Omaha libraries hope to draw extra guests with digital choices

OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) – It would be a good day to stay home and curl up with a good book. Omaha Public Libraries officials say neither the weather nor the pandemic should stop library members from reading a good book to read.

In Omaha public libraries, personal traffic has slowed.

“A lot of people used to come in and use us as a space to relax and enjoy the magazine or the newspaper. However, with our current health interventions, we are encouraging this not to happen now, and you can see that we have therefore removed a lot of furniture from many of our rooms, ”said Rachel Steiner, Assistant Director of the Omaha Public Library.

In 2019, more than 1.6 million people went to one of Omaha’s 12 libraries.

COVID-19 forced the Omaha libraries to close from March to September 2020, and all 12 libraries weren’t open until November, so in-person visits dropped below half a million in 2020.

But people are still checking out books. More and more people are downloading electronic books onto their devices.

“Closing our doors was a great benefit because we could tell people that you may not be able to come today to get a book, but you can download the numerous, and I mean numerous, articles from our website. we have and it’s not just e-books, we also have audio books, ”said Steiner.

Officials are preparing for people to return to the libraries. You need to buy more books, audio and digital resources and get them on the shelves for hundreds of thousands of people to enjoy.

A resolution has been passed before the Omaha City Council to approve around $ 2 million for the city’s 12 libraries to buy new materials and books.

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