Central Library Youth Area

Due to carpet installation, the youth area at Central Library is temporarily unavailable for the public. Library staff can help find children's materials for you. We apologize for the inconvenience.

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-8:00 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.

DMPL Virtual YA for Adults Book Club

6:00pm - 7:00pm
Zoom Meeting Room
Registration
Library Branch: DMPL Virtual
Room: Zoom Meeting Room
Age Group: Adults
Program Type: Book Clubs
Registration Required
Seats Remaining: 4
Event Details:
Join us on Zoom for the DMPL YA for Adults Book Club. This month we are discussing Sia Martinez and the Moonlit Beginning of Everything by Raquel Vasquez Gilliland This program has limited space and requires registration. After registrat...
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 "Birth-Preschool" group.
This event is in the "Children" group.
This event is in the "Teens" group.

Indoor Snowball Games!

01/24/2022 @ 9:00am - 01/30/2022 @ 8:00pm
Central Library Children’s Area
Library Branch: Central Library
Room: Central Library Children’s Area
Age Group: Birth-Preschool, Children, Teens
Program Type: Arts & Crafts, Play & Learn, Take & Make
Event Details:
Drop in at the Central Library Youth Area for indoor snowball games and crafts. Use fun fake snowballs for great games like snowball bowling, learn how to make kinetic sand snow, and much more! Try all the games in the youth area and get a cool 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.

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 "Adults" group.

Business Model Canvas

12:00pm - 2:00pm
Zoom Program Room
Registration
Library Branch: DMPL Virtual
Room: Zoom Program Room
Age Group: Adults
Program Type: Educational
Registration Required
Seats Remaining: 33
Event Details:
This three week workshop will give your business a boost!  You will learn: What is a business model canvas and how does it help? Customer Segment and Value Propositions Customer Relationships, Channels, and Revenue Streams Key Partne...
This event is in the "Adults" group.

DocuTalk: Who Killed Belinda Peisley (2018)

6:00pm - 6:45pm
Zoom Meeting Room
Registration
Library Branch: DMPL Virtual
Room: Zoom Meeting Room
Age Group: Adults
Program Type: Book Clubs, Movies
Registration Required
Seats Remaining: 10
Event Details:
The best documentaries make you desperate to discuss! Each month we’ll talk about one of the most intriguing documentaries your library card can connect you with. Join us for a not-quite-a-Book Club: Watch at home, then join us for a virtual dis...
This event is in the "Teens" group.
This event is in the "Adults" group.

Intermediate Ukulele

6:30pm - 7:30pm
Zoom Program Room
Registration
Library Branch: DMPL Virtual
Room: Zoom Program Room
Age Group: Teens, Adults
Program Type: Educational
Registration Required
Seats Remaining: 3
Event Details:
Take your ukulele skills to the next level with instructor Natalie Steenson. In this 4 week intermediate ukulele class, we will: •Get comfortable with 15 of the most common chords (in the keys of C, G, F and D), including barre chords •Learn so...

Disclaimer(s)

Email Required

Please make sure you have entered a valid email address as the online event details will be sent to you prior to the event. If you have not received a confirmation email your inbox, please check your spam folder.

This event is in the "Teens" group.

Anime Manga Meetup!

4:00pm - 5:00pm
Central Library Meeting Room 1, 2, 3
Registration
Library Branch: Central Library
Room: Central Library Meeting Room 1, 2, 3
Age Group: Teens
Program Type: Arts & Crafts, Movies
Registration Required
Seats Remaining: 9
Event Details:
Love anime and manga? Want to nerd out about it with other people who love it, too? Then join us for the Teen Anime/Manga Meetup! We’ll get together and discuss all things anime and manga, do crafts, play games, watch anime, and more! Ages 12-18...
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.
Library Branch: Central Library
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 "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.

Reading Challenge 2022 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
Waitlist Seats Remaining: 4
Event Details:
Welcome to the 2022 Reading Challenge Book Club! Each month we'll read a title that fulfills at least one of the 12 categories and then talk about what we think! Participate each month and you'll be all set for the challenge! Our January book fulf...

Disclaimer(s)

Email Required

Please make sure you have entered a valid email address as the online event details will be sent to you prior to the event. If you have not received a confirmation email your inbox, please check your spam folder.

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

Groundhog Day Headband Kit!

02/02/2022 @ 9:00am - 02/05/2022 @ 5:00pm
Library Branch: Central Library
Age Group: Birth-Preschool, Children
Program Type: Take & Make
Event Details:
Come to the Central Library to pick up a kit celebrating Groundhog Day which is on Wednesday February 2!   Make a groundhog headband to wear and then check if you can see your shadow and bring 6 more weeks of winter or not and have an early...
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: 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.

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.
Library Branch: Central Library
Age Group: Children, Teens
Program Type: Arts & Crafts, Take & Make
Event Details:
Swing by Central for a take-and-make bag that will brighten your day, containing everything you need to make a cool light-up greeting card using paper circuits! Please note that these bags are for kids ages 10 and up, as they do contain small parts 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 "Adults" group.

Writers' Workshop ONLINE

5:30pm - 7:30pm
Zoom Program Room
Registration
Library Branch: DMPL Virtual
Room: Zoom Program Room
Age Group: Adults
Program Type: Educational
Registration Required
Seats Remaining: 8
Event Details:
Join us online for the DMPL Writer's Workshop on the first* Monday of the month from 5:30-7:30 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 gr...

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.

Tween Writing Meetup

4:00pm - 5:00pm
Central Library Meeting Room 1
Registration
Library Branch: Central Library
Room: Central Library Meeting Room 1
Age Group: Children
Program Type: Educational
Registration Required
Seats Remaining: 8
Event Details:
Do you love writing, coming up with awesome characters, and telling great stories? Then the Tween Writers Meetup is for you! We'll get together to learn and practice storytelling techniques and meet other folks like you who love writing!  Age...

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 "Adults" group.

Glowforge Training

5:30pm - 6:30pm
Central Library Tech Central
Registration
Library Branch: Central Library
Room: Central Library Tech Central
Age Group: Adults
Program Type: Computers & Technology, Educational
Registration Required
Seats Remaining: 4
Event Details:
Learn how to use the Glowforge Plus 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. You will also make an acrylic pendant to ...

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 "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.