Shared Branch Manager, Bethia Owens, Receives the Rural Renewal Citizenship Prize

The Rural Renewal Initiative at Oklahoma State University has awarded Bethia Owens the 2023 Rural Renewal Citizenship prize for “being an exceptional role model, promoting community welfare, and advocating for community needs.”
Owens is the shared branch manager for Muldrow Public Library and Stanley Tubbs Memorial Library in Sallisaw. She was nominated by Eastern Oklahoma Library System (EOLS) Assistant Director Christina Linz with special letters of support from Executive Director Mary Moroney and local retired educators Dwight and Debbie Phillips.
“The Rural Renewal Citizenship Prize supports collaboration and research to improve the lives of people in rural communities,” Moroney said. “I can’t think of anyone who does that better than Bethia Owens.”
The Rural Renewal Initiative announcement states, “Owens, a native of Muldrow, Oklahoma, received a master’s degree in library and information studies from the University of Oklahoma. She was awarded grant funding in 1994 to build a library from the ground up in her hometown. The library was completed in 1998. She has played an integral role in supporting library services in Sequoyah County and increased accessibility to computers, WiFi, books and meeting spaces for community members. Owens invests in library programming by developing and supporting health literacy, summer reading, cultural and youth STEM programs.”
Also through many other accomplishments, projects, and initiatives over the years, Owens has “directly or indirectly affected the lives of thousands of children, parents, grandparents, teachers, and visitors from all over eastern Oklahoma,” Linz said.
Owens will be recognized with a plaque and a cash award at the Rural Renewal Symposium scheduled for November 2-3 in Lone Wolf, Oklahoma.