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City of Omaha - Nebraska

City of OmahaOmaha, Nebraska

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(April 11, 2019)

By Laura Marlane, Executive Director, Omaha Public Library

Technology is not new to public libraries. My very first job out of high school involved entering books into a computer system that connected all the public libraries in the state — and that was 34 years ago! As technology has evolved over time, libraries have adapted in order to best serve patrons.

When I became the executive director of Omaha Public Library in fall 2015, the library’s role in introducing and sharing technology with the public was one of my top priorities. I’ve been working toward making upgrades to OPL’s offerings since day one, and am excited to announce some of the recent progress we’ve made.

Last September, OPL implemented an automatic renewal system. If no one else has placed a hold on an item, physical materials such as books, DVDs, audiobooks, music CDs and toys automatically renew for another loan cycle up to four times.

Patrons receive an email three days before materials are due to alert borrowers of what’s been renewed and the new due dates for materials. This practice was introduced as a convenience for OPL patrons, and to help reduce unnecessary fines for overdue materials.

On March 15, OPL introduced the option to acquire eCards as a 24/7 digital service. Omaha and Douglas County residents can apply for an eCard at omahalibrary.org and receive a virtual card in just minutes, providing immediate access to downloadable or streaming eBooks, audiobooks, music and magazines. Virtual cardholders can log in to databases in OPL’s online Resource Center to enroll in online classes, learn a language, take practice tests or do research.

These changes are wonderful and helpful, and yet, I am truly proud and excited to announce our most recent accomplishment. Over the past two years, OPL has worked to improve broadband speeds, and recently jumped from 17 Mbps on cable modems to 500 Mbps on fiber at every location. A typical streaming service such as Hulu or Netflix requires an at-home broadband speed of 5 to 25 Mbps, so having download speeds up to 500 Mbps is really exciting.

These improvements have been expanded to include OPL’s Wi-Fi network, with the installation of 32 new access points. Wi-Fi speeds have increased to 30 Mbps, up from 10 Mbps, and made the process of joining the network easier, as well.

OPL’s broadband improvements represent a significant foundational change that will allow us to continue to expand library technology services. Of course, your feedback is important. I’d like to know how you feel about these changes and what other technology, services and resources OPL could offer that would help us serve you better.

Feel free to contact us through social media, comment cards at your local branch, or simply email me at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. I look forward to hearing from you, and continuing our work to make OPL the best library for our community.

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