Patron Spotlight: Dedicated patron opens home library branch

Omaha Public Library’s mission is to strengthen our communities by connecting people with ideas, information, and innovative services. Eight-year-old patron Ander Gonzalez has taken this charge to heart and committed to help spread the joy of reading by opening his own branch of Omaha Public Library (OPL).

Located in a northwest Omaha living room, the Ander Branch (AD) offers a variety of programs and services and welcomes neighbors and family friends to check out books. The current featured display showcases books on the topic of Norway, and the branch advertised a Norway Day celebration as another way to drum up interest in the subject.

Check out the community board at the branch to see important information about branch hours and events, as well as promos for other community opportunities like an upcoming Boy Scouts meeting.

The Ander Branch regularly hosts a Read to a Dog program featuring the family dog, Cruz, and encourages exploration of what the collection of books and magazines has to offer. A full family affair, Ander’s sisters also occasionally step in to help with events or collection processing.

Patrons can return books via the branch book drop, or pick up materials that have been placed on hold in advance, marked with their own hold slips. Ander has developed a cataloging and processing system, adding handcrafted barcodes to the books in his collection and scanning them in and out with his own barcode reader (a repurposed toy vehicle).

He has created library cards for his regular patrons, and also has a non-resident library card for visitors who don’t live in the typical service area.

While Ander’s impressive initiative speaks for itself, he wants to be clear: his desire to run a library branch is not a passing interest.

“I like all the books, and I want to be a librarian when I grow up,” he says.

When the time comes, OPL will be happy to welcome him aboard.