All Buildings Remain Closed, Curbside Service Available

All Des Moines Public Library buildings remain closed to the public until further notice as a preventative measure to stop the spread of COVID-19 (coronavirus). Patrons can now place new holds on materials, and curbside pickup service is available at all locations. Read more about that 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

Pickup Window Hours:
Sunday: CLOSED
Monday: 9 AM - 5 PM
Tuesday: 9 AM - 7 PM
Wednesday: 9 AM - 5 PM
Thursday: 9 AM - 7 PM
Friday: 9 AM - 5 PM
Saturday: 10 AM - 4 PM

Computers by Appointment:
Sunday: CLOSED
Monday: 9 AM - 5 PM
Tuesday: 9 AM - 8 PM
Wednesday: 9 AM - 5 PM
Thursday: 9 AM - 8 PM
Friday: 9 AM - 5 PM
Saturday: 10 AM - 5 PM

DOT Kiosk:

Monday-Friday: 10 AM - 3 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.
This event is in the "Children" group.

Bubble Snake Demonstration

10:15am - 11:00am
Online Programming
Library Branch: Central Library
Room: Online Programming
Age Group: Birth-Preschool, Children
Program Type: Arts & Crafts
Event Details:
Watch Miss Michelle create a bubble snake in the Central Library Children's Area. Have fun creating your own using common household supplies! ...
This event is in the "Children" group.

Grab-and-Go Thursday

10:00am - 4:00pm
Online Programming
Library Branch: Central Library
Room: Online Programming
Age Group: Children
Program Type: Arts & Crafts, Play & Learn
Event Details:
Thursdays are Grab-and-Go at DMPL! Stop by any DMPL branch during their curbside hours to pick up your Summer Reading Grab-and-Go Bag, full of take-home crafts and activities appropriate for *ages 2 to 12, as well as a Summer Read...
This event is in the "Teens" group.

RPG 101: Get in the Game

3:00pm - 6:00pm
Online Programming
Registration
Library Branch: Central Library
Room: Online Programming
Age Group: Teens
Program Type: Gaming
Registration Required
Seats Remaining: 5
Event Details:
Interested in RPGs (role-playing games) but not sure where to start? Then join us online with Joe from The Dealt Hand to play a round of Dungeon World! Joe will be the Gamemaster, leading participants on a fantastical journey while also tea...
This event is in the "Birth-Preschool" group.
This event is in the "Children" group.

Fairy Tales Forever with Jester Puppets

6:00pm - 7:00pm
Online Programming
Library Branch: Central Library
Room: Online Programming
Age Group: Birth-Preschool, Children
Program Type: Performances
Event Details:
Enjoy a performance from the Jester Puppets virtually! In the way that only Jester Puppets can, they will bring enormous fun, hilarity and downright silliness to your family. This year's virtual performance will even include a jousting competiti...
This event is in the "Birth-Preschool" group.
This event is in the "Children" group.

Virtual Storytime

10:15am - 10:45am
Online Programming
Library Branch: Central Library
Room: Online Programming
Age Group: Birth-Preschool, Children
Program Type: Storytimes
Event Details:
Join Youth Librarian Miss Janee virtually for our Virtual Storytime Friday mornings at 10:15 AM! Gather the family and listen to fun stories, rhymes, songs, flannel board stories, puppets, and see what's inside her Rosie Bag!  ...
This event is in the "Birth-Preschool" group.
This event is in the "Children" group.

Musical Glasses Experiment

10:15am - 11:00am
Online Programming
Library Branch: Central Library
Room: Online Programming
Age Group: Birth-Preschool, Children
Program Type: Play & Learn
Event Details:
Join Miss Jennifer as she teaches you how to perform the Musical Glasses Experiment. You will need: 5 glass containers the same size Water A Spoon Food Coloring (optional) This experiment helps illustrate the concept of sound. ...
This event is in the "Birth-Preschool" group.
This event is in the "Children" group.

Crafternoons

2:15pm - 2:30pm
Online Programming
Library Branch: Central Library
Room: Online Programming
Age Group: Birth-Preschool, Children
Program Type: Arts & Crafts, Play & Learn
Event Details:
Crafternoons: Homemade Drums A simple craft using recycled materials that you have around the house to encourage music exploration and is a great activity for multiple ages.    ...
This event is in the "Children" group.

Grab-and-Go Thursday

10:00am - 4:00pm
Online Programming
Library Branch: Central Library
Room: Online Programming
Age Group: Children
Program Type: Arts & Crafts, Play & Learn
Event Details:
Thursdays are Grab-and-Go at DMPL! Stop by any DMPL branch during their curbside hours to pick up your Summer Reading Grab-and-Go Bag, full of take-home crafts and activities appropriate for *ages 2 to 12, as well as a Summer Read...
This event is in the "Teens" group.

RPG 101: Get in the Game

3:00pm - 6:00pm
Online Programming
Registration
Library Branch: Central Library
Room: Online Programming
Age Group: Teens
Program Type: Gaming
Registration Required
Seats Remaining: 5
Event Details:
Interested in RPGs (role-playing games) but missed our last RPG 101 session? Fear Not! Joe from The Dealt Hand is back for another beginner’s round of Dungeon World! Joe will be the Gamemaster, leading participants on a fantastical journey while also...
This event is in the "Birth-Preschool" group.
This event is in the "Children" group.

Family Magic with Mikayla Oz

6:00pm - 7:00pm
Online Programming
Library Branch: Central Library
Room: Online Programming
Age Group: Birth-Preschool, Children
Program Type: Performances
Event Details:
Enjoy a magic show with Iowa's own Mikayla Oz! Visit our Facebook page, https://www.facebook.com/dmlib to view the show. This event will be available to view for one week starting at 6 pm on July 16. ...
This event is in the "Birth-Preschool" group.
This event is in the "Children" group.

Virtual Storytime

10:15am - 10:45am
Online Programming
Library Branch: Central Library
Room: Online Programming
Age Group: Birth-Preschool, Children
Program Type: Storytimes
Event Details:
Join Youth Librarian Miss Janee virtually for our Virtual Storytime Friday mornings at 10:15 AM! Gather the family for a special music-themed storytime, view what's inside Rosie's Bag, and sing songs under Rosie's Reading Fort!  ...
This event is in the "Birth-Preschool" group.
This event is in the "Children" group.

Dancing Raisins Experiment

10:15am - 11:00am
Online Programming
Library Branch: Central Library
Room: Online Programming
Age Group: Birth-Preschool, Children
Program Type: Play & Learn
Event Details:
Watch as Miss Jennifer demonstrates how to make raisins dance. You will need: A clear glass Clear soda (7-Up or Sprite) Raisins This experiment helps children learn about density and carbonation. ...
This event is in the "Adults" group.

DMPL Virtual Book Club

6:30pm - 7:30pm
Online Programming - Zoom
Registration
Library Branch: Central Library
Room: Online Programming - Zoom
Age Group: Adults
Program Type: Book Clubs
Registration Required
Seats Remaining: 6
Event Details:
Join us on Zoom for the DMPL Virtual Book Club. This month, we will be discussing Sourdough by Robin Sloan.  This program has limited space and requires registration. After registration, you will receive a confirmation email with the lin...
This event is in the "Children" group.

Grab-and-Go Thursday

10:00am - 4:00pm
Online Programming
Library Branch: Central Library
Room: Online Programming
Age Group: Children
Program Type: Arts & Crafts, Play & Learn
Event Details:
Thursdays are Grab-and-Go at DMPL! Stop by any DMPL branch during their curbside hours to pick up your Summer Reading Grab-and-Go Bag, full of take-home crafts and activities appropriate for *ages 2 to 12, as well as a Summer Read...
This event is in the "Teens" group.

RPG 101: Get in the Game

3:00pm - 6:00pm
Online Programming
Registration
Library Branch: Central Library
Room: Online Programming
Age Group: Teens
Program Type: Gaming
Registration Required
Seats Remaining: Unlimited
Event Details:
Ready to venture forth into the world of RPGs with your friends but not sure how to run a game? Then join us as Joe from The Dealt Hand shares tips and tricks for being an awesome Gamemaster and creating the most epic campaigns.   R...
This event is in the "Children" group.

Imagine That with Tim Read

6:00pm - 7:00pm
Online Programming
Library Branch: Central Library
Room: Online Programming
Age Group: Children
Program Type: Performances
Event Details:
Join Iowa's own Tim Read for a series of videos all about imagination! Tim Read is a children's illustrator and designer. The "Imagine That" view series combines art and storytelling for a unique experience that the whole family c...
This event is in the "Birth-Preschool" group.
This event is in the "Children" group.

Virtual Storytime

10:15am - 10:45am
Online Programming
Library Branch: Central Library
Room: Online Programming
Age Group: Birth-Preschool, Children
Program Type: Storytimes
Event Details:
Join Youth Librarian Miss Janee virtually for our Virtual Storytime Friday mornings at 10:15 AM on Facebook! Gather the family for a special lunch/food theme as she reads the story, Lunch by Denise Fleming while kids view real fruits and vegetables, ...
This event is in the "Birth-Preschool" group.
This event is in the "Children" group.

Animal Ambassadors Live with the Blank Park Zoo

6:00pm - 6:30pm
Online Programming
Library Branch: Central Library
Room: Online Programming
Age Group: Birth-Preschool, Children
Program Type: Educational
Event Details:
Join us on our Facebook page at 6 pm on July 30 for a LIVE program with with Blank Park Zoo. The zoo will be showing off some of their animal ambassadors. You will get a chance to meet a blue and gold macaw, giant rabbits, alligators and much more!&n...
This event is in the "Adults" group.

DMPL Virtual Genre Voyager Book Club

2:30pm - 3:30pm
Online Programming - Zoom
Registration
Library Branch: Central Library
Room: Online Programming - Zoom
Age Group: Adults
Program Type: Book Clubs
Registration Required
Seats Remaining: 10
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 "Adults" group.

DMPL Virtual Genre Voyager Book Club

6:30pm - 7:30pm
Online Programming - Zoom
Registration
Library Branch: Central Library
Room: Online Programming - Zoom
Age Group: Adults
Program Type: Book Clubs
Registration Required
Seats Remaining: 7
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 "Adults" group.

Book Club On the Go

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.  Check back for this month's title.  Book Club On the Go does not meet in person, but we still hope to hear from you! Join our Facebook group and join the discussion. ...
This event is in the "Birth-Preschool" group.
This event is in the "Children" group.

Family Storytime: TBD

6:30pm - 8:00pm
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.