New temporary cooling, computer center to open in Cedar Rapids amid library closure

Cedar Rapids Public Library exterior.
Cedar Rapids Public Library exterior.
Published: Aug. 3, 2022 at 12:43 PM CDT
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CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG) - Staff with the Cedar Rapids Public Library are partnering with Waypoint to provide a new, temporary escape from the summer heat starting Thursday.

It comes after a fire forced the closure of the Cedar Rapids Downtown Public Library last week. After that fire, city officials said they were working to find alternative cooling centers.

Starting this week, staff say a cooling and computer center will be available next to the Madge Phillips Center Shelter, located at 520 4th Avenue SE.

“We recognize the vital role the library plays in our community, and having access to both computers and a cool place to escape the summer heat is an integral part of that role,” Library Director Dara Schmidt said. “We are grateful for a community partner like Waypoint stepping up to help us fill the gap in services.”

The center is expected to be open from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Thursday, and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday and Saturday, and from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday.

The center will make 10 library computers and WiFi access available, with the computers limited to one-hour sessions, depending on demand. There will also be chair and table space available. Books and other library materials will not be available.

Parking will be available in the library lot on Fifth Avenue SE, or at metered spots near the building.

The Ladd Library, located at 3750 Williams Blvd., and the Hiawatha Public Library, located at 150 W. Willman Street in Hiawatha, remain open during normal business hours. Both locations also serve as cooling stations.

Other cooling stations in Cedar Rapids are also available at Lindale Mall, at 4444 First Ave. NE, and The Salvation Army, at 1000 C Ave. NW, and Cedar Valley Community Support Services, at 2515 18th St. SW Suite.

Cedar Rapids Library staff said the downtown location remains closed for cleaning and repairs. It’s expected to reopen by September.

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