September 17, 2014

New Cedar Rapids library opening celebrated 5 years after flood

A ribbon made from recycled books was cut this weekend – marking the grand opening of a new library in Cedar Rapids. The ceremony came nearly five years after flood waters destroyed the downtown library and officials moved thousands of books, movies and other materials into a temporary space in Westdale Mall.

Library Director Bob Pasicznyuk says it quickly became clear the city needed a more permanent west-side library. The $2 million Ladd Library is named for the late Marilyn Ladd, who donated $750,000 to the project two years ago.

“It’s a bit dreamy,” Pasicznyuk said of the new library. “You see a lot of rendering pictures, you have a lot of plans and you look at all kinds of charts that say do this first to the thousandth item…and when it all comes together, it’s a bit amazing.” Library staff and volunteers started moving up to 70,000 books and other materials from Westdale Mall to the new library at 3750 Williams Blvd. SW last week.

The Ladd Library was packed for Saturday’s grand opening. “It really shows that libraries make strong communities and strong communities make great libraries,” Pasicznyuk said. The new Ladd Library covers 21,000 square feet and features two study rooms, 20 public computers and free Wi-Fi.

It will also serve as the system’s main branch until a new downtown library opens this summer.

By Nadia Crow, KCRG-TV, Cedar Rapids