Cedar Rapids library to launch new logo, website

Initiative to launch Aug. 19

A night view of the planned $49 million, 94,000 square-foot Cedar Rapids Public Library which is to be built in the 400
A night view of the planned $49 million, 94,000 square-foot Cedar Rapids Public Library which is to be built in the 400 block of Fourth Ave. SE. The block is currently occupied by True North Companies Inc.

The opening of a new Cedar Rapids Public Library might be a couple of years out, but the excitement is starting now with the launch later this month of a new website and logo designed to resemble the future facility’s unique architecture.

“We wanted to create a brand and a logo that reflect a more modern library and relate to the building itself,” said library spokeswoman Amber Mussman.

As for the new website — which will debut along with the new logo on Aug. 19 — officials hope it will become a virtual library branch. With user-friendly portals allowing patrons to check out electronic materials, browse the stock and hold books, the new site will provide a glimpse into the upgrades and convenience of the future library, Mussman said.

The new facility, which will cost $49 million to build, stock and staff, is scheduled to open in summer 2013 across Fourth Avenue SE from Greene Square Park. Since the 2008 flood washed out the library’s former space on First Street SE, it has been operating out of branches in the Westdale Mall and on Third Street SE in downtown.

Mussman said the temporary accommodations, while not a feasible long-term solution, have taught library officials more about the community’s needs, and the library is committed to maintaining its Westdale branch even after the new downtown location opens.

“We are investing carefully in that space because it has been so great,” she said.

In light of all the changes to the library system, Mussman said, a team of library staffers began working months ago to develop a new and improved brand and logo for the Cedar Rapids Public Library. The end result is an image that officials hope will get people thinking about the new, state-of-the-art facility.

“Our new logo is really representative of the energy and movement that the new building will have,” Mussman said. “It will be less reflective of the materials and more reflective of the building’s architecture, which will stand the test of time.”

The logo is accented by ellipses, which are a trademark in the new library’s architectural designs. The logo colors are red, dark gray and a “modern” green, hinting at the facility’s efforts to be environmentally friendly.

The new website, which Mussman said “will be dramatically different,” will go live with the logo debut later this month. Among its new features is one enabling patrons to check the library’s available materials before popping into one of the locations. The new site also will simplify a program allowing readers to check out e-books, music and other materials on line.

“It’s going to be beautiful,” she said.

The new site grew out of a realization that more people are using the library these days without leaving their homes.

“We wanted to create more of a virtual branch, and this is our first step toward doing that,” she said.

Angie Gillis, 40, of Cedar Rapids, said she already visits frequently and is thrilled at the idea of an updated library web presence.“I already use the current website quite a bit to see what they have and put holds on books,” Gillis said Friday while browsing the audio book section in the library’s Westdale Mall branch. “So if they could expand it, that would be great.”