Library Reopening with Limited, In-Person Services

Central Library will reopen for some in-person services on a limited basis Monday, Sept. 28. Additional in-person services will begin at our remaining buildings on Tuesday, Oct. 13. Read more about this new phase of our reopening plan, called DMPL Express, HERE.

Get a Card

Person holding a DMPL library card

It All Starts With A Card

Are you ready to start using all the services and resources the Des Moines Public Library offers? With a free library card, you can …

  • Browse and Borrow hundreds of thousands of books, DVDs, CDs and more inside all six of our library buildings. 

  • Research and learn using our databases, online resources, research tools and more - including free access to The New York Times and Consumer Reports. 

  • Stream and Download popular eBooks, eAudiobooks, digital magazines, and award-winning films and television shows. (Residency restrictions may apply to digital media content.)

  • Check out loads of materials!

Don't wait! Come into one of our locations during DMPL Express hours to get a physical card, or sign up for a digital card right now!

Download and print our library card application:

The Des Moines Public Library issues free library cards to residents of Iowa.

Visit any of the six locations to apply for a Des Moines Public Library card and bring a current photo ID and proof of permanent address. A current driver’s license or state ID card with correct current address will meet this requirement.

Acceptable proof of permanent address:

  • Billing statement received at the address
  • A check with printed address
  • Voter registration card
  • Rental agreement
  • Car registration
  • Paystub/Paycheck

The cardholder agrees to pay all fines, abide by the policies of the library, and promptly report loss or theft of the card and any change of name or address.

  • Borrowers must apply for library cards in person.

  • Must provide proof of current name, address, and a photo ID.

  • A valid Des Moines Public Library card is necessary to check out materials and access most library services.

  • Library cards are renewed every three years.

  • There is a $1 fee to replace a lost card. Promptly report a lost or stolen card. Picture identification is required to replace a lost or stolen library card.

  • The cardholder is responsible for all materials borrowed on their card.

  • Children who are at least five years old may get a library card.

  • Those under age twelve must be accompanied by a parent or guardian.

  • Cards for children will not be issued to parents/guardians if the child is not present.

  • Parent/guardian account is not required for child applying for a library card.

  • Parents/guardians are responsible for items checked out on their children’s cards.

  • Age 12 to 17: Parent or guardian does NOT need to be present if a child has their own photo ID. If parent/guardian is not present child will automatically be restricted to no DVD checkouts. Parent/guardian must be present to grant permission to borrow DVDs.

Download the Educator Card application and guidelines.

Guidelines for Educator Cards

The purpose of the Educator card is to allow teachers to check out books for the students in their classes. This program is designed for teachers in public schools, private schools, preschools, daycare centers, home daycare providers, and homeschool parents within the city limits of Des Moines and Rural Polk County. Books are checked out for one month and no fines are assessed. The Cardholder must pay for lost books (A book is considered lost when it is forty days overdue.)

  • Cards are made in the name of an individual teacher or caregiver.
  • The cardholder is responsible for lost materials. If a school or daycare is responsible for paying for lost materials, the principal/director’s signature is required on the application.
  • Borrowers must use their personal library card with standard borrowing privileges to check out items for other household members and for recreational reading materials.
  • A maximum of thirty (30) items may be checked out on the card. When returning books, please ask that they be checked in immediately if you are planning to check out additional items that day.
  • The loan period is four (4) weeks. Items may not be renewed.
  • Teachers are encouraged to keep all books in the classroom.
  • Audiobooks and music CDs may be checked out but not DVDs or E-materials.
  • The library cannot provide multiple copies of a single title.
  • The library cannot provide collections of nonfiction books on a single topic.
  • The library reserves the right to limit the number of books borrowed on a single topic.
  • The library reserves the right to restrict or limit the inclusion of high-demand items such as new fiction, audio books, and books on popular topics.
  • Failure to follow these guidelines may result in loss of borrowing privileges.