A new-age structure on the corner of 72nd and Dodge Streets in Omaha looks oddly out of place amid retail stores. This is Omaha’s attempt to design the technological library of the future. This aptly named “Do Space” aims to lower the costs of entry for all Omahans to modern, computer-intensive pursuits. The former bookstore now houses 56 higher-end computers. It has a 3-D printer for creating models of what people design. Using the computers and software is free to the public. The only costs are for printing and materials.
“Holly Barrett has heard a lot of things on the sidewalk in front of Omaha’s downtown library. “Hey, pretty lady, can I have your phone number?” “Can I take you to dinner?” Barrett said a man who hung out in front of the library’s steps for a few weeks last summer escalated to: “You know I don’t want to rape you, so why won’t you just give me your phone number?” Barrett, who is the executive director of the Downtown Improvement District and lives downtown, said she walks by the W. Dale Clark Library often, and it’s not a comfortable place.” (via Omaha.com)
“A proposal to give law enforcement easier access to library patrons’ information is unconstitutional, the American Civil Liberties Union contended Wednesday.The ACLU of Nebraska weighed in a week before the Omaha Public Library Board is scheduled to vote on such a proposal, requested by the Mayor’s Office.Currently, a law enforcement officer must obtain a warrant or a subpoena to access personal information from an Omaha library card.” (via Omaha.com)
“The Omaha Mayor’s Office would like law enforcement officials to be able to access personal information from Omahans’ library cards in emergencies, setting off a debate over patrons’ privacy. Mayor Jean Stothert’s chief of staff, Marty Bilek, appeared before the Omaha Public Library’s board Thursday to ask for a change in the library’s policy. The request stemmed from an incident in which Metropolitan Community College police spent hours trying to identify a belligerent, drunk man at the South Omaha Library.” (via Omaha.com)
“When Mayor Jean Stothert took office, she vowed to grab hold of the city’s budget and cut down on unnecessary spending. Now the Omaha Public Library system has drawn the mayor’s scrutiny. When deciding on the city budget for 2015, the mayor and library supporters sparred over Stothert’s proposal. Eventually the City Council sided with the libraries and increased materials spending.” (via Omaha.com)
Omaha City Council likely to restore some funds for libraries, but other budget vetoes expected to stand\
“Omaha City Council members say they’re worried about long waiting lists for new books at Omaha libraries, and they’re not inclined to cut funding and risk even longer wait times. Councilman Chris Jerram said he expects the council to override a mayoral budget veto and restore $175,000 for new materials at the library in 2015. Councilman Rich Pahls, who had provided the crucial fifth vote for the library funding, said he will vote for an override on Tuesday.” (via Omaha.com)
“If you’ve been patiently waiting for a library copy of a best-seller like “The Fault in Our Stars,” the City of Omaha’s proposed budget for next year might come with some bad news. The plan headed to the City Council for a public hearing Tuesday comes with a cut for the city’s libraries; the department’s $13.1 million budget is down about 5 percent from last year. To avoid cutting staff or library hours, officials have plans to reduce the library’s materials budget — which means fewer opportunities to buy new books, e-books, DVDs and other materials, and longer wait times for some of the most popular titles.” (via Omaha.com)