All programs at the Des Moines Public Library have been canceled through the end of May. The 2020 Authors Visiting in Des Moines (AViD) series has been postponed.
Learn more about how you can use the library during our public closure on our FAQ page.
UPDATE - 03/18/2020
Based on the latest information and updates from state and local officials about the spread of COVID-19 (coronavirus), as well as the City of Des Moines’ declaration of a state of emergency Sunday, we have made the decision that closing our six buildings is in the best interest of public safety at this time.
Library administration will work with Des Moines officials and the Library Board of Trustees to reassess the situation and determine when it is best to reopen.
“This was a very difficult decision that we did not make without extreme, careful deliberation,” Susan A. Woody, Des Moines Public Library Director, said. “All indications are that aggressive early social distancing can stop this virus from spreading exponentially, and we believe the library has a responsibility to play a role in that here in Des Moines.”
At this time we are encouraging our patrons to use our website, dmpl.org, and the tools and resources available there, including eBooks and eAudiobooks, streaming video, digital learning tools, and more. We will be redirecting more of our funds at this time to purchasing digital materials.
The library has also created a new digital card. This option is for people who are not currently cardholders but would like to sign up for a card at this time. A digital card allows you access to all our digital services. (It is not necessary for current cardholders to sign up for a digital card, as they already have access to digital materials with a full card).
Some core functions of the library will continue. This is a changing, fluid situation, and we will continue to share the latest Des Moines Public Library updates on our social media channels, via email, and on this page. Thank you for your patience and understanding, and please continue to be safe.
UPDATE - 03/14/2020
Like many of you, the Des Moines Public Library administration is monitoring the most recent news about the coronavirus in order to make the best decisions possible to keep the library’s staff, patrons and communities healthy and safe. We will continue to follow directions from state and local health officials, and respond as this situation develops.
“Taking this action is a precautionary measure. This is a difficult decision to make, and we are saddened to have to take this step,” Susan A. Woody, Des Moines Public Library Director, said. “But it is the responsible, proactive decision to make as we monitor developments with the spread of COVID-19 (coronavirus).
“Our core mission now is to serve our communities by offering as many library services as we can provide while keeping our staff, visitors, and the general public safe.”
Additionally, several large library events scheduled to take place in upcoming weeks are postponed.
The library is working to reschedule the first four Authors Visiting in Des Moines (AViD) speaker series events:
- Tayari Jones at the DSM Book Festival, March 28
- Hanif Abdurraqib at Central Library, April 9
- David Baldacci at Franklin Jr. High Auditorium, April 22
- Kate Quinn at Central Library, April 23
The three remaining AViD events – Adam Higginbotham on May 6, Brad Meltzer on May 14, and Jacqueline Woodson on May 27 – are at this time scheduled to take place as planned. DMPL administration will continue to monitor news and developments moving forward and will make additional decisions when warranted.
The May 3 MyDMPL Con family event at Central Library is also postponed. A new date for the event will be announced in the coming weeks.
If anything else changes in the future with regards to DMPL and the services we provide, we will communicate that to our patrons immediately. Thank you.
What is the Coronavirus?*
COVID-19, commonly called the coronavirus, is a respiratory infection that can spread from person-to-person. The virus that causes COVID-19 is a novel coronavirus that was first identified during an investigation into an outbreak in Wuhan, China. The reported illnesses have ranged from mild symptoms to severe illness and death.
What are the symptoms of COVID-19?
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), symptoms include:
- Shortness of breath
Symptoms may appear anywhere from 2-14 days after exposure.
How does the infection spread?
The virus is thought to mainly spread from person to person.
- Between people who are in close contact with one another (within about 6 feet).
- Through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes.
It seems to be spreading easily and sustainably in some affected geographic areas.
The City of Des Moines has declared a State of Emergency in response to the spread of COVID-19. Read more here.
We will keep information updated here as we see it. The latest information about cornoavirus in Iowa, including the number and location of cases, can always be found on the Iowa Department of Public Health website.
Who is at risk of contracting COVID-19?
Everyone is at risk, but certain parts of the population are at higher risk of contracting COVID-19. This includes:
- Older adults
- People who have serious chronic medical conditions like:
- Heart disease
- Lung disease
What are the best ways to prevent contracting the disease?
- Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
- Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
- Stay home when you are sick.
- Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
- Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
The CDC recommends that only people who show symptoms of COVID-19 wear facemasks in public. People who are well are not recommended to wear a facemask.
What should I do if I have symptoms?
Call your healthcare professional if you feel sick with fever, cough, or difficulty breathing, and have been in close contact with a person known to have COVID-19, or if you live in or have recently traveled from an area with ongoing spread of COVID-19.
Your healthcare professional will work with the Iowa Department of Public Health and CDC to determine if you need to be tested for COVID-19.
In Des Moines, Primary Health Care has opened a drive-through Respiratory Clinic.The clinic will be open Monday through Friday and will be staffed from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.
It is intended for those that are experiencing fever, cough, and shortness of breath. Patients will NOT be guaranteed a COVID-19 test. They will be tested only if symptoms and other criteria meet established guidelines by the Iowa Department of Public Health.
The Respiratory Clinic is located just south of the Bery Engebretsen Clinic at 2401 SE 14th Street in Des Moines. No appointment is necessary, and patients will be seen without ever having to leave their cars.
What is the Des Moines Public Library doing in response to COVID-19?
The library is closed to the public until further notice.
To learn more about the coronavirus, visit these websites:
- World Health Organization
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
- Polk County Health Department
- Iowa Department of Public Health
*Information about COVID-19 contained in this post has been provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the World Health Organization websites.
Last Modified January 18, 2021