Libraries Could Close as Part of Omaha Budget Cuts

Paul Gutierrez

OMAHA (KPTM)- The Omaha LibraryBoard is considering three proposals to deal with the city's budget cuts. The city's $13 million in proposed budget cuts are sparking fears that somelibraries might close. Two proposals involve closing branches. The third would cut back on hours and programs at alllibraries.

"Without the internet service, you're screwed." Michael Hooks spends four days a week at his local library inFlorence. "It's invaluable for a job search."

Hooks just moved to Omaha a couple of months ago. He uses the computer room to look for work and type upresumes.

"To apply online you have to have the internet and I thinkthe best way to do that is to come here in a quiet area."

Four years ago neighbors had to band together to keep the doors to the libraryopen. Donors raised about $300 thousand to save the branch. It is something they may have to do again with a new round ofbudget cuts looming.

"It would hurt a lot of people. A lot of people."

"I think it's something to take seriously and certainlyhave open conversations about what a cut might mean, but at the same time I thinkthis is all very preliminary," Library Director Gary Wasdin said.

Programs could also be cut. Library executives willmeet with the mayor next week.