All Library Locations Closed Until Further Notice

All Des Moines Public Library buildings will be closed to the public until further notice as a preventative measure to stop the spread of COVID-19 (coronavirus). For more information about library services during our closure, please go HERE.

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.

CANCELLED Power Play

April 2, 2020
10:30am - 11:30am
Central Library Meeting Room 1, 2, 3
Cancelled
Library Branch: Central Library
Room: Central Library Meeting Room 1, 2, 3
Age Group: Birth-Preschool
Program Type: Play & Learn, Storytimes
Event Details:
Adults and children play together in an environment set up to promote all areas of development through open ended active play focused on the 5 Simple Steps to Success strategies of read, write, sing, play and talk.  Join us for 60 minutes of Pow...

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.

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

CANCELLED Daniel Tiger visits the Library

April 3, 2020
10:00am - 11:00am
Central Library Meeting Room 1, 2, 3
Cancelled
Library Branch: Central Library
Room: Central Library Meeting Room 1, 2, 3
Age Group: Birth-Preschool
Program Type: Storytimes
Event Details:
Come and enjoy some stories and songs with Daniel Tiger!  There will be time after the program for pictures. ...

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

CANCELLED DIY Pop Sockets

April 3, 2020
4:00pm - 5:00pm
Central Library Imagination Station
Cancelled
Library Branch: Central Library
Room: Central Library Imagination Station
Age Group: Children, Teens
Program Type: Arts & Crafts
Event Details:
Your phone is personal, so why shouldn’t your phone grip be? Join us to design a pop socket of your very own. You bring the creativity, we’ll bring everything else!  Ages 10-18. While supplies last.  ...

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 "Children" group.

CANCELLED Craftivities: Rainbow Crown Craft

April 4, 2020
10:00am - 5:00pm
Central Library Children’s Area
Cancelled
Library Branch: Central Library
Room: Central Library Children’s Area
Age Group: Children
Program Type: Arts & Crafts
Event Details:
Come to the library and create your very own Rainbow crown! This is a drop-in, unsupervised activity. Parent/guardian must be present with children. Craft available while 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.

CANCELLED Toddler Art: Alphabet Practice

April 6, 2020
9:00am - 8:00pm
Central Library Children’s Area
Cancelled
Library Branch: Central Library
Room: Central Library Children’s Area
Age Group: Birth-Preschool, Children
Program Type: Arts & Crafts
Event Details:
Practice your fine motor skills with non toxic, washable art supplies. This process-based activity  involves toddler-appropriate activities and explores sensory-play. ...

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.

CANCELLED: Writers' Workshop

April 6, 2020
5:00pm - 7:00pm
Central Library Meeting Room 3
Cancelled
Library Branch: Central Library
Room: Central Library Meeting Room 3
Age Group: Adults
Program Type: Educational
Event Details:
Join us for an informal writers' workshop on the first* Monday of the month from 5-7 PM. Share samples of your work and receive feedback from other writers in the group. If you would like to share your writing with the group, please attach th...

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.

Book Club On the Go

April 7, 2020
9:00am - 8:00pm
Library Branch: Central Library
Age Group: Adults
Program Type: Book Clubs
Event Details:
The book club for those on the go: anytime, anywhere.  This month we'll be reading Being Mortal by Atul Gawande. Check out your copy online with our ebooks or eaudiobooks through Libby.  Book Club On the Go does not mee...
This event is in the "Birth-Preschool" group.
This event is in the "Children" group.

CANCELLED Family Storytime: Magnetic Slime

April 7, 2020
6:30pm - 7:00pm
Central Library Imagination Station
Cancelled
Library Branch: Central Library
Room: Central Library Imagination Station
Age Group: Birth-Preschool, Children
Program Type: Storytimes
Event Details:
Bring the entire family together early in the evening for stories, songs and occasional crafts. It's a great way for busy parents to relax and listen to stories with their children. You can even wear your jammies! ...

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.

CANCELLED Mother Goose on the Loose

April 8, 2020
9:30am - 10:00am
Central Library Imagination Station
Cancelled
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.

CANCELLED Baby Rhyme Time

April 8, 2020
10:15am - 10:45am
Central Library Imagination Station
Cancelled
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 "Adults" group.

CANCELLED: Drop-in Computer Help @ Central

April 8, 2020
2:00pm - 3:00pm
Central Library Computer Lab
Cancelled
Library Branch: Central Library
Room: Central Library Computer Lab
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, online Library resources, email­­­, 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 "Children" group.

CANCELLED B.A.M. (Books, Art, Make) : Folded Paper Bracelets

April 8, 2020
4:00pm - 5:00pm
Central Library Imagination Station
Cancelled
Registration
Library Branch: Central Library
Room: Central Library Imagination Station
Age Group: Children
Program Type: Arts & Crafts
Event Details:
Learn how to fold paper strips to make bracelets for you and all of your friends!  Please register to save your spot! ...

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.

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

CANCELLED Power Play

April 9, 2020
10:30am - 11:30am
Central Library Meeting Room 1, 2, 3
Cancelled
Library Branch: Central Library
Room: Central Library Meeting Room 1, 2, 3
Age Group: Birth-Preschool
Program Type: Play & Learn, Storytimes
Event Details:
Adults and children play together in an environment set up to promote all areas of development through open ended active play focused on the 5 Simple Steps to Success strategies of read, write, sing, play and talk.  Join us for 60 minutes of Pow...

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.

This event is in the "Adults" group.

CANCELLED - AViD presents Hanif Abdurraqib

April 9, 2020
7:00pm - 10:00pm
Central Library Meeting Room 1, 2, 3
Cancelled
Library Branch: Central Library
Room: Central Library Meeting Room 1, 2, 3
Age Group: Adults
Program Type: Author Visits
Event Details:
Hanif Abdurraqib is a poet, essayist, and cultural critic from Columbus, Ohio. He released two books in 2019. The first, Go Ahead in the Rain, chronicles A Tribe Called Quest, the seminal 1990s rap group. It was named one of the best b...

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.

CANCELLED Toddler Storytime

April 10, 2020
10:15am - 10:45am
Central Library Meeting Room 1
Cancelled
Library Branch: Central Library
Room: Central Library Meeting Room 1
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:  reading, singing, talking, writing, and playing!  Best for children aged 18 months to 3 years old. ...

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.

CANCELLED Clay Cosplay

April 10, 2020
4:00pm - 5:00pm
Central Library Imagination Station
Cancelled
Registration
Library Branch: Central Library
Room: Central Library Imagination Station
Age Group: Children
Program Type: Arts & Crafts
Event Details:
Come celebrate your favorite fandom through cosplay! We’ll use colorful clay and plastic models to create costumed characters you can take home. ...

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.

CANCELLED Craftivities: Pinwheels

April 11, 2020
10:15am - 4:45pm
Central Library Children’s Area
Cancelled
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 make your own pinwheel! This craft will be kept at the Youth Desk and is first come first served as supplies last. One craft per child. ...

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 "Teens" group.

CANCELLED Teen Blackout Poetry

April 13, 2020
9:00am - 8:00pm
Central Library Teen Area
Cancelled
Library Branch: Central Library
Room: Central Library Teen Area
Age Group: Teens
Program Type: Arts & Crafts, Educational
Event Details:
Visit us in the Teen area to celebrate National Poetry Month. All you need is a marker, a book page, and your creativity to write great poems! This is an all-day, drop-in program for 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.

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

CANCELLED Family Storytime: Giant Candyland

April 14, 2020
6:30pm - 7:00pm
Central Library Imagination Station
Cancelled
Library Branch: Central Library
Room: Central Library Imagination Station
Age Group: Birth-Preschool, Children
Program Type: Storytimes
Event Details:
Listen to funny stories and play our life sized candyland at tonight's storytime with some sweet treats for all finishers. ...

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.

CANCELLED Mother Goose on the Loose

April 15, 2020
9:30am - 10:00am
Central Library Imagination Station
Cancelled
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.

CANCELLED Baby Rhyme Time

April 15, 2020
10:15am - 10:45am
Central Library Imagination Station
Cancelled
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.