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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-8:00 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 "Birth-Preschool" group.

Baby Rhyme Time

10:15am - 10:45am
Central Library Meeting Room 3
Library Branch: Central Library
Room: Central Library Meeting Room 3
Age Group: Birth-Preschool
Program Type: Storytimes
Event Details:
Join us weekly for rhymes, songs, bounces, stories, and a little playtime. For caregivers and babies ages 0 - 18 months.     ...

Disclaimer(s)

Central Parking

Free library parking is available in Central's underground parking garage for two hours per visit. Parking around the library is metered at various costs from 9 a.m. - 9 p.m. Monday-Saturday.

Indoor Program

This program is hosted indoors.  Please observe social distancing and follow local COVID-19 safety mandates. Hand sanitizer will be provided and staff will do their best to ensure any shared materials are disinfected between use. This program is subject to COVID-19 safety protocol updates, including room capacity limits. Please check our website for updates.

Storytime Disclaimer

Masks are encouraged for attendees 2 years and older. Please observe social distancing when possible and visit us another day if you or your child are not feeling well.

This event is in the "Adults" group.

Glowforge Training

1:00pm - 2:00pm
Central Library Glowforge Station
Library Branch: Central Library
Room: Central Library Glowforge Station
Age Group: Adults
Program Type: Arts & Crafts, Computers & Technology
Event Details:
Glowforge training ...
This event is in the "Adults" group.

Drop-in Computer Help @ Central

2:00pm - 3:00pm
Central Library Tech Central
Library Branch: Central Library
Room: Central Library Tech Central
Age Group: Adults
Program Type: Computers & Technology, Educational
Event Details:
It’s never too late to feel comfortable with a computer.  Every Wednesday at the Central Library, staff will answer your questions about­­ computer basics like using a mouse, typing, email­­­, document creation and more.  ...

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.

Central Parking

Free library parking is available in Central's underground parking garage for two hours per visit. Parking around the library is metered at various costs from 9 a.m. - 9 p.m. Monday-Saturday.

This event is in the "Teens" group.

Central VolunTeens

4:00pm - 5:00pm
Central Library Imagination Station
Registration
Library Branch: Central Library
Room: Central Library Imagination Station
Age Group: Teens
Program Type: Educational, Library Meeting
Registration Required
Seats Remaining: 10
Event Details:
Central Library's VolunTeen team will meet to do projects that help the library and the community! All volunteers must fill out an application and waiver before volunteering at the library. Ages 12-18.       ...

Disclaimer(s)

Central Parking

Free library parking is available in Central's underground parking garage for two hours per visit. Parking around the library is metered at various costs from 9 a.m. - 9 p.m. Monday-Saturday.

Indoor Program

This program is hosted indoors.  Please observe social distancing and follow local COVID-19 safety mandates. Hand sanitizer will be provided and staff will do their best to ensure any shared materials are disinfected between use. This program is subject to COVID-19 safety protocol updates, including room capacity limits. Please check our website for updates.

This event is in the "Adults" group.

Glowforge Training - Aidarus, Aidarus

4:00pm - 5:00pm
Central Library Glowforge Station
Library Branch: Central Library
Room: Central Library Glowforge Station
Age Group: Adults
Program Type: Arts & Crafts, Computers & Technology
Event Details:
Glowforge training. fv/ce ...
This event is in the "Children" group.
This event is in the "Teens" group.

Slime Science

4:00pm - 5:00pm
Central Library Meeting Room 3
Registration
Library Branch: Central Library
Room: Central Library Meeting Room 3
Age Group: Children, Teens
Program Type: Educational
Registration Required
Seats Remaining: 2
Event Details:
Join us at Central Library to make and experiment with Magnetic Slime!  ...

Disclaimer(s)

Central Parking

Free library parking is available in Central's underground parking garage for two hours per visit. Parking around the library is metered at various costs from 9 a.m. - 9 p.m. Monday-Saturday.

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.
Library Branch: Central Library
Room: Central Library Tech Central
Age Group: Adults
Program Type: Computers & Technology, Educational
Event Details:
Aprenda a usar la computadora, navegar la red, y usar varios servicios y programas digitales. Para gente adulta (edades 18+). No necesita apartar lugar. Se requiere seguir las sugerencias del CDC para prevenir el contagio de COVID-19. Estacionamiento...

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.

Central Parking

Free library parking is available in Central's underground parking garage for two hours per visit. Parking around the library is metered at various costs from 9 a.m. - 9 p.m. Monday-Saturday.

Indoor Program

This program is hosted indoors.  Please observe social distancing and follow local COVID-19 safety mandates. Hand sanitizer will be provided and staff will do their best to ensure any shared materials are disinfected between use. This program is subject to COVID-19 safety protocol updates, including room capacity limits. Please check our website for updates.

This event is in the "Adults" group.

Glowforge Training

10:00am - 11:00am
Central Library Tech Central
Registration
Library Branch: Central Library
Room: Central Library Tech Central
Age Group: Adults
Program Type: Arts & Crafts, Computers & Technology, Educational
Registration Required
Waitlist Seats Remaining: 4
Event Details:
Learn how to use the Glowforge Plus Laser Engraver at Tech Central! This program takes the place of the 1 on 1 Glowforge tutorial, so you will be fully qualified to book and use the Glowforge on your own after this program. You can also make an acryl...

Disclaimer(s)

Central Parking

Free library parking is available in Central's underground parking garage for two hours per visit. Parking around the library is metered at various costs from 9 a.m. - 9 p.m. Monday-Saturday.

Indoor Program

This program is hosted indoors.  Please observe social distancing and follow local COVID-19 safety mandates. Hand sanitizer will be provided and staff will do their best to ensure any shared materials are disinfected between use. This program is subject to COVID-19 safety protocol updates, including room capacity limits. Please check our website for updates.

This event is in the "Birth-Preschool" group.

Wiggles and Giggles

10:15am - 10:45am
Central Library Meeting Room 1, 2, 3
Library Branch: Central Library
Room: Central Library Meeting Room 1, 2, 3
Age Group: Birth-Preschool
Program Type: Play & Learn, Storytimes
Event Details:
Join Miss Mary at the Central Library for a fun storytime featuring movement, music, and rhyming! The storytime will take place in the meeting room to allow for social distancing.   ...

Disclaimer(s)

Indoor Program

This program is hosted indoors.  Please observe social distancing and follow local COVID-19 safety mandates. Hand sanitizer will be provided and staff will do their best to ensure any shared materials are disinfected between use. This program is subject to COVID-19 safety protocol updates, including room capacity limits. Please check our website for updates.

Storytime Disclaimer

Masks are encouraged for attendees 2 years and older. Please observe social distancing when possible and visit us another day if you or your child are not feeling well.

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

Japanese Festival & Characters with Tanis Sotelo!

4:00pm - 5:00pm
Central Library Meeting Room 1, 2, 3
Registration
Library Branch: Central Library
Room: Central Library Meeting Room 1, 2, 3
Age Group: Children, Teens
Program Type: Arts & Crafts, Educational, Movies
Registration Required
Waitlist Seats Remaining: Unlimited
Event Details:
Join us at Central Library for a very special Anime Club with CultureAll Ambassador Tanis Sotelo, who will share with us the rich and awesome history, culture, and art of traditional Japanese characters, festivals, and samurai!  If you love a...
This event is in the "Adults" group.

Behind the Mic: A Beginner’s Guide to Podcasting

6:30pm - 7:30pm
Central Library Tech Central
Registration
Library Branch: Central Library
Room: Central Library Tech Central
Age Group: Adults
Program Type: Computers & Technology
Registration Required
Seats Remaining: 18
Event Details:
Start a podcast from the mic up in this 3-week series with ChimaeraCast podcast member Ryan Knott. We’ll cover the basics like how to structure your podcast and scripts plus topics like Patreon, creating merchandise, and handling collaborations. By 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.

Central Parking

Free library parking is available in Central's underground parking garage for two hours per visit. Parking around the library is metered at various costs from 9 a.m. - 9 p.m. Monday-Saturday.

Indoor Program

This program is hosted indoors.  Please observe social distancing and follow local COVID-19 safety mandates. Hand sanitizer will be provided and staff will do their best to ensure any shared materials are disinfected between use. This program is subject to COVID-19 safety protocol updates, including room capacity limits. Please check our website for updates.

This event is in the "Adults" group.

The Outreach Project

1:00pm - 3:00pm
Central Library Gateway Gallery
Library Branch: Central Library
Room: Central Library Gateway Gallery
Age Group: Adults
Program Type: Health & Wellness
Event Details:
The Des Moines Public Library is partnering with area organizations to connect people with community resources. Community advocates will provide information about community resources like meal sites and shelters. They may also offer support and ...

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.

Crafternoon

All Day
Central Library Children’s Area
Library Branch: Central Library
Room: Central Library Children’s Area
Age Group: Children
Program Type: Play & Learn
Event Details:
Stop by the children's area at Central Library to explore, create, and play! This is an unstaffed program where activities are self-led. Parent/Guardian must be present with child. Supplies are limited. ...
This event is in the "Birth-Preschool" group.
This event is in the "Children" group.
This event is in the "Teens" group.

Family Movie Party: Trolls: World Tour Sing a-long

1:30pm - 3:30pm
Central Library Meeting Room 1, 2, 3
Library Branch: Central Library
Room: Central Library Meeting Room 1, 2, 3
Age Group: Birth-Preschool, Children, Teens
Program Type: Movies
Event Details:
Join us for a Family Movie Party! This month we will watch Trolls: World Tour. This movie is rated PG and is sure to be a big hit!  Registration is required for this event.  Movie Synopsis: Branch and Poppy come across six t...

Disclaimer(s)

Accompanying Adults

This program is designed for children and accompanying adults. Please plan to attend and be engaged with your child for this program. Drop offs will not be permitted.

Indoor Program

This program is hosted indoors.  Please observe social distancing and follow local COVID-19 safety mandates. Hand sanitizer will be provided and staff will do their best to ensure any shared materials are disinfected between use. This program is subject to COVID-19 safety protocol updates, including room capacity limits. Please check our website for updates.

This event is in the "Children" group.

Crafternoon

All Day
Central Library Children’s Area
Library Branch: Central Library
Room: Central Library Children’s Area
Age Group: Children
Program Type: Play & Learn
Event Details:
Stop by the children's area at Central Library to explore, create, and play! This is an unstaffed program where activities are self-led. Parent/Guardian must be present with child. Supplies are limited. ...
This event is in the "Adults" group.

Game Day @ Central

1:30pm - 4:30pm
Central Library Meeting Room 2, 3
Library Branch: Central Library
Room: Central Library Meeting Room 2, 3
Age Group: Adults
Program Type: Gaming
Event Details:
Come out to the Central Library, try out some new board games and make some new friends.  A selection of table top games will be provided for use in the library.  Feel free to bring beverages, snacks, and your own games if you would like to...

Disclaimer(s)

Indoor Program

This program is hosted indoors.  Please observe social distancing and follow local COVID-19 safety mandates. Hand sanitizer will be provided and staff will do their best to ensure any shared materials are disinfected between use. This program is subject to COVID-19 safety protocol updates, including room capacity limits. Please check our website for updates.

Branches:
Central Library, East Side Library, Forest Avenue Library, Franklin Avenue Library, North Side Library, South Side Library, Off Site, DMPL Virtual
Description:
All locations will be closed Monday in observance of Independence Day. ...
This event is in the "Children" group.

Reading Buddies with ARL TheraPets!

3:30pm - 5:00pm
Central Library Meeting Room 1, 2, 3
Registration
Library Branch: Central Library
Room: Central Library Meeting Room 1, 2, 3
Age Group: Children
Program Type: Educational, Health & Wellness, Play & Learn
Registration Required
Seats Remaining: 13
Event Details:
Do you love animals? Then visit Central Library to practice reading with an ARL TheraPet! Kids will each get 15 minutes to spend reading and interacting with a live, certified pet-therapy animal.  Engaging with animals is a great way to boost...

Disclaimer(s)

Accompanying Adults

This program is designed for children and accompanying adults. Please plan to attend and be engaged with your child for this program. Drop offs will not be permitted.

Central Parking

Free library parking is available in Central's underground parking garage for two hours per visit. Parking around the library is metered at various costs from 9 a.m. - 9 p.m. Monday-Saturday.

Children’s Program

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

Indoor Program

This program is hosted indoors.  Please observe social distancing and follow local COVID-19 safety mandates. Hand sanitizer will be provided and staff will do their best to ensure any shared materials are disinfected between use. This program is subject to COVID-19 safety protocol updates, including room capacity limits. Please check our website for updates.

This event is in the "Birth-Preschool" group.

Baby Rhyme Time

10:15am - 10:45am
Central Library Meeting Room 2, 3
Library Branch: Central Library
Room: Central Library Meeting Room 2, 3
Age Group: Birth-Preschool
Program Type: Storytimes
Event Details:
Join us weekly for rhymes, songs, bounces, stories, and a little playtime. For caregivers and babies ages 0 - 18 months.     ...

Disclaimer(s)

Central Parking

Free library parking is available in Central's underground parking garage for two hours per visit. Parking around the library is metered at various costs from 9 a.m. - 9 p.m. Monday-Saturday.

Indoor Program

This program is hosted indoors.  Please observe social distancing and follow local COVID-19 safety mandates. Hand sanitizer will be provided and staff will do their best to ensure any shared materials are disinfected between use. This program is subject to COVID-19 safety protocol updates, including room capacity limits. Please check our website for updates.

Storytime Disclaimer

Masks are encouraged for attendees 2 years and older. Please observe social distancing when possible and visit us another day if you or your child are not feeling well.

This event is in the "Adults" group.

Drop-in Computer Help @ Central

2:00pm - 3:00pm
Central Library Tech Central
Library Branch: Central Library
Room: Central Library Tech Central
Age Group: Adults
Program Type: Computers & Technology, Educational
Event Details:
It’s never too late to feel comfortable with a computer.  Every Wednesday at the Central Library, staff will answer your questions about­­ computer basics like using a mouse, typing, email­­­, document creation and more.  ...

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.

Central Parking

Free library parking is available in Central's underground parking garage for two hours per visit. Parking around the library is metered at various costs from 9 a.m. - 9 p.m. Monday-Saturday.

This event is in the "Adults" group.

Glowforge Training

10:00am - 11:00am
Central Library Tech Central
Registration
Library Branch: Central Library
Room: Central Library Tech Central
Age Group: Adults
Program Type: Arts & Crafts, Computers & Technology, Educational
Registration Required
Seats Remaining: 4
Event Details:
Learn how to use the Glowforge Plus Laser Engraver at Tech Central! This program takes the place of the 1 on 1 Glowforge tutorial, so you will be fully qualified to book and use the Glowforge on your own after this program. You can also make an acryl...

Disclaimer(s)

Central Parking

Free library parking is available in Central's underground parking garage for two hours per visit. Parking around the library is metered at various costs from 9 a.m. - 9 p.m. Monday-Saturday.

Indoor Program

This program is hosted indoors.  Please observe social distancing and follow local COVID-19 safety mandates. Hand sanitizer will be provided and staff will do their best to ensure any shared materials are disinfected between use. This program is subject to COVID-19 safety protocol updates, including room capacity limits. Please check our website for updates.

This event is in the "Birth-Preschool" group.

Wiggles and Giggles

10:15am - 10:45am
Central Library Meeting Room 1, 2, 3
Library Branch: Central Library
Room: Central Library Meeting Room 1, 2, 3
Age Group: Birth-Preschool
Program Type: Play & Learn, Storytimes
Event Details:
Join Miss Mary at the Central Library for a fun storytime featuring movement, music, and rhyming! The storytime will take place in the meeting room to allow for social distancing.   ...

Disclaimer(s)

Indoor Program

This program is hosted indoors.  Please observe social distancing and follow local COVID-19 safety mandates. Hand sanitizer will be provided and staff will do their best to ensure any shared materials are disinfected between use. This program is subject to COVID-19 safety protocol updates, including room capacity limits. Please check our website for updates.

Storytime Disclaimer

Masks are encouraged for attendees 2 years and older. Please observe social distancing when possible and visit us another day if you or your child are not feeling well.