DMPL closed Monday, May 27

Plan ahead: All locations of the Des Moines Public Library will be closed Monday, May 27 for the Memorial Day Holiday. 

COMING SOON: Summer Reading Challenge

The 2024 Summer Reading Challenge starts Monday, June 3! Find more information on the program HERE, and learn all about our special Summer Reading Kickoff Party on June 2 HERE!

Summer Reading

Coming Soon

The Summer Reading Challenge Is Coming Soon

The Des Moines Public Library's Summer Reading Challenge is just around the corner. Registration for the challenge begins Monday, June 3!

You'll be able to register at any of our six locations or right here on the Summer Reading Challenge page. When you register for the Summer Reading Challenge, you'll immediately receive a free book!

Work your way through our challenge program by reading for 20 minutes or completing various learning activities. Once the challenge is complete, turn in your worksheet and you'll get a small prize and be eligible for the big prizes in our end-of-summer drawing.

There are three different categories this year: one for kids up through kindergarten, one for grades 1-5, and one for grades 6-12.

Sign up beginning June 3 at your favorite DMPL location (Central and Franklin Avenue Libraries will have a special start date of June 2), or register right here on the Summer Reading Challenge page.



How It Works

  • You get a new book just by signing up!
  • Each time you read for 20 minutes or complete a learning activity, cross off a space on your All Summer Long log.
    • Each log comes with a list of suggested activities, which are also listed below.
  • When you cross off all the spaces, return the completion slip to any of our library locations. You'll receive a small prize and be eligible for our grand prize drawing.
  • Slips must be returned by August 3 to be eligible for the prize drawing.
  • The program may be completed as many times as you want. Each time you complete the challenge, you'll receive another small prize of your choice. You'll also receive another entry into our grand prize drawing. Finish the challenge multiple times to increase your chances of winning!
Summer Reading Kick-Off

DMPL Summer Reading Kick-Off

We're kicking off Summer Reading with a fun party at the Central Library for all ages!

The fun includes a live musical performance from Mr. K's Clubhouse, open play, games like Plinko, graphic novel activities, and more. 

Plus, we have a special room for teens. It features a workshop with Basi Affia, comic creator and owner of Des Moines' own Sensiil Studios, Plus we'll have Nintendo Switch games and supplies to help make manga and graphic novels.

No matter what age you are, don't skip the photo ops with magical princesses, awesome superheroes, and our favorite community mascots!

And, of course, kids ages 0-18 can register for Summer Reading and get a free book with a special Summer Reading Kickoff bag!

Learn more >>>

Summer Checkout Challenge for Adults

Summer Checkout challenge 2024

Adults, you have a reading challenge set for you as well! Check out the Summer Checkout Challenge for your chance to win a free DMPL shirt!

Summer Checkout Challenge>>>


Summer Reading Challenge Prizes

Registration Prize


Choose a book among a selection provided by the library when you sign up

Branch Prizes

One winner chose from each age group at each location, including digitally through Beanstack.

Wooden Stacking Blocks
Newborn - Grade K

Simple Steps prize pack: Board/Picture books, stacking stones


Elementary (Grades 1-5)

Lego set with collection of Lego books

Gift Card


Middle/High School (Grades 6-12)

$50 VISA gift card and snacks

Completion Prize


Small Prizes


Receive one each time you complete the challenge

Choice of fidget, finger puppet, zipper bracelet, bookmark, rubber duck, stress ball.


Newborn - Grade K Activities



  • Read signs and point to letters around your home or neighborhood.
  • Point to pictures and words in a book as you read.
  • Check out a STEM or
  • literacy kit from the library.
  • Attend a library storytime.


  • Practice holding a crayon or pencil.
  • Complete a puzzle together.
  • Practice counting fingers and toes.
  • Draw a picture and talk about it.


  • Sing a song with words that rhyme.
  • Sing a lullaby or song at bedtime.
  • Play music with household items.
  • Make up a silly song about cleaning up your toys.


  • Pretend to be a community helper and act out their day.
  • Play together with friends or siblings.
  • Build a blanket fort with your family.
  • Practice making faces in a mirror based on different emotions.


  • Identify simple shapes in your neighborhood.
  • Describe and compare items in your house based on size, shape, or color.
  • Practice color identification in the grocery store.
  • Talk about a character’s emotions as you read a story.

Grades 1-5 Activities


  • Read or be read to for 20 minutes
  • Attend a DMPL program
  • Read a book to, or with, a friend or family member
  • Check out a STEM kit or an item from the
  • Library of Things
  • Listen to an audiobook (Libby, Vox or Wonderbooks)
  • Read or listen to a book outside 
  • Help cook something new from
  • a cookbook
  • Write a story, or draw a picture,
  • featuring your favorite book characters
  • Build your own cozy reading fort
  • Try a science experiment from a nonfiction book

Grades 6-12 Activities


  • Read or listen to a book for 20 minutes
  • Attend a DMPL program or volunteer at the library
  • Write an epilogue for your favorite book character
  • Try a science experiment from a nonfiction book
  • Create a playlist for a book you love
  • Check out a book from a genre you don’t typically read
  • Create a comic with your favorite book characters
  • Use a library resource to explore an area of the world
  • you’ve never visited
  • Cook something new from a cookbook checked out
  • from the library
  • Create a piece of art based on a book



Summer Reading Sponsors