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Connect Volume 18 • Issue 2 • Summer 2011

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



Director’s Note Renovation



Staff Picks Genealogy Resources



Staff Spotlight KidSpot & TeenSpace

Summer Reading Program


Friends of OPL OPL Foundation

June 1 - July 31

Get in on the Fun

Omaha Public Library (OPL) continues to Open Your World through our Summer Reading Program. Summer reading season is only half over— there’s still plenty of time to get in on the fun and attend special events, pick up some prizes and get entered into the adult drawing! Have you spotted OPL Summer Reading Program messenger bags around town and wondered how you can get one too? Kids who read 10 books or four hours, or teens who read three books or four hours will receive a messenger bag, along with a coupon sheet for local entertainment and food options (while supplies last). To encourage further reading, a book of their choice is awarded at the second level for completing an additional 10 books/ four hours or three books/four hours. Vouchers to CoCo Key Water Resort and an Omaha Storm Chasers game are available at the highest level.

Adult reading counts too! For every five books read, your name will automatically be entered into a drawing for restaurant gift certificates, family passes to local cultural and entertainment venues, and for the grand prize—an iPad2. New this year is a family staycation prize package. When everyone in your family has completed the first level of the reading program, let the library staff at your favorite branch know and you will be entered to win a hotel stay, meal and entertainment coupons, and a gas card. Don’t forget to check out the exciting programs that we have planned to help you beat the heat this summer. Visit, and click “View Our Calendar.” Hope to see you soon! Haley & Darla Bates pose with the OPL mascot, Scamper the Prairie Dog, at one of the seven Summer Reading Program kickoff parties they attended collecting souvenir pins.

From the Director Summer brings great things… vacations, warm weather, longer days and recreation. Inside our libraries, the Summer Reading Program is in full gear. There are free events offered across the city at all 12 OPL locations to appeal to anyone: movies, music, dancing, gaming events, animal encounters, storytimes, perfume classes, a wine tasting and more! Now is the time to kick back with a stack of novels and read to your heart’s content. Summer was made for fiction! For families with kids, there is no better way to get them hooked on reading than to let them see you reading. For the first time, we have a special incentive for families who read together during the summer. Ask at your local library branch for details! In addition to all the fun, summer is also the time when the City of Omaha begins working on its budget for 2012. A challenging economy is expected to continue, and we will continue to be efficient in our operations. OPL is proud to offer the highest quality service in our libraries and pleased to know that we are appreciated and valued. While we have many needs and there is immense potential for growth and improvement, we have a fantastic library system here in Omaha! If you are passionate about your library, it is important that you share your opinions with the mayor and City Council. They need to hear from you, so please make time to email, call or write. Consider attending City Council budget hearings tentatively scheduled for August 9 at 7 p.m. It is the one opportunity to make your comments on the budget a part of the public record and ensure that your opinions count! Share your story about how libraries change lives. Have a fantastic summer and be sure to visit your library! Gary Wasdin, Executive Director

One of our early prize winners, 6-year-old Gianna Velardi, completed Levels 1, 2 and 3 early in the summer and was rewarded by her mom with a manicure that matched her dress.

Milton R. Abrahams Branch Renovation Beginning August 1, Milton R. Abrahams Branch, 5111 N. 90th St., will temporarily close for renovation. The library is expected to reopen in December. The following renovations will occur:

• Centralized service desk • Computer lab • Small group meeting room • Teen room • Expanded children’s section

• All new interiors • Acoustical ceilings to reduce noise • Comfortable seating with access to outlets

• •

Laptop tables Energy efficient lighting

“After 23 years of service, Abrahams Branch is ready for a rejuvenation. As one of our busiest branches, it is valued by our community. This will be a great opportunity for us to ensure that it continues to meet needs well into the future,” said OPL Executive Director Gary Wasdin. For those who typically use this location, neighboring branches will be offering expanded hours during the renovation. From August 1 – December 31, W. Clarke Swanson Branch, 9101 W. Dodge Rd., and Saddlebrook Branch, 14850 Laurel Ave., will offer service seven days a week; Sundays and Mondays will be added to their normal hours. For updated location and hours information visit Milton R. Abrahams Branch was originally built in 1988 and named in honor of lawyer and former OPL Board President Milton R. Abrahams, who credited OPL for helping him get his first job at Union Pacific Railroad after high school. This will be the library’s first major renovation. Artist rendering

Staff Picks “Inklings: A Memoir” by Jeffrey Koterba

“Doc” by Mary Doria Russell A story of the unlikely friendship of Doc Holliday and Wyatt Earp that formed around the discovery of the burned body of a mixed-blood boy named Johnnie Sanders. In witty, moving prose, Mary Doria Russell redefines two towering figures of the American West and brings to life an extraordinary cast of historical characters.

When Jeffrey Koterba was six years old, he started drawing his first cartoons, painstakingly copying from Omaha World-Herald’s Sunday funny papers and making up his own characters. With a pen and a sheet of white paper, he escaped into a world that was clean, expansive and comfortable. This exuberant, heart-felt memoir is infused with an irresistible optimism all its own.

“Case Histories” (Jackson Brodie Series #1) by Kate Atkinson

Award-winner Kate Atkinson introduces Jackson Brodie in a breathtaking story of families divided, love lost and found, and the mysteries of fate. As Private Detective Jackson Brodie investigates three riveting cases, startling connections and discoveries emerge. Inextricably caught up in his clients’ grief, joy and desire, Jackson finds their unshakable need for resolution very much like his own.

Genealogy Resources OPL is home to one of the largest collections of genealogy resources between Chicago and Salt Lake City. In addition to the many family history research tools available at W. Dale Clark Main Library, OPL has recently been certified as a FamilySearch Affiliate Library, which means patrons can order microfilm and microfiche through OPL from the LDS Family History Library in Salt Lake City. The vast catalog of the Family History Library can be accessed at Placing an order is easy! Find what you want in the FamilySearch catalog and write or print out the title and microfiche/microfilm number. Place your order in person at the 3rd floor reference desk in W. Dale Clark Main Library. For more information and rates, visit the LibGuide at Check out upcoming genealogy workshops at W. Dale Clark Main Library.

Digging Up Family History in the Cemetery Presented by Karen Tippets, Greater Omaha Genealogical Society

Sat | July 23 | 11 am Join us for an overview of cemetery research with examples of tombstone artwork and symbolism. See what a “cemetery kit” looks like and learn which tools are needed for successful and preservationfriendly cemetery reading.

Sharing Family History by Blogging

Presented by Susan Petersen, author of the blog

Sat | Aug. 13 | 11 am The genealogy blog is becoming the fastest and most popular method of sharing the stories and photographs of your ancestors’ lives. Learn how to create your own blog to share your family history!

Exploring FamilySearch Presented by Martha Grenzeback

Sat | Aug. 20 | 2 pm Get an overview of the leading free site for genealogists! The class will focus on using the catalog to locate and order resources and finding digitized records and indexes using Record Search.

Look Before You Leap! Preparing for a Productive Research Trip Presented by Nancy Archdekin, genealogist

Sat | Aug. 27 | 2 pm Whether you’re traveling to your ancestral home or visiting a research library, these tips will help you get organized in order to make the most of your research time.

Dating & Identifying Your 19th Century Photographs Presented by Gail Blankenau, genealogist & photo historian

Sat | Sept. 17 | 2 pm Learn how to use power combinations of image type, fashions, photographers and your family tree to reveal the who, when and sometimes even the where in those intriguing faces.

3rd Annual Genealogy Lock-in Greater Omaha Genealogical Society

Fri | Sept. 30 | 6:30 pm Library staff and GOGS members will be available to help participants open the doors into their family’s past by discovering genealogical treasures in the library’s collection. 3

Peek-A-Book In March 2011 Charles B. Washington Branch received OPL’s first Peek-A-Book kiosk, purchased through a grant from the Nebraska Library Commission. Peek-A-Book provides audiovisual presentations of stories to highlight the content of books and reference materials. It teaches kids where to find books and empowers them to acquire valuable learning skills. The kiosk has an interactive touchscreen to make learning about the library an exciting experience. OPL Executive Director Gary Wasdin said, “This is a great resource because it engages children with their favorite storybooks by using a medium that appeals to them—digital animation. The method of leading them into a story and getting them excited with a cliffhanger will appeal to their natural curiosity and encourage them to borrow the book to find out what happens next.”

Photo courtesy Joslyn Art Museum

Young readers and their grown-ups are invited to Story Adventures, an artful reading program presented by Joslyn Art Museum and Omaha Public Library. Nurture your imagination as a librarian reads stories aloud and engages the family in conversation connecting books and art. Admission is free!

Saturdays | July 23 & Aug. 27 | 10:30 am The whole family will enjoy these sessions featuring whimsical works by author/illustrator Etienne Delessert, on view in the exhibition “Why Grow Up?” This fall, Story Adventures will move to the third Tuesday of the month. Mark your calendars today and join us!

Would you like to see your favorite book turned into an action-packed, interactive cartoon? Well, that’s just what TumbleBooks are—talking books.

sound, music and narration to them to produce an electronic picture book that you can read, or have read to you.

The TumbleBook Library is a collection of animated, talking picture books that are created by taking existing picture books and adding animation,

Check it out: then click on the TumbleBook Library button.

eBooks for eKids!

TumbleBook Library

Read a talking book online! Books have pictures, music, sound sounds ds and d more...!!



GO! G O!



W.B. NorthSide Ballers Team Photo

It’s How You Play the Game As the final seconds ticked down during the last game of the regular basketball season, the Charles B. Washington Branch team was already looking forward to playoffs. Though they did not win a single game throughout the debut season of the Village Basketball Alliance, they were hopeful that they could achieve more going forward.

Practicing lay-ups

“You’ve got to stay positive,” said Alonzo Adams, team coach and library specialist at Washington Branch. “This is a learning experience. There’s bitter and sweet to this game and to life.” Adams’ sentiments were echoed by team member Nuppy Flowers. “Playing basketball keeps me off the streets and away from bad influences. I don’t care if we don’t win as long as we are having fun.” The basketball league was designed to accomplish just that. Young adults in North Omaha are learning to be part of a team. The W.B. NorthSide Ballers team was one of eight teams that participated.

Team huddle

“This is a constructive outlet for youth to exert energy and frustration,” said Adams. “The library is one of the only places they can do that for free.” Nuppy Flowers

Coach Adams giving the team pointers during practice.

Staff Spotlight: TOYO Teen Award Recipient Volunteering is a way of life for Mariana Ramirez who was chosen as a 2011 TOYO Teen (Ten Outstanding Young Omahans) by the Omaha Jaycees. The award is an annual project that recognizes 10 outstanding students between the ages of 13 and 19 who are giving back to Omaha through volunteerism and community action.

Mariana working at a SRP kickoff party.

Mariana was nominated for working with the Girl Scouts at Highland Elementary School, making quilts for Project Linus, and cooking meals for

the Carolyn Scott Rainbow House and Mission for All Nations. Some of her other activities include Latino leader at Bellevue High School, member of the Mayor’s Youth Commission, captain of the Bellevue High School culinary team and member of the National Honor Society. Mariana works at the South Omaha Library where she is a part-time aide who started out as a volunteer. Her favorite library activities include PRIME TIME FAMILY READING TIME® and the Summer Reading Program (SRP). 5

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: 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: _______________________

Homebound Program Delores Hartigan called the Willa Cather Branch to ask if they had a book that she wanted to read. She asked them to hold it for her daughter to pick up since Delores is in a wheelchair and no longer drives. She was amazed when the staff member told her about homebound services. OPL has a homebound program available to cardholders who have physical impairments that keep them from visiting the library. Once registered for the service, people can order their books over the phone and the books are mailed to the reader and returned through the postal service at no charge.

Questions? Email us at

Book Sales Thursdays thru August

10 am - 3 pm

W. Clarke Swanson Branch

Almost everyone associated with OPL is familiar with the Friends of Omaha Public Library (FOPL) quarterly book sales at W. Clarke Swanson Branch. Funds generated by the book sales benefit OPL by helping to provide quality programs and services. In April and May, FOPL added Thursday book sales and were pleasantly surprised by the results. Many new shoppers arrived to browse the shelves and take home newfound treasures discovered among the stacks! Therefore, Thursday book sales will continue through August. This is a wonderful opportunity for shoppers who can’t make it to weekend sales, don’t want to fight the crowds or just can’t get enough.

“My daughter is busy and doesn’t always have time to be running my errands. I love to read, so I was excited to learn about this service,” said Delores. “People at the library are so gracious in helping me find the books I want. It’s the greatest service!” Interested individuals may apply by calling the Circulation Department at 402.444.4809/4806.

Outstanding Volunteer After teaching elementary school for 41 years, Verna Peterson retired and decided to volunteer with her extra time. OPL is very fortunate that she chose to volunteer at Millard Branch where she has shelved all types of returned books for nearly three years. Her favorites to shelve are children’s picture and easy-to-read Verna Peterson, Millard Branch Volunteer books. “These books remind me of my teaching days, and teaching helped me realize the importance of children learning to enjoy books,” she said.

Inventories are constantly changing and bargain books are only available during weekend sales. The next weekend sale is Sept. 8-11.

In January, Verna had an accident and broke a leg and an ankle, and yet she came back to her volunteer job after being off only a short time. Paul Christopherson, teen librarian and volunteer coordinator for Millard Branch said, “I have nothing but positive things to say about Verna. She is flexible, efficient, hardworking and has a wonderful attitude.”

For more information about FOPL, including how to become a member or volunteer, visit

Thank you Verna and all the other volunteers who help make the library run smoothly!


Technology funded in 2010

Shaping the Future


When I was a growing up, my favorite place was Omaha Public Library’s South Omaha Library. It was quiet, inviting and a refuge from the outside world—a place where a kid who loved to Katie Kiper, Finance Director OPLF read was welcomed instead of teased. There were comfortable places to sit and tables where you could spread out all your work. There was a large bin of records at the front to flip through and no one ever hurried you along or shooed you out. In fact, unlike experiences in other stores and restaurants on South 24th Street, the librarians were always happy to see teenagers. They took an interest in you as a person and were always happy to not only recommend a book you might enjoy, but to also challenge you to read more difficult books. On top of all these things, the library offered the Summer Reading Program. My sisters, brother and I all joined. We went to all the craft classes, and magician and puppet shows. We loved winning tickets to the baseball games and coupons to get sandwiches. The library was a huge part of shaping me into the person I have become today.

Without your support, the Foundation cannot continue to enhance the collections and programs that the library needs to keep today’s youth engaged. The Omaha Public Library Foundation supports the library by providing funding for programs like the Summer Reading Program. The Foundation helps OPL purchase Playaways, laptops and eBooks to keep today’s teenagers interested and feeling welcomed at their branch. Without your support, the Foundation cannot continue to enhance the collections and programs that the library needs to keep today’s youth engaged. Please take a moment and support the Omaha Public Library Foundation’s mission of enhancing the library by making a gift with the enclosed remittance envelope. You can also make a secure online donation at

Adaptive Technology $75,000 Hardware and software to ensure that all Omaha Public Library locations are equipped to provide a basic level of service to customers with vision and hearing disabilities. eBook Readers $29,000 Available at select locations to customers who are interested in reading an eBook but don’t have an eReader. Sony Readers check out for two weeks and come with over 20 pre-loaded titles. Circulating Laptops $75,000 For customers who don’t want to wait to use a computer, laptops are available to check out at several branches for in-house use.

Thank you!

Database $17,000

Financial Gifts Gifts received between Feb 23-May 18, 2011. Thank you to all our donors! Your support makes a difference. Only honorarium and memorial gifts are listed. All other donors will be listed in the Omaha Public Library Foundation’s annual report. In Honor of OPL Staff—Benson Branch Dundee Garden Club

In Memory of Gloria Sawtell Barbara J. Bock-Mavis

In Memory of James Bresette III Thomas & Margaret Hoarty

In Memory of Nancy Slabaugh Barbara J. Bock-Mavis

In Memory of Lola Hickman Omaha Women’s Chamber of Commerce

In Memory of Alice E. Station Verda Bialac Gloria Sorensen Sarah Watson

In Honor of OPL Staff—Millard Branch Harold & Marion Slosburg In Appreciation of Omaha Reads Eclectic Book Club In Honor of the Anniversary of Oliver & Karen Pollak David & Sharon Kotok In Memory of Marian F. Riley Jeff & Anne Lieben

In Memory of Margaret H. Watson OPL Staff Gloria Sorensen Sarah Watson In Memory of Marilynne L. Wendel Omaha Women’s Chamber of Commerce In Honor of Phil & Nancy Wolf Joseph & Jori Kravitz

Mango is a language learning program teaching practical conversation and cultural awareness for the world’s most popular languages—accessible in the library and remotely. Generations Online $4,980 This database teaches seniors how to perform computer and Internet functions in a simple, easy-to-read format. Total Project $200,980 7


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


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.

Download your favorite music free with your OPL card

Music can be accessed at with just your library card number. Download up to three songs per week—156 songs per year—to add to your own music library and keep forever! Choose from hundreds of thousands of songs in over 100 genres of music and more than 50 record labels from the Sony Music Entertainment catalog. New music is added daily. Songs are downloaded in an MP3 format and they can be saved to any computer, mobile device or MP3 player (including an iPod), and can be downloaded in iTunes. There are no digital rights management restrictions and no special software is required. It works on both PCs and Macs. Because of in-house restrictions on library computers, you must download songs from your home computer.

Upcoming Events Beer 101: Beer Styles from Around the World

Wine & Cheese Tasting

Sat | July 9 | 6:30-8:30 pm

Sat | July 14 | 6:30-8 pm

A.V. Sorensen Branch | 4808 Cass St. Learn about the different beers and try free samples from around the world. Enjoy the rest of the evening with snacks, board games and a newly discovered favorite beer available for purchase. Must be 21 or over to attend.

Sponsored by Baker’s, City of Omaha Parks & Rec, and Omaha Public Library Friends & Foundation.

Florence Branch | 2920 Bondesson St. A special treat for registered Adult Summer Reading Program participants. Join your library friends and neighbors for a taste of wines and cheeses from around the world. Must R.S.V.P. by calling 402.444.5299.

Board Games & Cocktails for Adults (cash bar 21+)

Sat | July 30 | 7-10 pm Benson Branch | 6015 Binney St. Want to get out? Get to know new, funloving people, enjoy good company and have a good time. Registration required. Space is limited. Register online at or call 402.444.4800.

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