Editor’s Note: This story was originally published on Omaha.com
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I’m not sure about you, but I have no idea where 2012 went. Though the year passed quickly, we’ve enjoyed many great experiences at Omaha Public Library.
Public libraries represent different things to different people. They serve as community centers — offering gathering spaces for neighbors, friends and families. Libraries are technology hubs, offering free high-speed Internet access for all, free digital music downloads, and the use of computers, iPads and laptops. Library users also find entertainment zones with movies, craft programs, lectures and so much more. At the heart of Omaha Public Library, you can still find a place to lose yourself in a great book.
Many of you escaped in books in 2012! More than 2,289,500 print books were borrowed from our 12 libraries during the past year. OPL’s e-book readership also grew by leaps and bounds. E-books were borrowed 73,968 times through the digital library collection and read on Kindles, Nooks, iPads and other digital devices. People of all ages in our community are reading. From offering Baby Reads kits to help introduce a love of reading to newborns and their parents, to providing books to book clubs gathering throughout the city, OPL caters to a wide range of interests.
What is Omaha reading? Along with most of the country, Omaha was caught up in the “Fifty Shades of Grey” frenzy. This book was loaned 1,352 times — 870 people read print copies, and another 482 preferred the discretion of an e-book. “The Hunger Games” experienced a big boost with the release of the movie, and 947 of you borrowed or downloaded a copy from OPL. “Gone Girl” had 777 checkouts, and John Grisham’s latest, “The Litigators,” was lent 641 times.
There are some exciting new books on the horizon in 2013. It’s difficult to predict exactly which books will be in high demand, but there are some that are sure to be huge hits. Jodi Picoult’s new book, “The Storyteller,” is generating great buzz, and Jamaica Kincaid’s “See Now Then” will be available in the next few weeks. If you’re a “Downton Abbey” fan, you might enjoy Fay Weldon’s first in a new trilogy, “Habits of the House.” If you aren’t a “Downton Abbey” fan, you should consider becoming one!
I’m excited and somewhat anxious to read Stephen King’s long anticipated sequel to “The Shining,” “Doctor Sleep.” Can it possibly live up to the expectations? Speaking of Stephen King, the remake of “Carrie” is coming to theaters soon. I expect to see many fans coming in to reread this favorite. Personally, I hope to reread “The Great Gatsby” in time to see the sumptuous new film version.
Great reads aren’t just for adults. Kids may be excited to read the new Captain Underpants book, and the conclusions to the Raven’s Gate and Beyonders series. For teens, the latest in the Lunar Chronicles series, “Scarlet,” will be released in February, and “Monument 14: Sky on Fire” is due out in May. There’s more than enough to keep you mesmerized for months!
Of course, this is only the tip of the iceberg. We’ve got you covered, no matter what your reading interests may be. If you would like to know what OPL staff members are reading and what they thought, visit our BookNook, accessible at omahalibrary.org. There you will find staff reviews of not only best-sellers, but also some lesser known titles that are worth a read.
If you still need convincing to begin reading, Winter Reading Club is in full swing at OPL now through February. Log your reading online and be rewarded with great prizes, along with fun and interesting reads. You never know where the next book will take you or what it may inspire you to learn!
Gary Wasdin is the executive director of the Omaha Public Library.
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