About the Library
Wister Public Library, branch of the Southeast Oklahoma Library System, is located in Wister, Oklahoma which is nestled in LeFlore County 2 miles from Wister Lake State Park. The library was situated in the Wister City Hall and Municipal building, an original 1930's WPA native rock building until August 2012 when the library was relocated to its current location, a remodeled bank building with functional drive-thru.
Wister Library was originally opened in 1963 and Mrs. Ida Davidson, who worked on a voluntary basis, was the first librarian. All initial materials were donated and the library was open three afternoons each week.
When LeFlore County joined the Choctaw National Multi-County Library System in 1967, Wister Library's doors were temporarily closed. The community was then served by the CNMCL book mobile twice each month. Despite the best efforts of the book mobile personnel, circulation dropped dramatically and the service was discontinued. Wister Public Library was re-opened February 16, 1971 after citizens joined together to clean, paint and make the building ready once again to house a library.
Lura Duncan initially worked on the CNMCL book mobile and then became the first paid librarian at Wister Public Library. She continued in this position for more than 25 years. Following Lura's retirement, Carolyn Chandler became librarian, and then Carole Duncan, Lura's granddaughter took the position. Leslie Langley was named the librarian in 2000 and with help of library assistant Sheila Reid, the community, and the financial assistance of several grants, Leslie and Sheila transformed the interior of the building into an inviting, cozy library and one that is thriving. In April 2012, The Community State Bank moved into a new building and donated their original building to the City of Wister to be used as a the library. Remodeling started April 2012 and the library was moved in August 2012. On January 1, 2020, Sheila Reid was named Library Manager of Wister Public Library.
Friends of Wister Library was formed in 2002 with the help of a Friends of the Library in Oklahoma (FOLIO) seed grant and has played an important role in the growth of the library, the services the library offers and the involvement the library has in the community. In 2013, the renovation and relocation of Wister Public Library made big news at the 106th Oklahoma Library Association Annual Conference. “Be the Change” was the theme of the conference and the work that was done on Wister Library was certainly part of a big change. The conference was kicked-off with an evening banquet during which Gene Langley and Bryn Pickering were given the OLA Special Projects Award for the countless hours of work and dedication they freely gave to turning a bank building into a library. This award also paid homage to Abe Williams, Troy Langley, Jim Billings and Larry Strouse for their hours of service. Friends of Libraries in Oklahoma (FOLIO) presented the John Harkey Best Friends Award for a Friends group whose work goes beyond the normal realm of a library supporting group. Friends of Wister Library received the prestigious award which was presented at the FOLIO luncheon to Leslie Langley and Sheila Reid. Friends of Wister Library continues to be an important part of supporting Wister Public Library and the community of Wister.
Wister Public Library special collections include canning equipment, air-fryer, pressure cooker, bread machine, sewing machine, and telescope all of which are available for check out.