Frequently Asked Questions
What is the Omaha Public Library Foundation (OPLF)?
The Omaha Public Library Foundation is the private philanthropic arm of Omaha Public Library. As an organization wholly separate from Omaha Public Library and the City of Omaha, OPLF seeks private support for improvements and enhancements which cannot be provided through local government funding. OPLF is managed by a board of professionals and private citizens selected for the diversity of their talents. It is a non-profit, 501(c)(3) organization registered with the IRS and the State of Nebraska. All donations are tax deductible to the fullest extent of the law.
How is Omaha Public Library (OPL) funded and operated?
Omaha Public Library is managed by a board of trustees appointed by the mayor of Omaha. The trustees set policy for the library system and provide oversight for its executive director, who is in charge of day-to-day operations. The City of Omaha’s General Fund pays for Omaha Public Library operations, including staff, utilities, fixtures, and building maintenance.
The General Fund — which also supports police, fire, parks and recreation, trash removal, and the city’s administrative offices — receives about 46% of its revenue from sales tax and the remainder from telephone fees, taxes, and property taxes. Omaha Public Library is allocated 3.7% of the General Fund.
Why should I support the Omaha Public Library Foundation when my tax dollars already pay for Omaha’s libraries?
Since the founding of our nation, public libraries have operated as public/private partnerships. U.S. libraries today receive an average of 90% of their funding from government. The remainder comes from charitable giving, grants, and earned income. Each adult in Omaha pays about $30 per year in taxes to support Omaha Public Library, roughly the price of one hardcover book and significantly less than memberships cost for museums and other attractions.
What is the difference between the Omaha Public Library Foundation and the Friends of Omaha Public Library?
Both are private non-profit 501(c)(3) organizations. Both entities are managed by volunteer boards. Both organizations provide critical services and needed funding for Omaha Public Library.
The mission of the all-volunteer Friends of Omaha Public Library (FOPL) is to conduct book sales of titles that have been removed from Omaha Public Library’s collection, as well as books donated by the community. FOPL also holds an annual membership drive that allows individuals and families to become “Friends of the Library.”The funds FOPL raises through its book sales and membership drives — on average, $100,000 per year — support Omaha Public Library programs and services.
The mission of the Omaha Public Library Foundation is advocate and raise funds for Omaha Public Library. Omaha Public Library identifies priority projects and makes an annual request to the library foundation for funding. Through a paid, two-person staff, the library foundation manages endowments and designated funds for Omaha Public Library.
Must my gift be designated for a specific purpose?
Designations are welcome, but a gift given wherever most needed provides Omaha Public Library the flexibility to respond to critical needs or special opportunities that arise. The Omaha Public Library Foundation provides funds for remarkable opportunities thanks to general or unrestricted donations.
Can I specify how my gift is used?
Yes. The Omaha Public Library Foundation tracks all gifts and funds established for specific purposes. We ask that all gift designations specify a category of library programming. This way, Omaha Public Library administrative staff can best direct private contributions for key needs in specific areas. Giving categories include:
- Childhood literacy, programming, and services
- Teen literacy, programming, and services
- Adult literacy, programming, and services
- Community outreach
- Summer Reading Program
Can I support my branch library through the library foundation?
Yes. Your donation to the Omaha Public Library Foundation can specify which branch you wish to support. The library foundation frequently receives large and small gifts to support each of the twelve branches in the library system.
Does the library foundation support programs outside Omaha Public Library?
Can the library foundation receive bequests or trust income?
Yes. Directing your gift to the library foundation creates a lasting legacy to the city and a continuing honor to the donor. Please contact the Omaha Public Library Foundation for more information.
Do you accept donations of books?
The Friends of Omaha Public Library accepts donations of books and sells them to the public. Contact FOPL at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Where do I send a donation?
Omaha Public Library Foundation
215 South 15th Street
Omaha, Nebraska 68102
Gifts can also be made online using a major credit card.