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Research Libraries Not Just for Research Anymore

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Iowa State University main library

The mission of Iowa's university libraries hasn't changed, but how they fulfill that mission has.

Just ask Olivia Madison, Dean of Parks Library at Iowa State University. "Card catalogs... those are nice pieces of old furniture now," she laughs. 

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Credit Kathy Kaldenberg
New features at the Cedar Rapids library now include treadmill desks and expanded areas for kids, including a giant blackboard and computer game desks.

Today, she says, the library has traded card catalogs for computer desks, and there is now a cafe where study tables once stood. But Iowa State University isn't the only campus that has seen shifts in how students and faculty use the library.   

This hour on Talk of Iowa, Charity Nebbe talks with Madison and the heads of Iowa's two other major research libraries, Chris Cox who is Dean at the University of Northern Iowa, and John Culshaw, a librarian at the University of Iowa.

Dara Schmidt, Director of Iowa's newest library in Cedar Rapids, also joins the conversation.  She says the role of the public library, as well as the university library, is evolving. 

Lindsey Moon is IPR's Senior Digital Producer
Charity Nebbe is the host of IPR's Talk of Iowa
Katherine Perkins is IPR's Program Director for News and Talk