Reduced Services at All DMPL Locations

All Des Moines Public Library locations have reduced in-person services at this time. Browsing will be unavailable, and public computers will only be available at Central Library by appointment. Curbside Pickup will continue at all locations. Go HERE for all the details about this decision and to see our new hours, services, and offerings at each DMPL location.

Get a Card

Person holding a DMPL library card

It All Starts With A Card

UPDATE: All locations of the Des Moines Public Library have reduced available in-person services at this time. If you are interested in signing up for a library card, please use our digital card form HERE.

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! 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.

How to apply for an Educator Card:

  1. Fill out the online application.
  2. Download the Educator Card application and guidelines.

Guidelines for the Educator Card

  • The purpose of the Educator Card is to provide access to items for educators and homeschool families with a school or personal residence within the city limits of Des Moines and Rural Polk County.
  • A maximum of 50 items are checked out for 6 weeks at a time with no option to renew.  No late fees will be assessed, but lost fees still apply if items are not returned within 40 days of the due date.
  • DVDs and digital materials may not be checked out on this card.
  • Cards must be made for an individual educator or caregiver, not an institution.
  • Educator cards may not be used to check out any items aside from those intended for use in the classroom or for student education.

The person who signs this application form agrees to the terms of the Educator Card program above and will take full financial responsibility for any lost library materials loaned to them through the Des Moines Public Library on this program. Please notify the library promptly of any change in ownership management or personnel, which may affect the use and/or return of library materials.