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

Hours:
Sunday: 1 PM - 5 PM
Monday: 9 AM - 8 PM
Tuesday: 9 AM - 8 PM
Wednesday: 9 AM – 8 PM
Thursday: 9 AM - 8 PM
Friday: 9 AM - 6 PM
Saturday: 10 AM - 5 PM

Pickup window:
Monday-Friday: 4 PM - 6 PM

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.

Toddler Storytime

December 13, 2019
10:15am - 10:45am
Central Library Imagination Station
Library Branch: Central Library
Room: Central Library Imagination Station
Age Group: Birth-Preschool
Program Type: Storytimes
Event Details:
Join us for stories, songs, and movement to practice the 5 simple steps of pre-literacy!...
This event is in the "Children" group.

3-D Castles A.

December 13, 2019
4:15pm - 5:00pm
Central Library Gateway Gallery
Registration
Library Branch: Central Library
Room: Central Library Gateway Gallery
Age Group: Children
Program Type: Arts & Crafts, Computers & Technology
Registration Required
Seats Remaining: 0
Event Details:
Build your own castle using our 3-D pens. You will learn the basics of using a pen to draw 2-D objects and then turn them into 3-D toys in only a few simple steps. For ages 5-12. Registration Required, space is limited! ...

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 "Children" group.

DIY Snap Bracelets

All Day
Central Library Children’s Area
Library Branch: Central Library
Room: Central Library Children’s Area
Age Group: Children
Program Type: Arts & Crafts
Event Details:
Drop-in at the library to decorate your own snap bracelet. This craft will be kept at the Youth Desk and is first come, first served, while supplies last. One craft per child.  ...

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.

Leap Here: Facebook Social Media Marketing Workshop

December 16, 2019
4:30pm - 6:00pm
Central Library Computer Lab
Library Branch: Central Library
Room: Central Library Computer Lab
Age Group: Adults
Program Type: Computers & Technology, Educational
Event Details:
Come learn more about how to build and grow a social media presence for your organization!!!  FREE - Social media marketing training for small businesses and non-profits. Get answers to questions such as: “How do I create a page?”, “What are ...
This event is in the "Children" group.

Family Storytime: Clay Snowmen

December 17, 2019
6:30pm - 7:00pm
Central Library Imagination Station
Library Branch: Central Library
Room: Central Library Imagination Station
Age Group: Children
Program Type: Arts & Crafts, Holidays, Storytimes
Event Details:
Listen to snow-themed stories as we build our own clay snowmen to take home! ...
This event is in the "Birth-Preschool" group.

Mother Goose on the Loose

December 18, 2019
9:30am - 10:00am
Central Library Imagination Station
Library Branch: Central Library
Room: Central Library Imagination Station
Age Group: Birth-Preschool
Program Type: Storytimes
Event Details:
“Mother Goose on the Loose”, is a 30-minute nursery rhyme program for newborns to three-year-olds. The class helps to strengthen babies' and toddler's foundation for literacy with rhymes, rhythm, repetition, story, and movement. Following the program...

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.

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

Baby Rhyme Time

December 18, 2019
10:15am - 10:45am
Central Library Imagination Station
Library Branch: Central Library
Room: Central Library Imagination Station
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.

This event is in the "Children" group.

B.A.M. (Books, Art, Make): Cross-Stitch Pairs

December 18, 2019
4:00pm - 5:00pm
Central Library Imagination Station
Registration
Library Branch: Central Library
Room: Central Library Imagination Station
Age Group: Children
Program Type: Arts & Crafts
Registration Required
Seats Remaining: 19
Event Details:
Here is a chance to learn cross-stitch along with your child, with adult and child pairs. Please register as an adult and a child to take part in this. There is room for 12 pairs! ...
This event is in the "Birth-Preschool" group.

Preschool Storytime

December 19, 2019
10:15am - 10:45am
Central Library Imagination Station
Library Branch: Central Library
Room: Central Library Imagination Station
Age Group: Birth-Preschool
Program Type: Storytimes
Event Details:
Join us for stories, songs, and movement that build literacy and school-readiness skills! ...
This event is in the "Birth-Preschool" group.

Toddler Storytime

December 20, 2019
10:15am - 10:45am
Central Library Imagination Station
Library Branch: Central Library
Room: Central Library Imagination Station
Age Group: Birth-Preschool
Program Type: Storytimes
Event Details:
Join us for stories, songs, and movement to practice the 5 simple steps of pre-literacy!...
This event is in the "Children" group.

Mitten Lacing Cards

All Day
Central Library Children’s Area
Library Branch: Central Library
Room: Central Library Children’s Area
Age Group: Children
Program Type: Arts & Crafts, Holidays
Event Details:
Drop-in at the library to create your own set of mitten lacing cards. This craft will be kept at the Youth Desk and are first come first served as supplies last. One craft per child. ...

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

Winter Challenge: Sugar Cube Igloos

All Day
Central Library Children’s Area
Library Branch: Central Library
Room: Central Library Children’s Area
Age Group: Birth-Preschool, Children
Program Type: Arts & Crafts, Holidays
Event Details:
Build your own igloo out of sugar cubes with this fun STEM-based craft and add penguin puppets for a winter wonderland.  One craft allowed per child on a first come first served basis as supplies last! ...

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.

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

Winter Challenge: Window-Clings

All Day
Central Library Children’s Area
Library Branch: Central Library
Room: Central Library Children’s Area
Age Group: Birth-Preschool, Children, Teens
Program Type: Arts & Crafts, Holidays
Event Details:
Use puffy paint to design your own take-home window clings.  One craft allowed per child on a first come first served basis as supplies last! ...

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

Winter Challenge: D.I.Y Origami

All Day
Central Library Children’s Area
Library Branch: Central Library
Room: Central Library Children’s Area
Age Group: Children, Teens
Program Type: Arts & Crafts
Event Details:
Crack open one of our origami books and create your own paper sculptures to take home.  As supplies last. ...

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 "Birth-Preschool" group.

Friday Morning Fever Toddler/Preschool Dance Party!

December 27, 2019
10:00am - 11:00am
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
Event Details:
Come to the Central Library to dance under the lights of a disco ball, play with beach balls, and do a special craft! Put on those boogie shoes and bring a friend!...
This event is in the "Birth-Preschool" group.
This event is in the "Children" group.

Giant Candyland Activity

All Day
Central Library Children’s Area
Library Branch: Central Library
Room: Central Library Children’s Area
Age Group: Birth-Preschool, Children
Program Type: Gaming
Event Details:
Have you ever played a game so big that you were the pieces?  Drop-by the library and play our Giant Candyland to win a candy prize.  One game/prize per child. ...

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.

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

Winter Challenge: Paper Snowflakes

All Day
Central Library Children’s Area
Library Branch: Central Library
Room: Central Library Children’s Area
Age Group: Children, Teens
Program Type: Arts & Crafts, Holidays
Event Details:
Try your hand at our D.I.Y snowflake station and cut out your own wintery creations!  This activity is available on a first come first serve basis with one craft per child as supplies last. ...

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

Winter Challenge: Penguin Pillows

December 30, 2019
9:00am - 8:00pm
Central Library Children’s Area
Library Branch: Central Library
Room: Central Library Children’s Area
Age Group: Birth-Preschool, Children
Program Type: Arts & Crafts, Holidays
Event Details:
Decorate your own penguin felt pillows to take home.  This activity is available on a first come first serve basis with one craft per child as supplies last. ...

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.

Leap Here: Facebook Social Media Marketing Workshop

December 30, 2019
4:30pm - 6:00pm
Central Library Computer Lab
Library Branch: Central Library
Room: Central Library Computer Lab
Age Group: Adults
Program Type: Computers & Technology, Educational
Event Details:
Come learn more about how to build and grow a social media presence for your organization!!!  FREE - Social media marketing training for small businesses and non-profits. Get answers to questions such as: “How do I create a page?”, “What are ...
This event is in the "Birth-Preschool" group.
This event is in the "Children" group.

Winter Challenge: Snowy Balloon Owls

December 31, 2019
9:00am - 5:00pm
Central Library Children’s Area
Library Branch: Central Library
Room: Central Library Children’s Area
Age Group: Birth-Preschool, Children
Program Type: Arts & Crafts, Holidays
Event Details:
Decorate your own balloon owl buddy to  take home.  This activity is available on a first come first serve basis with one craft per child as supplies last. ...

Disclaimer(s)

Children’s Program

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