History of Library

Brick and Cement building with entrance doors and sign that says Library

Front of Kirkwood Cedar Rapids Library 2018

Library Mission

The Kirkwood Community College Library upholds the mission of the College by:

  • Identifying the information needs of students and staff
  • Providing accessible quality library resources and services, and
  • Teaching Information Literacy skills for life-long learning


One of the hallmarks of a library  is constantly seeking to improve library services and trying new things. There have been a lot of changes to the services, equipment, and resources that we offer over the years.

On this page we offer a timeline of some of the key changes the library experienced over the years. Some things worked out, some things didn’t.

Check out some of the statistics we dug up through the years!

Do you remember when?

1967 – Kirkwood Library Services opens in the Hawkeye Plaza (where Grant Wood AEA is today) with 5,200 volumes

  • Established card catalog
  • Maude Jahnke opened library as director

1968 – The library moves on to East Campus – temporary buildings on the main campus.

1969 – The library is open 77 hours a week

1973 – The library subscribed to three newspapers it still gets today: The Gazette, New York Times, and Des Moines Register.

1977 – Library moves to Benton Hall (April)

  • Circulation system for check-in and check-out automated
  • Video on Demand system is started with the library as a main delivery point

1979 – Arlene Palmer is the library’s 20,000th visitor (February 12)

1980 – Curriculum Planning lounge opens in the back of the library to give instructors a place to plan and work together

1981Introduction to Uses of the Library course was first offered.

1982 – The library offers Bibliographic Retrieval Services (BRS) databases, including Medline.

1983 – The library subscribes to the Wall Street Journal which we still get today

1984 – Started providing library service to students at county centers via TAP (Telephone Access Process)

1986 – Library gets first online catalog – Library Corp

1987 – Jill Miller becomes library director

1988 – Library subscribed to computerized magazine index on CD-ROM – Info Trac

1990 – Library had 4 full time and 2 part time librarians

1991 – Iowa City campus library branch opens

1993 – Library gets second online catalog – VTLS

1997 – Jerrie Bourgo becomes library director

2000 – Library starts subscription to Ebscohost database

2001 – Library gets 3rd online catalog – Voyager

2003 – Arron Wings became director

2006 – Library renovation begins (spring)

2007Renovated library opens (June 11, 2007)

2008 – Library starts a blog still going today (LibBlog)

2010 – Started Facebook page

  • Started YouTube account
  • Started LibGuides to collect information for students and faculty on a given subject
  • Converted to an electronic system to keep statistics
  • Late hours without reference help is introduced with the library remaining open from 9:30 pm to 11 pm Monday thru Thursday

2011 – Library purchases first ebook system

  • Library Director changes title to Dean of Library Services

2012 – Color printing is added to the library student services

2013 – Library Dean combines oversight of Learning Services and Library Services into one position

  • Library redesigns website
  • Library is added to Kirkwood’s digital display screen system

2014 – Library catalog system becomes part of the OCLC international union catalog

  • Library starts to provide online access to Encyclopedia Britannica
  • Exam Cram starts (December 2nd)
  • Library receives grant from Greater Cedar Rapids Community Foundation which among other things allowed us to create a popular fiction section and add a small collection of graphic novels

2015  – Started Twitter Account and blog based newsletter

  • Library starts annual faculty survey
  • Library adds Kanopy (a video streaming database) and the literature module of the JSTOR database
  • 2 units of historic display with one in the background

2016 – Library provides access to four ebook databases – (EBSCOhost ebooks, Gale Virtual Reference, Encyclopedia Britannica, DSM-5)

  • The library develops a unit on plagiarism to drop in Talon
  • Library starts offering a Print From Your Own Device printing station
  • Library adds Films on Demand as a second video streaming database
  • The Cedar Rapids library is open 84 hours a week
  • The library hold 44,185 volumes
  • On and off all year the Kirkwood library in Cedar Rapids has a 50th anniversary display

2017 – After a change with the State Library contract, the library adds the Gale suite of databases.

Eggbert Our New Mascot Shakes Wings With Our Director, Arron Wings

2018 – The library purchases Credo Instruct for self-paced information literacy lessons that are embedded within Talon.

  • Library spearheads a second student feedback survey
  • Sammy the Eagle makes first appearances for library’s new Welcome Week and Exam Cram


  • Cedar Rapids library gets a stuffed baby eagle (Eggbert) to become the library mascot


  • January – Due to the closure of Iowa Hall extra tables and chairs are moved into the library with the expectation that more people will come in since the cafeteria and soft furnishing areas are closed.
  • March 23rd – Both physical library locations close and go on lock down due to the COVID-19 pandemic. We originally projected a month closed, but it extended beyond that. While we couldn’t help people face to face we kept our chat staffed, we answered questions by e-mail, and we gave people a chance to call and leave a voice mail. We publicized the cool stuff we normally have available online and helped people find extra stuff that people were making available.
  • Over the summer we added reference help by text and a new system for being able to remotely see desktops.
  • August 3rd – Both physical library locations reopen. We have added social distancing measures like removing chairs from tables and putting up screens. Librarians do chat from off campus to add outreach hours.
  • August 10thDerecho storm hits large area in eastern Iowa with a focus on the Cedar Rapids-Iowa City area and an especially hard hit for Marion. Storm damage closes the campuses for a week (reopening August 17th including the Iowa City library branch). The damage included not only issues with the electric power, but also with internet connections causing further problems. A transformer blows when trying to restore power in library building on the Cedar Rapids campus which then has to remain online only for an additional week until a temporary power system is set up.
  • August 24th – the Cedar Rapids branch of the library reopens. Classes starting has been pushed back until August 31st. To read more about Kirkwood and the Derecho, check the blog, starting here.


  • April 22 – Construction starts for the Cedar Rapids library remodel. The focus will be on the front face of the library and the area around circulation.
Construction June 2021

Photo Taken During Construction June 29 2021

Photo taken during construction July 29, 2021

Special thanks to Julie Petersen, Carol Smith, Jill Miller, and Sarah Uthoff for digging in with a lot of research and to the rest of the library staff who contributed to remembering and helping nail down dates.

LAST UPDATED: July 29, 2021

Sarah Uthoff is a reference library at Kirkwood Community College. LIKE the Kirkwood Community College Library on Facebook and find links to Sarah all over the web at her About Me Profile.