The Cedar Rapids Public Library took another step toward flood recovery with a ribbon cutting ceremony Monday to mark the opening of a downtown branch. The downtown Cedar Rapids Public Library transferred its operations to a west-side mall after the flood.

Library trustee Susan McDermott says downtown workers and residents now have a convenient place to check out and return books. “The library is the people’s university. This is where everyone that’s finished with the public school system has all of the learning that they need available at their fingertips for free,” McDermott says.

Resident Mary Russell-Curran says the library’s return to downtown is an important step in recovering from the flood. Russell-Curran says,”It’s wonderful to have a downtown location. Even though this is small, it gives people who work downtown a chance to pick up books and drop them off. It’s just a convenience factor and I think it’s very good for the morale of all of the library users.”

The opening of the downtown branch comes on the heels of an announcement that a new permanent library could cost as much as $45-million dollars. It’s estimated about half that money could come from FEMA.

The state has promised some money too and the library board is seeking a tax levy increase that will likely be on November’s ballot. A new permanent location could be built downtown within two years.