraries are still providing the resources for research, most of the information is online and can be accessed remotely. That means, libraries must provide smooth access to the databases and research assistance and even go to their patrons instead of expecting them to come to the library. Actual library buildings are becoming not only gathering places for individual research and exploration, but also places for group research and even venues for speakers and performers. The old model of the building being a place for quiet contemplation is still valid, but the buildings now have to meet many more needs.

Special Collections Exhibition

The BOOM days

Prosperity and Pain in Each Barrel of Crude



On display through June 30, 2017
Monday through Friday | 8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.

McFarlin Library – Jack and Tybie Davis Satin Room

BOOM days is a glimpse into the life of the oil field worker during the early days of the oil boom in Oklahoma, Texas, Louisiana and Pennsylvania. The exhibit is also a recognition of the fact that, in the 19th and early 20th centuries — whether you were a roughneck, a tankie, a pipe-liner, or a shooter — your job as an oil field worker was not a glamorous one; and to say it was hard work would be the greatest of understatements.

So often these men endured 18-hour work days, lousy food and extreme weather conditions. Many a worker lost his life in a horrendous accident on the rig, by asphyxiation in a storage tank, or by being blown to bits while wiring explosives. Needless to say, these hardy, courageous men, played a crucial role in Oklahoma statehood as well as in the growth and vitality of cities like Tulsa.

We hope that you will be inspired to come visit the exhibit in McFarlin’s Department of Special Collections and University Archives.

Tim Blake Nelson talks to McFarlin Fellows and TU students

To cap off its 2016-2017 McFarlin Fellows season, McFarlin Library was pleased to welcome Tulsa native and award-winning actor, screenwriter and director Tim Blake Nelson in April.

For 25 years, the McFarlin Fellows have provided important financial support to the library’s world-class Special Collections. In return, the Fellows enjoy three dinner/lecture events each season in the beautiful Pat and Arnold Brown Reading Room in McFarlin Library.

Notable figures from the fields of literature, history, law, politics and journalism, to name a few, have spoken on topics related to the collecting strengths of Special Collections. The lectures highlight the importance of these unique collections to scholars and others involved in research.

McFarlin Library also invites speakers from Fellows events to meet with TU students and discuss their work. Among those speakers who have generously devoted time to our students while visiting TU in recent years are Man Booker Prize-winning novelist AS Byatt, Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright (and Tulsa native) Tracy Letts, Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Paul Muldoon and Peabody Award-winning book critic Maureen Corrigan.

“It was a real thrill to have Tulsa native Tim Blake Nelson join us this season,” Adrian Alexander, the R.M. & Ida McFarlin Dean of the library said. “Both the Fellows and our students in TU’s Film Studies program really enjoyed hearing from him and visiting with him. Most people don’t know that we have been collecting some interesting and hard-to-find resources related to film lately, to support this outstanding undergraduate program, so we wanted to highlight that. I’m particularly proud of our purchase last year of a detailed story outline of the film that Orson Welles first pitched to RKO Pictures in 1939. It was Joseph Conrad’s Heart of Darkness. The studio wouldn’t greenlight it, though, because it was too expensive; Welles insisted that much of it had to be filmed on location in Africa. So instead, they gave him the money to make something called Citizen Kane.”

An Unexpected Surprise

The time of year was especially appropriate when an unexpected gift arrived at McFarlin.

In December 2016, Charles Martinez dropped off a check in the dean’s assistant’s office — part of his mother’s estate designated specifically for the library. Alice Martinez, the widow of the late Samuel J. Martinez, Jr., knew that TU was very dear to her husband’s heart and wanted to honor his fondness for the university. Before his retirement, Samuel had taught English and technical writing for more than 15 years and worked very closely with Petroleum Abstracts, which is located in McFarlin.

“Unexpected gifts of this size are always a delightful surprise and can always be directed to an important need for McFarlin Library,” said Adrian Alexander, R.M. & Ida McFarlin Dean of the Library.

McFarlin Library History

Throughout The University of Tulsa’s history, the University has embraced the importance of a library to the academic community.  In the First Annual Catalogueof Henry Kendall College, Muskogee, Indian Territory, 1894, a page was set aside declaring the needs of the college. The first need was scholarships — $100.00 would pay all expenses for one student for one year.  The second read:

The Library stands greatly in need of reference books, especially in history, science and English language and literature.  The college greatly needs $500 for library purposes.  One hundred dollars just at this time would relieve a part of the extreme necessity. An endowment fund would advance the work greatly.

By 1901, the library, a room in the administration building, contained 1200 books. When the University moved to Tulsa, and to its eventual home, three miles east of town, a room was set aside in the administration building, later Kendall Hall, to house the growing collection of volumes.

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