A New Chapter for Libraries
By Heather Hubbs, Reporter
MARION, Iowa - It's a new chapter for public libraries. In the Cedar Rapids Metro Area, libraries are evolving to meet the needs of today's patrons.
Last year more than 900,000 items were checked out at the Marion Public Library. That includes books, cds, dvds, and books on tape.
Technology has changed today's library, now you can download free music and e-books, or go online to renew a book. Free public computers with internet, have also helped drive up daily visitors.
In Marion more than 370,000 people used the library in 2012.
There is such a demand for services they are looking to expand, and they aren't alone. Marion and Hiawatha are both looking put an increased tax levy on the ballot to fund expansion. Cedar Rapids is set to open their new downtown library next week. Marion library officials admit trying to identify the needs of the library even just a few years from now is a challenge
"This is a strange and difficult time to plan a new library because we are in the middle of so many technology changes and it's very difficult to see what the changes are going to be," said Doug Raber, Marion Library Director.
One thing is for sure, Marion officials say they want a flexible space that can be a gathering place for the community that integrates technology and tradition.
Both Marion and Hiawatha are currently working to gather enough signatures for a petition to get the levy increases put on the ballot for the November election.
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