A note from our executive director, Laura Marlane

Regarding previously removed book lists... 

Recently, there was some confusion surrounding the 2023 Reading Challenge and the annual Summer Reading Program. 

  • The 2023 Reading Challenge started in January. It is a series of reading challenges designed to push readers out of their reading comfort zone and into new literary realms. The Reading Challenge themes and suggested titles are geared toward adults, but all ages may participate. Participation and the books selected are optional.
  • Summer Reading Program is a campaign that runs during June & July and is intended to promote reading throughout the summer. It is designed with kids and teens in mind, but all ages are encouraged to participate. 

Because all ages may participate in the 2023 Reading Challenge, OPL staff curated reading recommendations for kids and teens to address each of the 12 categories represented in the Reading Challenge, including titles that could be considered as options for the “Read a book about or featuring LGBTQIA+ history.” 

Some individuals in the community understood Reading Challenge recommendations to be requirements for kids and teens to be successful in the Summer Reading Program, which does not have suggested or required reading. 

In an attempt to avoid further confusion, I made the decision to remove the kids and teen book lists from the Reading Challenge page. My goal was to differentiate between the two initiatives and return focus toward participation in the Summer Reading Program. 

I realize that removing these lists from the Reading Challenge page has left some members of our community and staff at OPL feeling unsupported, and for that, I am sorry. 

OPL values equal and inclusive access. Libraries are one of the very few places in the community that are free and open to all. We provide programs, services and resources that represent a variety of viewpoints and ensure equitable access to everyone. We support the right for every individual to read what is best for them and their families. We have a collection development policy that exists to ensure that Omaha and Douglas County residents can find connections and see themselves represented in the materials on our shelves. 

We stand with the LGBTQIA+ community. The previously removed book lists have been restored.