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Cedar Rapids Public Library Celebrates 125 Years

Cedar Rapids Public Library Celebrates 125 Years

Two women sit at desks in a library reading room in this black and white photo.
The library’s location in 1900 in the Dows Building downtown.

On Jan. 15, 2022, the Cedar Rapids Public Library will mark 125 years since first opening with exhibits and celebrations at the Downtown and Ladd Libraries.

The exhibit at the Downtown Library’s Third Floor Gallery, at 450 Fifth Ave. SE, will explore the timeline of the library’s history. The exhibit at the Ladd Library Gallery, 3750 Williams Blvd. SE, will spotlight library branches and service delivery across Cedar Rapids. 

The exhibits will be open Jan. 15 to March 13, and then switch locations and be open March 19 to May 28, so that patrons of both branches will have a chance to view them. 

Both exhibits highlight the library’s legacy of working to ensure access for all to books and information. Since the early days, the library staff sought to bring the resources of the library to the people, with book collections in corner stores and factory break rooms in the 1910s and 1920s, book mobiles in the 1960s, and branch libraries.

The Jan. 15 celebration and exhibit opening will be from 10 am to 2 pm and include activities at both locations, including: 

• Family-friendly craft stations. 

• A shorty library history film, screening throughout the day. 

• Commemorative bookmarks to take home and complimentary cookies, while supplies last. 

• A chance for visitors to share their own library memories. 

• Additional library history and information displays to explore throughout the buildings. 

• Registration for the 125th Anniversary Community Reading Challenge. The library has set a community-wide goal of collectively logging reading on 125,000 days in 2022. The challenge will be available online in January at CRLibrary.beanstack.org/, along with a Winter Reading Challenge. 

The history celebration will continue throughout 2022 with new episodes of a historic docu-series debuting on the Library’s Facebook and YouTube pages each month.

The Library has published a special history-focused commemorative edition of OPEN+ magazine. It is available at the Downtown and Ladd Libraries and online at CRLibrary.org/open/. The Library has also published the history online at: CRLibrary.org/our-history/

Two children stand in the snow in front of a bookmobile in this black and white photo.

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