New Cedar Rapids library opens more than five years after floods - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

New Cedar Rapids library opens more than five years after floods

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Eastern Iowa's largest city took another step towards flood recovery Saturday.  City officials opened a bigger and better central library.

For kids, a special passage takes them into a world just for them - the children's section of the new Downtown Cedar Rapids Library.


"We've been wanting to have a pack of kids in this library for the last month and now we've got them," said Bob Pasicznyuk, Library Director.

Book lovers like Madeline Drinkwater and Libby Benson are too young to remember the old Cedar Rapids library, the one from before the floods.  The kids have never seen a place like the new library.

"We're going to love it," said Robert Drinkwater, Madeline's dad. "We'll be able to stop by all the time now."

"I think it's a great opportunity," said Jennifer Benson, Libby's mom. "I think it will be great, especially in the winter time when it's cold and we can't go outside."

Almost the entire Westdale location would fit inside the children's room here at the new downtown library. Westdale Mall served as the interim location following the floods. It closed in February.

Adults also have their own space and there's outdoor areas to relax with a book.

"It's a wow," said Pat Stieglitz. "It's really neat."

The theme at the grand opening was "this is my library."

"You and all the other citizens in Cedar Rapids should take ownership in the project. It's your library," said Mayor Ron Corbett.

That's why 1,000 library users helped cut the ribbon at the opening and even more visited the library on its first day.

"Libraries build strong communities and strong communities then build strong libraries," said Pasicznyuk. "You've got better educational infrastructure. You've got kids who are prepared for school and life."

Many adults at the opening remember old versions of the library, but for new readers this will be the library they remember.

The new building cost more than $46 million to build. FEMA paid for about 2/3 of the project. The rest of the money came from grants, sales tax revue, and private donations.

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