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Omaha Reads selection recognizes World War I centennial

Omaha Reads selection recognizes World War I centennial
August 12, 2014
This year the nation recognizes the centennial of the First World War. The sacrifices of men and women on the home front, as well as the violence and hatred that swept across America during World War I (WWI) are addressed in Omaha Public Library’s 2014 Omaha Reads selection, The Meaning of Names (2014) by Karen Gettert Shoemaker.

Each year, Omaha Public Library (OPL) encourages the community to join together in reading one book as part of the Omaha Reads campaign. Omaha Reads promotes literacy and provides the City with a common theme to discuss. One book is selected through a public vote and promoted through book talks, an author visit, and related programs. The Meaning of Names follows the fictional story of Gerda Vogel and her family in 1918. Even the quiet calm of Nebraska farm country cannot shelter the American family of German descent from prejudice, violence, and a plague unlike the world has ever seen.  

Shoemaker will speak at the German-American Society, 3717 S. 120th St., on Wednesday, September 3, 6:30-8 p.m. in the South Hall. The author will discuss her book, and copies will be available for purchase and signing following a Q&A session. This free event is open to the public. Refreshments will be provided. Shoemaker resides in Lincoln, Neb. and mentors young writers through the University of Nebraska–Lincoln’s Master of Fine Arts in Writing program. Learn more about the author at

Additional programs will be offered at various OPL locations. 
  • Sunday, Sept. 14, 2 p.m. at W. Dale Clark Main Library, 215 S. 15th St.: Finding Your Germanic Ancestral Village. Whether your Germanic ancestors were recent immigrants or came to the colonies, learn about various sources and techniques to help discover your ancestral village of origin.
  • Monday, Sept. 29, 6:30 p.m. at Milton R. Abrahams Branch, 5111 N. 90th St.: Nebraska’s German-Americans during World War I. Dr. Charles Johanningsmeier will discuss the dramatic experiences of German-Americans in Nebraska during World War I. Dr. Johanningsmeier is Professor and Jefferis Chair of English at the University of Nebraska at Omaha.
Book discussions:
  • Tuesday, Sept. 16, 6:30 p.m. at Millard Branch, 13214 Westwood Ln.
  • Wednesday, Sept. 24, 6 p.m. at W. Clarke Swanson Branch, 9101 W. Dodge Rd.
Registration may be required for some programs. More information is available at

Additionally, a series of WWI posters will be on display at Millard Branch, August 18-September 30. OPL received the posters from the Government Printing Office as a member of the Federal Depository Library Program. Since 1878, OPL has received documents and other materials printed by the government for public use. The posters were issued to bolster support for WWI by encouraging American citizens to plant victory gardens, economize resources and support U.S. service members fighting overseas. The posters can be viewed any time during regular library hours, Monday through Thursday, 9 a.m.-9 p.m., and Friday through Sunday, 9 a.m.-6 p.m.

Reserve your copy of The Meaning of Names today. Visit for information about additional programs offered at Omaha Public Library’s 12 metro locations.
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