Omaha Library Foundation Celebrates 30 Years


April 14th, 2015

Omaha, NE — You can learn about one of our city’s best public resources and meet a best-selling author this weekend.


Wally Lamb

This Saturday, April 18th, the Omaha Public Library Foundation will celebrate its 30th anniversary with it’s annual event entitled A Novel Affaire. This year’s event will feature an evening with best-selling author Wally Lamb. Lamb is an American writer best known for his books She’s Come Undone and I Know This Much is True, both of which were selected to be a part of Oprah’s Book Club. This weekend, according to the Omaha Public Library Foundation’s Wendy Townley, Lamb will be discussing his newest work, We are Water, as well as the importance of libraries in our communities.

“He’ll talk about his life as a writer as well as the importance of writing and reading and the importance of libraries in our community and our country,” Townley said.

But why, exactly, are libraries important?

“Libraries are important to our community for a number of reasons,” she said. “Obviously [one is] children’s literacy. That’s a huge passion project for Omaha Public Library is helping children to get excited and continue reading outside of school with their parents and families as well. But the library does a wonderful job reaching out to teens and adults as well.”

Townley said that there are several activities for teens throughout the school year and summer months from reading groups to Minecraft clubs. For adults, the library’s services span from English and a second language courses to technology courses, teaching Omaha residents how to use that new tablet or smartphone they’ve recently received. They can also help you go over your resume and apply for a job online.

“From birth to your senior years, you can find something at the library that will help [you],” she said.

When the technological and information ages started blooming, many naysayers said that libraries would become more and more obsolete with easier access to information via the internet. But, in fact, Townley says the opposite is true. The world is filled with Terabytes and Terabytes of useless information for us wade through. Search for something Google and you will likely get over a 1,000,000 responses to your inquiry. Townley says the library is way to find the best answers.

“When I have conversation with people about that very topic of asking the library for help, they often say, ‘I never would think to call the library or stop by my local branch to ask a question about looking up something on a map, or trying to track down some type of research.’ Librarians love that,” Townley said. “I work with them everyday. They are so helpful, so resourceful. [They] will do anything they can to answer your question.”

Whether you want to learn a new skill, have a question about the world, or are just a die-hard book lover, Townley said the library is one of Omaha best public resources.
“One of the best stories I heard,” she said. “There was a mother, last summer, who brought her daughter up to Florence Branch last summer during the Summer Reading Program. He was a single mother. She said, ‘I love bringing my daughter to the library because it’s the one place we go where I don’t have to tell her ‘No’.’ She can check out as many books as she wants. It isn’t like at the toy store where she’s filling up the cart with many, many toys, and the mother would have to say ‘No you need to put those back.’ At the library, there’s no limit to what you can check out. Well, technically there is, but you can return and swap. It’s just a great resource. Every community deserves a strong library. I think Omaha is no exception.”

For more information on the Omaha Public Library and its event A Novel Affaire, visit

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