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'He was always with a book in his hand': Little Library honors the life of Northwest Omaha boy

Posted at 5:44 PM, May 29, 2024

OMAHA, Neb. (KMTV) — It's a place for neighbors to come together and be present by grabbing a book and doing what Colin Bloom loved, reading. The library is a memorial to him after he took his life in 2020.

  • In July of 2020, 11-year-old Colin Bloom took his own life after feeling isolated due to COVID-19.
  • We spoke to his mom about what this little library means to hear and what she hopes other parents can recognize with their kids mental health before it becomes too late.
  • Neighbors talk about how the library has been a beacon of hope and building connections among families.

BROADCAST TRANSCRIPT:

It's a place for neighbors to come together and be present by grabbing a book and doing what Colin Bloom loved - reading. On the West Papio Trail, this little library is bringing people together to honor a Barrington Park neighbor who lost his life.

"He just liked being active he liked hanging out with friends. He was always with a book in his hand. He loved to read,” said Heather Bloom, Colin’s mom.

Colin Bloom was in a lot of activities, but in his free time, reading was one of his favorite things to do.

"Whenever we got in the car, he wanted to bring a book along on vacation. He always wanted to make sure he had a book along,” said Heather.

But when COVID-19 hit all his activities stopped and Colin began to feel isolated at home.

That July, the 11-year-old took his own life.

"There's kind of a -- there's a hole in our lives. I wouldn't wish this on anyone,” said Heather.

After neighbors heard what happened they decided to do something creating the Pacific Meadows Little Library.

"It's a chance for us to memorialize him with the bench to remember him in a very positive way,” said Chris Walker, a member of the Omaha West Optimist Club.

This little door and bench — Gateways to connection.

"When they sit on the bench and read together and grandparents and children, the phones go away. When they walk the trail, a lot of times they're on their phone, but they sit down here and the phones go away,” said neighbor Sarah Boaz.

The effects of the pandemic are still prevalent as Alexis Dickerson with Project Harmony tells us.

"When you have people who are in their homes, not sure of what to expect some of those mental health struggles or difficulties increase and so that's exactly what we've seen,” said Dickerson.

Heather says she wishes she would've recognized the warning signs that something was wrong. which is why now she wants to give this message to other parents.

"Try to be proactive and not assume the situation is going to get better,” said Heather.

And while she'll never get her son back, Heather says she's thankful for the library.

“It's nice that he's remembered for something good and positive.”

Project Harmony says the best thing you can do for your kid is to give them a safe place to share how they're feeling.