The community has used the existing Ladd Library space consistently since it opened in 2013. Tens of thousands of items have been checked out, hundreds of programs attended, and thousands of hours of computer use and WiFi connections have taken place.

The Ladd Library has been a critical resource for neighborhood support and resiliency throughout the pandemic, after the derecho, and after the Downtown fire, as well as during more typical times in our community. It serves as a key location for strategic partnerships that help fulfill our mission: to connect people to information, experiences, and services that enhance their quality of life so our community can learn, enjoy, and thrive. 

In 2020, the Cedar Rapids Public Library Foundation received a significant gift, which will lead the way toward establishing a permanent library location on the city’s west side. 

In 2021, The Library Trustees engaged MSR Design to come up with Initial Design Concepts. These concepts were presented to the Board in December 2021.  In 2022, the Library Foundation began a feasibility study for a capital campaign and secured land at the corner of Wiley Boulevard SW and 20th Avenue SW.

This is walkable from the current location of the Ladd Library, preserving easy access for our patrons living in the nearby apartment buildings and mobile homes. This location will support the board’s ongoing commitment to equity, access, walkability, and place making for the Westdale neighborhood.

In October 2022, OPN Architects were hired as the architect for the new Westside Library Project. More information on this project will be shared as the process continues. 

Frequently Asked Questions

The library and community have used the existing Ladd Library space consistently as an opportunity for strategic partnerships to help the Library fulfill its mission: to connect people to information, experiences, and services that enhance their quality of life so our community can learn, enjoy, and thrive.  

In 2020, the Cedar Rapids Public Library Foundation received a significant gift, which will lead the way toward establishing a permanent library location on the city’s west side. 

Linn County allocated $4 million in ARPA funding for the Westside Library Project. 

The City of Cedar Rapids allocated $6 million in ARPA funding to the Westside Library Project.

No, the Library Trustees have known that there would be a need for a permanent location at some point, and have been strategically seeking a solution for some time. The bequest kick started the ability to fundraise for a new building, and this project meets the specific requirements of ARPA funds.  The allocation of ARPA funds speeds up the project and ensure the new facility will be open in 2026 ahead of the current lease expiration in 2027.

This is the largest public-private partnership on the west side in a long time. Public dollars will help fund and we are seeking private dollars as well. This is a public facility, one that everyone in our community will be able to enjoy without barriers to access such as fees or memberships.

The design phase of this project is currently underway. The committee intends to design a welcoming, accessible library that fits the neighborhood and the community it serves. There will be opportunities for community input and feedback moving forward.  

Existing community partners like those at the Opportunity Center are looking at their service delivery and permanent facility needs at this time as well. Locating services within neighborhoods has proven critical during emergency response, such as the derecho, and added to the resiliency of the community.  

OPN Architects have been hired to lead this project as of October 2022. They will work with Library Trustees, staff, and key stakeholders to ensure a quality building process.  

Public input will be critical to the project. Opportunities for feedback and community input sessions will be held throughout the design phase. Stay connected to the library through our website and social media for updates.  

Before the flood of 2008, the library had a small storefront location in Westdale Mall. After the flood, the library operated solely out of space in Westdale Mall, and the location quickly became one of the busiest libraries in the state. Library use came primarily from residents of the city’s west side. The library had to vacate its previous Westdale Mall location and needed a home on the west side.  

Funding was not available for a permanent location at that time. Ladd was developed using funds from the Marilyn Ladd estate, a gift left to the Cedar Rapids Public Library Foundation in 2012, combined with a smaller fundraising campaign. Materials were brought over from the Westdale location.