A recent article in newspaper states many, many services for immigrants/refugees through OPL. Who is paying for this?
Thanks for asking! Omaha Public Library's resources and services are funded by and available to all residents of the city of Omaha and Douglas County. The contributions that each of us make through taxes allow the library to offer all kinds of things to our members - books, movies, subscriptions to online resources like Consumer Reports and Lynda.com, computers, wireless internet access, meeting spaces, safe places, family storytimes, and more. Refugees placed here and immigrants living and working here pay for these services the same way all of us do - property taxes in rent, sales taxes while shopping, and so on.
The best way that the library can use our money responsibly is to make sure that folks know about and use the resources available to them. An important part of our work has always been to reach out to people who may not be aware of what the library can offer. I work with local businesses to help save them money by using the library; the outreach work of the New Americans Task Force is just another piece of that puzzle - going to people who can benefit from the library as they learn English, find work, and help their families settle in to their new homes. Many of the resources described in the World-Herald article are actually the result of partnerships with agencies like Lutheran Family Services, the Southern Sudan Community Association, and the Literacy Center of the Midlands - with things like the English Language Learning classes we're providing space for outside instructors and supporting that learning with materials that are available to all of our members.
The great thing about a library is that our resources aren't diminished by being shared. If you have further questions about this topic, please feel free to call our administrative offices at 402-444-4844. If you'd like to find out more about library services that might profit you, too, feel free to email back or call 402-444-4800.