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-7:00 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 "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 "All Ages" group.
Library Branch: Central Library
Age Group: All Ages
Program Type: Arts & Crafts, Take & Make
Event Details:
Starting December 1st, Gingerbread kits from Molly's Cupcakes will be available for pickup at each branch, while supplies last. Kits will include everything you need to build an adorable gingerbread home and mini gingerbread house for an extra-specia...

Disclaimer(s)

Food Allergies

We cannot guarantee that food served at this program has not come into contact with tree nuts, soy, or other allergens.
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.

DMPL Virtual Genre Voyager Book Club

6:30pm - 7:30pm
Zoom Program Room
Registration
Library Branch: DMPL Virtual
Room: Zoom Program Room
Age Group: Adults
Program Type: Book Clubs
Registration Required
Seats Remaining: 8
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...

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 "All Ages" group.
Library Branch: Central Library
Age Group: All Ages
Program Type: Arts & Crafts, Take & Make
Event Details:
Starting December 1st, Gingerbread kits from Molly's Cupcakes will be available for pickup at each branch, while supplies last. Kits will include everything you need to build an adorable gingerbread home and mini gingerbread house for an extra-specia...

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.

Food Allergies

We cannot guarantee that food served at this program has not come into contact with tree nuts, soy, or other allergens.
This event is in the "Adults" group.

Engrave Your Own Rubber Stamp!

4:00pm - 6:00pm
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: 0
Event Details:
While spots that include a rubber stamp are full, feel free to stop by any time during this program to learn how to make a rubber stamp on the Glowforge on your own, even if you aren't registered!    Join us for another Glowforge prog...

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 "All Ages" group.
Library Branch: Central Library
Age Group: All Ages
Program Type: Arts & Crafts, Take & Make
Event Details:
Starting December 1st, Gingerbread kits from Molly's Cupcakes will be available for pickup at each branch, while supplies last. Kits will include everything you need to build an adorable gingerbread home and mini gingerbread house for an extra-specia...

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.

Food Allergies

We cannot guarantee that food served at this program has not come into contact with tree nuts, soy, or other allergens.
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 "All Ages" group.
Library Branch: Central Library
Age Group: All Ages
Program Type: Arts & Crafts, Take & Make
Event Details:
Starting December 1st, Gingerbread kits from Molly's Cupcakes will be available for pickup at each branch, while supplies last. Kits will include everything you need to build an adorable gingerbread home and mini gingerbread house for an extra-specia...

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.

Food Allergies

We cannot guarantee that food served at this program has not come into contact with tree nuts, soy, or other allergens.
This event is in the "Children" group.

Rainbow Slime Take and Make

All Day
Central Library Children’s Area
Library Branch: Central Library
Room: Central Library Children’s Area
Age Group: Children
Program Type: Take & Make
Event Details:
Grab a bag from the Central youth section or Central pick-up window with materials to make your own Rainbow Slime!  As supplies last and adult supervision recommended. ...
This event is in the "All Ages" group.
Library Branch: Central Library
Age Group: All Ages
Program Type: Arts & Crafts, Take & Make
Event Details:
Starting December 1st, Gingerbread kits from Molly's Cupcakes will be available for pickup at each branch, while supplies last. Kits will include everything you need to build an adorable gingerbread home and mini gingerbread house for an extra-specia...

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.

Food Allergies

We cannot guarantee that food served at this program has not come into contact with tree nuts, soy, or other allergens.
Branches:
Central Library, East Side Library, Forest Avenue Library, Franklin Avenue Library, North Side Library, South Side Library, Off Site, DMPL Virtual
Description:
All branches will be closed for our annual staff in-service day. ...
This event is in the "All Ages" group.
Library Branch: Central Library
Age Group: All Ages
Program Type: Arts & Crafts, Take & Make
Event Details:
Starting December 1st, Gingerbread kits from Molly's Cupcakes will be available for pickup at each branch, while supplies last. Kits will include everything you need to build an adorable gingerbread home and mini gingerbread house for an extra-specia...

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.

Food Allergies

We cannot guarantee that food served at this program has not come into contact with tree nuts, soy, or other allergens.
This event is in the "All Ages" group.
Library Branch: Central Library
Age Group: All Ages
Program Type: Arts & Crafts, Take & Make
Event Details:
Starting December 1st, Gingerbread kits from Molly's Cupcakes will be available for pickup at each branch, while supplies last. Kits will include everything you need to build an adorable gingerbread home and mini gingerbread house for an extra-specia...

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.

Food Allergies

We cannot guarantee that food served at this program has not come into contact with tree nuts, soy, or other allergens.
This event is in the "Teens" group.
This event is in the "Adults" group.

Spark Stories: Rob Zlomke

6:30pm - 7:00pm
Online Programming
Library Branch: DMPL Virtual
Room: Online Programming
Age Group: Teens, Adults
Program Type: Educational
Event Details:
What's the "spark" that shaped the lives of our local leaders? Hear from a different speaker each month as they share their "Spark Story," the specific experience that sparked them to create change in the community. In addition, we’ll hear details ab...

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 "All Ages" group.
Library Branch: Central Library
Age Group: All Ages
Program Type: Arts & Crafts, Take & Make
Event Details:
Starting December 1st, Gingerbread kits from Molly's Cupcakes will be available for pickup at each branch, while supplies last. Kits will include everything you need to build an adorable gingerbread home and mini gingerbread house for an extra-specia...

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.

Food Allergies

We cannot guarantee that food served at this program has not come into contact with tree nuts, soy, or other allergens.
This event is in the "All Ages" group.
Library Branch: Central Library
Age Group: All Ages
Program Type: Arts & Crafts, Take & Make
Event Details:
Starting December 1st, Gingerbread kits from Molly's Cupcakes will be available for pickup at each branch, while supplies last. Kits will include everything you need to build an adorable gingerbread home and mini gingerbread house for an extra-specia...

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.

Food Allergies

We cannot guarantee that food served at this program has not come into contact with tree nuts, soy, or other allergens.
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 "Adults" group.

DMPL Foundation

5:00pm - 9:00pm
Central Library Meeting Room 1, 2
Library Branch: Central Library
Room: Central Library Meeting Room 1, 2
Age Group: Adults
Program Type: Library Meeting
Event Details:
Board of Directors Meeting ...
This event is in the "All Ages" group.
Library Branch: Central Library
Age Group: All Ages
Program Type: Arts & Crafts, Take & Make
Event Details:
Starting December 1st, Gingerbread kits from Molly's Cupcakes will be available for pickup at each branch, while supplies last. Kits will include everything you need to build an adorable gingerbread home and mini gingerbread house for an extra-specia...

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.

Food Allergies

We cannot guarantee that food served at this program has not come into contact with tree nuts, soy, or other allergens.
This event is in the "All Ages" group.
Library Branch: Central Library
Age Group: All Ages
Program Type: Arts & Crafts, Take & Make
Event Details:
Starting December 1st, Gingerbread kits from Molly's Cupcakes will be available for pickup at each branch, while supplies last. Kits will include everything you need to build an adorable gingerbread home and mini gingerbread house for an extra-specia...

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.

Food Allergies

We cannot guarantee that food served at this program has not come into contact with tree nuts, soy, or other allergens.
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.