CEDAR RAPIDS — Six groups of Cedar Rapids library staff and volunteers spent Tuesday evening in neighborhoods signing residents up for library cards.
September is national library card signup month, which sparked the idea for the direct community outreach.
“We decided to go out and meet people where they are, Library Director Dara Schmidt said. “We want to let them know that they can get a library card, that its part of their taxes, its already paid for, and they should come and use the amazing resources that are available to them.”
Schmidt said a lot of things have changed in the library, and they want to let the community know what a 21st century library can offer.
The library is also facing a November vote on a 27-cent property tax levy, which supporters were able to put on the ballot earlier this month.
Without the levy, the library will have to cut back on services and hours, officials said. Currently, about five percent of the city’s total operations budget goes toward the library, and its foundation provides funding for things beyond basic operation.
The city and the foundation have provided extra funding toward the library over the last several years to get the downtown and Ladd locations up and running, but Schmidt said the funding is no longer available.
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“We’re definitely looking at, at least closing one day a week at each location. We also will have to cut back significantly on our outreach. We’re going to have to just concentrate on keeping the doors open,” Schmidt said.
Cynthia Monroe has volunteered with the library for more than a decade, and she says the community knowing what the library has to offer is important.
“For me libraries mean freedom, information, and equality. We are so blessed in this city, and this land to have our libraries. They have their arms open to everyone,” Monroe said.