Omaha – W. Dale Clark Central Library

Where there’s a central library near to me I feel the need to explore it. I had to visit on the Saturday of my visit as they decided to shut the library all day on Friday for some staffing reasons. There’s clearly some back history to the library as the local paper reported a couple of years ago:

“Frequent disturbances, rowdy behavior and even reports of sex in the stairwell spurred Omaha police to ask library officials Wednesday to clean up the downtown library.”

It’s a 1970s building, not visually stunning from the outside. When it was constructed it replaced the old and tired previous library which had served the city since 1893. The library is named after W. Dale Clark who was a banker and civic leader, and is perhaps one of the few libraries which has a human scalp in its archives.

The library looked better from the inside with each floor clearly signed and there was a spacious feel to the interior.

Lots of books, although there were also plenty of empty shelves as well.

Plenty of tables were available. I decided to have a little look for local history books, which is where this got slightly strange. The staff member said that they weren’t available for the public on request and I had to ask for them by title, or ask for recommendations. This didn’t really suit my browsing requirements and is a quite ridiculous policy IMO that I’ve never come across before. I did find a row of around 25 books relating to the history of Omaha which were in the general history section of the library and this did suffice me, but I’m sure there were many more of interest.

I used to have some of these, I like the American Reader’s Digest.

All in all, this was a peaceful library which seemed devoid of visitors, which is useful as it keeps things quiet, but it’s also slightly concerning from a literary point of view. The library was clean throughout and the books were clearly labelled and displayed, but I still find the lack of local history books on display slightly bizarre.