The University of Nebraska Omaha (UNO) celebrated the grand opening of its new Community Engagement Center (CEC) on April 17, 2014. OPL is among more than 20 community groups which will share space and work toward the mission of contributing positively and measurably to the Omaha community’s quality of life by creating, supporting and expanding mutually beneficial partnerships, engaged scholarship, and academic and student programming that develop tomorrow’s leaders
and agents of change.

“This opportunity is a great fit for OPL,” said Executive Director Gary Wasdin. “OPL’s mission to strengthen our communities by connecting people with ideas, information and innovative services can be better achieved by working collaboratively with other organizations. OPL staff working in the CEC will think and work strategically with a diverse group of people who share the common goal of making Omaha a great place to live, work and learn.”

In 2012, OPL was awarded a National Leadership Grant from the Institute of Museum and Library iences (IMLS) toward its project “Creating a Collaborative Culture through Community Engagement.” The project is using the funds to produce a toolkit of useful resources and a replicable model to guide public libraries toward leadership roles in local civic engagement efforts. UNO’s Center for Public Affairs Research has been working with OPL to produce an assessment tool. This new opportunity to work with UNO and its partners in the CEC will help bring the project to the next level of success.

“Public libraries have always been an integral part of the communities they serve. With the IMLS grant and OPL’s place in the CEC, we will be in a better position to serve Omaha and Douglas County residents, acting as a community nexus that encourages civic engagement and conversation,” said Wasdin.

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