As we look back on 2020, we are amazed to share how many new and innovative programs and services our Library developed to meet the needs of the community.
It was an unprecedented year, but the Library found many ways to provide access to physical materials, circulating 130,000 items using our new Curbside Holds Pickup process. As the year ends, we’ve seen more than 50,000 visits from those of you who used this system to safely access books and movies and program kits and more.
Our innovative programming department shifted to virtual programming in March, creating and delivering more than 350 programs in this new way with more than 123,000 views. These programs include story times, arts and crafts, science for kids, even virtual escape rooms. Check the online calendar regularly to explore what’s next.
A new partnership with the schools allowed us to create library cards for all Cedar Rapids Community School District students using their IDs as their library card number. This allowed students access to digital materials and resources with fewer barriers than ever. Thanks to the support of the Friends of the Cedar Rapids Public Library, more than 1,200 students have accessed free online homework help with HelpNow. This means students accessing live tutors, writing centers, even using virtual collaboration space, all with their library card.
Streaming content like Kanopy and Hoopla have allowed our patrons to access ebooks, audiobooks, movies, even television shows without leaving home. These services saw a huge increase in use over the past year – more than 82,000 items were streamed this way.
And finally, more and more people are accessing the Library’s digital materials including ebooks, audiobooks, and magazines. These items flew off the virtual shelves this year with more than 140,000 downloads since the pandemic hit in March.
While the year has been unlike any other we have experienced, the Cedar Rapids Public Library continues to pivot our services and programs to meet the needs of our community.
From our Library family to all of you, wishing you a safe and happy new year.