Cedar Rapids Public Library
Cedar Rapids, Iowa
Dara Hanke Schmidt is the director of the Cedar Rapids (IA) Public Library, winner of the 2017 National Medal for Museum and Library Services. She worked for the City of Downey and Los Angeles County Public Libraries in California before taking a job as a librarian generalist for the then Rangeview Library District in Colorado. As the Rangeview Library District transitioned to Anythink Libraries, she served as a teen guide and later branch manager. Her book, Make it Here: Inciting Creativity and Innovation at Your Library, was published by Libraries Unlimited in 2014. Schmidt was chosen as a PLA Leadership Fellow in 2017 and was elected to serve on the PLA Board in 2020. She holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Baldwin Wallace University, a Masters in Professional Writing from the University of Southern California, and an MLIS from San Jose State University.
When not busy with work or her family—husband Brandon; and three children, Nora, age 7, Elliot and Hugo, age 9—Schmidt volunteers at Meth-Wick, a continuing care community.