Curbside Pickup Service Begins Monday, June 1

All Des Moines Public Library buildings will be closed to the public until further notice as a preventative measure to stop the spread of COVID-19 (coronavirus). Patrons can now place new holds on materials, and curbside pickup service begins June 1. Read more about that HERE

Keep Learning With The Great Courses

Great Courses

As you spend the next few weeks social distancing, you may find yourself with more free time than normal. One of our digital products you definitely should consider using during this time is The Great Courses.

The Great Courses are a series of video courses narrated and instructed by college professors and subject matter experts. It’s a great way to pursue lifelong learning and personal enrichment.

The library’s free collection, housed in the RBDigital app, contains dozen of courses. We’ve highlighted a select few below, but we encourage you to browse the page and see everything that’s offered, including classes on leisure, finance, personal fulfillment, history, nutrition and wellness, and more.

As a note, with RBDigital products – you may check out up to three streaming video products from RBDigital, and those videos check out for one week at a time. There are no holds and no wait times. If you don’t complete a course within a week, feel free to check it out again right away. Residency restrictions do apply - these courses are only available to Des Moines residents and residents of rural Polk County. For more digital products, go to our Stream & Download page.


The Everyday Gourmet: Baking Pastries & Desserts

You've watched every season of The Great British Bake Off, so you know you're ready for this. It's the perfect time to try your hand at baking. This is a simple six-lecture course, covering doughs, cakes, pies, biscuits, custards, cream puffs, and mousse. When you're done, be sure to look through the other courses in the Food & Wine section, like Cooking with Vegetables, Essential Secrets of Spices, and Great Meals in Less Time.


How to Draw

How to Draw

Become the next Bob Ross during your time at home. You may be skeptical that you can be an artist, but take heart in what the description for this course states:

Think of it like this: Anyone can learn to play a musical instrument, though not everyone can be Mozart. Similarly, though not everyone can be Michelangelo or van Gogh, anyone can learn the skills of drawing and develop the ability to draw what they see from observation and invent whole worlds from their imagination.

How to Draw starts with very basic elements – simple lines, shapes, and proportions, before moving gradually through more complex concepts. Best of all, this is a great course to take as a group or family! Remember: there are no mistakes. Just happy accidents.


National Parks

The "Travel" section

Listen – we all have cabin fever. It was impossible to pick just one of the six options from this section, as they all sound incredible right now. Travel across the lost worlds of South America, see ancient Mesoamerica, or discover medieval Europe. Take a trip across Greece and Turkey, uncover the secrets of our national parks, or be enthralled by the architecture of the world’s greatest churches. Try one, try them all. They’re the perfect escape for right now.


Make stress work for you

Make Stress Work for You

Stress is an inescapable part of life, and these days are no exception. Instead of trying to avoid or ignore it, this course, taught by a fitness and wellness consultant, provides assistance on utilizing stress to build a meaningful life. You’ll learn about different kinds of stress, from trauma to daily living, and develop a toolkit to manage the types of activities that trigger stress and anxiety. Whether you struggle with social situations, monotonous everyday activities, or events out of your control, this course can provide you with techniques and exercises to guide you through life.


Grammar Boot Camp

English Grammar Boot Camp

Tired of that one co-worker who is always making comments about the misplaced commas in your emails? Use your time at home to become the grammar master. These 24 courses are a fun way to learn the intricacies of prepositions, adverbs, and the difference between active and passive voice. Soon enough, you’ll be turning the tables and telling that co-worker when to use whom, not who.



Books That Matter: The Analects of Confucius

OK, you’re probably not looking for something *this* scholarly. We really can’t come up with the words to convince you spend 12 hours of your life learning about Confucius philosophy right now. We just wanted to let you know it’s an option.



Sci-Phi: Science Fiction as Philosophy

Science fiction is as integrated into pop culture as it’s ever been. This course takes a look at several movies, TV shows, and books, and examines questions of free will, information literacy, and consciousness. Interstellar, Soylent Green, The Handmaid’s Tale, and more are all covered as part of this course.


Black Death

The Black Death

C’mon, don’t do that to yourself right now. If you must, try Infectious Diseases instead. Less grim, more informative.


Inventions that Changed the World

Inventions that Changed the World

This is another great course to watch as a group or family. From the wheel to the internet and everything in between, this covers the entire course of history. You don’t have to watch this straight through either. Jump across courses and learn how clocks redefined our sense of time and labor, how telescopes and microscopes advanced the scientific method of observation, and how circuit boards opened the floodgates to modern innovations.


Mysteries and Suspense Fiction

The "Language and Literature" section

This section numbers twenty different courses that are great for our bibliophiles. Find instruction on writing great fiction, screenplays, and essays; learn about the history of mystery novels, dystopian literature, and Shakespeare; and master the French, Spanish, Latin, and Ancient Greek languages.

Published on March 25, 2020
Last Modified May 29, 2020