Carrie H. holds many titles: wife, mother of young twin boys and full-time employee. Now she can add Omaha Public Library enthusiast to that list.
Though she has resided near Saddlebrook Branch, 14850 Laurel Avenue, for ten years, only recently did Carrie become aware that a library is nearby. How did she discover her local branch? It all began with television. Carrie reflected, “I saw a zumba class on The Morning Blend. I Googled zumba, saw a class was at Montclair Community Center, and [the instructor] said she taught at Saddlebrook.”
On Carrie’s first visit to Saddlebrook Branch, she was met with great surprise. “It branched off into these wonderful things!” she exclaimed. It is indeed a unique location, a fusion of three community staples: library, elementary school and community center. To further Carrie’s amazement, her local branch offered the newest books and movies. She raved about the Library’s convenient holds process (“it’s perfect”), “spectacular” website and the “great” events calendar. She has also taken advantage of the free classes, as it’s been a nice way to spend time with her girlfriends.
Additionally, Saddlebrook Branch has been a getaway for her young boys. In fact, the icing on the cake may have been meeting the “amazing” youth services librarian Nancy Chmiel. “[She] was very patient with [my] boys wanting to sit on her lap to read, or take the books as she was reading. [And] she was really good at keeping everyone involved,” Carrie shared. She credited Nancy with making them feel welcome in a new place.
Carrie has uncovered a hunger for books. She self-admittedly hadn’t set foot in a library in years. “The last time I was in a library, we had the card catalog in the cabinets!” she said with a laugh. Then some of the women at work invited her to join a book club. “[But] I couldn’t commit to having a book done in a month,” she said, and she declined the invitation to join. But she was intrigued nevertheless, and checked out some of the librarian’s book picks. “That’s how it started. A woman started a book club I said I wouldn’t go to, and then I thought ‘this is kind of neat.’ I read a book, [and thought] I kind of like this. Then I picked another book that was another pick of the month. That’s all she wrote.”
In the end, the library is this busy mom’s reprieve. Given 30 spare minutes, time which is an increasingly rare commodity, she heads to the library. “Never would I think I would say a library in a million years. But I get antsy for it. It’s nice and quiet, [and] it’s a free getaway and it’s available. You’re just so silly to not take advantage of it.”
And that’s all she wrote.