Weather-Related News

As a reminder, all locations of the Des Moines Public Library locations serve as cooling centers. Please check our hours and locations page to view open hours. Check our events page for any weather-related program changes or cancellations. 

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 "Children" group.

Virtual Stories, Songs and Movement!

10:15am - 10:45am
Online Programming
Library Branch: DMPL Virtual
Room: Online Programming
Age Group: Children
Program Type: Storytimes
Event Details:
Let's Go Camping! Bring your imagination and join Miss Donna on Facebook as we read books, sing and move our bodies in this playful story time about the world we live in. Ages two and up. ...

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.

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.

Mini Murder Mystery: Murder of the High Wizard

3:00pm - 3:45pm
Zoom Program Room
Registration
Library Branch: DMPL Virtual
Room: Zoom Program Room
Age Group: Adults
Program Type: Gaming
Registration Required
Seats Remaining: 3
Event Details:
Have you always dreamed of Wizard School?  Now's your chance to be a member of the faculty! but be warned--there is murder afoot! The body of High Magus Wilburton was discovered this morning. It appears he died late last night, the night of a...
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 "Children" group.

Mighty Girl Empowerment Series

2:30pm - 4:00pm
Zoom Program Room
Registration
Library Branch: DMPL Virtual
Room: Zoom Program Room
Age Group: Children
Program Type: Educational, Health & Wellness
Registration Required
Seats Remaining: 10
Event Details:
Are you a mighty girl*? Ready to become a mighty woman but have questions? Then join DMPL and community experts to get your questions answered in this four-session series. Know your body, know yourself, and get empowered! Session topics ...
This event is in the "Adults" group.

Writers' Workshop

5:30pm - 6:30pm
Central Library Meeting Room 1
Library Branch: Central Library
Room: Central Library Meeting Room 1
Age Group: Adults
Program Type: Educational
Event Details:
Join us at Central Library for the DMPL Writer's Workshop on the first* Monday of the month from 5:30-6:30 PM. Share samples of your work and receive feedback from other writers in the group.  If you would like to share your wr...

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: 9
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.

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.

Paint Yourself Calm Family Watercolor Workshop

10:00am - 11:30am
Zoom Program Room
Registration
Library Branch: DMPL Virtual
Room: Zoom Program Room
Age Group: All Ages
Program Type: Arts & Crafts, Take & Make
Registration Required
Seats Remaining: 26
Event Details:
Join us for a family friendly watercolor workshop where you will learn to paint a soothing piece of artwork in this program led by watercolorist Lisa Christensen. We will be painting a beautiful piece of artwork. This project is perfect for kids...

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.

Saturday Morning Special at Central

10:15am - 10:45am
Central Library Children’s Area
Library Branch: Central Library
Room: Central Library Children’s Area
Age Group: Children
Program Type: Storytimes
Event Details:
Join Miss Mary for a special Saturday storytime!   We will meet in the children's area to sing some songs, listen to some stories, and maybe have a craft to take home.  This program is designed for children ages 4 - 6 years old. ...

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.

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.

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

Perler Bead Pixel Art

4:00pm - 5:00pm
Central Library Meeting Room 1, 2
Registration
Library Branch: Central Library
Room: Central Library Meeting Room 1, 2
Age Group: Children, Teens
Program Type: Arts & Crafts
Registration Required
Seats Remaining: 19
Event Details:
Join us at Central Library to create awesome, pixelated art using perler beads! All you need is meltable plastic beads, a design board, a hot iron, and some parchment paper—and we’ll provide it all! All you need to bring is your creativity! Ages 8-18...

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.

Children’s Program

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

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

Spark Stories: Emily Steele

6:30pm - 7:00pm
Online Programming
Library Branch: DMPL Virtual
Room: Online Programming
Age Group: Teens, Adults
Program Type: Educational
Event Details:
Join us for the premiere of Emily Steele’s Spark Story.  Emily supports local business owners as the CEO of dsm hummingbirds, Owner and Founder at Love Local, and Former President at FemCity Des Moines.  She recently founded Local Business ...

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 "Children" group.

Friday Morning Dance Fever

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: Children
Program Type: Play & Learn
Event Details:
Join us in the Central Library meeting rooms for a Dance Party to celebrate the end of the Summer! Come wearing your boogie shoes to bust some moves to Miss Mary's list of dance tunes!  ...

Disclaimer(s)

Children’s Program

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

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.

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 "Children" group.

Saturday Morning Special at Central

10:15am - 10:45am
Central Library Children’s Area
Library Branch: Central Library
Room: Central Library Children’s Area
Age Group: Children
Program Type: Storytimes
Event Details:
Join us for a special Saturday storytime in the Central Library! We will meet in the children's area to sing songs and listen to stories!  This program is designed for children ages 4 - 6 years old. ...

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.

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.

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 "Children" group.

Bilingual Storytime: |Cuentos y Canciones Bilingües

6:30pm - 7:00pm
Online Programming
Library Branch: DMPL Virtual
Room: Online Programming
Age Group: Children
Program Type: Arts & Crafts, Educational, Storytimes
Event Details:
Enjoy a virtual storytime English and Spanish ! ¡Disfruten de un cuento virtual en inglés y español ! facebook.com/dmlib ...

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.

Giant Board Games

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: All Ages
Program Type: Gaming
Event Details:
Drop in at Central Library to play giant board games, from tic-tac-toe to Jenga, and more! We’ll have a morning and afternoon session, at 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. respectively. Come to one or come to both! Drop-in. No registration required. All ages. ...

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 "All Ages" group.

Giant Board Games

4:00pm - 5:00pm
Central Library Meeting Room 1, 2, 3
Library Branch: Central Library
Room: Central Library Meeting Room 1, 2, 3
Age Group: All Ages
Program Type: Gaming
Event Details:
Drop in at Central Library to play giant board games, from tic-tac-toe to Jenga, and more! We’ll have a morning and afternoon session, at 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. respectively. Come to one or come to both! Drop-in. No registration required. All ages. ...

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.

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 YA for Adults Book Club

6:00pm - 7:00pm
Zoom Program Room
Registration
Library Branch: DMPL Virtual
Room: Zoom Program Room
Age Group: Adults
Program Type: Book Clubs
Registration Required
Seats Remaining: 3
Event Details:
Join us on Zoom for the DMPL Virtual YA for Adults Book Club.  This program has limited space and requires registration. After registration, you will receive a confirmation email with the link and password to the Zoom meeting.    ...
This event is in the "Birth-Preschool" group.

Toddler Wiggles and Giggles!

10:15am - 10:45am
Central Library Meeting Room 1, 2
Library Branch: Central Library
Room: Central Library Meeting Room 1, 2
Age Group: Birth-Preschool
Program Type: Play & Learn
Event Details:
This program is designed for young children ages 2 - 3 years old to experience music and rhymes together in a group.  At the end of the formal program there will be some time for free play with a variety of materials.  Come and enjoy m...

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.