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Omaha Public Library board votes to support partnership with Heritage Services

Omaha Public Library board votes to support partnership with Heritage Services

On Thursday night, the Omaha Public Library voted to support a partnership with the nonprofit Heritage Services.The plan has drawn controversy over what this partnership could mean for the public library system. One of the main concerns centered on what will happen to the main library downtown.We have heard a lot of back and forth when it comes to the Omaha Public Library’s potential partnership with Heritage, which includes plans to demolish the downtown library. On Thursday, we got some answers.Everyone was given a little more insight, as the board approved a resolution to partner with Heritage Services.Some are excited to hear it.”We have to look at everything that they want to do and be grateful for the fact that they are as invested in interest in the Omaha Public Libraries, as all of us are,” said one citizen. Others, not so much. “No, it is the only space in the downtown area that gives people relief from the weather that is moving. That gives people a place to sit without having to pay anything, that gives all people no matter where they are in life’s journey, a place where they can be themselves. No judgment,” said Pete Faye. “It may not have been built the best way but we can improve upon it. And we want to preserve that and show our citizens that we are proud to have them downtown,” said Rosemary Kenan. Board of trustees president Mike Kennedy says the idea to demolish the downtown branch stems from a study done back in 2017, before Heritage was involved.That study showed that the library needs too much work. “We need to repair some of the elevator shafts from the millions of dollars, connectivity wiring, at some point it needs to go,” Kennedy said. He says they’d build a new downtown branch with a new main branch along Dodge between 72nd and 90th.Kennedy and other board members say the partnership with Heritage is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to help the libraries and he wants people to remember that. “We have an opportunity here. We do eventually have to have a new main branch and other branches need to be updated and this is part of that discussion,” Kennedy said. The Omaha Public Library board of trustees president ended the meeting by saying if there is anyone out there with questions, ask them. They want to give you those answers.

On Thursday night, the Omaha Public Library voted to support a partnership with the nonprofit Heritage Services.

The plan has drawn controversy over what this partnership could mean for the public library system.

One of the main concerns centered on what will happen to the main library downtown.

We have heard a lot of back and forth when it comes to the Omaha Public Library’s potential partnership with Heritage, which includes plans to demolish the downtown library.

On Thursday, we got some answers.

Everyone was given a little more insight, as the board approved a resolution to partner with Heritage Services.

Some are excited to hear it.

“We have to look at everything that they want to do and be grateful for the fact that they are as invested in interest in the Omaha Public Libraries, as all of us are,” said one citizen.

Others, not so much.

“No, it is the only space in the downtown area that gives people relief from the weather that is moving. That gives people a place to sit without having to pay anything, that gives all people no matter where they are in life’s journey, a place where they can be themselves. No judgment,” said Pete Faye.

“It may not have been built the best way but we can improve upon it. And we want to preserve that and show our citizens that we are proud to have them downtown,” said Rosemary Kenan.

Board of trustees president Mike Kennedy says the idea to demolish the downtown branch stems from a study done back in 2017, before Heritage was involved.

That study showed that the library needs too much work.

“We need to repair some of the elevator shafts from the millions of dollars, connectivity wiring, at some point it needs to go,” Kennedy said.

He says they’d build a new downtown branch with a new main branch along Dodge between 72nd and 90th.

Kennedy and other board members say the partnership with Heritage is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to help the libraries and he wants people to remember that.

“We have an opportunity here. We do eventually have to have a new main branch and other branches need to be updated and this is part of that discussion,” Kennedy said.

The Omaha Public Library board of trustees president ended the meeting by saying if there is anyone out there with questions, ask them. They want to give you those answers.

https://www.ketv.com/article/we-have-an-opportunity-here-omaha-public-library-board-votes-to-support-partnership-with-heritage-services/38296398