Two steps forward for Cedar Rapids Public Library - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Two steps forward for Cedar Rapids Public Library

by Bryan Goettel

CEDAR RAPIDS (KWWL) - For fifty years, Eldon Wohlleben has called the Cedar Rapids area home.

"I own property on the west side of the river so when I get tired of working there I go over to the library, sit there and relax," said Wohlleben. "It's been a very important part of my life."

When the library flooded, Wohlleben lost his home away from home.

"I was devastated," said Wohlleben. "I said what am I going to do...what am I going to do now, I don't have the library to go to anymore?"

On Friday, ADM plant manager Doug Brakhahn presented a check of $500,000 to the Cedar Rapids Public Library Foundation for their rebuildiing campaign.

It's a sign of hope for Wohlleben and others amidst an economic climate where charitable contributions are few and far between.

"Maybe it's difficult, but it's part of our budget that we want to help the communities," said Brakhahn.

For now the library's downtown location sits empty. And there is still no word as to whether ADM's money will go towards renovating the downtown building or towards construction of a new library. There likely won't be an answer to that question until at least late spring or summer.

"We need to make sure that we can protect the books from any kind of damage next time and if that means building outside the location, that's important to us, too," said Cedar Rapids Public Library Foundation President Christine Schuety.

For the time being, the library has settled at westdale mall. This week, the Bridge Facility opened, tripling the library's size.

It's all part of a week long grand opening. And for Eldon Wohlleben, he hopes it's a sign that another one isn't too far away.

"I don't how I could describe it," said Wohlleben. "I'll be very happy, let's put it that way."

Online Reporter: Bryan Goettel

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