Five Years Waiting for New Library to be Born


Library Drawing

Outside rendering of new CR library, from OPN, the architects. Downloaded from The Gazette web site, thegazette.com.

It may be worth the wait. In the wake of the 2008 flood, it was easy to feel terrible about the fate of the Cedar Rapids Public Library, a facility that I liked very much and visited fairly regularly.

I don’t think I’ve been much of a library patron since the flood. That doesn’t reflect any lingering bad feelings about the failure to protect the library—even though I think that was more human error than a natural disaster. It’s more a lifestyle change. Without school age children at home needing trips to the library, I’ve been depending more on Half-Price Books for my literary needs these days.

But I miss the library and look forward to the main branch’s return to downtown.

I miss the video selections (although that had been a bit downgraded by changes in the library and pre-date the flood). I miss a downtown location that was easy and fun to bike to. I miss the serendipity of picking a section or topic, like media history or biography, and just browsing to see what I could find rather than working very hard to find something in particular.

Well, it will be back in 2013. Here are links to a KCRG story and a Gazette story about the library’s plans. I’m sure there will be a lot of grousing (there already has been on the Gazette’s story) about the project, but I’m pretty psyched. I like a number of aspects about the new library, including:

• It’s location at Greene Square Park and near the art gallery. It seems like a nice place for the library to be, and a much better place in terms of avoiding future flood disasters. I’m glad The Gazette didn’t move, too.

• The design of the new building. I’ve only seen the drawings from the outside, but I like the description that I read in The Gazette and that I saw on KCRG.

What suggestions would I make for the new library? I would like to see more movies and books in Spanish. The Spanish collection was pretty small at the old library, and the Latino population in Cedar Rapids is growing. I would like to see convenient bike racks. The downtown location will be very convenient to the nearby bike trial, which passes just south of the park, so a nice bike lane leading to the facility and a good place to chain my bike would be welcome.

I would also like more data on the library’s own web site. After the drawing were unveiled, I went the library’s site, expecting a nice home page link to, and more information on, the plans. Didn’t see them there, so I went to the news page. There was a press announcement that the drawing were released—but where are the plans?

Yeah, it’s not a huge deal, I got enough of a peek for now at KCRG and The Gazette. And I am starting to get excited about visiting a downtown library again.

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