Tribute Gifts

Jean Marie LemMon

Jean Marie LemMon and Jan Kaiser

The Library Foundation was honored to receive gifts in memory of Jean Marie LemMon, who passed away Saturday, January 6, 2018. Jean was a beloved mother and grandmother, an astute journalist and editor, and a gifted artist, designer, musician, and figure skater. She was the first female editor in chief for Better Homes & Gardens magazine and amassed four national awards for outstanding journalism in interior design. Foundation Board Member, Jan Kaiser, remembered Jean’s volunteer work with the AViD program in writing the following: “Jean was an avid reader, a steadfast Norwegian, and connoisseur of flowers—we were instant friends. We served together on the AViD Selection Committee for many years. Jean loved murder mysteries and was my barometer for booking great mystery writers -- J.A. Jance, Lawrence Block, Brian Freeman, and Lorna Landvik. My favorite memories are when Jean would pop into my office and say - let’s go get a coffee and talk some books. Sometimes Jean would share a bunch of basil fresh from her garden, or a fat wedge of delicious Bond Ost cheese. Best of all, she shared her remarkable love of reading plus delightful tales of growing up Scandinavian. Others may remember Jean for her brilliant mind, her work as an editor at Meredith, or as Noah’s devoted grandmother, but I will always remember her as a dear friend.”

Whether donating for a friend or a loved one, consider giving a gift to the Des Moines Public Library Foundation. Gifts to the library are a great way to honor and remember friends and loved ones, while helping all six locations of the Des Moines Public Library enrich lives with new materials, new programs, and expanded services and technology.

Memorial Gifts

Gifts in memory are a meaningful way to celebrate and remember your family and friends, while supporting the future of the Des Moines Public Library.

Gifts That Honor

Gifts in honor of your family and friends show them how important they are to you. Whether for a holiday or birthday present, wedding, anniversary, other life milestone or just to let someone know how important they are to you, your gift benefits that person and the library.

All Gifts

Your gifts will be included in the quarterly newsletter, Insight, and on the Library Foundation website. Letters of acknowledgement will be sent per your direction. Your gifts may also be given anonymously. Any gift can be directed for a special purpose like helping the library purchase new books, new technology, or fund children’s programs. They can also be directed to your favorite library – Central, East, Forest, Franklin, North, South, or the Virtual Library.

It’s easy to give! Use the convenient donate button on our website or mail your contribution to us at 1000 Grand Avenue, Des Moines, IA 50309. To learn more about how to give back to your library, contact Dory Briles, Foundation Executive Director, at 515.248.6402 or


Andrea Hauer Ever since she was a toddler, Andrea K. Hauer loved books and libraries. Growing up in Westmont, a suburb perched on Laurel Ridge in the Appalachian Mountains above Johnstown, Pennsylvania, Andrea and her younger sister, Carolyn, would visit the Cambria County Library in Johnstown where her mother, Ellen Baum Hauer, was a regular volunteer. Andrea's father, Charles Edward Hauer, was an engineer and chief of metallurgy for the Bethlehem Steel Company.

Every Saturday morning, Andrea's mother (who was related to L. Frank Baum, American author of children's books, including The Wonderful Wizard of Oz) would take the girls to the library, riding the Johnstown Inclined Plane, the world's steepest vehicular incline, from Westmont down the side of Laurel Ridge to the library below in downtown Johnstown. While her mother worked at the library, Andrea and her sister would begin reading a pile of books that they had gathered. When it was time to go home, Andrea would check out the maximum number of books allowable (about 10 during the early 1960s), and have them all read, sometimes multiple times, by the next weekend's visit to the library!

Andrea's love and fascination with libraries and books continued a lifetime. A voracious reader with a photographic memory, Andrea could read the two pages of an opened book in less time than most readers could read a paragraph. By age 10, she had read all of the American Classics and was reading British and European literature. Coming to Iowa for the first time at age 18 as a university student, Andrea reveled in the "open stacks" library policy that gave the public free access to books and browsing, a reform not yet implemented in the East where you had to write down a book's call number on a piece of paper, then give it to a library employee who would go through the closed stacks to retrieve the book.

At any given time, Andrea would be reading half a dozen books simultaneously to satisfy her unquenchable curiosity and desire for knowledge - fiction, historical and environmental essays, biographies, art deco and art nouveau architecture, how to make beads or jewelry, craftsman house architecture, city histories, or urban design and planning. As she once related to a reporter for the Business Record, she read "an entire section of books at the [University of Iowa] library" when she was a graduate student because "her office was located in the library was a pleasant way to pass the time in a quiet place." [Kent Darr, Senior Staff Writer, Business Record, August 5, 2015.]

Andrea's love for reading and her lifelong learning informed her own professional and personal writings, conversational skill, interests, and other skills. These included her extensive and eclectic vocabulary, efficient use of words, dry wit, her friendships (including fellow-traveler friends), her acquired knowledge and perspective, and detailed remembrance and synthesis of all that she read. Her love of history spurred her to research Des Moines' early history and to help save the archives of over 100 years of The Des Moines Register and other local newspapers from destruction two years ago.

Andrea was in excellent health until she suffered a sudden and unexpected brain hemorrhage and passed away on July 31, 2015 in Des Moines. She worked in the Office of the City Manager as Economic Development Coordinator for the City of Des Moines, and oversaw and championed some of the most challenging development projects in the downtown during the past 30 years.

A memorial fund has been established in her name at the Des Moines Public Library Foundation. Donations are encouraged and will be earmarked toward the acquisition of books of the variety described above, musical CDs with an emphasis on works by Mozart, and outdoor garden benches for the Franklin and Downtown Libraries.

-David Perret