Our Future. Our Stories.

A Citywide Library Facilities Plan for Omaha


Omaha Public Library (OPL), Omaha Public Library Foundation, the City of Omaha, Do Space, Heritage Omaha, and the Omaha community are working together to develop a community-driven 2023 Library Facilities Plan.


Will you join the conversation? By participating in this effort and spreading the word to friends and neighbors, you will help determine a vision for your neighborhood library, your community, and Omaha’s future.

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Take the survey

Your voice matters! Take this short survey by May 1st and share your vision for your library’s future.

Participate in library activities

Visit any OPL branch or Do Space between now and May 1st for even more engagement activities.

Attend a community event

We’re throwing a party in every neighborhood! Support your neighborhood branch at these family-friendly events featuring fun engagement activities.

Community Open House

Millard Branch 13214 Westwood Lane, Omaha, NE

We’re throwing a library party in every neighborhood! Join us at Omaha Public Library's Millard Branch for a free, family-friendly […]

Community Open House

Bess Johnson Elkhorn Branch 2100 Reading Plaza, Elkhorn, NE

We’re throwing a library party in every neighborhood! Join us at Omaha Public Library's Bess Johnson Elkhorn Branch for a […]

Community Open House

Intercultural Senior Center 5545 Center Street, Omaha, NE

We’re throwing a library party in every neighborhood! Join us at Intercultural Senior Center for a free, family-friendly open house […]

Browse FAQs

We will continue to update this page with answers to questions encountered throughout the facilities planning process.

A Library Facilities Plan is a tool libraries develop to plan for the present and future. It is important that each library branch’s size, location, and design continues to support the programs, collections, technologies, activities, and amenities community members value. Aligning the plan with community member values will help ensure that the recommendations of the plan and future funding investments are rooted in community needs and aspirations.


The foundation for a Library Facilities Plan is built using research, community engagement, and key stakeholder input, continually viewed through the lens of a library’s established vision and strategic impact goals. Research and engagement conducted at the beginning of the process help to build plans that analyze the current state of operations and forecast future needs. From there, the system develops practical, actionable strategies for how to meet long-term goals, including considerations for services, spaces, books, technology, and staffing.

With the investment in a new central public library and a state-of-the-art collections hub model, Omaha’s branch libraries will provide more equitable access to collections, and create new opportunities for realigning and activating public space. This citywide Library Facilities Plan will build on the recommendations of recent facilities planning, position the City’s equity-driven economic development objectives, and be informed by the community’s inputs.

Since the completion of the 2017 Facilities Plan Update, there have been significant changes at OPL. These include responding to the Omaha community’s evolving needs during the pandemic; the City of Omaha’s new downtown branch location; launch of design development for a new central public library at 72nd and Dodge streets; and the ongoing evolution of a 21st century service model, prioritizing active public spaces and the integration of traditional library services with innovative technology services through a new partnership with Omaha’s Do Space community technology library.

Each library branch’s future plan — and the plan for the system as a whole — will be driven by OPL’s strategic impact goals, an assessment of socio-economic needs through an equity lens, and neighborhood-level community input collected through a community survey, community engagement activities at each OPL branch and Do Space, and community events across Omaha.

This work will result in each location having its own customized “recipe” based on unique community conditions, while amplifying OPL’s systemwide service strategies.

The new central public library at 72nd and Dodge streets will support Omaha Public Library’s (OPL) system of neighborhood branches by centralizing distribution through a regional collections hub model, providing more equitable access to books, technologies, and other collections.


One of the first in the nation for a public library, an innovative automated storage and retrieval system (ASRS) will nearly double OPL’s collection capacity in a 4,000-square-foot footprint, creating exciting new opportunities for realigning and activating public space at every neighborhood branch. ASRS technology is well established in the international library space as a tool to drive efficiency and prioritize community space.


Every branch will continue to have ample book and material displays to encourage browsing interspersed with cozy reading nooks and technology workstations. The 2023 Library Facilities Plan will help determine what other spaces and places will help Omahans achieve their personal, family, and community goals at their neighborhood library branches.

The 2023 Library Facilities Plan will articulate a vision for Omaha Public Library (OPL) facilities and a case statement for future investment and growth based on a number of criteria, including:

  • Community member aspirations
  • The system’s evolving 21st century service model
  • Demographic growth and population shifts in Douglas County
  • Strategic partnership opportunities


The resulting Library Facilities Plan aims to:

  • Ensure that public library facilities continue to serve as essential anchor institutions for the next century
  • Include a customized approach to neighborhood branch library growth and decision-making based on community characteristics and feedback
  • Provide a framework for growth that is responsive to a variety of funding strategies
  • Present an implementation strategy for executing the Library Facilities Plan when adopted by the OPL Board

Together, OPL and Do Space, one of the first technology libraries of its kind, are embarking on a partnership by integrating OPL’s traditional library services and Do Space’s free technology programs.

This will help people across Douglas County to “level up” their reading and technology skills. 

Margaret Sullivan Studio (MSS), a national expert in moving public libraries to a community-centered model, is working with key project partners and the Omaha community to develop Omaha’s 2023 Library Facilities Plan. MSS will lead community engagement, analyze research and community feedback, and prepare the final document in collaboration with a staff working group. MSS has worked with over 40 public library systems to define their 21st century library, including New York Public Library, D.C. Public Library, and Memphis Public Library.

Key project partners include the Omaha Public LibraryOmaha Public Library Foundation, the City of OmahaDo Space, and Heritage Omaha. To learn more about each partner, please visit the central public library project website.

Your input matters! Omaha Public Library’s (OPL) 2023 Library Facilities Plan is being developed to best serve our community, its changing needs, and its aspirations.


A community survey last fall focused on the needs, desires, and hopes for a new central public library. Review those full community engagement findings here, and watch the Community Share Out event video to learn how community feedback directly impacted central’s schematic designs.


The 2023 community survey will instead focus on each of the dozen branch libraries, and what specific community needs look like in each of these diverse Omaha neighborhoods. Feedback received during this community engagement process will be used to shape OPL’s future services, spaces, and more.

Project and community partners will present on initial community engagement findings and the developing 2023 Library Facilities Plan at a Community Share Out in the summer of 2023. Stay tuned for more event details.


Omaha Public Library will publish the final 2023 Library Facilities Plan to its website in June 2023.