Cedar Rapids Public Library wins AIA/ALA Library Building Award

4th Ave entire exterior during dayThe Cedar Rapids Public Library, designed by OPN Architects, has been named one of six recipients of the 2015 AIA/ALA Library Building Awards. Biennually, representatives from the American Institute of Architects (AIA) and the American Library Association (ALA) gather to encourage and recognize excellence in the architectural design of libraries.

The Cedar Rapids Public Library, designed by OPN Architects, was selected based on its many features, including abundant natural light, a geothermal heating and cooling system, and daylight harvesting strategies to minimize the buildings energy use. The green roof and use of permeable pavers across the site allow the building to retain 90% of all annual rainfall on site in underground storm water collection chambers. Inside, a spacious two-story lobby brings together all of the core patron services in a hub and spoke system. A motion-activated light wall dramatically highlights the monumental stair. Out are the imposing book stacks, the massive circulation desk and the security systems at the doors; in are shelves capped at 69 inches tall (48 inches in the children’s department), friendly checkout kiosks scattered throughout the building and a busy café / coffee shop. A 24,000-square-foot publicly accessible green roof is a prime spot for library programs and community events.

Award recipients also include:

  • Claire T. Carney Library Addition and Renovation, University of Massachusetts Dartmouth; North Dartmouth, MA
  • Hillary Rodham Clinton Children’s Library and Learning Center; Little Rock, AR
  • Mission Branch Library; San Antonio, TX
  • Slover Library; Norfolk, VA
  • Vancouver Community Library; Vancouver, WA

The jury for the 2015 AIA/ALA Library Building Awards includes: Christine Verbitzki, AIA (Chair), GUND Partnership; Drew Harrington, University of Portland; James Richärd, AIA, richärd+bauer; Clyde Scoles, Toledo Public Library; Doug Stieve, AIA, Wiss, Janney, Elstner Associates, Inc. and John F. Szabo, Los Angeles Public Library. For more information on the award, visit http://www.aia.org/press/releases/AIAB105944.

In addition to the AIA/ALA Library Building Award, the Cedar Rapids Public Library has received the following honors:

  • 2014 Merit Award – American Institute of Architects – Central States Region
  • 2014 Interior Design Honorable Mention – American Library Association and the International Interior Design Association
  • 2014 Design is…Award – Shaw Contract Group
  • 2014 “Best Curb Appeal” Honorable Mention – GALE “Libraries Are Beautiful” Photo Contest
  • 2014 Merit Award, Illuminating Engineering Society
    First Place, 2014 ASHRAE Technology Award (Midwest region)

For more information on the Cedar Rapids Public Library, visit www.crlibrary.org or call 319.261.READ.

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July 30 Construction Update

The new downtown Cedar Rapids Public Library is inching closer and closer to Grand Opening Day–August 24! The finishing touches are happening throughout the building and books are on shelves and ready to be checked out. Odds are good that when you check out an item from the new library you will be the first one to use it–the collection of more than 200,000 books, cds, dvds and video games was assembled over a period of two years by more than half a dozen librarians.

"Regeneration" by Albert Paley was installed July 18.

“Regeneration” by Albert Paley was installed July 18.

The atrium looks down onto the main Customer Service Commons.

The atrium looks down onto the main Customer Service Commons.

Whipple Auditorium features 200 seats, a sound system, projection and a spectacular 2-story view of Greene Square.

Whipple Auditorium features 200 seats, a sound system, projection and a spectacular 2-story view of Greene Square.

The children's library staff area is getting nearly complete.

The children’s library staff area is getting nearly complete.

Whimsical furniture in the children's library adds to the fun of the space.

Whimsical furniture in the children’s library adds to the fun of the space.

The new library will feature a media box for vending movies and video games.

The new library will feature a media box for vending movies and video games.

The skylight into the second floor creates a beautiful spot to relax and read a book.

The skylight into the second floor creates a beautiful spot to relax and read a book.

The second floor is home to nonfiction, music and dvds, as well as the technology commons.

The second floor is home to nonfiction, music and dvds, as well as the technology commons.

The parking lot on the south side of the building features permeable pavement.

The parking lot on the south side of the building features permeable pavement.

The Union, the new teen library, gets shelving and furniture.

The Union, the new teen library, gets shelving and furniture.

July 5 Construction Update

Progress continues on the downtown library and the timeline until opening is getting shorter. This month we see furniture arrive, shelves going up, and in a couple of weeks we will have books! Six semi-trucks will bring the new opening day collection of materials (books, movies, music) to the new library mid-July. These books and other items have been ordered by our wonderfully talented staff and the great folks at Baker and Taylor have been keeping everything for us until we have our new home.

Be sure to check out our plans for Grand Opening on August 24. We will have a series of activities during the weekend and there is something for everyone.

We have shelves!!!

We have shelves!!!

The entry to the new children's library has an artistic feature we call the Literacy Wall.

The entry to the new children’s library has an artistic feature we call the Literacy Wall.

The customer service commons is a sight to behold.

The customer service commons is a sight to behold.

The children's library awaits shelves, furniture and, of course, books!

The children’s library awaits shelves, furniture and, of course, books!

The skywalk is getting some finishing touches.

The skywalk is getting some finishing touches.

The seats have been installed in the auditorium.

The seats have been installed in the auditorium.

You can see someone is hard at work on the reading terrace, one of the many outdoor spaces in our new library.

You can see someone is hard at work on the reading terrace, one of the many outdoor spaces in our new library.

The south parking lot has been poured and is nearly complete.

The south parking lot has been poured and is nearly complete.

Jane Milosch presents “Paley and Public Art”

Sculpture Rendering_final smThe Cedar Rapids Public Library is honored to present contemporary American craft expert Jane Milosch at the Cedar Rapids Metro Economic Alliance on July 11 at noon. She will discuss Albert Paley’s recent commission Regeneration, 2012-13, for the Cedar Rapids Public Library, in the context of other public art commissions by Paley, including his Portal Gates, 1974, commissioned by the Renwick Gallery, and this Summer’s installation of 13 works along New York’s Park Avenue.  She will show a preview of an upcoming episode of the PBS documentary Craft in America, which will feature Paley’s work, and discuss his work in the context of other Public Art commissions in Cedar Rapids and Washington, D.C.

Lunch will be provided at no charge and registration is requested. Please sign up here: http://bit.ly/Milosch

Jane Milosch is currently Director of the Smithsonian’s Provenance Research Initiative, Office of the Under Secretary for History, Art, and Culture, and formerly chief curator at the Renwick Gallery, a branch of the Smithsonian American Art Museum, which showcases one of the finest collections of American craft and decorative arts—one-of-a-kind, handmade works of art created in clay, fiber, glass, metal, and wood—from the 19th century to the present. Prior to her work at the Smithsonian, she was a curator at the Cedar Rapids Museum of Art, Davenport Museum of Art (now Figge Art Museum), and the Detroit Institute of Arts.

June 17 Construction Update

The weather is getting warmer and along with the sunshine comes dreams of the new library and grand opening day–August 24! The staff are getting ready for the big move to the new building. Right now, our IT Department is taking computers into the new library and getting them ready for use. They have over 100 public computers to prepare, along with the dozens of staff computers behind the scenes. It’s not a quick or easy job but we have a great team and they are working hard every day so we can jump right into work and be ready for opening.

Along with computers, we are seeing the arrival of furniture throughout the second floor. We have desks and computer tables set up and wired for power. Soon we will see trucks coming with our shelving–enough to hold the approximately 225,000 volumes that will fill the library!

Remember to mark your calendar for Grand Opening on Saturday, August 24 at 10:00 am. We’ll start with a party in Greene Square, then move on to a community-wide ribbon cutting. We’ll bring the scissors!

May 20 Downtown Library Construction Update

The downtown library construction site continues to make progress as the crew works on completing the spaces and prepping the building for furniture, fixtures and equipment. Shelving, technology, furniture will all begin to appear on site in June.

Downtown Library Construction Update April 23

The new downtown library continues to make progress as we head deeper into spring and hopefully toward warmer weather. The interior is taking shape as drywall continues to be completed throughout the building, light fixtures are installed and functional, and flooring and wall treatments are being completed. Take a look at the latest images and let us know what you think.