What do Friends Do?

The Friends raise more than $140,000 per year in support of the OPL. Books… tapes… CD’s… research services… access to computers… genealogical materials… a place to go with your children for books and storytime… special events, you name it, the Friends’ support makes it possible.

The Friends group fulfills the special needs of the Library system, which are NOT funded by the city and county. The following are examples of the Friends support:

  • Purchased $10,000 in microfilms for the Genealogy Department
  • Provided $40,000 to purchase equipment to store digital images from the Trans-Mississippi Exposition and make the collection available on-line
  • Helps fund the Summer and Winter Reading Clubs and several other special Library programs, such as “Prime Time” at the Washington Branch and the “Teen Art Project” at the Benson Branch
  • FOPL funds have provided educational opportunities for Library staff members through our Bess Brodkey Grant Program
  • Purchased window shades for the Millard Branch, new upholstery for the Swanson Branch, carpets for the Kids Nursery Rhymes Learning Carpet Project, digital cameras for each branch, and other needed equipment

The Friends have also helped fund the Mayhem in the Midlands, Library Staff retreat, the Poetry Bash, and dozens of other activities that would not be possible without cutting back on other Library services. The Friends fund the Virginia Frank Young Writers Contest.

Through the Friends Adopt-A-Branch Program, each Omaha Public Library Branch has the opportunity to purchase equipment and materials for the specific needs of each branch and the markets they serve. This year, the Adopt-A-Branch Program purchased signage for the master gardeners who work at the Swanson branch, sponsored Kwanzaa and Cinco de Mayo celebrations, a display fixture for the Young Adult section at the Sorensen Branch, helped fund the mobile project at the Benson Branch in which students designed a large mobile under the guidance of a local artist, and many other items and programs not mentioned here.