Rendering of new westside library from the west with people outside
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Alison Gowans
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Jan. 26, 2024 – The Cedar Rapids Public Library Foundation has launched the “Inspiring Big Dreams” capital campaign for the Westside Library project. 

The campaign seeks to raise $10 million to establish a new, permanent library on Cedar Rapids’ west side, to replace Ladd Library, which is in a rented space. 

The new Westside Library will be a bustling community hub, offering a larger selection of materials, more spaces to gather and connect, dedicated children’s program space, and more.   

The Foundation secured land for the project near the corner of Edgewood Road SW and 20th Avenue SW, within walking distance of the current Ladd Library. The site will be developed by the City of Cedar Rapids to include a new city park, making it a destination for the entire community to enjoy.  

The library project will cost less than $25 million. The City of Cedar Rapids has allocated $6 million in American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funds and the Linn County Board of Supervisors has allocated $4 million in ARPA funds. An estate gift of $2 million to the Library Foundation in 2020 was used to purchase the land for the new library.

The Friends of the Cedar Rapids Public announced a $250,000 gift to the campaign Thursday.

"Each book sold by Friends of the Library represents a building block for the new Westside Library. We are honored to be able to support this much-needed addition for our community," Friends of the Cedar Rapids Public Library President Libby Slappey said.

"We would not be able to make this pledge without the book donations from hundreds of local readers that we make available at our Friends book sales," added Nancy Sauerman, the Assistant Treasurer for the Friends of the Cedar Rapids Public Library.

Additional funds have come in from private and corporate gifts and grants to the Inspiring Big Dreams campaign, including a $1.5 million challenge grant from the Hall-Perrine Foundation. 

“This project wouldn’t be possible without the generous support we’ve already received. Now we need our community to join us to make our big dream for the west side a reality,” Foundation Executive Director Charity Tyler said. 

The design process for both the library and park are underway, and the library plans to break ground this fall, with an opening date in late 2026. 

More than 100,000 people visit Ladd Library each year. With increased space and resources, the library expects to see 300,000 visitors annually. 

“We’ve seen again and again how the library enriches the community. From putting books in the hands of children to helping job seekers at the Opportunity Center, the Library is proud to serve our patrons,” Library Director Dara Schmidt said. “We now have the chance to give even more through a permanent location and enhanced services. We’re asking the community to invest in that vision with us.” 

The new library will include:  

  • A square footage increase from 28,405 square feet at Ladd Library to nearly 40,000 square feet. 

  • Increased space for children’s learning, with zones for creative play, technology use, and motor skill development. 

  • Ten study rooms, a large conference room, and a conference center, all available for public use. 

  • Outdoor reading courtyards and library lawn for gathering and programs. 

  • Additional and better designed space for the Opportunity Center and library partners to provide services.   

  • Increased accessibility for ease of use, as well as connections to walking trails and sidewalks for pedestrian traffic. 

Learn more about the project and how to support the Inspiring Big Dreams campaign at

About the Cedar Rapids Public Library Foundation: 

The Cedar Rapids Public Library Foundation is a 501(c)3 nonprofit that serves as the vehicle through which private funds are used to enhance the Cedar Rapids Public Library’s collections, programs, and technologies while supporting the library’s strategic initiatives of literacy, access, and inclusion. Learn more at