I’m reposting with permission an update about the Cedar Rapids Public Library. I would like to add that despite an early hopeful report in the Gazette that has appeared on some Geneaology message boards, the Geneaology collection is definitely gone. The good news is that their letter from Laura Ingalls Wilder, in addition to the rest of their original children’s illustration collection is safe and in a climate controlled atmosphere until it can be returned to the library. You can follow up and find out about access to the library and its services on their temporary webpage, here: http://crlibrary.info
The rest of this message is from their acting director.
First, I want to thank all of you for the tremendous outpouring of support and concern we have received from our wonderful Iowa library community. Moral support has been sorely needed, and you have all been very generous to us. Thank you!
Second, I want to update you on our library’s progress. It’s been a pretty wild month, but we have been bolstered by fantastic support from our Board, support groups, city government & community. I’ll boil it down to the basics: Our facility received about 5 feet of water on the main floor. It was unsafe for us to enter for a couple weeks after the flooding, which limited what we were able to save. We estimate (very roughly) that about 2/3 of our collection was lost. The children’s illustration collection is safe, as are the 2nd floor books (mostly children’s books.)
We are currently operating out of our West Side Branch in Westdale mall. Bear in mind that our Main library is about 85,000 square feet, and West Side is 2,600 square feet. That will give you an idea of the tight quarters. The mall management has generously donated a couple extra empty storefronts that approximately double the space we have there (around 5,000 SF with the addition.) We are planning to open our “West Side Annex” with a Grand Opening celebration on August 1.
Many of our staff has been assigned to help other city departments during this emergency. We’re grateful for this opportunity to keep our people employed until we are able to re-open in a larger space (as yet to be determined.) Our downtown library will probably not be useable for at least a year. Our staff is fantastic!
Five of our own staff members suffered significant flood damage to their homes; two people lost their homes completely.
The library’s email server is still down. I have re-subscribed to this listserv using a city email address, so please use this address if you need to contact me.
We’re truly lucky in so many ways. A third of our collection is intact, our building appears to have survived, our staff remains with us, and people have been wonderful to us. We’re counting our blessings every day.
We’ve mourned our losses, and we’re ready to move ahead. Readers rebuild!!