Omaha looking to build new library downtown

Published: Oct. 7, 2021 at 5:55 PM CDT
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OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) - A more compact and useful library is in the works downtown.

Omaha Mayor Jean Stothert said a 2017 facility study of the W. Dale Clark Library described it as dated, inefficient, and underutilized. But plans to build a new downtown library were put into the capital improvement plan the following year.

The mayor talked about the plans during Thursday’s City Attorney announcement, saying the current library has a lot of wasted space, and that a new one would be smaller and more efficient.

”As downtown grows, there’s more residentials downtown... the downtown library has to fit what the customers are downtown, and so we will be working very closely with the Board of Trustees and the library director on what we need for a good downtown library,” Stothert said. “We still will have a downtown library, but it may not — and probably will not — be in that spot that the Dale Clark is in now.”

Stothert said the land the current library sits on is owned by the city and is prime real estate. She said investors want to develop the land abutting the downtown mall construction.

The mayor also re-emphasized the rumors about privatizing the city’s public libraries are not true. She said the city runs Omaha’s libraries and will continue to do so.

The first in the city’s series of community forums designed to gather input on the library system starts at 6:30 p.m. Thursday at the Willa Cather Branch, located at 1905 S. 44th St.

Four more forums are planned for the next couple weeks:

  • Tuesday, Oct. 12, at the Millard Branch, located at 13214 Westwood Lane
  • Thursday, Oct. 14, at the South Omaha Library, located at 2808 Q St.
  • Monday, Oct. 18, at the Milton R. Abrahams Branch, located at 5111 N. 90th St.
  • Tuesday, Oct. 19, at the Charles B. Washinton Branch, located at 2868 Ames Ave.

All forums, held from 6:30-8 p.m., will have capacity limits.

Digital Director Gina Dvorak contributed to this report.

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