DMPL Policies

1. Confidentiality

It is the policy of the library board to protect, as far as possible, the privacy of customers who use the library and not to make inquiry into the purpose for which a customer requests information.  Staff members shall not under any circumstances ever give a third party information about what a library customer is reading or requesting from the library’s collection. Information will be provided over the telephone to card holders who verify their identity by providing personal identification such as a PIN or library card barcode number.

Library personnel shall be aware that all library registration, circulation and reference records must remain confidential and are protected by library policy and under state law (Code of Iowa Section 22.7)  

Information concerning a customer’s registration record (including whether or not he or she has a card), circulation records and reference questions asked shall not be made available to any citizen, agency or state, federal or local government authority.

A staff member receiving a request to examine or obtain information relating to customer records shall immediately refer the person making the request to the Library Director who shall explain the confidentiality policy.

Subpoenas for information shall be referred to the Library Director.

Chapter 22.7 Confidential records.  Code of Iowa 1999

“The following public records shall be kept confidential, unless otherwise ordered by a court, by the lawful custodian of the records, or by another person duly authorized to release such information: …

13. The records of a library which, by themselves or when examined with other public records, would reveal the identity of the library patron checking out or requesting an item or information from the library. The records shall be released to a criminal or juvenile justice agency only pursuant to an investigation of a particular person or organization suspected of committing a known crime. The records shall be released only upon a judicial determination that a rational connection exists between the requested release of information and a legitimate end and that the need for the information is cogent and compelling. 

14. The material of a library, museum or archive which has been contributed by a private person to the extent of any limitation that is a condition of the contribution.” 

Policy Interpretation as it applies to parents and guardians of minors:

  • The Library Director is designated by the Library Board of Trustees as the “lawful custodian” of library records.

  • As the lawful custodian, the Library Director has directed staff to provide a parent or guardian with any information about a minor child’s record only when the parent or guardian provides the child’s bar code number or presents the child’s card to the staff member in charge. A minor child is defined as a person under 18 years of age

  • If they have the child’s bar code number, a parent or guardians may list what is checked out on a child’s card by calling Libby, the library’s automated customer information system at 283-4000. A second option, if they have the child’s barcode and PIN number is to make an inquiry on the online catalog. The library will only provide the parent or guardian with a minor child’s PIN number only if the parent or guardian comes to the library and presents the child’s library card to the staff person in charge.

  • The library cannot ensure privacy of circulation records during the process of collecting overdue materials.

  • The library cannot ensure privacy of personal or circulation records when engaging third party companies or consortiums in circulation functions, such as downloadable e-books, merchant services in credit card/debit card transactions, etc.

Adopted by the Board of Trustees, July 16, 1970
Modified November 14, 2000
Adopted by the Board of Trustees, November 20, 2012
Modified May 16, 2017

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This statement of principles that govern the collection and protection of information that may be collected during a visit to this site is provided for informational purposes only The information presented here is not meant to be a contract of any type, either express or implied, and should not be treated as such by site visitors. The information in this statement and/or the policies described here may change at any time, without prior notice to any visitor.

This Online Privacy Policy applies to your use of the Des Moines Public Library websites and interactive services. By using any of our websites and interactive services, you agree that this Online Privacy Policy govern your use of our websites and any dispute concerning them. Please take a few minutes to read them before using our websites.

Application of Iowa Open Records Statute

Chapter 22 and other sections of the Iowa Code control access to personally identifiable information in public records at state and local levels of government in Iowa. Chapter 22 establishes general policies for access to government records in the State of Iowa. Other sections of the Iowa Code, as well as certain federal statutes deal with confidentiality issues. For example, records which would reveal the identity of a library patron checking out or requesting an item or information from the library cannot be revealed unless certain circumstances are met. The Des Moines Public Library contracts with other parties to provide certain services available on this site. DMPL contracts with some third-party vendors for some services and resources. DMPL strives to keep this information private, but the library cannot guarantee this. 

Children Under 13 Years of Age

Children should always get permission from their parents before sending any personal information about themselves over the internet. If you are under 13 years old, please do not provide any Des Moines Public Library website with any personally identifying information (such as your name, address or e-mail address).

Collection of Information

No personally identifiable information is collected about visitors who simply this site. If you participate in a survey or send an e-mail, your e-mail address and the contents of the e-mail and information volunteered in response to the survey will be collected. Visitors who request services available through this site may be required to furnish additional information which may be required by law or which is necessary to provide the service requested. In all cases, the Des Moines Public Library strives to collect the minimum information necessary to comply with applicable law and/or provide the service requested.

Visitors may be requested to furnish information to assist the library in improving the facilities available on this site, or to be used in analysis and improvement of our service delivery systems. Such information is collected on an "opt-in" basis, which requires that the visitor provide specific approval for the collection of such data. A visitor who subscribes to a service available on this site may "opt out" of that service at any time.

Any information furnished by a visitor to this site, for any reason, may be filed and maintained by the library for its own use in performing statistical analysis, improving its service delivery system or responding appropriately to a request for service or information. Visitors should be aware that the collection of personal information requested from or volunteered by children on-line or by email will be treated in the same manner as information given by an adult and may be subject to public access.

We may collect specific and non-personal information about each visitor to this site. This information is collected automatically during site operations and includes Internet Protocol (IP) address of the visitor's ISP (Internet Service Provider) or computer, type of browser used, the date and time of the visit, the Web pages or services you accessed at this site and the IP addresses of the locations to which the visitor linked during his or her visit to our Web site. This information is strictly used for statistical reporting and site maintenance purposes in order to improve the content of our Web services and to help us understand how people are using our services. It is not connected to personally identifiable information that may be collected as described above. 

Access To Personal Information

Any visitor concerned with the accuracy of information about them should contact the Administrative Offices of the Des Moines Public Library. You can review any personal information we collect about you. You may recommend changes to your personal information you believe in error by submitting a written request that credibly shows the error. If you believe that your personal information is being used for a purpose other than those described in this policy, you may contact us. In all cases, we will take reasonable steps to verify your identity before granting access or making corrections.

Protection of Information

The Des Moines Public Library does not sell, rent or otherwise distribute visitors’ information, including electronic mail addresses, to any outside company or organization. We do not reveal specific information about subscribers or other personally identifiable data to unaffiliated third parties for their independent use, except if required to do so by the Iowa Open Records Act or other law. This policy applies to information that may be collected on the library’s site and on that of any third party with whom the library contracts to provide Internet related-services.

The Des Moines Public Library maintains security standards and procedures regarding unauthorized access to customer information to prevent unauthorized removal or alteration of data. The City meets accepted standards of security for all transactions that may involve payment of fees through a service available through this site, including the use of encryption and SSL services. Credit card numbers are not stored longer than is required for verification and completion of the subject transaction.

Use of "Cookies"

To better serve our users we may use "cookies" to customize your browsing experience. Cookies are simple text files stored on your computer by your web browser. They provide a method of distinguishing among visitors to our site. Cookies created on your computer by using this site do not contain personally identifying information and do not compromise your privacy or security. We use the cookie feature only to store a randomly generated identifying tag on your computer. Visitors may refuse the cookie or delete the cookie file by using any of the widely available methods.


This site provides links to other web sites. These may include links to web sites operated by other government agencies, nonprofit organizations and/or private businesses. This Privacy Policy applies only to the Des Moines Public Library site and to third-party sites that provide Internet related-services for the Des Moines Public Library under contract. When you link to any other web site, you are subject to the privacy policy of that site. Visitors linking to another site are encouraged to examine the privacy policy of that site.

Neither the Des Moines Public Library, nor any agency, officer, or employee of the Des Moines Public Library warrants the accuracy, reliability or timeliness of any information published by this system, nor endorses any content, viewpoints, products, or services linked to from this system, and shall not be held liable for any losses caused by reliance on the accuracy, reliability or timeliness of such information. Portions of such information may be incorrect or not current. Any person or entity that relies on any information obtained from this system does so at his or her own risk.

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2. Library Conduct

All persons have free and equal access to the Des Moines Public Library (DMPL), its facilities and services during its regular business hours.  The DMPL’s Customer Behavior Policy has a threefold purpose: to protect the rights and safety of library customers and volunteers, to protect the rights and safety of staff members, and to preserve the library’s materials, facilities, property, and grounds.


We expect our customers to:

Act legally and ethically by demonstrating respect to library staff and fellow users.

Use library cards appropriately.   An individual may only use his/her own library card to access library computers or to check out or download materials.

Use all collections, equipment, facilities and furniture on the premises for their intended purposes.

Limit noise including loud conversations and use of audible devices.  Cell phone ringers should be set to silent or vibrate.

Provide proper supervision of children. A parent or caregiver is responsible for the safety, behavior and well-being of their children on Library property.   See DMPL Unattended Child Policy.

Dress appropriately including always wearing shirts and shoes. 

Maintain proper personal hygiene so as not to offend others with strong, pervasive odors including body odor and odors caused by perfume, cologne or alcohol.

Share library equipment and furniture so that no one person monopolizes library property or prevents others from using them.

Cooperate with staff and allow belongings to be searched in order to prevent unauthorized removal of library materials and equipment.

Library customers may not: 

Interfere with another person’s enjoyment of library service and facilities.

Use seating in the youth area of the library if they are an adult and unaccompanied by a minor.  They may use seating available in all other locations of the library.

Bring animals into the library except for service animals necessary for those with disabilities.  Service animals are defined as “any dog that is individually trained to do work or perform tasks for the benefit of an individual with a disability, including a physical, sensory, psychiatric, intellectual or other mental disability” (28 CFR 35.104) and also as any animal which is under control and specially trained to assist a person with a disability (Iowa Code Section 216C.11).  

Consume food or beverages except for those non-alcoholic beverages in lidded containers.

Sleep on library premises or exhibit the appearance of sleep.

Use bathrooms for unreasonable or unintended purposes including bathing and laundering.

Deposit litter anywhere other than in garbage receptacles provided.  

Engage in sexual activity of any kind or cause sexual harassment or indecent exposure.

Smoke or use tobacco products on Library premises and within 25 (twenty-five) feet of the Library entrances.

Consume, possess, or be under the influence of illicit or intoxicating substances on library property.

Harass, intimidate, or discriminate against any member of the library staff or any customer, including cursing, campaigning, unwanted recruiting of any type, or sexual or physical threats.  

View sexually explicit images on the Internet or violate the Library’s Internet Acceptable Use Policy.

Leave packages, backpacks, luggage, or any other personal items unattended.  Personal property must be within sight of the owner.

Congregate on Library premises in a manner which obstructs access or interferes with use of Library facilities or services or where such activity is likely to result in an unsafe or intimidating environment.  This includes solicitation and panhandling as well as distribution of leaflets or un-authorized notices. 

Carry firearms or weapons of any type on Library premises, except for peace officers.  Weapons shall mean any gun, device or instrument as defined in Iowa Code Sections 724.1 and 724.7 and those regulated or prohibited in Des Moines Municipal Code Chapter 70, Article III.

Conduct media or commercial photography or filming, without prior permission from Library staff.

Use skateboards on Library property.

Bring luggage, bedrolls, or large bags into the library. 


Inappropriate behavior as outlined above or the commission of any crime on library property will have consequences.  Customers may be asked to leave the library premises immediately. In addition, a customer may be barred from library premises temporarily or permanently depending on the severity of the offense.  To enforce these policies, library staff are authorized to call for police assistance, a security guard or to take any other measures reasonably appropriate and necessary.

Consequences:  See DMPL Banning Procedures for more information.

Approved by the Des Moines Public Library Board of Trustees 
August 26, 2014
March 21, 2017

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In order to provide for the general welfare of all persons using the library, and to provide for the general safety of children using the Public Library of Des Moines, the following rules and regulations shall be made a matter of policy at the Public Library of Des Moines.

  1. All children under ten years shall, at all times, be attended and adequately supervised by a responsible person, e.g. an adult or a mature adolescent at least 12 years old. A reasonable attempt will be made to locate the responsible party in the event a child is left unattended.  If no responsible party is found, it may be necessary to notify the police.
  2. Children ten years and older may use the library unattended, subject to rules and regulations of the Public Library of Des Moines concerning behavior, conduct and demeanor.
  3. Parents/guardians are responsible for their children's actions while the children are on library property.  Staff members should inform the accompanying adult of problem behavior should the adult fail to notice or volunteer correction.
  4. The Public Library of Des Moines assumes no responsibility for children left unattended on library premises.
  5. The library will call the Des Moines Police if a child under the age of 18 is left at the library without transportation after library closing hours.  The parent or guardian of the child will be charged a fee of $1.00 per minute per child if a library staff member is required to stay after closing until a responsible party or the police arrive.

Adopted by the Board of Trustees, November 12, 2002
Approved with no changes 1-17-17

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Public internet users are expected to follow the guidelines of the Des Moines Public Library Customer Behavior Policy. 

Accessing Internet Workstations 

  1. Users must use their own library card.

  2. Library card users are limited to a period of two hours Guest users are limited to two hours.

  3. Each building will set a limit for the number of users permitted at a workstation at one time.

  4. Users are responsible for the cost of pages printed.  Those unfamiliar with printing from the Internet are encouraged to seek staff assistance when attempting to print for the first time.

  5. Internet workstations automatically shut down fifteen minutes before closing time.

Staff Assistance

The library staff cannot provide in-depth computer training outside the computer training classes, but will attempt to answer basic questions or help users locate resources on the internet. Staff can also provide information on where to get appropriate training. Books, manuals, and other reference sources will also be made available.

Access for Children

As with other library materials, monitoring of a child’s access to the Internet is the responsibility of the parent or legal guardian.  Supervision must be provided for children under the age of ten.

Prohibitions and Sanctions

  1. Users are prohibited from viewing material deemed inappropriate for a public setting.

  2. Users are not permitted to install, delete, or modify library hardware or software.

  3. Files saved to the computer are automatically deleted at the end of each user’s session.

  4. Misuse of the computer or Internet may result in the loss of Internet privileges.

  5. As with printed material, not all Internet resources provide accurate, complete, or current information.  It is the responsibility of individual users to evaluate the validity of all information found.

Supported Functions

  1. Library Internet access is intended as an information resource therefore, the following Internet protocols are not supported: Usenet newsgroups, Telnet, Internet Relay Chat (IRC), and File Transfer Protocol (FTP).

  2. The library’s choice of browser as well as sound, video, and other browser plug-ins that exploit the multimedia capabilities of the Internet will be incorporated through careful selection by the library and the City of Des Moines Information Technology Department.

Legal Considerations

  1. Activities that violate local, state, or federal statutes are prohibited.
  2. Copyright law (Title 17, U.S. Code) prohibits the unauthorized reproduction or distribution of copyrighted materials, except as permitted by the principles of “fair use.”  Users may not copy or distribute electronic materials (including electronic mail, text, images, programs or data) without the explicit permission of the copyright holder.  Any responsibility for any consequences of copyright infringement lies with the user; the Des Moines Public Library expressly disclaims any liability or responsibility resulting from such use.
  3. The Des Moines Public Library expressly disclaims any liability or responsibility arising from access to or use of information obtained through its electronic information systems, or any consequences thereof. Persons accessing the Internet through library wireless connections or computers provided by the library shall hold harmless the Des Moines Public Library, the Library Board of Trustees, library staff, and the City of Des Moines for any information, photo, graphic, appearance, sound, transaction or other communication experienced or caused by accessing the Internet through the library.


Adopted by the Des Moines Public Library Board of Trustees September 16, 1998. 
Revised July 18, 2006, November 17, 2010, March 17, 2015, June 20, 2017, November 20, 2018.

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3. Public Services

  1. Any person, group or organization may make application for permission to use a library meeting room, under the conditions herein provided.  Library programs and library related meetings and events take first priority over non-library bookings in the scheduling of meeting rooms.
  2. All meeting rooms are available for meetings or programs which are educational in nature or in the public interest, and which are appropriate to the facilities.   

    In addition, the three meeting rooms in the Central Library meeting room wing are also available for private educational, cultural, intellectual, civic, charitable, professional, social and business events such as dinners, receptions, parties, or business meetings, but not including events with a commercial purpose to which the public is invited.  Such rentals are available to persons at least 18 years of age, or at least 21 years of age for events at which alcohol will be served. Contests are not permitted. Events at which alcoholic beverages will be served or which are likely to involve noise, music or other activities which interfere with the library’s operation will be permitted only during hours that the library is not open to the public.  Events at which alcohol will be served must also include food service. If the library director determines that security is needed, the cost of the security will be the responsibility of the meeting room user.
  3. All non-profit meetings shall be open to the public and shall not be limited to the membership of the group or organization sponsoring the meeting.
  4. The library director may authorize the use of library meeting rooms for library fundraising activities or for the sale of books, goods, merchandise or services only when the library will share in the profit of such sales. Otherwise, meeting rooms are not to be used for the direct sale of merchandise, goods or services for profit, or for the promotion of any commercial or profit-making venture or business. Meeting rooms are not to be used for fundraising for the benefit of private individuals or for private support of organizations, other than the Des Moines Public Library.
  5. The library will consider requests from any person, group or organization to sponsor meetings or other activities in the public interest, as determined by the library director.  
  6.  Fees and hours for any use of library meeting rooms shall be established by the library director, subject to the approval of the Board of Trustees.  Admission fees may not be charged for use of the meeting rooms.  
  7. Meeting rooms are available for single meetings or programs, but are not intended for use as a regular meeting place of a group or organization or for multiple day exhibitions or displays.
  8. Prior arrangements, including payment of a maintenance fee, are required if food or beverages are served.  Light refreshments and simple coffee/tea or water service may be provided by the meeting room user.  
  9. Materials may not be affixed to any surface, that is, walls, windows, floors, furniture or fixtures, at the library without approval by the library staff.
  10. Permission given to a person, group or organization for use of a library meeting room, other public areas of the library including reading rooms, or on library grounds, does not imply that the Des Moines Public Library supports the views espoused by that person, group or organization or constitute an endorsement of that person, group or organization.  
  11. Permission may be granted to gather petition signatures outdoors on library grounds provided the petitioners stay at least fifteen feet from the library entrance and do not block persons from entering the library.
  12. On a very limited basis groups may, with the permission of the library director, disseminate information in the gateway area of the Central Library or other library public areas.  Permission will only be granted where the activity does not interfere with the free use of the gateway area or other library area or with the safety of library patrons and the general public and only for non-profit groups seeking to disseminate materials that provide a message which is non-commercial, non-political, and not religious, delivering a message or serving a purpose that is generally accepted as civic-minded.  
  13. Any advertisement of a meeting being held in a library meeting room must clearly identify the person, group or organization sponsoring the meeting, and must include a disclaimer to the effect that use of a library meeting room does not imply that the Des Moines Public Library supports the views espoused by the person, group or organization sponsoring the meeting, nor does it constitute an endorsement of that person, group or organization by the Des Moines Public Library.  Printed materials shall not list the library as a sponsor of an event or meeting unless previously authorized by the library director or designee.
  14. Reservations for use of the meeting rooms may be made in person or over the telephone with the library staff member in charge of the meeting room schedule. A completed and signed Application for Use of Library Meeting Room must be on file at the library prior to the meeting. Meeting room bookings may not be made more than eight weeks in advance of the date of the meeting. Bookings for the three meeting rooms in the Central Library meeting room wing may not be made more than twenty-four months in advance of the event.  A late reservation may be accommodated when possible, but a completed and signed application form must be on file before the meeting can take place. 
  15. Meeting rooms are in heavy demand.  The signed application constitutes an agreement that a meeting will take place.  If a meeting must be canceled, the library expects to be notified within a reasonable time so that another meeting may be scheduled.  Cancellation of a booking for a meeting room in the Central Library meeting room wing may result in forfeiture of payment.
  16. Children’s groups may use the rooms provided one or more adult sponsors supervise the group and its activities.
  17. Kitchen facilities are available at some locations for preparing light refreshments in connection with meetings at the branches only. Each group is responsible for leaving the rooms in orderly condition, and for the replacement of any lost or damaged equipment.
  18. The library will not be responsible for or store any material for groups using the meeting rooms.  While bringing in easels is welcomed, materials are not to be attached to walls, windows, doors, or furnishing except at the direction of authorized library staff.
  19. No red, blue or orange colored beverages may be served in carpeted meeting rooms.  Smoking is not allowed.
  20. Normal operation of the library is not to be disrupted by users of the meeting rooms.
  21. Events held after the hours that the library is open to the public are only permitted at the Central Library and are required to use the services of the library’s designated caterer and to provide at least one off duty City of Des Moines police officer to handle security.
  22. Failure to comply with any of the stipulations can result in immediate or future denial or permission to use library meeting rooms.

Approved by the Library Board of Trustees 
January 17, 2006
Revised November 18, 2008
Revised November 17, 2009
Revised March 21, 2017

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4. Collection Development and Programming

  1. Mission Statement

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


  1. Overview

    This policy guides staff and informs the public of the principles upon which collection development and collection management decisions are based. Collection development is the ongoing process of assessing the materials available for purchase or licensing and deciding on their inclusion or their retention. This policy also describes the role of collection development and collection management in achieving the Library's mission and strategic objectives. It defines the scope of the collection, provides a plan for the continued development of resources, and identifies collection strengths. The Library Bill of Rights and the American Library Association’s Freedom to Read and Freedom to View are essential components of this policy. 


  1. Responsibility for Collection Development

    Daily responsibility for collection development lies with librarians who apply professional knowledge, experience, and this policy in making decisions, as well as the catalogers who determine where an item is placed within the collection. Ultimate responsibility for collection development lies with the Director.


  1. Criteria for Selection

    Des Moines Public Library is a popular materials library and maintains a varied and up-to-date collection. It attempts to acquire materials of both current and lasting value. Since one library cannot afford all the available materials, it must employ a policy of selectivity.  Materials are selected to meet patron needs and reflect a variety of viewpoints and opinions. General criteria for consideration are listed below. An item need not meet all criteria in order to be acceptable.

  • Public demand, interest or need;
  • Enduring value, literary merit or local interest;
  • Prominence, accuracy and authoritativeness of author, creator or publisher;
  • Social significance, timeliness or cost of the material;
  • Importance of subject matter to the existing collection or scarcity of information on the subject;
  • Quality and suitability of format.


  1. Collection Management

    To ensure that the library's collection is up-to-date and relevant to the community's needs, the usefulness of materials previously added to the collection is reevaluated on a regular basis. Materials will be withdrawn if they are out-of-date, badly worn, damaged, or no longer being used. Space, the cost of replacement, and the appearance of the collection are also factors. Locally significant materials may be retained.  Withdrawn items may be recycled, discarded, or sold at public sale. Library staff will not contact patrons regarding items being withdrawn from the collection or any upcoming book sales. Staff will not hold withdrawn items for patrons.

  2. Request for Reconsideration of Selections 

    A patron who objects to specific books or other library materials in the collection is requested to complete the form, Statement of Concern About Library Resources, available at information desks in all library agencies.  This form should be submitted to the department head or librarian in charge of the agency receiving the statement of concern, or to the Deputy Director.  The material will be reviewed by the Deputy Director who will respond in writing to the person submitting the statement of concern. Decisions regarding the questioned materials may be appealed to the Library Director and the Library Board of Trustees. 


  1. Gifts

    Please see Des Moines Public Library’s Gift Policy.

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The purpose of library programs is to support our mission as the bridge to a world of information and ideas for personal enjoyment and community growth. 

Programs complement other library services by providing an opportunity to highlight collections, promote services and share knowledge and expertise.  Programs stimulate outreach and promotion of the library allowing the library to offer a wide variety of programs to groups and individuals and to attract both regular and new users of all ages and backgrounds.  Programs raise the library’s profile in the community and have a positive impact on library use.

Guidelines for the selection and presentation of programs:

All programs are intended to further the mission of the Library.  They should address one or more of the following educational, recreational and/or civic needs:

  • To increase awareness and the use of library resources
  • To provide opportunity to widen horizons, stimulate imagination and reflection, and enlarge experiences
  • To provide programs for various age groups, cultures, and interests 
  • To meet popular demand, both existing and anticipated
  • To promote reading and lifelong learning
  • To increase library use by under-served populations
  • To educate and inform on a variety of topics usually with a focus on one or several of the following areas:
    • Literature and cultural heritage 
    • Social awareness 
    • Health and well-being 
    • Information technology 
    • Literacy
    • Current events and high interest topics

Library programs are open to the public. Registration may be required for planning purposes or when space is limited. Programs may be targeted towards a particular audience, such as children, teen or adults and will be advertised as such.  Patrons with special accommodation requests are encouraged to reach out to library staff prior to the event so accommodations can be made ahead of time. 

Library staff may work with individuals or groups in the community to bring in presenters on a topic. Presenters and library staff will work together to develop, promote and deliver programs per the needs of both parties. The library is not obligated to represent multiple and/or opposing viewpoints within any one program or series. A program held at the library does not constitute an endorsement of the views expressed by participants and programs must be non-commercial. The sale of products at a library program is not allowed, however authors and artists may obtain library approval to sell their work following a library program in which the author participated with 10% of sales being retained by the library. 

The Library reserves the right to deny attendance to anyone becoming disruptive to audience members or the program facilitator, and to anyone in violation of the Library’s Customer Behavior Policy.

Program participants should expect that photographs/video will be taken at events and used on the Library’s social internet sites and/or website.

This policy has been developed in concert with the following American Library Association Guidance Documents:

Libraries: An American Value  

Interpretations of the Library Bill of Rights: “Library-initiated Programs as a Resource

Adopted by the Library Board of Trustees

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The Des Moines Public Library welcomes your donated books, audio books, DVDs, CDs, and magazines. These items will be sold in library Book Sales and all funds go back to the libraries to enhance programs and services. It is our practice not to add these donations to our collection.

If you would like a receipt for your donations, please ask a staff member. The library staff is not qualified to determine the value of your donation, but they can confirm the number and type of items you donated. It will be up to you to assign a value for tax purposes.

The Des Moines Public Library has established the following guidelines due to staffing time constraints and limited space:

Items the library accepts:

  • New and used books (in good condition)

  • Blu-rays and DVDs

  • Music CDs

  • Audio books on CD

  • Magazines (no older than 1 year)


Items the library does not accept:

  • Items that are not in good condition (Books that are yellowed, musty, moldy, smoky or damaged). 

  • Encyclopedias

  • Magazines older than 1 year

  • Textbooks 

  • Used workbooks or coloring books

We cannot accept clothing, housewares, furniture, or non-media items. 

Please contact the following businesses for these types of donations:

D.A.V. at 515-262-4740 

Goodwill at 515-265-5323

St. Vincent De Paul thrift store at 515-282-8327


Download the Policy PDF

In order to support and showcase the creative work of our community members, the Des Moines Public Library will consider author and patron donations of self-published books on an individual basis. These works will be evaluated by a team of professional and experienced librarians for inclusion into the DMPL collection.  

The new self-published collection will endeavor to promote local material and bolster the independent and creative writing process. Though the collection will primarily incorporate adult fictional titles, nonfiction works such as poetry, autobiographies, and cookbooks will be evaluated and considered for addition.  

The library will not acknowledge the receipt of the work or of our final decision. If the work is accepted, the title will appear in the library catalog within approximately 60 days. Acceptance of previous title does not guarantee acceptance of future titles. The library only accepts physical versions of an author's work. We will not accept books in any electronic format.  

Materials that are donated become the property of the Des Moines Public Library and as such cannot be returned to the donor.The donor of any materials should understand that the library reserves the right to assign a title wherever it is most appropriate or to dispose of the title if it is not needed. 

Preference will be given to books that meet the following criteria: 

  • The book has been written by a local author or has an Iowa connection 

  • The work is suitable for circulation and is professionally bound 

  • The work has positive reviews in professional journals  

 Authors who would like their work considered for the collection should provide a physical copy of their book with as much of the following information as possible in order to assist in the library's decision: 

  • Brief description of the book and its intended audience  

  • Reviews 

  • Awards  

  • Publicity materials 

Due to staffing and time restraints, librarians are not able to meet with authors on an individual basis. 


For any inquiries or questions, please contact: 


Please send submissions to: 

Self-Published Collection 

1000 Grand Ave  

Des Moines, IA 50309