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Public Invited to Help Design Expanded Hiawatha Public Library

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HIAWATHA, Iowa - Cramped offices, overstocked shelves, and too little space to learn and work -- this is what the Hiawatha Public Library has been dealing with for some time. Despite the failure of a levy increase to fund expansion during the November election, plans to increase space at the library are moving forward.

Officials are just beginning the design phase at the Hiawatha Library, and the public is being invited help them decide what the larger library should look like.

The Hiawatha Public Library is currently 8,500 square feet. It's cramped and there is only one community room, which is almost always in use.

The plan is to double the space of the library. Architects will be at the library all day Monday and Tuesday doing design workshops. Library patrons are asked to give their input on things like how much community space their should be and how much shelving they should have for different collections.

"It's the public's building, it belongs to the city of Hiawatha and we serve a service area larger than Hiawatha, it includes Cedar Rapids too. We want this building to fit the need of the community and fit the values of the community," said Jeaneal Weeks, Library Director.

The library is receiving $1.6 million from the city to help fund the expansion. The rest will have to be paid for with donations. How much the project will cost will depend on the final design and when work will begin depends on when the money is raised.

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