Downtown Library

Downtown Library Rendering

Rendering of the new Cedar Rapids Public Library, which is under construction on the corner of 4th Ave and 5th Street SE and expected to open in late summer 2013 Click here to view floor plans.

Save the Date!

Grand Opening: August 24, 2013

The new Cedar Rapids Public Library opens to the public at 10:00 am on Saturday, August 24, 2013. The day will include a variety of activities for the whole family to enjoy.

10:00 am - Ribbon Cutting Ceremony - The entire community is invited to take part in this once-in-a-lifetime event. Get there early so you are guaranteed a part in the festivities.

Library 3.0 logo

Construction continues to move quickly at the site of the new library, and regular updates, including photos, are posted on our Connect blog.

A web cam captured the action starting with demolition and ending in March. See the building go up one step at a time. Click here to view the time-lapse video.

Library 3.0 - The Campaign to Build a New Cedar Rapids Public Library

Library 3.0, the campaign to build a new Cedar Rapids Public Library (CRPL), is all coming together to help prepare young minds—for the future. Why is the campaign called Library 3.0? Because this will be the third and most forward-thinking version of a main library in downtown Cedar Rapids (Library 1.0 would have been the Carnegie Library, which opened in 1905. Library 2.0 would have been the last library, which opened in 1985 and was destroyed in the flood of 2008).

The innovative plans for the new CRPL combine all of the best that today's libraries have to offer. The airy, 95,000-square-foot facilty will be a multipurpose community gathering spot impacting the area civically, academically, economically, socially and technologically.

Past and Present

Approximately 160,000 of the nearly 300,000 books, DVDs, CDs, audio books and other volumes were destroyed in the 2008 flood. The library staff and volunteers saved the truly irreplaceable of the collection and an estimated 60,000 items of the children's book collection. Fortunately, approximately 32,000 items were checked out oat the time. Everything else in the library's holdings was lost to the flood.
Kids with Fact Signs at Campaign Kickoff event

Since the opening of the 1985 building (Library 2.0), more than 10 million patrons have checked out more than 20 million books. Prior to the flood, the main library was visited by 1,200 individuals each day, making it the most used building downtown. With an expected 35 percent increase in library use, the new library will attract more than 1,600 visitors daily, providing an expanded customer base for downtown businesses. 

Library 3.0 - Books and BeyondConnect Blog

The new library will offer a growing, changing collection of great eBooks and traditional books through an active, targeted collection and download station opportunities. Beyond books, the new library will be: 

  • An Information Center, featuring an ever-changing collection of knowledge accessible through state-of-the-art tools. The new library will remain relevant for guests of all ages and all walks of life. Featuring an urban plaza that can be used for programming, it will be a multipurpose space offering something for everyone.


  • A Technology Hub, complete with free Wi-Fi extending outside the building, 65 public computers, an automated check-out system, interactive media-editing computers, a computer training center and an interactive children’s literacy area. 


  • A Gathering Place, the new library will be a spot where groups, adults, children, parents and grandparents can easily meet, interact and advance as a community. Civic space will be abundant, available at little or no charge and include a 200-seat auditorium, two large meeting rooms, a technology classroom, two conference rooms and numerous small teaming spaces. Access will be easy with roughly 225 parking spaces including designated spaces in the Fourth Avenue parking ramp.


  • GroundbreakingAn Early Learning Resource, the learning resources and stimulating environment available will be second to none in the region. Grant Wood Area Education Agency, the Parent Education Consortium and Hawkeye Area Community Action Program will house bachelor’s and master’s level staff in the library while other early childhood education agencies will offer shared programming at this one convenient, centrally located destination downtown.


  • A LEED-Certified Building, offering energy-saving and cost-saving design features at the Platinum level (top rating). Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) is a certification program of the U.S. Green Building Council. It is anticipated that the new library building will be 30 percent more energy efficient than the old library building. The new library will have systems in place to keep 90 percent of the precipitaion that falls on the property on the site and out of sewers and the river.


Why build a library, especially now? Click here to read some answers to this common concern.

Project Budget