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Connect Volume 18 • Issue 1 • Spring 2011

News from Omaha Public Library • OPL Foundation • Friends of OPL Page



Director’s Note Winter Reading



Tech Spot Video Premiere



Library Murals KidSpot & TeenSpace


Summer Reading Program It’s a small world with big excitement. Explore it this summer at Omaha Public Library! Different voices will be heard as kids celebrate “One World, Many Stories.” (See kids’ levels and prizes below.) Teens can find their place on the big blue planet by discovering “You Are Here.” Adults will enjoy the sights, sounds and stories of “Novel Destinations.” Visit for more details.

Saturday, May 21, 2-4 p.m.: North America at Benson Park

Sunday, May 22, 2-4 p.m.: Australia at Lake Zorinsky

Monday, May 23, 6-8 p.m.: Europe at Tahazouka Park

Tuesday, May 24, 6-8 p.m.: Antarctica at Gene Leahy Mall

Wednesday, May 25, 6-8 p.m.: Asia at Miller Park

Thursday, May 26, 6-8 p.m.: South America at Hitchcock Park

Friday, May 27, 6-8 p.m.: Africa at Standing Bear Lake

Join us for our round-the-world tour to kick off the Summer Reading Program: Special programs, experiences and incentives in June and July will keep you entertained this summer. Registration and logging reading begins May 21 and ends July 31.

Friends of OPL OPL Foundation

Notes from the Director Finding A Voice What a great year we had in 2010!

More than 150 people attended the “Finding A Voice” art exhibit reception and panel discussion of homelessness at W. Dale Clark Main Library in the Michael Phipps Gallery on Feb. 7. Food was provided by M’s Pub, Mark’s Bistro and Panera Bread.

Our community has once again demonstrated that it needs and uses its libraries now more than ever.

As individuals arrived at the exhibit, they were asked to share one word that came to mind when they thought of homelessness. They were asked to share another word as they left that evening. Much like the transformation represented in the art by Chris Leet and Jeremiah Neal, there was a shift in the perspectives of the audience members from hopelessness to inspiration.

2,334,407 visits to Omaha Public Library in 2010. That is a 4.15 percent increase over 2009. This incredible growth makes us one of the most visited organizations in the state! The Charles B. Washington Branch in North Omaha saw a increase in visits, serving nearly 171,000 people in 2010.

27 %

1,363,495 visits were made to our website. Omahans borrowed 3,205,734 items this past year, a 2.37 percent increase over 2009.


Customers downloaded digital books from OPL in 2010, up 45 percent from the prior year. Omaha and Douglas County residents logged computer sessions during the year.



people attended programs in our libraries—ranging from storytimes, to movie nights, to job skills workshops. Of course, these are just numbers and do not begin to express the powerful impact our libraries have on those who use our services and resources. They do not tell the story of the young woman who learned how to create a professional resume in a library workshop and then had a staff member help her apply for a job online (which she got). Nor do they demonstrate the change in the life of a young man recently released from prison who met the author of the children’s book that he taught himself how to read with while serving his time. He is now writing for and publishing a local newspaper. It doesn’t even begin to show the excitement of parents who brought their reluctant son to the Library in June and forced him to sign up for the Summer Reading Program. When they returned at the end of July, their son wanted to tell us how much fun he had reading books! He didn’t know it was going to be so cool. Cool or not, we know from study after study that his school performance will dramatically improve because of his summer reading. Thanks to each of you for your support, encouragement and commitment throughout the year. We all have a lot to be proud of in Omaha and a lot to look forward to during 2011! Gary Wasdin, Executive Director

To see the collection of words, visit for the first set of words and for the exit words. Photos of the exhibit are available on OPL’s Flickr page: photos/omahalibrary “Finding a Voice” is an interprofessional collaboration that links healthcare, social work and communication students with people who are homeless and are receiving services at Siena/Francis House (SFH). Through the use of photography, interviews and storytelling, students learn about homelessness and the impact on individuals, families and communities. The materials for this project were sponsored by the University of Nebraska Medical Center Service-Learning Academy.

Winter Reading & Omaha Reads For the first time, OPL’s Winter Reading Club coincided with the effort to unite our community around common themes through Omaha Reads/Omaha Kids Read. Our patrons voted and the selected titles were Doris Kearns Goodwin’s “Wait Till Next Year: A Memoir” and Frances Burnett’s “The Secret Garden.” People were encouraged to attend signature programming and discussions surrounding these books. More than 1,300 readers participated in Winter Reading Club. Those who read five books were rewarded with coupons to Crane Coffee and the Friends of Omaha Public Library book sale. Two lucky patrons who met their reading goals won NOOK Color eReaders in the grand prize drawing. Thanks to community partners: Backyard Birds, Barnes and Noble, Beyond the Vine, The Bookworm, Borders, Cathedral Arts Project, Crane Coffee, Elkhorn Valley Garden Club, Fontenelle Forest Nature Center, Friends of Omaha Public Library, Ikebana International Omaha Chapter, Lauritzen Gardens and Whole Foods Market.

OPL Boa rd

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If we made a list of all the things people say they didn’t know about the Library, it might include some of the following:

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of Museum the Institute in part by the Library t is supported the provisions of the This projec under istered by y Services and Librar Technology Act as admin Services and y Commission. y y. Librar a Public Librar Nebraska s of Omah ed by Friend r of the Heartland, provid g fundin ls. ational Cente Additional d by the Intern and Omaha Public Schoo Cosponsore es, Servic System Lutheran Family ty Library ville Coun Green e: sourc Research

Laptops: No computers free? No worries! Laptops are available for checkout at some OPL branches. They are for use inside the Library only and are a convenient alternative to waiting for a desktop computer to become available on a busy day.

eReaders: Still not sure about investing in an eReader? Take one for a trial run! Sony Readers are available for checkout. This provides interested individuals time to use a device and make an informed decision about whether an eReader is right for them. Most devices are compatible with OPL’s downloadable book provider, OverDrive—allowing you to check out eBooks for FREE. If you already have an eReader, and just aren’t sure how to use it, OPL can help you with that, too. Attend one of our eReader workshops to learn how to get the most from your device. OPL App: Always on the go? Take OPL with you! The OPL app is available for most smart phones. Search for books, place items on hold, find library events, access reading lists, catch up with us on Facebook & Twitter, and more—all from the palm of your hand. More information is available at your Library. QR Codes enable mobile users to jump from printed materials to online content with a click. Requires QR code app.



Multicultural Celebration & Video Premiere

Take a tour of Omaha Public Library! Immigrants to the United States who have little or no English speaking skills may have difficulty understanding what a free lending library is—let alone how to use one. Omaha Public Library has created a seven-minute video to explain the basics of a library in seven languages: Somali, Swahili, Burmese, Sudanese-Nuer, Arabic, Karen and Spanish. Available on our website, on YouTube, and for checkout, this video helps people understand the benefits that libraries offer including help with language and literacy skills, learning to use a computer, connecting with the world via the Internet, searching for work and preparing resumes. The Nebraska Library Commission, Lutheran Family Services, Omaha Public Schools, the International Center for the Heartland and library staff partnered together in this crucial step toward reaching nonEnglish speaking members our community. Join us for the premiere of the video on Saturday, March 26, 1-4 p.m., South Omaha Library, 2808 Q St. Enjoy ethnic foods, entertainment, crafts and more!

Watt Detectors The Watt Detector is a Kill-A-Watt™ device used to measure the amount of electricity your appliances use. Stop by any OPL branch to check out a Watt Detector Kit and start saving money today. The Watt Detector Program is available through a partnership between Omaha Public Power District and Omaha Public Library.


KidSpot dents Angel ls Freedom” by stu “Knowledge Equa r & mentor Gerard Pefung. xte Gomez, Bernie Ba

“Tree of Knowled ge” Sarah Ervin, Isaiah by students Jayme Wyble, Hood & mentor Steve Walsh.

Library Murals Kent Bellows Studio & Center for Visual Arts’ (Re)Create Urban Arts Program allows young artists to work with experienced mentors to recreate the idea of graffiti and street art-inspired artwork. During a 16 week period, young artists find their voice with spray paint and work with local organizations to create collaborative community murals. Two murals have been painted on the lower level walls of W. Clarke Swanson Branch. Each mural represents a theme designed by students with their mentors. After interviewing library patrons and staff to get a sense of what the Library meant to the community, the students

did individual sketches and chose one idea for the theme. The first mural illustrates that through knowledge (gained from the library) people have options about the direction of their future. The dragon in the mural symbolizes obstacles faced; and that one can be a captive, a victim or be free. For the second mural, students chose a tree to represent the learning and growth one can get in the library, and the owl represents knowledge. All the leaves were painted from stencils that the students designed based on leaves they collected. 

Virginia Frank Memorial Writing Contest Students in grades 5-8 are invited to participate in the Friends of Omaha Public Library Virginia Frank Memorial Writing Contest by submitting any original work of fiction featuring a library or librarian! The deadline for entries is May 15. Visit for details and guidelines.


TeenSpace Pocket Change

Teen sparks curiosity with donation Fifteen-year-old Ben Ashby lifted his nose from his book just long enough to answer a few questions. Whether or not it should be different from any other donation, a gift to the Omaha Public Library Foundation (OPLF) from a teenager like Ben tends to spark some curiosity. Why would a teen feel compelled to make a charitable donation when so many others are spending their money on video games and going out with their friends? It was all part of his plan. Ashby resolved to save his pocket change and donate it at the end of the year. He was surprised to realize he had saved $20. He added some of his Christmas money to the donation when he realized there was nothing else he really needed for himself.

Ben’s mother, Lynn Ashby, said that they encourage giving as a family, but this was the first time Ben has given without her bringing it up to him. It meant a lot to her that the Library meant enough to him to make a donation.

“My parents are very generous people, so they’ve been a good influence,” said Ashby. Ben’s book pick: “Enders Game” by Orson Scott Card and other books in the same series available at Omaha Public Library. If you are interested in making a donation through the Omaha Public Library Foundation, visit, or call 402.444.4589.

twelfth annual

CA$H teen poetry

1st place $100 2nd place $50 3rd place $25



BASH for 7th- thru 12th-graders

SUN | April 10

“When the W. Clarke Swanson Branch closed on Mondays, it was kind of sad,” said Ashby. “It wasn’t so much that it was inconvenient, but just sad that it didn’t seem to be doing well.” Ashby is a sophomore at Westside High School and said that he doesn’t spend as much time at the Library as he used to because high school is a little more demanding of his time. He did spend a lot of time reading at the Library over his winter break and it renewed his appreciation.

g & urin feat g poet ster a sellin slam m t s be wn ON ’s o S a A h oma ATT M

1:30 pm (doors open 1 pm) w. dale clark main library | 215 s. 15th st. to register call 402.444.4800 or visit

THE BASH Bring 2 of your original poems to read. Pass the first round to be eligible to read your second poem.

WRITTEN CONTEST Enter 1 original poem (cannot be the same as in the Poetry Bash).

Featured Resource -- Log onon from school oror home toto get help inin subjects from algebra toto writing. AllAll tutors are certified and allall sessions are monitored. AnAn Log from school home get help subjects from algebra writing. tutors are certified and sessions are monitored. interactive text box and whiteboard allow you toto type your questions, write math problems or or diagram sentences. The tutors willwill notnot give interactive text box and whiteboard allow you type your questions, write math problems, diagram sentences. The tutors give you the answers, but they’ll help you get to the answers. You can even print out your session to review what you’ve learned. Try it today! you the answers, but they’ll help you get to the answers. You can even print out your session to review what you’ve learned. Try it today!

Live tutors available from 2 –- Midnight daily click on Resource Center, Homework Help,


Be a FRIEND! Libraries cannot be built or maintained by today’s tax dollars alone. To ensure the continued excellence and growth of Omaha Public Library, become a Friend today! Please complete the form below and mail it back to:

Next Quarterly Book Sale Thursday, March 31 - Sunday, April 3 W. Clarke Swanson Branch FOPL Member Preview: Thurs, March 31, 6 - 8:30 pm

FRIENDS of Omaha Public Library, PO Box 6032, Omaha, NE 68106 Please fill in the following information, indicate your membership level and return it with your membership fee for the 2011 calendar year.

Contact me about volunteering opportunities Contact me about board of directors

here: _______________________

Open to the Public: Fri, April 1, 10 am - 8 pm Sat, April 2, 10 am - 6 pm Sun, April 3, Noon - 5 pm

The Friends of Omaha Public Library (FOPL) quarterly book sale is an entire floor of undiscovered, inexpensive treasures. You can find an endless supply of mainstream fiction and nonfiction, but it is those unexpected treasures that are really exciting! For a collector of vintage cookbooks, for example, those discarded items are a gem in the eye of the beholder. A favorite find of late is a book picked up for 25¢, “The Joys of Jell-O.” Simply irresistible. You may find a great idea for your next food-themed party somewhere in the stacks! Come out to our next FOPL book sale and tell us on the Friends of Omaha Public Library Facebook page what treasure you found!

Questions? Email us at

Outstanding Volunteers Two outstanding Omaha Public Library (OPL) volunteers were honored at Nebraska Library Association (NLA) Legislative Day in Lincoln on Feb. 25. Magel Selders is a volunteer at Millard Branch. Selders volunteers two days a week and helps with preparing and selecting books for the quarterly Friends of Omaha Public Library Book Sale. She also helps with pulling books for special projects, wearing character costumes for storytimes, and even shelving books when needed. Best of all, she does it all with a smile and enthusiasm.

Mason Zheng volunteers at Saddlebrook Branch. She is a student at Millard North High School and originally came to help out with Summer Reading Program as a teen summer volunteer. She enjoyed it so much that she stayed on to continue her volunteer work after summer reading concluded. Zheng is a tremendous help during special programs for children and is willing to help with whatever is needed. OPL appreciates them both and all the volunteers who make outstanding contributions throughout the system all year. OPL will be recognizing its volunteers at a volunteer appreciation event on April 16.

Volunteer—share your time, creative ideas

& enthusiasm for reading!

Help out during the annual Summer Reading Program! Volunteers must attend a training session at the beginning of the program to learn their responsibilities. Typical tasks may include registering people for the Summer Reading Program, preparing crafts and materials for children’s programs, assisting with setup and cleanup for programs, photocopying, cutting paper, cleaning books, straightening shelves, and shelving books. Schedules are created on an individual basis and may be flexible around vacations and other commitments. Contact your Library or visit to see a schedule for Summer Reading Program volunteer training sessions. 6

Welcome Beth Riley

Omaha Public Library Foundation’s new Executive Director The Omaha Public Library Foundation (OPLF) board of directors announced Beth Riley as the organization’s new executive director. Prior to joining OPLF, Riley directed the legacy giving program at Child Saving Institute where she was responsible for developing relationships with the agency’s supporters. She graduated from the University of Nebraska at Omaha with a degree in nonprofit administration and is completing coursework toward her master’s in philanthropy and development from St. Mary’s University of Minnesota. Riley was recently recognized by the Omaha Jaycees as one of the 10 Outstanding Young Omahans (TOYO) for 2011.

Toyo award receipients- Beth Riley back row left.

Memorials Memorials received between November 9-February 11. Only honorarium and memorial gifts are listed. All other donors will be listed in the Omaha Public Library Foundation’s Annual Report. In Memory of Alan Borhart Stephen and Carol Goehl

In Memory of Ms. Dana Putney Constance J. Keig

In Appreciation of Benson Branch Services Dr. and Mrs. Richard Sieling

In Honor of Phil & Nancy Wolf Anonymous

In Appreciation of Michael C. Meyer’s work on behalf of Omaha Public Library Dr. Mark Wilson In Appreciation of the Millard Branch ETA International In Memory of Melanie A. Carlson Joanne Carlson In Memory of Mrs. Helen Casey Mrs. Jack Bare Nancy Forde In Memory of Mrs. Ruth Frederiksen Mrs. Norman J. How In Honor of Andy Lozier Sandy Lozier In Memory of Alice Plambeck Anonymous

In Honor of Nancy Rips Joanie Jacobson In Memory of Mrs. Nancy J. Slabaugh Barbara J. Bock-Mavis In Honor of the birth of Jasper Smith Emily Weaver In Memory of Ms. Rita Behers Wegener Steve Braithwaite Ruth Sharp C. Doyle Donald Evans Ken Gilreath Bob Griswald Barbara Merwald Bernard Merwald Stella Sambasile H. J. Walander Jerry Wondercheck In Honor of Marion & Harold Slosburg Jill Slosburg-Ackerman

Changing Lives Spring makes everything new again—clearing away the heaps of dirty snow and painting the Beth Riley, Executive Director OPLF world bright hues of green. It’s a time of rebirth and a fresh start—an opportunity to cheerfully listen to the birds outside our windows and spy the buds beginning to appear in our beautiful tree-filled city. This spring is also a fresh start for me, as I begin as the new executive director of the Omaha Public Library Foundation. I have been greeted so warmly and am incredibly thankful for a busy schedule and many people to meet— just as we are all thankful for the flurry of activity spring always brings to our lives! While our libraries are a destination for checking out books, accessing computers and attending many programs, the Library’s impact can be felt throughout our community. When children arrive at kindergarten ready to learn as a result of early literacy programs, you can be proud of your support of Omaha Public Library. When a group of unemployed adults learns to compile their work history into a resume and secure employment following a workshop at the Library, you should know you played a part in their success.

When at-ri sk teens choose to use the computer or attend a program at the Library instead of engaging in crime, your donations have made those choi ces possible. Are you in a season of your life where you can establish a monthly gift to support the Library? Would you like to learn how you can support Omaha Public Library through your estate plans? Have you considered making a gift to the Foundation to honor a milestone in someone’s life or in memory of someone special to you? Could you become a Sustaining Patron with a gift of $1,000 or more on an annual basis? Mail the enclosed envelope, contact me at 402.444.4589 or email for additional information on how you can support the Library through the Foundation. Your gifts are changing lives and are entirely tax deductible. One final new and exciting option available this spring is our website at You can browse recent Foundation news; make an online gift; and learn more about the programs, services and outreach happening at Omaha Public Library. I look forward to interacting with you this spring!



Nonprofit Org U.S. Postage

215 S. 15th St. Omaha, NE 68102



215 S. 15th St. / 402.444.4800 ______________________________________ _______ MO, TU, WE & TH . . . . . . . . . 10 AM - 8 PM FR & SA . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10 AM - 6 PM SU . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1 - 6 PM

Omaha, NE Permit No. 1818


5111 N. 90th St. / 402.444.6284 ______________________________________ MO, TU & TH . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10 AM - 8 PM WE, FR & SA . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10 AM - 6 PM SU . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1 - 6 PM


6015 Binney St. / 402.444.4846 ______________________________________ _______ TU & WE . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10 AM - 8 PM TH, FR & SA . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10 AM - 6 PM SU & MO . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . CLOSED


2100 Reading Plz. / 402.289.4367 ______________________________________ _______ MO, TU & TH . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10 AM - 8 PM WE, FR & SA . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10 AM - 6 PM SU . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . CLOSED


2920 Bondesson St. / 402.444.5299 ______________________________________ _______ TU & WE . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10 AM - 8 PM TH, FR & SA . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10 AM - 6 PM SU & MO . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . CLOSED


13214 Westwood Ln. / 402.444.4848 ______________________________________ _______ MO, TU & WE . . . . . . . . . . . . 10 AM - 8 PM TH, FR & SA . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10 AM - 6 PM SU . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1 - 6 PM


14850 Laurel Ave. / 402.884.7473 ______________________________________ _______ TU, WE & TH . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10 AM - 8 PM FR . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10 AM - 5 PM SA . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .9 AM - 4 PM SU & MO . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . CLOSED


4808 Cass St. / 402.444.5274 ______________________________________ TU & TH . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10 AM - 8 PM WE, FR & SA . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10 AM - 6 PM SU & MO . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . CLOSED

Upcoming Events Twyla Hansen

2808 Q St. / 402.444.4850 (call for hours during MCC quarter breaks) ______________________________________ _______ MO, TU, WE & TH . . . . . . . 7:30 AM - 9 PM FR, SA . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9 AM - 6 PM SU . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . CLOSED


9101 W. Dodge Rd. / 402.444.4852 ______________________________________ _________ TU & WE . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10 AM - 8 PM TH, FR & SA . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10 AM - 6 PM SU & MO . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . CLOSED


2868 Ames Ave. / 402.444.4849 ______________________________________ _______ MO, TU & WE . . . . . . . . . . . . 10 AM - 8 PM TH, FR & SA . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10 AM - 6 PM SU . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . CLOSED


1905 S. 44th St. / 402.444.4851 ______________________________________ _______ TU & TH . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10 AM - 8 PM WE, FR & SA . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10 AM - 6 PM SU & MO . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . CLOSED 24-hour renewal of materials: 402.444.4100 or TTY machine: 402.444.3825

Hours subject to change.

Rainbow Rowell

Playing Around with Words: Reading, writing & the creative process


Book Club Blowout

Fri, April 15, 4 pm

Sat, April 23, 1:30 pm

Florence Branch

W. Dale Clark Main Library

2920 Bondesson St. | 402.444.5299

215 S. 15th St. | 4th Floor | 402.444.4800

Focus on the process of creative writing through readings and the use of prompts and exercises that can lead to poetry, nonfiction and/or fiction. Registration preferred. Call or sign up online. Sponsored by the Nebraska Humanities Council.

Author Rainbow Rowell will be the guest of honor at Omaha Public Library’s third annual Book Club Blowout. She will be speaking about her newly published book “Attachments.” Everyone is welcome. Light refreshments will be served.

The program is not appropriate for kids younger than 7th grade, and all students should attend with a parent.

Tues | April 12 | 6:30 pm Saddlebrook Branch

14850 Laurel Ave. | 402.884.7473

Workshop Part 2 Sue Behr will share “Madeleine’s Story” a moving and educational presentation documenting her family’s experience with childhood bullying. DeLayne Havlovic with Common Sense Media will lead a discussion on ways parents can initiate discussions with their children related to cyberbullying and Internet safety.

Mon | April 25 | 6:30 pm Millard Branch

13214 Westwood Ln. | 402.444.4848

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