116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
CEDAR RAPIDS — The downtown Cedar Rapids Public Library reopens Thursday after most cleaning has wrapped up following a fire that closed the facility for a month.
A fire broke out in a light fixture above the Commons of the downtown library, 450 Fifth Ave. SE, around 3:45 p.m. July 27. The building was safely evacuated with no injuries.
The fire was quickly put out. There was minimal damage to library materials, according to a news release, but there was extensive smoke residue in the building, as well as fire retardant and water from sprinklers that went off above the Commons.
A professional team from restoration service SERVPRO has cleaned and restored the majority of the building, including books, computers, air ducts and carpets. Some work continues on the ceiling, light fixture and first floor directly under the light fixture where damage occurred.
With damage still present, the library will close at a later date for three days to complete final restoration after investigations have concluded. There is no date for that future closure at this time.
The Fourth Avenue door will remain closed for now, but patrons may access the library through the Fifth Avenue and skywalk entrances.
“When patrons come to the library, they should expect to see areas blocked off and some furniture temporarily out of place. We ask that all visitors respect barriers and follow signage during this transitional time,” Library Director Dara Schmidt said in a statement. “Even with the final cleaning and restoration incomplete, all library services and collections are safely available to our community.”
A temporary computer and cooling center that opened during the downtown library closure in partnership with Waypoint Services near the Madge Phillips Shelter will close at 4 p.m. on Wednesday. That will allow staff time to transition resources back to the library.
The library’s reopening coincides with the start of fall programming, beginning with a kickoff of a new artist-in-residence program from 10 to 11:30 a.m. Sept. 3.
The public also is invited to celebrate the reopening at a Community Cultural Celebration and Expo from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Sept. 10. More details and a full events calendar are available at events.crlibrary.org/events.
The downtown library and the Ladd Library will be closed Sept. 4-5 in observance of Labor Day.
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