Central Library

Central Library exterior shot

Location Details

Address:
1000 Grand Avenue
Des Moines, IA 50309

Directions:
Google Maps

Rhonda 240

Rhonda Frevert
Central Library Manager
RJFrevert@dmpl.org

Phone:
(515) 283-4152

Book a Central Library meeting room

In-Person Services
  • 9:00 AM-8:00 PM Monday-Thursday
  • 9:00 AM-6:00 PM Friday
  • 10:00 AM-5:00 PM Saturday
  • 12:00 PM-4:00 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. See some of Chipperfield's sketches and plans HERE

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.

I Spy: Women Making History

All Day 3/1 - 3/9
Central Library Children’s Area
Library Branch: Central Library
Room: Central Library Children’s Area
Age Group: Children
Program Type: Play & Learn
Event Details:
Visit the Central children's area to learn about women making history! Find all the hidden pictures to win a prize! ...

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

Bluey Party!

1:00pm - 4:00pm
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: Arts & Crafts, Educational, Health & Wellness, Play & Learn
Event Details:
Join us at the Central Library as we celebrate everyone's favorite Blue Heeler! We will play games you may recognize from the show and do crafts inspired by your favorite furry friends. For real life? For real life! *Free event parking will be ava...

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.

DMPL & Dragons: Sunday

12:30pm - 3:30pm
Central Library Meeting Room 1
Registration
Library Branch: Central Library
Room: Central Library Meeting Room 1
Age Group: Adults
Program Type: Gaming
Registration Required
Seats Remaining: 1
Event Details:
Dungeons & Dragons is a role-playing game set in worlds of swords and sorcery where players use their imaginations to tell a story and create an adventure together.  We usually get together on the first Sunday of each month to play. &nb...

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.

The Outreach Project

1:00pm - 3:00pm
Central Library Cafe Gallery
Library Branch: Central Library
Room: Central Library Cafe 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.

Writers' Workshop 2024

5:30pm - 7:30pm
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 for the DMPL Writer's Workshop on the first* Monday of the month from 5:30-7:30 PM. Share samples of work and receive feedback from other writers in the group. Email your submission to Julia at jmdunt@dmpl.org by 12 PM the Tuesday before the ...

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.

Beyond Birth: Baby's First Year

9:00am - 11:00am
Central Library Meeting Room 1
Library Branch: Central Library
Room: Central Library Meeting Room 1
Age Group: Adults
Program Type: Educational
Event Details:
Beyond Birth: Baby's First Year is a free weekly postpartum support group for parents and their new babies. Facilitated by Blank Children's Hospital, each week will feature a guest presenter on a variety of postpartum topics, plus plenty of time to m...

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.
Registration
Library Branch: Central Library
Room: Central Library Meeting Room 1
Age Group: Adults
Program Type: Arts & Crafts
Registration Required
Seats Remaining: 2
Event Details:
Do you love to craft? Come decorate a ceramic tile or bring your current project and make some progress! Each person will be able to decorate a tile with scrapbook paper and other supplies provided. For a more personal touch, bring a picture of you a...

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.

Baby Rhyme Time

9:30am - 10:00am
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 weekly for rhymes, songs, bounces, stories, and a little playtime. For caregivers and babies ages 0 - 18 months.     ...

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.

VolunTEENS Work Time

4:00pm - 5:00pm
Central Library Imagination Station
Library Branch: Central Library
Room: Central Library Imagination Station
Age Group: Teens
Program Type: Health & Wellness
Event Details:
If you're between the ages of 12-18 and looking for a fun and rewarding volunteer opportunity, give the library a try! We would love to have your help! ...

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.

Glowforge Training

10:00am - 11:00am
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
Seats Remaining: 1
Event Details:
Learn how to use the Glowforge Plus Laser Engraver at Tech Central! This program takes the place of the 1 on 1 Glowforge tutorial, so you will be fully qualified to book and use the Glowforge on your own after this program.  A library card nu...

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.

Wiggles and Giggles

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: Play & Learn, Storytimes
Event Details:
Join us at the Central Library for a fun storytime featuring movement, music, and rhyming! The storytime will take place in the meeting room to allow for social distancing.   ...

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.

Snippets: A Writers' Workshop for Short Works 2024

10:00am - 11:00am
Central Library Meeting Room 1
Registration
Library Branch: Central Library
Room: Central Library Meeting Room 1
Age Group: Adults
Program Type: Arts & Crafts
Registration Required
Seats Remaining: 19
Event Details:
Snippets: A Writers' Workshop for Shorter Works Please email your submissions to Julia at jmdunt@dmpl.org if you would like them printed out. This group will read and discuss works out loud. Seating is limited. Registration is required. ...
This event is in the "Adults" group.

The Outreach Project

1:00pm - 3:00pm
Central Library Cafe Gallery
Library Branch: Central Library
Room: Central Library Cafe 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 "Birth-Preschool" group.
This event is in the "Children" group.

Tippi Toes Dance Class

10:30am - 11:00am
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: Health & Wellness
Event Details:
Tippi Toes is coming back to the library! Our exciting, high energy dance classes are the perfect opportunity for kids to try something new while having a blast and burning some energy! Any child between the ages 2-10 can participate. ...

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.

I Spy: Travel

All Day 3/10 - 3/23
Library Branch: Central Library
Age Group: Children
Program Type: Play & Learn
Event Details:
It's Spring Break! Are you in the mood to travel? Find pictures of travel destinations in the children's area to win a prize, then check out a book from our display to live vicariously through a book set in a faraway place! ...

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 "Adults" group.

The Outreach Project

1:00pm - 3:00pm
Central Library Cafe Gallery
Library Branch: Central Library
Room: Central Library Cafe 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.

Birdfeeder Craft

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
Program Type: Arts & Crafts, Educational, Storytimes
Registration Required
Seats Remaining: 15
Event Details:
Join us at the Central Library in celebrating the return of spring with a birdfeeder craft. Note: Birdfeeders will be made using sunflower butter. ...

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.

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.

Beyond Birth: Baby's First Year

9:00am - 11:00am
Central Library Meeting Room 3
Library Branch: Central Library
Room: Central Library Meeting Room 3
Age Group: Adults
Program Type: Educational
Event Details:
Beyond Birth: Baby's First Year is a free weekly postpartum support group for parents and their new babies. Facilitated by Blank Children's Hospital, each week will feature a guest presenter on a variety of postpartum topics, plus plenty of time to m...

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 "Teens" group.

Game On! Mario Kart Tournament

4:30pm - 5:30pm
Central Library Meeting Room 1, 2
Registration
Library Branch: Central Library
Room: Central Library Meeting Room 1, 2
Age Group: Teens
Program Type: Gaming
Registration Required
Seats Remaining: 19
Event Details:
Join us at Central Library for the Game On! Mario Kart Tournament. Tweens and Teens are welcome to enjoy some snacks and challenge friends to a race. Make a button with your favorite Mario Kart character, and we'll see how they rank at the end. &n...

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.

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 "Birth-Preschool" group.

Baby Rhyme Time

9:30am - 10:00am
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 weekly for rhymes, songs, bounces, stories, and a little playtime. For caregivers and babies ages 0 - 18 months.     ...

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.

Central Craftopia!

1:00pm - 3:00pm
Central Library Meeting Room 1, 2, 3
Library Branch: Central Library
Room: Central Library Meeting Room 1, 2, 3
Age Group: Children
Program Type: Arts & Crafts, Play & Learn
Event Details:
We're celebrating National Children's Craft Day at the Central Library with a plethora of crafts. This will be a drop-in program, so feel free to come and leave as you please. We will have crafts like rainbow looms, perler beads, shrinky dinks, and f...

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 "Adults" group.
Library Branch: Central Library
Room: Central Library Study Room 1
Age Group: Adults
Program Type: Health & Wellness
Event Details:
This program will include a brief overview of where Mindfulness Meditation comes from and why we do it, followed by a 20 minute sitting practice with time for Q&A afterwards. Chair seating will be available. Guests are also welcome to bring ...