Linn County library laggards can do good and pay off their fines this month by donating food items

The Cedar Rapids Public Library is located at 450 5th Avenue SE. — Zak Neumann/Little Village

If you’ve racked up a few dollars (or more) in fines because you’re slow returning your library books, three Linn County libraries are willing to forgive you, if you’re willing to help fight hunger.

Throughout the month of November, the public libraries in Cedar Rapids, Hiawatha and Marion will take off $1 your outstanding fines for overdue materials for each nonperishable food item donated.

Faster readers who have no fines but want to participate are also welcome to donate food items, and the libraries are accepting “pay it forward” donations if people want to help pay off someone else’s fines.

“It’s a great collaboration,” Cedar Rapids Public Library community relations manager Amber McNamara told Little Village in an email. “We love that it’s a way for the public to support such a good cause and also help reduce their fines.”

Last year, the libraries collected more than 5,000 pounds of food, McNamara said.

The food items are donated to Hawkeye Area Community Action Program’s Food Reservoir. The HACAP Food Reservoir distributes more than 6 million pounds of food every year.

There are a couple of limits on the program. Dented cans, glass containers or expired food will not be accepted, and the donations won’t count toward library items that have been lost or damaged.

Thoughts? Tips? A cute picture of a dog? Share them with LV »

The Future is Unwritten

You look to Little Village for today’s stories. Your sustaining support will help us write tomorrow’s.


$10/mo or $120/year
The cost of doing this work really adds up! Your contribution at this level will cover telephone and internet expenses for one month at the LV editorial offices.


$20/mo or $240/year
$240 is enough to cover one month’s costs for sending out our weekly entertainment newsletter, The Weekender. Make a contribution at this level to put a little more oomph on your support and your weekend.


$30/mo or $360/year
(AUTO-RENEW) connects eastern Iowa culture with the world. Your contribution at this level will cover the site’s hosting costs for three months. A bold move for our boldest supporters!

All monthly and annual contributors receive:

  • Recognition on our Supporters page (aliases welcome)
  • Exclusive early access when we release new half-price gift cards
  • Access to a secret Facebook group where you can connect with other supporters and discuss the latest news and upcoming events (and maybe swap pet pics?) with the LV staff
  • Invitations to periodic publisher chats (held virtually for now) to meet with Matt and give him a piece of your mind, ask your burning questions and hear more about the future plans for Little Village, Bread & Butter Magazine, Witching Hour Festival and our other endeavors.