About Amber

Public Information Officer and Adult Programming Coordinator

Celebrate Valentine’s Day at the Library!

super_candyland_board_background_by_wyldfantasyx-d2hl8yqVisit either location of the Cedar Rapids Public Library on Saturday, February 13 to take part in our Valentine’s Day celebrations.

The Downtown Library will be home to a life-sized Candyland experience from 10:30 am to 12:30 pm. Queen Frostine, Gramma Nutt, and Plumpy Princess Lolly will greet you as you travel through the Peppermint Forest exploring Candyland confections. Music, crafts, and, of course-candy! – highlight this fabulous festivity. Finish up the experience by making your way to our friends at the Cedar Rapids Museum of Art to celebrate Iowa artist Grand Wood’s 125th birthday from 11 am to 3 pm.

Visit the Ladd Library from 1:30 pm to 3 pm to explore their very own life-sized Candyland where characters and confections create a world all their own. Music, crafts and candy await you!

Linn Area Reads 2016: The Book Thief

MarkusZusakcolorThe planning committee for the annual community-wide reading program known as Linn Area Reads has selected The Book Thief by author Markus Zusak for the 2016 edition of the program.

Linn Area Reads is a program of the Metro Library Network, which is made up of the Cedar Rapids, Marion, and Hiawatha Public Libraries. All Linn Area Reads events are free and open to the public.

The Book Thief is a bestselling novel set in 1939 Nazi Germany featuring young foster girl Liesel Meminger living outside of Munich. Liesel manages to scratch out a sad existence for herself by stealing when she encounters something she can’t resist—books. With the help of her accordion-playing foster father, she learns to read and shares her stolen books with her neighbors and the Jewish man hidden in her basement.

“This book tells an enduring story of the power of books,” said Amber Mussman, Community Relations Manager with the Cedar Rapids Public Library and member of the selection committee. “We believe this book is an opportunity to discuss the power of stories as well as a part of history that should never be forgotten.”The_Book_Theif_book cover

The Linn Area Reads committee is thrilled to be able to bring author Markus Zusak to the Hotel at Kirkwood Center on March 13 for a live author event. Markus will sign books following his reading. Registration is requested: http://bit.ly/LinnAreaReads.

Additionally, Anneliese Tisdale, author of Christmas Trees Lit the Sky, will give a reading at the Marion Public Library on March 1 at 6:30 pm. Tisdale’s book is a memoir of her life as a child in wartime Germany.

Linn Area Reads 2016 programs include:

  • Group Book Discussions: February 25, March 3, and March 10; 6:30 pm at Barnes & Noble Booksellers, 333 Collins Rd. NE, Cedar Rapids.
  • Author Reading: Anneliese Tisdale: March 1, 6:30 pm, Marion Public Library, 1095 6th Avenue, Marion.
  • Author Visit: Markus Zusak: March 13, 5:00 pm, Hotel at Kirkwood Center, 7725 Kirkwood Blvd. SW, Cedar Rapids.
  • Movie Screening: “The Book Thief”, March 15, 6:30 pm, Whipple Auditorium at the Cedar Rapids Public Library, 450 5th Avenue SE, Cedar Rapids.

Linn Area Reads is supported by Barnes & Noble Booksellers, Friends of the Cedar Rapids Public Library, Friends of the Hiawatha Public Library, Friends of the Marion Public Library, and the Metro Library Network.

For more information on Linn Area Reads, visit www.metrolibrarynetwork.org/linnareareads.

Cedar Rapids Public Library Announces Launchpads

The Cedar Rapids Public Library is excited to announce the release of a new tablet designed to meet the needs of its youngest customers: Launchpads. Launchpads are made possible by the Cedar Rapids Public Library Foundation with a grant from ITC Holdings Corp.

Launchpads, a kid-friendly tablet designed for libraries to lend, come preloaded with educational apps that allow children to practice literacy, math and technical skills. They use specially designed educational apps that aim to make learning fun and promote digital access for all. Launchpads are designed for children ages 3-7.

“Launchpads do not require an internet connection or wifi, making them accessible to everyone in our community,” said Cedar Rapids Public Library Director Dara Schmidt. “The support of the CRPL Foundation and grants from companies like ITC allow us to continue to meet the needs of our public for access to technology in innovative ways and we are grateful for their support.”

“ITC is pleased to once again partner with the Cedar Rapids Public Library Foundation to put useful technology in the hands of young library patrons,” said Krista Tanner, President of ITC Midwest, the Cedar Rapids-based operating company of ITC. “Launchpads can introduce kids to technology, which we hope drives a lifelong interest in science and technical topics. That’s critical both for their success and the success of our society.”

Launchpads are currently available for checkout at the Downtown Cedar Rapids Public Library only. They are available for 14-day checkout to any card holder in good standing and with all privileges for at least three months. The card holder must present the card at time of checkout. Only one tablet can be checked out per card, renewable up to two times. Tablets may be placed on hold.

About the Cedar Rapids Public Library Foundation

The Cedar Rapids Public Library Foundation advocates for and provides a reliable and growing funding source so that the library may impact our community and transform its quality of life through education, civic engagement, the arts, and entertainment.

About ITC Holdings Corp.

ITC Holdings Corp. (NYSE: ITC) is the nation’s largest independent electric transmission company. ITC owns and operates high-voltage transmission facilities in Michigan, Iowa, Minnesota, Illinois, Missouri, Kansas and Oklahoma, serving a combined peak load exceeding 26,000 megawatts along approximately 15,600 circuit miles of transmission line.

SENG* Guided Discussion Group for Parents Starts Feb 1 at the Downtown Cedar Rapids Public Library

The SENG & Guided Discussion Group for Parents has been cancelled. We apologize for any inconvenience.


Parenting is a difficult yet highly important job. Understanding our children is fundamental to supporting them and parenting effectively. There can be unique challenges and nuances involved in parenting gifted children. Their parents often express feeling isolated and in need of more support.

The Cedar Rapids Public Library, in conjunction with the Cedar Rapids Community School District’s PACT (Program for Academic and Creative Talent) Department, is offering a SENG (Supporting Emotional Needs of the Gifted) Guided Discussion Group for Parents of Gifted/High Ability Students in the Cedar Rapids Community School District.

Weekly discussions will be based on informational reading from the book A Parent’s Guide to Gifted Children by James Webb and will include such topics as characteristics of gifted children, motivation and discipline, peers, and communication.

8 weekly sessions
7 – 8:30 pm on Mondays
February 1st through March 28th (no session March 14th due to spring break)

Cedar Rapids Public Library, Second Floor Conference Room
450 5th Avenue SE, Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401

There is no fee to participate in the discussion group, but participants will need to purchase the book A Parent’s Guide to Gifted Children for $25 (copies will be available the first session.) If affording the book is a hardship, there is the possibility of a long term loan for the 8 week group.

To establish healthy group dynamics and to fully benefit from the sessions, we ask that participants sign up with the intent and availability to make at least 7 out of the 8 sessions barring any emergencies.

As this is a discussion based group, the number of participants is limited. Space will be reserved in the order of registrations received. To register, visit the Library’s event calendar at www.crlibrary.org and fill out the registration form.

MLK Day Kick-Off and Public Employment Job Fair

selma-posterJoin the Cedar Rapids Civil Rights Commission and the Cedar Rapids Public Library as we kick off the Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday an MLK Day Kick-Off and Public Employment Job Fair. Visit the Downtown Library on Sunday, January 17, starting at 2pm to view a special screening of the 2015 movie “Selma”.

Following the film, interested persons will have the chance to speak with representatives from the City of Cedar Rapids, the Cedar Rapids Community School District, and Linn County on employment opportunities.

The story of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s historic struggle to secure voting rights for all people — a dangerous and terrifying campaign that culminated with the epic march from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama, and led to President Johnson signing the Voting Rights Act of 1965. See the story unfold dramatically on screen in the Whipple Auditorium.

Join us as we celebrate Dr. Martin Luther Kind, Jr.’s legacy and learn more about public employment opportunities available now.

Register today at http://bit.ly/MLKCR2016 or call (319) 261-READ.

Make the Cedar Rapids Public Library Your New Year’s Resolution

The Cedar Rapids Public Library wants you to make us your New Year’s Resolution for 2016! This is one resolution you can actually keep.

Stop by either the Downtown or Ladd Library during the month of January and pick up library punch card. Each card has six tasks; one for each of the first six months of the year. Do the task associated with the month and then visit the library and have your card punched. Earn all six punches and you will earn a free library book bag.

Visit the Cedar Rapids Public Library anytime during the month of January to pick up your punch card and start of 2016 right.

For more information, call the Cedar Rapids Public Library at (319) 261-READ or visit our website at www.crlibrary.org.

A Book Journey

The New York Public Library recently followed a copy of “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” through their library system, recording in detail the odyssey it took from when a patron put it on hold to when it was checked out. We thought this was a really wonderful idea, and while our library system is exponentially smaller than NYPL, we wanted to share the same kind of journey with all of you.

  1. Place on Hold:
    The first step was to log onto the Cedar Rapids Public Library catalog and choose a book. Because it’s the holiday season, we wanted something fitting, so we chose “The Art of Gift Wrapping: 50 Innovative ideas using organic, unique and uncommon materials” by Wanda Wen.

1. Place Hold

We can place this item on hold directly from the catalog station in the library (seen here at our Downtown Library) or from your computer or mobile device (download the MLN2GO app from iTunes or the Bookmyne app from the Google Play store). We have the option to choose where to have the item picked up and we’re asking to pick this item up at the Ladd Library (3750 Williams Blvd SW).

Our collection of materials is shared not only with our two branches but also with neighboring libraries in Marion and Hiawatha. That means our books, movies, and cds all travel from library to library via courier to meet the demands of our patrons. Last year we circulated more than 1.5 million items in our libraries alone, and 173,174 items were placed on hold in Cedar Rapids while over 287,980 items were placed on hold in the entire Metro Library Network.

  1. Because our item was available and not waiting for another patron, our hold will be pulled the next day. Each morning before we open at 9 am, a report is generated from our system listing each requested hold, and our wonderful volunteers use this list to locate the items and pull them from the shelves. Once they’re pulled from the shelf they head to our sorter room. The downtown library has a collection of over 150,000 materials, a mix of all types of offerings. The collection of materials is maintained by staff who choose items based on reader requests, demand and shelf space.

2. Hold Pulled

  1. Holds, once pulled from the shelf, are put onto the library’s sorter. The sorter is a system of conveyor belts and computers with RFID technology that “traps” the item for the patron and notifies the person that their hold is available. Because we want to pick up our book at the Ladd Library, it is placed into a bin slated for the Ladd Library by the time we open our doors at 9 am.

3. Put on Sorter

  1. The bin holding “The Art of Gift Wrapping” is picked up by our courier before 11 am to make the four mile trek to the Ladd Library, with stops at local HyVee Stores to pick up items from those book drops. The library contracts with Per Mar to act as our courier. Last year, 356,297 items moved from one Cedar Rapids library to another via courier.

4. In Transit to Ladd

  1. The courier arrives before noon at the Ladd Library to deliver the bins. Our book is placed on the sorter in the back room of the Ladd Library and a slip is printed with the first three letters of our last name and the last four digits of our library card. The slip is inserted into The Art of Gift Wrapping and the book is placed on a cart ready to head to the library hold shelves before the end of the day. At the Ladd Library, these are located near the front doors. At the Downtown Library, they are located near the entrance to the Children’s Library.

5. Ladd Recieves Item

  1. A volunteer or staff member bring the cart to the hold shelves and the item is placed there awaiting pickup. We have one week to pick the book up before it is pulled from the shelf by a staff member and put back into circulation or onto the hold shelf for the next person in line.

7. Hold is Shelved




Putting items on hold is easy to do and allows us to help you access the entire collection no matter which library you use, including our neighbors at the Hiawatha Public Library and Marion Public Library.