2007 Library News

Metropolitan Library System Honoring Oklahoma Author Bob Burke

Bob Burke, who has written over 70 books about our state’s history and the people who made that history, is Oklahoma’s Renaissance Man.

His life, art, and contributions to Oklahoma will be celebrated and honored with a Tribute to Bob Burke and Oklahoma 100 Years at the Downtown Library, 300 Park Ave., on Sunday, Dec. 2, from 2:00 to 3:00pm.  Following an introduction by Jayne Jayroe, Mr. Burke will share stories about Oklahoma and some of the fascinating characters that have helped create our state. Oklahoma musician, Brad Benge, will give a spirited musical tribute of music that Oklahomans love.

Burke is a practicing attorney in Oklahoma City specializing in Workers Compensation.  He served as director of the Department of Economic and Community Affairs (now the Department of Commerce) in the administration of Gov. David Boren and managed Boren's first campaign for the U.S. Senate in 1978. 

 “My favorite kind of music is still pop hits of the Sixties,” Burke said. ”I was a disc jockey at KOMA in Oklahoma City during college, during the heyday of Top 40 radio. I can still win most trivia contests about songs from the Sixties.” 

In 2004, Mr. Burke was named to the Oklahoma Journalism Hall of Fame in honor of his early-career stints as a reporter with ABC Sports and his time as disc jockey with KOMA and KTOK radio in Oklahoma City, as well as KBEL radio in Idabel. 

Burke’s hobbies include a love of the outdoors, especially cultivating flowers in his backyard. “I also love old bookstores and libraries,” he said.

He also collects presidential autographs and in 2006 he donated to Oklahoma City University School of Law a collection of original letters, documents, photographs and writings by U.S. Supreme Court justices.

In 2006, he was given the Lifetime Achievement Award by the Oklahoma Center for the Book and inducted into the Oklahoma Hall of Fame.

Like most writers, Burke finds it hard to name his favorite among his literary output.  “Probably my favorite is my biography of aviator Wiley Post. He was an Oklahoma kid who overcame great odds to become the world's greatest pilot and discoverer of the jet stream. He had only one eye, a sixth grade education, a depression problem, and a prison record yet he accomplished incredible feats including being the first person to fly alone around the earth.” Luckily for him, Burke doesn’t need much sleep.  “I get up early. I regularly spend three to four hours at the office in the early morning hours before the rest of the staff arrives.”            

 “Everyone is invited to celebrate Oklahoma's 100th birthday at the Downtown Library with a special tribute to honor Oklahoman Bob Burke, the most prolific writer of Oklahoma history,” said Downtown librarian Darlene Browers.

            A Tribute to Bob Burke is co-sponsored by the Metropolitan Library System and the Friends of the Metropolitan Library System.

For more information about the event, call the library at 231-8650.

The Metropolitan Library System of Oklahoma County includes 12 libraries and five extension libraries.  Libraries include Belle Isle, Capitol Hill, Ralph Ellison, Ronald J. Norick Downtown Library and Southern Oaks in Oklahoma City, as well as Bethany, Choctaw, Del City, Edmond, Midwest City, Village and Warr Acres.  Extensions are located in the communities of Harrah, Jones, Luther and Nicoma Park and include Wright Library in Oklahoma City.  You can also reach us at www.metrolibrary.org