Franklin Avenue Library Construction

The exterior book returns at Franklin Avenue Library will be unavailable beginning Monday, May 17. Please use the temporary book returns in the east parking lot. 

Central Library Construction

Due to construction, the Central Library pickup window and exterior book returns will be temporarily closed beginning Thursday, May 13. Please pick up your items and return items inside the library. Hold deadlines and due dates have been extended for any affected customers. Free underground parking is still available. Please follow signage on Grand Avenue.

Central Library

Central Library exterior shot

Location Details

Address:
1000 Grand Avenue
Des Moines, IA 50309

Directions:
Google Maps

Jon Hobbs headshot

Jon Hobbs
Central Library Manager
JTHobbs@dmpl.org

Phone:
(515) 283-4152

Book a Central Library meeting room

In-Person Services
  • 9:00 AM-7:00 PM Monday-Thursday
  • 9:00 AM-6:00 PM Friday
  • 10:00 AM-5:00 PM Saturday
  • 1:00-5:00 PM Sunday
Pickup Window
  • 9:00 AM-7:00 PM Monday-Thursday
  • 9:00 AM-6:00 PM Friday
  • 10:00 AM-5:00 PM Saturday
  • Closed Sunday

Central Library

The Central Library is located in the heart of downtown Des Moines’ Western Gateway Park area at 1000 Grand Avenue, near the Pappajohn Sculpture Garden. The sprawling, 110,000-square foot building, which replaced the original Main Library that opened in 1903 on the Des Moines Riverfront, was designed by famed London architect Sir David Chipperfield.

About the Building

Chipperfield, along with Herbert Lewis Kruse Blunck of Des Moines, designed the building, envisioning it as “a library in a park, a park in a library.” The building acts as a link from downtown to Western Gateway Park, anchoring it as a cornerstone of the western part of downtown. 

Central Library features a green roof of slow-growing sedum, which, when viewed from above, gives the illusion there is no library, as it blends into the greenspace outside. The free form shape resembles that of an airplane, which breaks the illusion. The roof controls water runoff by retaining water and can hold more than 187,000 gallons. It is self-maintaining and needs no irrigation. The building’s mechanical and electrical systems were also designed for efficiency, and use 30 percent less energy than a conventional building.

The library’s copper color is a result of its windows, which feature three layers of glass with copper mesh sandwiched between the outer two. Central Library was the first building in the world to use these copper mesh panels, which act as micro-blinds, reducing UV radiation by 87 percent, protecting books from sun damage, blocking glare and heat, and improving energy efficiency. There are 355 window panels, each weighing 1,400 pounds and measuring 4 feet by 14 feet. The panels look different fom the outside depending on the time of day - bright coppery reflection during the day, transparent at night.

The building took almost four years to construct, at a cost of $32.3 million. 

About the Public Artwork

Miffy statue at Central Library


At the west end of the library sits “Les Vents” (The Winds), a sculpture gifted to the city by the American Republic Insurance Company. Created by artist Edward Lee Hendricks, Les Vents was placed at the old Main Library in 1986, then moved to the new Central Library and reconstructed over three months in 2006. The poles stand more than 30 feet high, with wings 12 feet long that can sustain wind gusts up to 100 mph.

On the south lawn of Central Library sits the Miffy Fountain, gifted to the Greater Des Moines Public Art Foundation in memory of Melva Bucksbaum by her children. The work was created by famed American artist Tom Sachs and is based on the children’s book character of the same name. The fountain is painted bronze and was cast in 2008, and stands just over 10 feet tall. It had installations in New York City and Paris before finding its permanent home outside Central Library in 2018.

About the Central Art Gallery

Des Moines Central Library’s Art Gallery offers an accessible and welcoming environment for encouraging and celebrating Iowa artists. The gallery is located on the second floor of the Central Library and features eight double-sided movable walls with over fifty square feet of usable display space per side. Find out more about the gallery, see the current display, and learn how to apply to be featured in the space here.

Upcoming Events

This event is in the "Teens" group.
This event is in the "Adults" group.

Spark Stories: Kevin Williamson

6:30pm - 7:00pm
Online Programming
Library Branch: DMPL Virtual
Room: Online Programming
Age Group: Teens, Adults
Program Type: Educational
Event Details:
Kevin Williamson created the “Des Moines, How can we help you?” Facebook group in March 2020 in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.  A year later, the group includes over 17,000 members who have been supporting each other through this difficult t...

Disclaimer(s)

Accessibility

The library makes every effort to ensure our programs can be enjoyed by all. If you have any concerns about accessibility or need to request specific accommodations, please contact the library.
This event is in the "Adults" group.

DMPL Virtual YA for Adults Book Club

6:00pm - 7:00pm
Zoom Program Room
Registration
Library Branch: DMPL Virtual
Room: Zoom Program Room
Age Group: Adults
Program Type: Book Clubs
Registration Required
Seats Remaining: 5
Event Details:
Join us on Zoom for the DMPL Virtual YA for Adults Book Club.  This program has limited space and requires registration. After registration, you will receive a confirmation email with the link and password to the Zoom meeting.    ...
This event is in the "Children" group.

Virtual Stories, Songs and Movement!

10:15am - 10:45am
Online Programming
Library Branch: DMPL Virtual
Room: Online Programming
Age Group: Children
Program Type: Storytimes
Event Details:
Buggin' Out! Bring your imagination and join Miss Donna on Facebook as we read books, sing and move our bodies in this playful story time about the world we live in. Ages two and up. ...

Disclaimer(s)

Children’s Program

Children under 10 years old must be accompanied by a caregiver over 12 years old.

This event is in the "Adults" group.
This event is in the "All Ages" group.

Autism 101

10:00am - 11:00am
Zoom Program Room
Registration
Library Branch: DMPL Virtual
Room: Zoom Program Room
Age Group: Adults, All Ages
Program Type: Educational, Health & Wellness
Registration Required
Seats Remaining: 22
Event Details:
Do you have questions about having Autism or how to support an Autistic loved one? The Autism Society of Iowa will share an overview of characteristics, treatment options, and state funding programs.  Participants will l...
This event is in the "Children" group.
This event is in the "Teens" group.
Registration
Library Branch: DMPL Virtual
Room: Online Programming
Age Group: Children, Teens
Program Type: Gaming
Registration Required
Seats Remaining: 1
Event Details:
Join us in the Battle Arena! Ages 10-18 can participate in this event if you have a Nintendo Switch with a Nintendo Online subscription, and a copy of Super Smash Brothers Ultimate. Registrants will be emailed instructio...
This event is in the "Adults" group.

DMPL Virtual Book Club: Summer of '69

6:00pm - 7:00pm
Zoom Program Room
Registration
Library Branch: DMPL Virtual
Room: Zoom Program Room
Age Group: Adults
Program Type: Book Clubs
Registration Required
Seats Remaining: 9
Event Details:
Join us on Zoom for the DMPL Virtual Book Club. This month, we will be discussing Summer of '69 by Elin Hilderbrand.  This program has limited space and requires registration. After registration, you will receive a confirmation email wit...
This event is in the "Teens" group.

Virtual VolunTeens

4:00pm - 5:00pm
Zoom Program Room
Registration
Library Branch: DMPL Virtual
Room: Zoom Program Room
Age Group: Teens
Program Type: Educational
Registration Required
Seats Remaining: 19
Event Details:
This is the last meeting of Virtual VolunTeens, where you'll work with our Youth Librarians to help accomplish library goals, all while gaining resume-worthy skills and making new connections! Library volunteering is eligible for Silve...
This event is in the "Adults" group.

DSM Book Festival Book Club: The Dutch House

7:00pm - 8:00pm
Online Programming
Library Branch: DMPL Virtual
Room: Online Programming
Age Group: Adults
Program Type: Book Clubs
Event Details:
The Des Moines Public Library is partnering with the DSM Book Festival's DSM Book Club to cohost its online book discussion. The book being discussed is The Dutch House by Ann Patchett. The DSM Book Club is an online sharing session designed ...
This event is in the "Birth-Preschool" group.

Virtual Storytime: Get Ready for Summer!

10:15am - 10:45am
Online Programming
Library Branch: DMPL Virtual
Room: Online Programming
Age Group: Birth-Preschool
Program Type: Storytimes
Event Details:
Join us for a very special Virtual Storytime featuring all six DMPL locations at 10:15 a.m. on Facebook as we get you PUMPED up for All Summer Long our fabulous all ages reading program!  Hear stories, songs, and more all about su...
This event is in the "Adults" group.

DMPL Virtual Genre Voyager Book Club

6:30pm - 7:30pm
Zoom Program Room
Registration
Library Branch: DMPL Virtual
Room: Zoom Program Room
Age Group: Adults
Program Type: Book Clubs
Registration Required
Seats Remaining: 9
Event Details:
What do the terms romance, mystery, fiction, sci-fi bring to mind? Have you ever wondered if there is more to these terms than what meets the eye? Are you looking to expand your reading horizons? Every season, roughly every 3 months, we move on to...
This event is in the "Birth-Preschool" group.

Virtual Storytime: Water Safety

10:15am - 10:45am
Online Programming
Library Branch: DMPL Virtual
Room: Online Programming
Age Group: Birth-Preschool
Program Type: Storytimes
Event Details:
Join us for a special Virtual Storytime: Water Safety with Des Moines Parks and Recreation Program Coordinator Chelsea Reece! She will read a special story about swimming safety and share tips on how to stay safe in the water...
This event is in the "Teens" group.

Teen Pride Series

4:00pm - 5:00pm
Zoom Program Room
Registration
Library Branch: DMPL Virtual
Room: Zoom Program Room
Age Group: Teens
Program Type: Educational, Health & Wellness
Registration Required
Seats Remaining: 15
Event Details:
This Pride Month, join DMPL and our partners at Iowa Safe Schools and UCS Healthcare to talk about LGBTQ issues, ask questions, and discover awesome resources! In this four-session series, you’ll meet other teens in the community like you who are int...
This event is in the "Adults" group.

Writers' Workshop Online

5:30pm - 6:30pm
Zoom Program Room
Registration
Library Branch: DMPL Virtual
Room: Zoom Program Room
Age Group: Adults
Program Type: Educational
Registration Required
Seats Remaining: 6
Event Details:
Join us on Zoom for the DMPL Virtual Writer's Workshop on the first* Monday of the month from 5:30-6:30 PM. Share samples of your work and receive feedback from other writers in the group.  If you would like to share your writing wi...

Disclaimer(s)

Accessibility

The library makes every effort to ensure our programs can be enjoyed by all. If you have any concerns about accessibility or need to request specific accommodations, please contact the library.
This event is in the "Children" group.

Fabulous Food: Collage Faces with ASAP

2:00pm - 2:30pm
Online Programming
Library Branch: DMPL Virtual
Room: Online Programming
Age Group: Children
Program Type: Arts & Crafts
Event Details:
Join After School Arts Program (ASAP) teaching artist Amy Tingstrom for a virtual art lesson on how to make a very unique collage portrait.  This portrait will be made entirely out of pictures of food and plants and is based on the work of the 1...
This event is in the "Children" group.
This event is in the "Teens" group.

Tween and Teen Ukulele Camp

2:00pm - 3:00pm
Zoom Meeting Room
Registration
Library Branch: DMPL Virtual
Room: Zoom Meeting Room
Age Group: Children, Teens
Program Type: Educational
Registration Required
Seats Remaining: 5
Event Details:
Get started on the ukulele and quickly learn to play familiar tunes while having fun! Play your own ukulele or borrow one of North Side Library's soprano ukuleles with your library card. Natalie Steenson will facilitate this 3-day camp for ...
This event is in the "Teens" group.
This event is in the "Adults" group.

Spark Stories: Dwana Bradley

6:30pm - 7:00pm
Online Programming
Library Branch: DMPL Virtual
Room: Online Programming
Age Group: Teens, Adults
Program Type: Educational
Event Details:
Dwana Bradley will share her spark story—or what inspired her to step up and make Des Moines a better place to live.  She is the General Chairperson of Iowa Juneteenth, chair of the Des Moines School Board, executive director of the Des Moines U...

Disclaimer(s)

Accessibility

The library makes every effort to ensure our programs can be enjoyed by all. If you have any concerns about accessibility or need to request specific accommodations, please contact the library.
This event is in the "Children" group.
This event is in the "Teens" group.

Tween and Teen Ukulele Camp

2:00pm - 3:00pm
Zoom Meeting Room
Registration
Library Branch: DMPL Virtual
Room: Zoom Meeting Room
Age Group: Children, Teens
Program Type: Educational
Registration Required
Seats Remaining: 5
Event Details:
Get started on the ukulele and quickly learn to play familiar tunes while having fun! Play your own ukulele or borrow one of North Side Library's soprano ukuleles with your library card. Natalie Steenson will facilitate this 3-day camp for ...
This event is in the "Children" group.
This event is in the "Teens" group.

Learn to Slay: Intro to Dungeons & Dragons

3:00pm - 4:30pm
Zoom Program Room
Registration
Library Branch: DMPL Virtual
Room: Zoom Program Room
Age Group: Children, Teens
Program Type: Educational, Gaming
Registration Required
Seats Remaining: 50
Event Details:
Have you ever wanted to slay a dragon, raid a dungeon treasure room, or even save a village from an evil bandit horde? Always wanted to play Dungeons & Dragons, but didn’t know where to start? Join us as we learn the basics of how to get started ...
This event is in the "Adults" group.

AViD Presents: Elin Hilderbrand

7:00pm - 8:15pm
Zoom Meeting Room
Registration
Library Branch: DMPL Virtual
Room: Zoom Meeting Room
Age Group: Adults
Program Type: Author Visits
Registration Required
Seats Remaining: 334
Event Details:
Elin Hilderbrand is a graduate of The Johns Hopkins University and the Iowa Writers Workshop. She has become known as “The Queen of Beach Reads,” having written more than 20 novels, including romance, murder mysteries, historical fiction, and more. S...
This event is in the "Birth-Preschool" group.
This event is in the "Children" group.

Free Play Olympics

10:00am - 11:00am
Central Library Lawn
Library Branch: Central Library
Room: Central Library Lawn
Age Group: Birth-Preschool, Children
Program Type: Play & Learn
Event Details:
Join us on the lawn of the Central Library to celebrate the return of the Summer Olympic Games in Tokyo, Japan!   There will be various activities available for free play set out to be enjoyed by a maximum of 30 people at a time.  Ther...

Disclaimer(s)

Outdoor Program

This program is hosted outdoors.  Attendees must obey all signage and follow current mask mandates and social distancing guidelines from the city of Des Moines.

In case of inclement weather please check back here for updates. 

This event is in the "Children" group.
This event is in the "Teens" group.

Tween and Teen Ukulele Camp

2:00pm - 3:00pm
Zoom Meeting Room
Registration
Library Branch: DMPL Virtual
Room: Zoom Meeting Room
Age Group: Children, Teens
Program Type: Educational
Registration Required
Seats Remaining: 5
Event Details:
Get started on the ukulele and quickly learn to play familiar tunes while having fun! Play your own ukulele or borrow one of North Side Library's soprano ukuleles with your library card. Natalie Steenson will facilitate this 3-day camp for ...
This event is in the "Children" group.
This event is in the "Teens" group.
Registration
Library Branch: DMPL Virtual
Room: Zoom Program Room
Age Group: Children, Teens
Program Type: Author Visits
Registration Required
Seats Remaining: 20
Event Details:
Jumpstart your writing with novelist and writer Carrie Seim as we explore creative ways to get your words flowing in this one-of-a-kind writing workshop. Carrie Seim is the author of the fantastic new book, Horse Girl, a funny, tender book said to...