Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Cedar Rapids Public Library

Late this summer, I read an article in American Libraries titled, "Iowa Libraries Bear Brunt of Midwest Floods." This informative article provided an overview of the impact on libraries of the June and July flooding in Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Missouri, and Wisconsin. Since that time, other libraries in other communities have also been affected by other natural disasters. In many cases, the impact is heart-breaking, especially in the context of the rest of the loss, because a vibrant and functional library is a crucial part of the infrastructure needed to rebuild a healthy community.

Anyone reading this blog is likely either an author, illustrator, or book-lover (or in some cases all three). I hope that we -- as individuals and as a community of readers -- can make some effort to help the libraries affected by floods, hurricanes, and more. To this end, today I am beginning an occasional series of blog entries about libraries adversely affected by natural and other disasters. Certainly none of us are walking around with big pockets crammed full of cash, but that said, many of us have a few dollars that could go here or there to help as libraries rebuild.

The first library I'd like to profile is the Cedar Rapids Public Library. The information I'm providing is taken from a "Readers Rebuild Newsletter" email, from the library's web site, and from direct contact with the library.

The flooding of the Cedar Rapids Public Library June 11-13, 2008 was the worst disaster in U.S. library history. Everything on the main floor of the 85,000 square foot building was lost. This included the entire adult and young adult collection, public access computers/lab, journals, magazines, and reference materials. In all, approximately 160,000 items were destroyed.

The only material spared from the June 11-13 flood of downtown Cedar Rapids was in the Children’s Department on the second floor. The library was also able to save the "Zerzanek Collection," comprised of 850 children's book illustrations & accompanying materials.

There are two ways to help the library. The first is a direct monetary donation to the CRPL Foundation. The other option is to donate a new book from the CRPL wish list.

More information about these options is available on the Donating Materials page of the library's web site. Or you can send a check directly to:

Cedar Rapids Public Library Foundation
500 First Street SE
Cedar Rapids, IA 52401

More information about the flood's impact on CRPL is available at their flood info site and at the flood page of the library's site. If you would like to receive periodic post-flood library updates, you can join their email list by sending a blank email message to: join-crpl_readers_rebuild@lists.ia.gov

1 comment:

Lori Van Hoesen said...

What a wonderful way to use your blog! Thanks.