Abrahams Branch Renovations ‘Well Worth It’

Milton R. Abrahams Branch welcomed back its community at a grand reopening celebration on January 7, 2012.

After being closed for five months of renovations, the library reopened featuring new carpet and furniture, a centralized service desk, an expanded children’s section, a teen room, a computer lab, two group study rooms, seating with access to electrical outlets, acoustical ceilings to reduce noise and energy efficient lighting. The $1.2 million renovation was funded by the City of Omaha’s Capital Improvement Program.

Al and Betty Proudfit, longtime Abrahams Branch patrons, were happy to have their neighborhood library back and were overwhelmed with result of the renovations.

“Betty and I thought this was the best library in town and to see it improved – it’s really beautiful,” Al said.

The Proudfits use their library frequently. Al checks out books often and they’ve used the meeting room in the past for their Neighborhood Watch meetings. Betty takes her grandchildren to the library when they visit from out of town. Both were grateful to be at the reopening event to get the first look at the improvements.

“Whatever the investment was (for the renovation), it was well worth it,” Betty said.

Harry Bertoia’s “Sunburst” sculpture, on loan from the Joslyn Art Museum, was cleaned for the occasion for the first time since it was installed in 1988.

Items found inside the sculpture during its cleaning included:

  • 37 cents
  • blue ribbon from a balloon
  • a deflated balloon
  • three or four small “superballs”
  • a fossilized piece of pink bubblegum
  • a couple of wadded up candy wrappers
  • a package of baseball gum
  • a few rubber bands

OPL senior facilities manager and former Abrahams Branch manager Mary Griffin said items would fall out of the sculpture when exterior doors opened and gusts of wind blew. Staff often found paper airplanes and other things in the lobby.

“After 23 years of dust and grime, it certainly looks shiny and beautiful again now that it’s been cleaned,” Griffin said.

For more pictures of the Abrahams Branch reopening, go to flickr.com/omahalibrary.
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