My Biz: Cedar Rapids' Ladd Library settled in new location

Library branch deals with constant change

Jim Slosiarek/The Gazette

Artwork hangs on the wall of the Ladd Gallery at the Ladd Library in southwest Cedar Rapids.
Jim Slosiarek/The Gazette Artwork hangs on the wall of the Ladd Gallery at the Ladd Library in southwest Cedar Rapids.

CEDAR RAPIDS — When Mary Goldsmith started her job at the Cedar Rapids Public Library, someone told her that she wouldn’t see much change with a library career.

That was 22 years ago and Goldsmith, now working as a customer service associate, has seen a whole host of changes.

“All I’ve seen are changes,” said Goldsmith. “Staffing and procedures have changed. The collection has changed. People’s needs change.”

Of course one of the biggest changes Goldsmith and Cedar Rapids residents have seen is the building of two new libraries — the downtown library and the west side Ladd Library branch — in the last year and a half.

“(The Ladd Library) is a smaller, more intimate space than the downtown library,” she said. “You can expect good, friendly service. It’s really user friendly and you’re going to be able to sit down and just enjoy a good book. We have an extensive collection for a library of this size.”

One fun feature of the library, is a gallery that features work by local artists, she said.

“It’s nice to walk by that and remind ourselves that we have real artistic talent in Cedar Rapids.”

Like the downtown library, the Ladd Library offers free Wi-Fi and computer access. Goldsmith said she and other library staffers spend a great deal of time assisting patrons on the computers.

“We show many people how to print, set up an email account or apply for jobs online,” she said. “We’re happy to help with that.”

Beyond computer assistance, Goldsmith said as a customer service associate she handles a wide variety of tasks every day.

“We are responsible for so many things,” she said. “We need to know a piece of everything. And this is a very busy place so we do a lot of running from the front of the library to the back of the library. There’s a whole lot of work to do, but its fun work.”

What keeps it fun is the variety, she said.

“You never know what’s coming through the front door,” Goldsmith said. “It’s so fun to meet people and give them a smile. I feel good answering their questions. And I like the fact that it’s different every time, and I can do some good for them.”

• Know a manager or company in business for more than a year that would be ideal for “My Biz”? Contact Chelsea Keenan at

At a glance

Name: Mary Goldsmith

Title: Customer Service Associate

Company: Ladd Library

Address: 3750 Williams Blvd. SW, Cedar Rapids

Phone: (319) 398-5123


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