The Omaha Public Library began as a subscription library in 1872. The "library" was located in a rented room on 14th Street between Douglas and Dodge with a collection of 2,600 donated books. The Library Association charged an annual fee of $3.00 for membership. In 1877 the State Legislature approved an act allowing the establishment of "free public libraries and reading rooms." That same year the Omaha City Council established the Omaha Public Library at the urging of the Omaha Library Association. The Library opened with a budget of$1,274.80, a librarian, and nine appointed directors, the precursor of the Library Board of Trustees.
(CPAR), Center for Public Affairs Research, "Omaha's Public Libraries" (1996). Publications. 376.