Saturday, August 10, 2013

In Which Coffee Is In the Drive With Books

Aug. 9 view of the front of the new Cedar Rapids Library--the entrance faces the art museum and park.

The new Cedar Rapids Library is nearing completion, and I can’t help but feel a bit of library fever. Back in the day—before June of 2008—I had sometimes biked to the old library, although not often.

I didn’t bike quite as much back then, and the library, down on the river, was not quite as easy to reach on two wheels.

Now, it’s right on the downtown Cedar River Trail. As you can see, it’s nearing completion. There are tantalizing stacks of books to be seen. Workers were scurrying around inside, apparently arranging doilies, when I stopped by on a Friday afternoon ride to check out the scene.

Bike rack with books in background.
I had not gone south on the trail much since pre-RAGBRAI rides. There is a big detour around the federal courthouse that isn’t well marked when you’re coming from the north—but I don’t really mind the detour, since it represents a project that will finally reconnect the trail where a new post-flood rail bridge was built.

2008—was the flood really in 2008? And have we waited t his long for Iowa’s second city to have a cool central library? I’m sure that there are lots of people who are still putting the pieces together after that flood. Sadly, the city has not put the pieces together for flood protection, although voters haven’t exactly helped in that.

Never mind. I’m getting detoured on this blog. Yeah, back to the library.

I am not always fond of modern architecture. The library has a “green” roof with a garden on it, which may be cool, but I’m leery of anybody with a drafting pencil who draws a flat roof in this climate. Architects—this is Iowa. Rain, snow, sleet, hail, heat—make roofs that can stand all that and won’t hold any standing water. Flat is fine for a California desert, but this is the Midwest, baby.

Anyway, roof rant aside, I’m getting pretty excited. I want to be able to park Francis and browse for books, and not just window shop. The front of the library is pretty cool, as you can see.

There is a bike rack on the trail side, my only objection is that it’s right by a drive, too, which could cause some issues.

But the drive is marked “books” and “coffee.” Really? What does that mean? I need the book and coffee lane, please.

Anyway, the ride was not too long. I turned around right after crossing the river. I don’t know how much time I’ll have for rides south, as the days grow shorter and summer comes to a close.

And it is great to see the new library be so tantalizingly close.
Coffee and books. Is this Heaven or Iowa? Except it's "book drop." They will have books in liquid form, too?

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