Meet Omaha’s senior public library worker

OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) – National Library Week is celebrated far and wide every year, including here in Omaha.

To celebrate those who work in our local public knowledge buildings, 6 News caught up with Andy Ireland: Omaha Public Libraries Longest Service.

Ireland has been with OPL for almost 40 years.

“I think math is not correct,” he says with a laugh.

Ireland started working as an aid to OPL when he was in high school in the 1980s. He was looking for a summer job and his father knew the assistant library director at the time.

“I think I came home from baseball practice and Ted Newman said to me, ‘What are you going to do this summer?’ Ireland says, “He said that Joan Gatz was looking for someone to put the books back on the shelf in the main library and that I should go down and speak to her.”

And that’s exactly what he did. He spoke to Joan Gatz, handed in the papers, and got the job. To get a job as a helper, it was a requirement to be a student.

After graduating from high school, Ireland left OPL for a short period of time before finally returning to work part-time as a library specialist.

“I was hired full-time in August 1990,” he says.

So if you don’t count his high school years, Ireland has been with OPL for about 32 years.

“I have to say I really like my job,” he tells 6 News. “I like working with people here, both the library staff and the general public. I think that working in the library gives you a really good cross-section of the community and that’s why I’m here, I like that very much. “

Ireland worked in W. Dale Clark’s main library at 15 South and Douglas Streets for around 20 years. Just before COVID-19 hit, he moved to the AV Sorensen office in Dundee.

“This is just a really nice community library, and here in these smaller places I can do a little bit of everything.”

Ireland says that each library location in Omaha has its own personality and uniqueness.

“The people of Omaha are very fond of the libraries, and that makes your work easier. I think libraries are a meeting place, ”he says.

Even though Ireland lives in a digital age, libraries are here to stay, and so is he.

“I hope to be here another 10 years if everything works out,” he says with a laugh. “This is a great thing to do in library work, you know, as long as you stay relevant and keep track of things, I could work well into my final years, so I hope for another 10 years. I really like it. “

National Library Week is celebrated from April 4th to 10th. To commemorate the week, unique stickers can be collected in each store. The library staff encourage you to share photos of your favorite stickers and library branches and tag their social media pages.

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