Mission, Vision & Core Values

The Des Moines Public Library is the bridge to a world of information and ideas for personal enjoyment and community growth.

The Des Moines Public Library is the recognized leader in expanding the universe of opportunities for imagination, innovation, and lifelong learning benefiting its diverse community.

Approved by the Des Moines Public Library Board of Trustees on July 29, 2008

The Des Moines Public Library values:

  • Our customers and our focus on their diverse needs and wants

  • Intellectual freedom and confidentiality

  • Innovation as the engine that drives change

  • Our staff as our greatest asset

  • Stewardship of the community’s investment

  • Universal access to services, materials and opportunities for lifelong learning and enjoyment

The Library Bill of Rights were first drafted by then-Des Moines Public Library Director Forrest Spaulding in 1938 as a way to speak out against “the growing intolerance, suppression of free speech and censorship affecting the rights of minorities and individuals.” The revised document, based on the First Amendment, was adopted a year later by the American Library Association.  

The American Library Association affirms that all libraries are forums for information and ideas, and that the following basic policies should guide their services.

 I. Books and other library resources should be provided for the interest, information, and enlightenment of all people of the community the library serves. Materials should not be excluded because of the origin, background, or views of those contributing to their creation.

II. Libraries should provide materials and information presenting all points of view on current and historical issues. Materials should not be proscribed or removed because of partisan or doctrinal disapproval.

III. Libraries should challenge censorship in the fulfillment of their responsibility to provide information and enlightenment.

IV. Libraries should cooperate with all persons and groups concerned with resisting abridgment of free expression and free access to ideas.

V. A person’s right to use a library should not be denied or abridged because of origin, age, background, or views.

VI. Libraries which make exhibit spaces and meeting rooms available to the public they serve should make such facilities available on an equitable basis, regardless of the beliefs or affiliations of individuals or groups requesting their use.

VII. All people, regardless of origin, age, background, or views, possess a right to privacy and confidentiality in their library use. Libraries should advocate for, educate about, and protect people’s privacy, safeguarding all library use data, including personally identifiable information.

Adopted June 19, 1939, by the ALA Council; amended October 14, 1944; June 18, 1948; February 2, 1961; June 27, 1967; January 23, 1980; January 29, 2019.

Inclusion of “age” reaffirmed January 23, 1996.