Join us to learn more about our exciting plans to expand and renovate the Hiawatha Public Library! Tour the library and hear from Library Director Jeaneal Weeks about how these plans will help us better serve the citizens of Hiawatha, without raising taxes!
Did you know that the Hiawatha Public Library has the highest per capita circulation of the Metro Library Network libraries and one of the highest per capita circulations of any library in Iowa? Learn more about the Hiawatha Public Library and its importance to the community of Hiawatha from Library Director Jeaneal Weeks.
The Hiawatha Public Library needs to grow to accommodate increasing numbers of patrons using our services. Approximately 500 people on average visit the library each day, and we have the highest circulation for any library in Iowa of our city’s size, yet our building is one of the smallest, resulting in a collection that is smaller than average due to lack of space. We offer many community programs for all ages, but our only large meeting room is too small to allow for large crowds, and we compete with other community organizations for use of the meeting space.
Our plans are to renovate the existing 8,543 square-foot building and to expand by an additional 13,457 square feet. The library will remain at the current location via community input. This project will add a dedicated larger technology area with workstations that are conducive for group instruction. It will allow for more study rooms for meetings and quiet space. The larger building will create dedicated youth space, Tween Zone, and young adult areas to meet the needs of growing minds at every stage of learning. In addition, it will provide better program space to handle larger crowds at popular programming and community gatherings. It also addresses a safety issue in that there will be a lower level for emergency shelter, storage and HVAC. The HVAC currently takes up valuable space on the library’s current and only level.
The library has no plans to increase staff size. The only increases in operating costs may come from increased heating and cooling costs, but the new HVAC system will be much more efficient and will likely result in savings.
Funding for this $4.1 million project will come from:
You may make an investment in our children and our community with a gift to the Make Room for Imagination campaign. The library is a 501(c)(1) tax exempt organization and charitable contributions to the library are tax deductible per Section 170(c)(1) of the Internal Revenue Code to the greatest extent of the law.
Jeaneal Weeks - Library Director
As our summer reading program Build a Better World comes to an end, a group of caring children from our community reminds us that efforts to better the world are ongoing. Enter Kid-Powered Kindness.
Kid-Powered Kindness was born in 2014 after then four-year-old Annabelle stared in wonder at her Christmas bounty. She remarked, "Mom, we have so many toys and there are kids who don't have enough." Annabelle reached out to her friends, gathered toys they no longer played with and donated them to kids in need.
Kid-Powered Kindness is driven by the philosophy that kids can make the world a better place. Annabelle’s belief in this simple but mighty premise led the group to their newest world-bettering project. During a contribution trip to a local Little Free Library, Annabelle commented, “Mom, there should be pantries with food in them for people who are hungry.” As a result of this simple but compassionate observation, the kids again organized, raised money and built four Little Free Pantries.
The kids power this endeavor but community mom Heather Spangler is its engineer. She recognized a child’s desire to spread goodwill and nurtured it. Heather shares, “Sarah Mersch's critical assistance and the strength of the Northeast Cedar Rapids Mom’s Club helped make Annabelle’s dream true.”
Hiawatha Public Library is honored to be home to the premier Kid-Powered Kindness Little Free Pantry. On Monday, July 31 at 2:00, please join us for the Ribbon Cutting Ceremony Celebration complete with lemonade and cookies provided by HyVee whose stores will be home to three additional pantries. You will meet these amazing kids and be among the first to contribute to the pantry and their vision.
Alicia Mangin - Youth Services Librarian
The Hiawatha Public Library is expanding and we are excited to finally be able to share our plans with you! We have been working to create an expanded and renovated library with donations from the public, and area businesses and organizations, as well as City funding that has already been allocated for the project.
The planned project renovates the existing 8,500 square-foot-space and adds another 13,500 square feet. In addition to creating a dedicated youth space and Tween Zone, the plan expands and gives proper space to technology areas. Two study rooms will help patrons learn and work, and expanded program space will accommodate large crowds for popular programming and community gatherings. The addition of a lower level provides space for emergency shelter, storage and HVAC, which currently take up valuable patron and staff space on the main level.
Of the $4.1 million needed for the project $1 million will come from existing Local Option Sales Tax income. The library has raised nearly $700,000 of a one-million-dollar Phase I goal. An up to $1.2 million capital bond, which will be on the November ballot, is already in the City of Hiawatha’s Capital Improvement Plan, and will not place any additional tax burden on the citizens of Hiawatha. The passing of the bond provides the residents of Hiawatha with an updated, expanded and better library with no additional tax dollars since it is already in the City budget. The Hiawatha Public Library “Make Room for Imagination” Capital Campaign is the perfect example of public-private partnership. It’s a win-win for our City, our children, our patrons, and the greater community as a whole.
To see renderings of the planned renovation and expansion, or to make a donation to the Capital Campaign, please visit our Make Room for Imagination page.
Exciting news! Hiawatha Public Library and Hawkeye Area Down Syndrome Association (HADSA) are teaming up to offer a free music therapy program for kids with Down Syndrome and their families. Do Re Mi debuts on Saturday, June 17 from 9:30-10:00 and will meet again on July 15 and August 19.
Amber Cook, board-certified music therapist with a degree in Music Education currently serves as music therapist at the outpatient clinic at Tanager Place. She is eager to bring her expertise and enthusiasm to Hiawatha Public Library. Ms. Cook explains, “During Do Re Mi, children and their families will experience movement and social interaction through active music making.” Hiawatha Public Library shares her zeal and invites families to join us for this rhythmic opportunity.
Alicia Mangin - Youth Services Librarian
It’s been a privilege to be Youth Services Librarian for more than ten years, symbolized by the summer reading programs we’ve shared. Let’s traipse down memory lane.
In 2007, kids delved into mystery and Got a Clue @ Your Library while teens YNK @ Your Library. I don’t know what that means but You Never Know what teens mean.
In 2008, youngsters were encouraged to Catch the Reading Bug. I have an abject fear of bugs and don’t comprehend the linking of something so peaceful---reading---with something that wants to kill you---bugs. The teen theme was Metamorphosis @ Your Library. Instead of focusing on the caterpillar to butterfly metamorphosis, my insect phobia dredged up the less attractive maggot to fly image.
Hello 2009 when kids will Be Creative and teens will Express Themselves @ Your Library. When’s the last time you saw me do something crafty?
Hurray for 2010 and its aquatic themes! Make a Splash and Makes Waves @ Your Library were as refreshing as a dip in the pool followed by a little reading under the sun. And suddenly, adults were invited to swim too with Water Your Mind. Jump in!
Enter 2011 and One World, Many Stories for kids; You Are Here for teens; and Novel Destination for adults. Learn more about your world, yourself through stories!
In 2012, themes went nocturnal with Dream Big, Own the Night and Between the Covers. Perfect! Fulfilling reading experiences always occur in the comfort of your own bed. The sun sets at night specifically to allow for this.
Excavation reigned in 2013. We dug, went below the surface and broke ground. Guess what lives in the dirt? Bugs! Please let me enjoy my book without a case of the heebie-jeebies.
Science was boss in 2014. Kids had Fizz, Boom, Read!; teens were prompted to Spark a Reaction; and adults indulged in Literary Elements. It’s three years later and science itself is suspect! Grrr.
2015 featured Marvelous themes. Every Hero Has a Story, Unmask, and Escape the Ordinary pleased cape crusading readers (and librarians) of all ages. Books to the rescue!
2016 themes emphasized the undeniable link between mental and physical health. For kids, it was On Your Mark, Get Set, Read! Teens were encouraged to Get in the Game while adults were reminded to Exercise Your Mind. How do you lessen treadmill monotony? With a book, of course!
2017. Our eleventh summer reading program together. And this year, I truly mean together. For the first time, we will share the same theme. Let’s Build a Better World, one book at a time. We’ll explore cultural diversity, the environment, and innovation. We’ll share music and art and witness huge bubbles. We’ll eat and cook and eat some more. And of course, we’ll reward you. Summer reading begins June 1. Come along for the ride.
Alicia Mangin, Youth Services Librarian
Parents, do you have a new reader in the house? Are you fearful that just as your child is “getting the hang of it,” school will dismiss for summer and they will backtrack? Perhaps your child is struggling and would benefit from continued coaching. Or maybe your child is excelling and you want an outlet that allows them to continue to soar.
In collaboration with Green Iowa Americorps, Hiawatha Public Library is offering Reading Buddies, free reading support to kids on Wednesdays during June and July. If your child would gain from a shared reading experience with an enthusiastic and encouraging buddy, sign up beginning May 1. Follow the drop down Reading Buddies link under the Youth tab. You may register for one 30 minute session a week. Space is limited so register soon!
Alicia Mangin, Youth Services Librarian
The Metro Library Network (MLN), a collaboration between the Cedar Rapids, Hiawatha, and Marion Public Libraries is now lending wi-fi hotspots to eligible library card holders.
Wi-fi hotspots provide access to the internet anywhere there is a Verizon cell connection. Hotpots can be used with wi-fi enabled electronic devices, and may be checked out for 21 days. Hotspots may not be renewed, and holds are not allowed at this time. Patrons must visit their library to check out the devices.
"The library's internet connection is very important for many in our community," said Jeaneal Weeks, Director of the Hiawatha Public Library. "This new program will allow us to extend our library service and resources outside the physical walls of the library in order to provide more access and flexibility to meet the needs of our patrons."
For more information, call the Hiawatha Public Library at (319) 393-1414, Cedar Rapids Public Library (319) 261-READ, Marion Public Library (319) 377-3412 or visit our website at www.hiawathapubliclibrary.org.