People say goodbye to the downtown Omaha main library

Tears were shed as people said “farewell” to the downtown library
Patrons say farewell to the downtown library
Published: Aug. 21, 2022 at 10:42 AM CDT
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OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) - Saturday people said goodbye to the W. Dale Clark Library.

The closing of the downtown location was part of the city’s masterplan to open a new central one on 72nd and Dodge. For many, the event was bittersweet.

“You know that your grandma and grandpa will die. Your dog will die. But buildings, they’re supposed to exist longer than that,” said Heather Bullis, a library patron.

Heather and her son frequent the library. They spoke to the library board, to their city councilmember, and even wrote to the mayor in hopes of keeping the library they go to every week open.

“It’s a really big thing. And it’s not easy. And my son is really, he’s so sad, because it’s just an unexpected thing to have something that seemed like it was going to be there forever to sort of have it taken away with no choice,” said Heather.

Her 11-year-old son wrote the library a farewell letter.

He along with others recalled their favorite memories at the building that’s been around for nearly 50 years.

“Me and my mom try to come here once every week on Mondays, because it’s ‘Monday Library Day,’” said Theodore Bullis.

And sometimes it’s hard to say goodbye. Theodore shed tears as he explained what this library means to him.

While it was sad for some, others had high spirits, especially the little ones.

The farewell event featured tours of restricted areas, custom cookies, and activities that evoked nostalgia.

“It means a lot that they recognize that there were people here who wanted to say goodbye. Again, because in a week or so it’s not going to be accessible to us anymore,” said Heather.

The last day people can go to the downtown library is next Sunday, August 28. The new temporary location opens a day later at 1410 Howard Street. The permanent downtown library will be located at 1401 Jones Street and is set to open March of next year.