Omaha Public Library
is the public library
system of the city of Omaha, Nebraska
. A library association was founded in 1857, but the library board was not appointed until 1877. In 1895, the library became one of the first six in the nation to create a children's section. There are 12 libraries in the system.
In 1857, the Omaha Library Association was formed, folding after three years. In 1872, a tiny library was opened on the second floor of the Simpson Carriage
factory at 14th & Dodge Street. In 1877, the Omaha City Council
appointed a library board, which levied a tax to create Omaha Public Library. They immediately accepted 4,500 books from the disbanded association as a gift.
Real estate tycoon Byron Reed
donated land and his vast collection of coins, books and manuscripts to the library in the early 1890s, and in 1894, Omaha Public Library opened in its first permanent home
at 18th and Harney. A year later, Omaha Public Library became one of the first six public libraries in the nation to create a separate children’s section. A new central library called the W. Dale Clark Library
opened at 14th and Farnam Streets in 1977 across from the Gene Leahy Mall
Mildred L. Batchelder
, Namesake of the American Library Association
award given to the publisher of a translated children's book was formerly a librarian at an Omaha Library. One of her stated goals in her work, which was encouraging the translation of children's books from around the world, was "to eliminate barriers to understanding between people of different cultures, races, nations, and languages."
South Omaha Public Library
The Omaha Public Library is governed by a nine-member board of trustees. These people are appointed by the mayor of Omaha
and confirmed by the Omaha City Council. Terms are for three years. The Board of Trustees meet every third Thursday of each month at 5 PM at different branches throughout the system. Meetings are open to the public and the agenda and minutes are posted on the Omaha Public Library website.
The Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium
In May of 2017, the Omaha Public Library announced a partnership
with the Henry Doorly Zoo and Aquarium
. The zoo donated tickets to the library for the purpose of offering them free of charge to library members. A limited number of tickets are delivered to OPL branches for distribution four times a year. Each library branch then offers these one-time visit tickets to interested library members which allows them and three of their family members to visit the zoo for free. Due to the Coronavirus Pandemic, the ticket distributions were suspended until further notice.
In April of 2018, the Omaha Public Library announced a partnership
with Fontenelle Forest
. Each of OPL’s 12 branches would have 7 free forest admission passes available for check-out year-round. Passes are good for one-time admission on the day of the week designated on the pass, and each pass admits two adults and children from their household.
The Omaha Children's Museum
In August of 2018, the Omaha Public Library announced a partnership
with the Omaha Children's Museum
. Free children's museum tickets would be made available four times a year for distribution to library members. Each free one-time visit ticket is good for up to four family members. Due to the Coronavirus Pandemic, the ticket distributions were suspended until further notice.
The Lauritzen Gardens
In December of 2018, the Omaha Public Library announced a partnership
with Lauritzen Gardens
. Free garden admission passes, 1 per branch location, would be made available to library members for checkout year-round. The passes are good for a one-time admission of two adults and any children from their household. After the pass is used the library member simply has to return it to any OPL branch location so it can be checked out by another library member.
The Durham Museum
In January of 2021, the Durham Museum announced a partnership
with the Omaha Public Library. Free museum admission passes, 1 per branch location, would be made available to library members for checkout year-round. The passes are good for one-time admission of two adults and dependent children or grandchildren from their household. After the pass is used the library member simply has to return it to any OPL branch location so it can be checked out by another library member.
The Omaha Public Library currently has a partnership with Heartland B-cycle. B-cycle provides passes for library members to rent bicycles for free through their bike sharing terminals. B-cycle passes are good for five days and allow OPL members who are 18 and up to checkout a bike free of charge. Each OPL branch has four passes available for checkout.
Website and Services
If you have a question that you need help answering the Omaha Public Library offers research and reference help through the ASKOPL
service. Users can call, email, text, or use online chat to get help from an OPL librarian to answer their question.
Common Soil Seed Library
In 2013, The Omaha Public Library created The Common Soil Seed Library
to help encourage a culture of abundance and food literacy, promote urban agriculture, and help diversify open-pollinated plants and seed at the local level. The Common Soil Seed Library is a collection of open-pollinated and heirloom seeds that you can borrow to plant and grow at home. The seed collection depends on donations and seasonality.
Over 100 online resources from eBooks, full-text journals, tutorials and databases are available to OPL members through the Omaha Public Library's Resource Center
The Book Drop Podcast
The Book Drop
is a weekly podcast produced by OPL staff that explores topics related to the Omaha community, libraries and the joy of reading. OPL staff offer reading suggestions, chat with guests and delve into books, resources and pop culture.
Omaha Public Library offers a variety of book club resources
to help start a book club or find a book club to join. Omaha Public Library has hundreds of book club bags to choose from for adults, young adults and children. Each book club bag includes the following: canvas carrying bag, 7-12 copies of the book, and a notebook with discussion questions, author information and other materials.
The Well-Read Collective
The Well-Read Collective
is a team of Omaha Public Library staff members who love books and want to talk about what people are reading. The Well-Read Collective goal is to help the public find their next favorite read, explore new genres and talk about new and forthcoming titles. Members of the public can request a custom reading list, invite the collective to their next book club meeting or community event or connect with them at their local OPL branch.
Genealogy Reference Room
The Genealogy Reference Room is located at the W. Dale Clark Main Library. The Genealogy Reference Room houses a non-circulating collection of more than 11,000 volumes including most standard genealogy reference works and a large collection of family genealogies organized by surname. Local materials are arranged by state and county. Family research enthusiasts will also find vital records indices, cemetery indices and transcriptions, census indices, county and town histories, and plat books, atlases, and gazetteers. The public can request help with local and genealogy research by filling out a research request form
Friends of Omaha Public Library (FOPL)
Friends of the Omaha Public Library
The Friends of Omaha Public Library (FOPL) is a non-profit, volunteer-run organization which helps to fund literacy and community outreach programs for Omaha Public Library and the Omaha community. FOPL raises money through membership support and sales of used books. General book sales are held quarterly at the W. Clarke Swanson Branch. The Friends of Omaha Public Library can also be found online on AbeBooks
as the Omaha Library Friends and on eBay
as the Friends of the Omaha Public Library.
- ^ Omaha Public Library Nebraska Library Commission Library Database
- ^ a b Omaha Public Library. Retrieved 1/11/08.
- ^ Board of Directors Omaha Public Library
- ^ Report, KETV Staff (2017-05-05). "Free zoo tickets offered to local library members". KETV. Retrieved 2021-03-24.
- ^ "Libraries Offer Free Passes to Fontenelle Forest - City of Omaha". www.cityofomaha.org. Retrieved 2021-03-24.
- ^ "Omaha Public Library Offers Children's Museum Tickets - City of Omaha". www.cityofomaha.org. Retrieved 2021-03-24.
- ^ "Omaha Public Library offering free passes to Lauritzen Gardens". KMTV. 2018-12-27. Retrieved 2021-03-24.
- ^ "Durham Museum launches Library Pass Program". The Durham Museum. 2021-01-19. Retrieved 2021-03-24.
Last edited on 4 May 2021, at 12:00
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