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

Voter Registration

January 27, 2020
11:30am - 1:30pm
Central Library Gateway Gallery
Library Branch: Central Library
Room: Central Library Gateway Gallery
Age Group: Teens, Adults
Program Type: Educational
Event Details:
Need to register to vote? Stop by the library! The Office of Iowa Secretary of State will provide voter information and registration assistance. To qualify to register to vote in Iowa, you must be: A U.S. citizen, An Iowa residen...

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.

3-D Pen Hedgehogs

January 28, 2020
4:00pm - 5:00pm
Central Library Imagination Station
Registration
Library Branch: Central Library
Room: Central Library Imagination Station
Age Group: Children
Program Type: Computers & Technology
Registration Required
Waitlist Seats Remaining: 0
Event Details:
Build your hedgehogs using our 3-D pens and ping pong balls. You will learn the basics of using a pen to draw 3-D toys in only a few steps.    ...

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.

Family Storytime: Groundhogs Day with Polk County Conservation

January 28, 2020
6:30pm - 7:00pm
Central Library Imagination Station
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 "Teens" group.
This event is in the "Adults" group.

LifeServe Blood Drive

January 29, 2020
9:00am - 3:00pm
Central Library Meeting Room 2, 3
Library Branch: Central Library
Room: Central Library Meeting Room 2, 3
Age Group: Teens, Adults
Program Type: Educational
Event Details:
Did you know 100% of the blood used in central Iowa comes from LifeServe Blood Center?  Join LifeServe Blood Center and Des Moines Public Library in saving local lives with blood donations.  LifeServe Blood Center only collects blood ...
This event is in the "Birth-Preschool" group.

Mother Goose on the Loose

January 29, 2020
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

January 29, 2020
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 "Adults" group.

Drop-in Computer Help @ Central

January 29, 2020
2:00pm - 3:00pm
Central Library Computer Lab
Library Branch: Central Library
Room: Central Library Computer Lab
Age Group: Adults
Program Type: 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 "Birth-Preschool" group.

Power Play

January 30, 2020
10:30am - 11:30am
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:
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.

Toddler Storytime

January 31, 2020
10:15am - 10:45am
Central Library Meeting Room 1
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 "Birth-Preschool" group.
This event is in the "Children" group.

Brilliant Bulbs with the Greater Des Moines Botanical Garden

January 31, 2020
4:00pm - 5:00pm
Central Library Imagination Station
Library Branch: Central Library
Room: Central Library Imagination Station
Age Group: Birth-Preschool, Children
Program Type: Educational
Event Details:
Learn all about planting bulbs indoors with the greater Des Moines Botanical Garden and start your own to take home! ...

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.

Craftivity: 3-D Polar Bear

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 for a craft. This craft will be kept at the Youth Desk and are 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.

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

Toddler Art: Counting and Stacking

February 3, 2020
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
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.

Writers' Workshop

February 3, 2020
5:00pm - 7:00pm
Central Library Meeting Room 2
Library Branch: Central Library
Room: Central Library Meeting Room 2
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.

City of Des Moines - Benchmarking DSM Training

February 4, 2020
10:00am - 3:00pm
Central Library Computer Lab
Library Branch: Central Library
Room: Central Library Computer Lab
Age Group: Adults
Program Type: Educational
Event Details:
On June 3, 2019, the Des Moines City Council passed the Energy and Water Benchmarking Ordinance requiring building owners of buildings 25,000 sq. ft or larger to benchmark and submit to the City of Des Moines their energy and water usage annually by ...
This event is in the "Birth-Preschool" group.
This event is in the "Children" group.

Family Storytime: Clifford Visits the Library

February 4, 2020
6:30pm - 7:00pm
Central Library Meeting Room 1, 2, 3
Library Branch: Central Library
Room: Central Library Meeting Room 1, 2, 3
Age Group: Birth-Preschool, Children
Program Type: Storytimes
Event Details:
Join Dan Wardell and Clifford the Big Red Dog for stories and pictures!   ...

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.

Mother Goose on the Loose

February 5, 2020
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

February 5, 2020
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 "Adults" group.

Drop-in Computer Help @ Central

February 5, 2020
2:00pm - 3:00pm
Central Library Computer Lab
Library Branch: Central Library
Room: Central Library Computer Lab
Age Group: Adults
Program Type: 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.

B.A.M. (Books, Art, Make): Build a working Ferris Wheel

February 5, 2020
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: 20
Event Details:
Create a simple Ferris wheel that will turn using just cardboard and other materials!  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 "Adults" group.

City of Des Moines - Benchmarking DSM Training

February 6, 2020
10:00am - 3:00pm
Central Library Computer Lab
Library Branch: Central Library
Room: Central Library Computer Lab
Age Group: Adults
Program Type: Educational
Event Details:
On June 3, 2019, the Des Moines City Council passed the Energy and Water Benchmarking Ordinance requiring building owners of buildings 25,000 sq. ft or larger to benchmark and submit to the City of Des Moines their energy and water usage annually by ...
This event is in the "Birth-Preschool" group.

Power Play

February 6, 2020
10:30am - 11:30am
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:
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.

Clifford Visits the Libary

February 7, 2020
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: Storytimes
Event Details:
Join Dan Wardell and Clifford the Big Red Dog for stories and 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.