Real estate tycoon [[Byron Reed]] donated land and his vast collection of coins, books and manuscripts to the library in the early 1890s, and in 1894, Omaha Public Library opened in [[Omaha Public Library (building)|its first permanent home]] at 18th and Harney. A year later, Omaha Public Library became one of the first six public libraries in the nation to create a separate children’s section. A new central library called the [[W. Dale Clark Library]] opened at 14th and Farnum Streets in 1977 across from the [[Gene Leahy Mall]].
[[Mildred L. Batchelder Award|Mildred L. Batchelder]], Namesake of the [[ALA]] award given to the publisher of a translated children's book was formerly a librarian at an Omaha Library. One of her stated goals in her work, which was encouraging the translation of children's books from around the world, was "to eliminate barriers to understanding between people of different cultures, races, nations, and languages."