July 10th, 2008
12:00 PM ET

Help the Cedar Rapids library!

Among the victims of June’s disastrous floods was the Cedar Rapids, Iowa, central library. The main branch was mere blocks from the overflowing Cedar River, and library officials still have no idea how many volumes were lost.

For now, the library is operating out of its West Side branch in the area’s Westdale Mall. But it will be looking to rebuild.

You can help.

The library is accepting monetary donations through its Cedar Rapids Public Library Foundation. The address is 500 First Street SE, Cedar Rapids, IA 52401.

If you’d prefer to donate books, other parts of the library system are accepting them. You can donate new or used books to the libraries in Marion, Iowa (1095 Sixth Avenue, Marion, IA 52302), and Hiawatha, Iowa (150 W. Willman Street, Hiawatha, IA 52233). The Marion and Hiawatha libraries are part of the area’s Metro Library Network.

More information can be found here.

- Todd Leopold, CNN.com Entertainment Producer


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soundoff (10 Responses)
  1. Martha Ely Goralka

    Our family (Ely) was one of the founding families of Cedar Rapids. My grandfather, John M. Ely, donated his memoirs as a contribution towards the building project of what at the time was the "new" library. One of our children has chosen to move back from California to raise his children in Cedar Rapids. They used the library extensively. The city almost died once before due to a flood. The entire town turned out to save the dam, which Alexander Ely had built to run a mill, which was the key to the economic well being of the town. The history center probably has the story which was written by John Weare about how the whole town tried to save the dam. A woman donated the stone she had purchased to build her home to serve as ballast to anchor the dam. The residents made sure her home was built after all. This same spirit clearly lives on in Cedar Rapids.

    August 5, 2008 at 11:12 am | Report abuse |
  2. June Agnew

    I too grew up in Cedar Rapids and have very fond memories of my home town. It was been almost 50 years since I have lived there but still have friends and relatives near by. Was happy to learn of ways I can help in the recovery beside send clothes. So will do so soon. Thank you for the info. June

    July 18, 2008 at 11:58 am | Report abuse |
  3. KJ

    I too grew up in CR. My father said the town is trying desperately to rebuild. CR made downtown into a vibrant cultrual and artistic site. To have it ruined would be a shame. anyone who can donate to rebuild it is thanked!!!

    July 17, 2008 at 5:08 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Rachel

    Thank you for running this story. The loss of our downtown library has been very hard on us, and I hope people donate money or books.

    Don't forget, we also had significant damage to Theater Cedar Rapids, the Paramount Theater, and the Science Station, to name a few. Please donate however you feel led.

    July 16, 2008 at 3:01 am | Report abuse |
  5. Tina

    It think it is impossible to fully understand how many long standing CR institutions were wiped out in the floods. I grew up in CR and haven't been back to see the flood damage, but if the public library was destroyed, I can only imagine how widespread the damage actually was. CR will never be the same again, that is for sure. It may be just fine, but not the same. I will be sad as I go home to visit, to see how many of my memorires are no longer there. The library was absolutely beautiful and a jewel for the city. Is really a shame....

    July 15, 2008 at 5:24 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Dave

    Thanks so much for doing this. I am a Cedar Rapids native and still have family in town. This was a beautiful facility downtown and it is so sad to see it destroyed. I often went there growing up. Libraries are so key to the cultural vibrancy of a city.

    July 15, 2008 at 10:58 am | Report abuse |
  7. Joe

    Thank you for continuing to keep the Cedar Rapids-metro area in the news. It will be some time still before things return to anywhere near normal for those individuals, and their institutions.
    – Born In Cedar Rapids

    July 14, 2008 at 5:09 pm | Report abuse |

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