How Do I...?

If you have a question for us or want to offer feedback, fill out the form found here. If you are experiencing difficulties accessing one of our digital services, such as being unable to login to your account, access holds, or use our digital services, please fill out our digital support form and a librarian will contact you within 48 hours, Monday through Friday, between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m.

Any resident of Iowa can sign up for a free Des Moines Public Library card. Some of our digital services – such as our Iowa Adventure Pass, streaming video and digital books services – are only available to residents of Des Moines or rural Polk County.

To get a library card, bring the following to any of our six library locations:

  • A current photo ID

  • A proof of permanent address. A current driver's license or state ID card with correct current address will meeting this requirement. Other acceptable forms include: a billing statement received at the address, a check with the printed address, a voter registration card, a rental agreement, a car registration form, a paystub/paycheck.

Go to our Get A Card page for a full list of guidelines.

Library cards come up for renewal every third year. Cards can be renewed in person or by calling 515-283-4152. 

If your card was misplaced or stolen, report it immediately to the library. A $1 fee will be charged to replace lost cards that have not expired. There is no fee to replace a stolen card. Identification is required to replace a lost or stolen card.

Fill out our Suggest A Title form if you would like to recommend an item for us to purchase to add to our collection. If your suggestion is chosen, your name will be placed on hold for the item. There is a limit of three suggestions per person per calendar month.

Your PIN is a numerical personal identification number, which acts as a security code for using your library card, and is necessary to log into some of our services and use our self-checkout machines. If you need to change your PIN, call us at 515-283-4152, or stop in any library building and speak to a staff member.

Customers may request print and microform on interlibrary loan. Customers are limited to five active interlibrary loan requests at a time. The library does not request sound media, standard reference materials, or video on interlibrary loan. Customers are responsible for paying fees and charges assessed by the lending library and must pay fees assessed by the lending library for lost materials. Unpaid fees are posted to the customers library account.

Policies

Borrowers must have a valid, unblocked, DMPL library card to place an interlibrary loan request.

Borrowers may request up to five interlibrary loan requests active at one time.

A fee of $3 will be charged for each interlibrary loan request.

Fees are collected at the time of request if the request is made by the borrower in person.

The fee will be charged whether or not the book is received.

Unpaid fees are posted to the customers library account.

Borrowers are responsible for paying any additional fees imposed by the lending library.

Borrowers are responsible for paying lost and damaged materials charges assessed by the lending library.

Materials worth less than $10 are not borrowed via interlibrary loan unless they are out of print or unavailable for purchase.

Videos, multimedia materials, and audio recordings are not borrowed through interlibrary loan.

Interlibrary loan materials are due back two weeks after the date the item is received from the lending library.

Materials may be renewed if approval for renewal has been received from the lending library.

Non-resident borrowers, other than residents of Rural Polk County, must use their home library for interlibrary loan borrowing.

Interlibrary loans must comply with copyright law.

Items which are not on hold may be renewed a maximum of two times by phone or online by logging into My Account. After the renewal limit is reached, materials should be returned so that other library borrowers may have the opportunity to find them on the shelf.

A second fee will be charged for a movie renewal.

Items are not due and fines are not assessed for any day the library is closed.

The renewal limit may not be extended by transferring materials to the card of another family member.

Interlibrary loan books may be renewed if permission is granted from the lending library.

If an item you want from the Des Moines Public Library is checked out, you can claim a spot in line to check out the item by placing a hold. Once your turn in the queue arrives, library staff will locate the item and have it waiting for you on the Holds shelf at your preferred location.

If the item was placed on hold was an eBook or eAudiobook, you will receive a message that it is ready for you. 

You can place a hold on an item in person, online after logging into your account and clicking “Place Hold” next to the item in the catalog, or using our Libby app.

You can pay fees and fines in person at any library building or online.

Overdue fines for books, CDs, audiobooks, and magazines are 25 cents per day, with a maximum fine of $8 per item ($4 per magazine). Digital downloads will automatically be returned. Fines for movies and TV series are 50 cents per day, with a maximum fine of $8 per item.

Borrowers are responsible for the replacement costs of lost items and materials damaged beyond repair. 

Meeting rooms are available to reserve at all six Des Moines Public Library locations. Fees range depending on library building, room, time of reservation, and more. For a full explanation of fees, rules and guidelines, and to reserve your meeting or study room, go here.

If you would like to make a monetary donation to support the Des Moines Public Library, reach out to the Des Moines Public Library Foundation. The DMPL Foundation is a 501(c)(3) that supports and enriches the library’s capabilities, resources, and services. Every gift is important, no matter the size. About one half of all donations are gifts of $100 or less. Find out the ways you can make a gift to the DMPL Foundation here

You can also make a donation of books, audio books, DVDs, CD, 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 to not 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.

If you would like our advice on your next book, please visit our Recommended Reads page, or ask a librarian during your next visit.

The Des Moines Public Library Reference Department offers special research services to customers seeking information about a particular person, topic or event. Research fees must be paid in advance and are non-refundable. Once the request and fee have been received, staff will conduct the research and return the results.

For more information on our premium research services, see here. Cost $20 per hour for research plus printing/copying costs. Please call (515) 283-4152 to speak with a librarian to submit your research request.

The Des Moines Public Library is always looking for volunteers – both adults and our VolunTeens. 

Volunteers who are 18 years old and over can:

  • Assist library staff by shelving materials requested by our patrons. 
  • Support library book sales by helping staff sort and arrange items for sale.
  • Help people practice their English skills at our “Conversations and Coffee” programs.
  • Help library staff at special events, including Authors Visiting in Des Moines (AViD).
  • Assist staff with craft and activity programs.
  • Help children and teens register for the Summer Reading program

Apply to be a volunteer:

 

Volunteers between the ages of 12 and 18 years old can:

  • Assist youth services staff with children’s events and activities during the school year and for our Summer Reading Program.
  • Register children and teens for the Summer Reading Program.
  • Prepare craft activities for Preschool/Toddler Storytimes, and for our Summer Reading Program.
  • Help maintain the Children’s Library and Children’s Areas inside our buildings, and create displays.
  • Support Youth Services Librarians with other duties as needed.

 

Apply to be a volunteer: 

  • Work with an adult to print and fill out a waiver and application form and bring them to any DMPL building.

Find current library job openings – both fulltime and part-time – and learn how to apply here.

Des Moines Public Library cardholders who are at least 18 years old and are residents of Des Moines or rural Polk County can reserve a FREE Iowa Adventure Pass by clicking on “Reserve Your Adventure Pass” here

With Adventure Pass, you can bring your family to the Blank Park ZooScience Center of Iowa, and Greater Des Moines Botanical Garden for free. Brenton Skating Plaza will also become an option when it opens this winter.

At the Zoo and Botanical Garden, each pass allows entrance for up to two adults and two children. At the Science Center, each pass allows for up to four total free entrances, including up to two adults and up to three children. Additional tickets may be purchased at the gate.

Your Adventure Pass must be printed when you present it upon admission. Digital passes on a phone or other device will not be accepted. If you need help reserving or printing your pass, please visit one of our six Des Moines Public Library locations, and we'll help you with the process.

You can print to a library computer from anywhere using your personal desktop, laptop or mobile device. The cost is 25 cents per page. For more details and instructions, see our Wireless Printing page.

All Des Moines Public Library locations provide free access to computers. A library card is required to use a public computer, and you can get a guest pass for computer use. You can use the computers to access the internet, as well as a scanner, for up to two hours. If no one is waiting to use the computer, guests can ask a library staff member for additional time. Internet workstations shut down automatically 15 minutes before closing time at each library.

Central Library also has computers for public use to access the Foundation Directory Online, as well as a computer with JAWS (Job Access with Speech) and a computer screen reader program to assist visually impaired users. Central Library also offers microfilm readers.

North Side Library provides Chromebooks for checkout for use inside the North Side Library.

Iowans can renew their driver’s license at an Iowa Department of Transportation kiosk on the second floor of the Central Library, 1000 Grand Ave., in the library’s Success Center.