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Orange Pride: R.D. Bell

Published: Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Librarian R.D. BellR.D. Bell may be familiar to thousands of students, faculty and staff who have passed through the doors of what is now the OSU-Tulsa Library during the last 27 years.

He is the recipient of the Orange Pride Award, a quarterly honor that recognizes outstanding OSU-Tulsa employees.

Over the years, Bell has seen many changes as digital technology overtook the card catalog days of library services. OSU-Tulsa’s library information has been cloud-based for the past year.

“There is a parallel in the changes in our libraries and changes to the nation as a whole in terms of becoming more digitally oriented,” Bell said.

Libraries and librarians play an integral role in helping students and faculty gather information to produce research papers or other products.

“Students come into our school very tech-savvy, but they still need to know the traditional approaches to research,” he said. “We offer them the tools to get started.”

A native Tulsan, Bell took an unlikely path to becoming a librarian, initially earning a bachelor’s degree in geology with an eye toward working in the oil industry. When he saw the oil boom going bust in the 1980s, Bell changed course.

“I remember watching ‘The Day the Universe Changed,’ a British documentary series about advances in science and technology and their effect on society. It really made me think,” he said. “I decided, what better place to be in the information age than in a library.”

After earning his master’s degree in library science, Bell secured a position in the library at the University Center of Tulsa, which later became OSU-Tulsa.

Bell supervises the Oklahoma State Textbook Review Center at OSU-Tulsa and has written multiple library research guides on engineering, computer science, telecommunications, aviation, materials science and more. He serves on numerous university-wide committees and regularly volunteers to help with campus functions.

He has been a strong supporter of the Oklahoma Library Association and works at the organization’s conference when the event comes to Tulsa. In addition, he has participated in community outreach programs with his wife, Kathy Bell, who is coordinator of the Tulsa Sexual Assault Nurse Examiners Program at the Tulsa Police Department and an instructor in the School of Forensics at OSU Center for Health Sciences.

Bell also is proud to be working on his 18th gallon in blood donations to the American Red Cross in Tulsa.

“I feel a great pride in being a Tulsan and helping Tulsa,” he said. “This career has given me a way to reach out to the community.”

To nominate an OSU-Tulsa staff member for the Orange Pride award, complete the nomination form. Orange Pride recipients are selected each month and receive a framed certificate and $100.


Media Contact: Aaron Campbell | 918-594-8046 |