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Omaha Magazine

Omaha's Little Free Libraries Offer Circulation of Literary Proportions

Oct 01, 2021 01:35PM ● By Tamsen Butler
colorful little free libraries with butterfly statues

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Libraries are powerful—so powerful, in fact, that they’ve started cropping up all over the Omaha area. Little libraries are cubbyholes, often on poles, stocked by neighborhoods or families where readers can borrow books, or leave some for others. 

These little libraries are peppered throughout the Omaha metro. Each library has different books, and its own interesting story. The little libraries below are worth a visit.

Alex Venezie’s Eagle Scout Project

7612 Maple St.

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Located at the corner of the Paralyzed Veterans of America Great Plains Chapter’s property, this little library was created by Alex Venezie in 2018 as his Eagle Scout project. After getting permission from the Paralyzed Veterans of America chapter to place the library on their corner, Venezie solicited book donations from neighbors via the Next Door app. 

The Glass House Books Library

15705 Capitol Ave.

A glance at Scott and Kimberly McPherson’s little library reveals it was created by artists. Kimberly created stained glass images of books to accompany Scott’s carpentry from recycled cedar. Their library carries books for all ages, and during the early months of the pandemic, they filled the library with pre-packaged activity kits for kids. “The books are back, and we invite anyone to stop by to take a book and share a book,” Scott said. “Happy reading!”

Lilli the Rescue Little Free Library

17024 Sahler St.

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Vicky Martin’s little library was dedicated to her rescue dog Lilli, a dachshund that passed away in 2020. The library was installed in December 2017, on a day Martin said was far too cold for any ribbon cutting. The library is stocked with children’s books about dogs, though Martin said she is open to other books. A colorful decal of a cartoon version of Lilli is prominently displayed as decoration on this loving memorial to a very special dog. “I love how it turned out,” said Martin of her little library. The library’s Facebook page (@lillitherescuelittlefreelibrary) sometimes has “guest recommendations from other dachshunds,” Martin said.

The Lunar Library

Corner of 159th and Birch avenues in Millard

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The Metzler family lives outside the Omaha city limits and has no free access to a local library, so they decided to create their own. They built their library as a community exchange of books and started it with inventory from their extensive collection. A local carpenter named Kyler Goodwin helped them design the housing, then built and installed it for them. The library was named by the daughter because it is blue, like a blue moon, and reading has always been a part of the family’s bedtime routine. “I decided it was time to share my love of books with others and pass along books my kids had loved and outgrown,” Tammi Metzler said.

Papillion Manor Libraries
for Adults and Kids

610 Polk St. in Papillion

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The space housing these two libraries was created as a celebration of the city’s 150th anniversary in June 2020. Two libraries sit adjacent to a butterfly bench in a space surrounded by flowers and shrubs planted by the Papillion Garden Club. One library offers books for adults while the other carries books for kids. They were designed and created by the maintenance manager at Papillion Manor. “It really was a community project,” said Michelle Seiter, public relations manager of Papillion Manor. “It’s a lovely space.”

Tanya Becker Memorial Library

5101 S. 17th St.

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This little library was commissioned by the Edward Gomez Heritage Elementary School’s Parent Teacher Organization in 2018 as a memorial to the school’s reading coach, Tanya Becker. The library was dedicated during the school’s Dr. Seuss Read Across America celebration and is stocked mostly with children’s and young adult books. The library was designed by teacher JoAnne Kawecki, who said, “I designed the library to reflect Tanya’s cheery and friendly spirit. The heart, painted her favorite color, represents her love and dedication to our students.”

This article originally appeared in the October 2021 issue of Omaha Magazine. To receive the magazine, click here to subscribe.