The Cedar Rapids Public Library is one giant step closer to rising from the flood waters that destroyed it nearly three years ago to building a library of the future.
The library kicked off the public phase of its capital campaign today, announcing that a $400,000 donation from the Friends of the Cedar Rapids Public Library has pushed the “Library 3.0” capital campaign over the halfway mark toward its $5 million goal.
At a campaign kickoff event held at Greene Square, across the street from the library’s new site, children who are patrons of the library lined up and overturned large, numbered cards unveiling that $3,454,246.57 has been raised to date.
“We’re most thankful and excited to see that the Friends of the Cedar Rapids Public Library feel as strongly about this project as we do,” said Gary Streit, Library 3.0 Campaign co-chair. “And, we couldn’t be more appreciative of the campaign’s two lead donors—the Hall-Perrine Foundation, with a $3 million matching grant, and Archer Daniels Midland Company (ADM), with a $500,000 donation. Although these gifts were previously announced, we would be remiss to not recognize and express our gratitude to these two pillars of our community today.”
The Hall-Perrine Foundation grant has been critical to the campaign’s success and will continue to be important going forward, with each dollar contributed by private donors being matched by the foundation, up to $3 million. Nearly $2.5 million of the total funds raised have already qualified for the match.
“The Hall-Perrine Foundation’s investment in the new library is consistent with our mission statement, to improve the quality of life for people in Linn County,” said Jack Evans, president of the Hall-Perrine Foundation. “This visionary project will help shape the future of Cedar Rapids. It will be a space of pride and learning for the entire community.”
The 95,000-square-foot library is expected to be completed in the summer of 2013. The new library will contain an information center; a technology hub—complete with public computers and an automated check-out system; a gathering and entertainment center—which includes a 200-seat auditorium and green room; and an early learning resource center to prepare young minds for school and life.
Prior to the 2008 flood, an average of 1,200 individuals walked through the library doors every day. The new library is expected to attract 1,600 people a day.
“Our new library is going to change the way people traditionally have thought of libraries—it truly is going to be a library of the future,” said Cedar Rapids Mayor Ron Corbett. “It will be a vibrant, multipurpose destination offering something for every age and walk of life, attracting people to our downtown and expanding the customer base for area businesses.”
Library 3.0 is part of a $49.6 million project to build the new library, plus $1 million to strengthen the endowment fund to guarantee the future of the library. The bulk of the project is being paid for by the Federal Emergency Management Agency disaster payments, a state I-JOBS grant, funds from the City of Cedar Rapids for land purchase and other state and federal funds.
“We are very thankful for all of the donations we have already received,” said Streit. “By kicking off Library 3.0, we hope the excitement will spread to others and motivate them to be a part of something great. After the flood of 2008, I saw Cedar Rapids residents come together to end something terrible; now it’s time for us all to come together to build something extraordinary.”