Cedar Rapids Public Library Seeks Public Input on West Side Branch

The Cedar Rapids Public Library board is asking for the public’s input on the selection of a permanent location for the west-side library branch.

Two public forums are being held in January to gather input from the public on the two locations under consideration. The forums are January 17 and 24 at 6:00 pm at the CRPL West.

The current west side location in Westdale Mall was constructed post-flood as a temporary main library. The library technology center is located across the hall from the library, and the mall is also home to the library’s administrative offices and the Iowa Substance Abuse Information Center (ISAIC).

The options under consideration are to remain in Westdale Mall and renovate the space to accommodate the technology center and necessary improvements, or to move to the former Target location across Williams Boulevard, across the street from the mall.

The public is welcome to send their questions or input to the Library Board by email at mussmana@crlibrary.org or to leave their comments here.

For more information on the Cedar Rapids Public Library, visit www.crlibrary.org or call (319) 398-5123.

FAQs for West Side Library Changes

Q. Why is the Library Board considering moving from the current Westdale location?

A. The Library Board was fortunate to find and develop the Westdale location as our temporary, central library following the 2008 flood. To date, Westdale is operated as a temporary library using FEMA disaster funding. This will end in about 18 months with the debut of a new central library. The West side demonstrates high use. The Library Board is committed to a West-side location, but wants to make certain that any West-side facility is the best value for our customers.

Q. What are the options under consideration?

A. The Library has been able to find two locations to meet our basic needs: 1) Our current location in the Westdale Mall, and 2) A subdivided, space which was part of the former Target Store across from the Westdale Mall.

Q. How does this impact the taxpayer? Are they paying for this?

A.  The Library is seeking to consolidate its lease payments to be ready for the day when FEMA isn’t covering our operating expense.  The Library will cover the majority of any renovation or move through private fundraising dollars and grants. As in any given year, the Library Board may allocate some of its facilities budget toward any project though those dollars would be a small portion of this project.

Q. What is the timeline for the changes?

A.  The Library Board is studying this matter now with a goal of taking action this Winter. Any change following their action would be many months away.

Q. How will you plan to operate the west side branch?

A.  Cedar Rapids Public Library is operated, by and large, from an appropriation to Libraries granted by City Council. Operating a West-side library has been a part of the library’s budget for years. If the budget is cut or unable to meet our demand, the Library Board would need to set priorities and make the same hard choices that all of us have to make in our own personal or family budgets.

Q. How will the changes impact me as a customer?

A.  The Library’s goal is to provide the best, most cost effective library service possible whatever the location. All the plans under discussion involve improving the library with some level of renovation (restrooms and the like). We’ll work at minimizing the disruption, but there is bound to be some hassle moving toward something new.

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