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) 283-4265

Book a meeting room

Hours:
Sunday: 1 PM - 5 PM
Monday: 9 AM - 8 PM
Tuesday: 9 AM - 8 PM
Wednesday: 9 AM – 8 PM
Thursday: 9 AM - 8 PM
Friday: 9 AM - 6 PM
Saturday: 10 AM - 5 PM

Pickup window:
Monday-Friday: 4 PM - 6 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 "Children" group.

Family Storytime: Wild Wizarding Animals with Blank Park Zoo

October 22, 2019
6:30pm - 7:00pm
Central Library
Library Branch: Central Library
Room: Central Library Meeting Room 1, 2, 3
Age Group: Children
Program Type: Halloween, Storytimes
Event Details:
Listen to some magical stories and meet the wild animals you might see in diagon alley. We will make our own wands to take home while enjoying books! ...
This event is in the "Birth-Preschool" group.

Mother Goose on the Loose

October 23, 2019
9:30am - 10:00am
Central Library
Library Branch: Central Library
Room: Central Library Imagination Station
Age Group: Birth-Preschool
Program Type: Storytimes
Event Details:
“Mother Goose on the Loose”, is a 30-minute nursery rhyme program for newborns to three-year-olds. The class helps to strengthen babies' and toddler's foundation for literacy with rhymes, rhythm, repetition, story, and movement. Following the program...

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.

Baby Rhyme Time

October 23, 2019
10:15am - 10:45am
Central Library
Library Branch: Central Library
Room: Central Library Imagination Station
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)

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 "Children" group.

B.A.M. Halloween Special: Felt Animal Masks

October 23, 2019
4:00pm - 5:00pm
Central Library
Registration
Library Branch: Central Library
Room: Central Library Imagination Station
Age Group: Children
Program Type: Arts & Crafts, Halloween
Registration Required
Seats Remaining: 15
Event Details:
Start your Halloween costume with an animal mask made from felt that you have to cut and glue. Younger children will need help to complete this project. Children should be accompanied by an adult. Please register to guarantee supplies. ...
This event is in the "Birth-Preschool" group.

Preschool Storytime

October 24, 2019
10:15am - 10:45am
Central Library
Library Branch: Central Library
Room: Central Library Imagination Station
Age Group: Birth-Preschool
Program Type: Storytimes
Event Details:
Join us for stories, songs, and movement that build literacy and school-readiness skills....
This event is in the "Adults" group.

Giant Board Games: Forbidden Island

October 24, 2019
5:30pm - 6:30pm
Central Library
Registration
Library Branch: Central Library
Room: Central Library Meeting Room 1, 2
Age Group: Adults
Program Type: Gaming
Registration Required
Seats Remaining: 1
Event Details:
In this giant version of the classic cooperative game Forbidden Island, your team of adventurers will have to race against time and the rising floodwaters to collect treasures and escape before the island is lost to the sea. Registration required. Re...

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.

Giant Board Games: Forbidden Island

October 24, 2019
6:30pm - 7:30pm
Central Library
Registration
Library Branch: Central Library
Room: Central Library Meeting Room 1, 2
Age Group: Adults
Program Type: Gaming
Registration Required
Waitlist Seats Remaining: 9
Event Details:
In this giant version of the classic cooperative game Forbidden Island, your team of adventurers will have to race against time and the rising floodwaters to collect treasures and escape before the island is lost to the sea. Registration required. Re...

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.

Toddler Storytime

October 25, 2019
10:15am - 10:45am
Central Library
Library Branch: Central Library
Room: Central Library Imagination Station
Age Group: Birth-Preschool
Program Type: Storytimes
Event Details:
Join us for stories, songs, and movement to practice the 5 simple steps of pre-literacy: reading, singing, talking, writing and playing!...
This event is in the "Children" group.

Crafternoon

All Day
Central Library
Library Branch: Central Library
Age Group: Children
Program Type: Play & Learn
Event Details:
Stop by the children's area at Central Library to explore, create, and play! This is an unstaffed program where activities are self-led. Parent/Guardian must be present with child. Supplies are limited....
This event is in the "Children" group.

Spooky Scavenger Hunt

All Day
Central Library
Library Branch: Central Library
Age Group: Children
Program Type: Halloween, Gaming
Event Details:
Creepy creatures are hidden around the children's section. Each one holds a letter that spells out a secret code. solve the puzzle and win a prize! ...
This event is in the "Children" group.

Spooky Scavenger Hunt

All Day
Central Library
Library Branch: Central Library
Age Group: Children
Program Type: Halloween, Gaming
Event Details:
Creepy creatures are hidden around the children's section. Each one holds a letter that spells out a secret code. solve the puzzle and win a prize! ...
This event is in the "Children" group.

Family Storytime: Glow in the Dark Storytime

October 29, 2019
6:30pm - 7:00pm
Central Library
Library Branch: Central Library
Room: Central Library Imagination Station
Age Group: Children
Program Type: Halloween, Storytimes
Event Details:
Listen to some eerie stories and enjoy some glowing activitis. It's a great way for busy parents to relax and make some hands-on fun while enjoying books! Best for children comfortable in dim lighting. ...
This event is in the "Children" group.

Spooky Scavenger Hunt

All Day
Central Library
Library Branch: Central Library
Age Group: Children
Program Type: Halloween, Gaming
Event Details:
Creepy creatures are hidden around the children's section. Each one holds a letter that spells out a secret code. solve the puzzle and win a prize! ...
This event is in the "Birth-Preschool" group.

Mother Goose on the Loose

October 30, 2019
9:30am - 10:00am
Central Library
Library Branch: Central Library
Room: Central Library Imagination Station
Age Group: Birth-Preschool
Program Type: Storytimes
Event Details:
“Mother Goose on the Loose”, is a 30-minute nursery rhyme program for newborns to three-year-olds. The class helps to strengthen babies' and toddler's foundation for literacy with rhymes, rhythm, repetition, story, and movement. Following the program...

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.

Baby Rhyme Time

October 30, 2019
10:15am - 10:45am
Central Library
Library Branch: Central Library
Room: Central Library Imagination Station
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)

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 "Children" group.

Spooky Scavenger Hunt

All Day
Central Library
Library Branch: Central Library
Age Group: Children
Program Type: Halloween, Gaming
Event Details:
Creepy creatures are hidden around the children's section. Each one holds a letter that spells out a secret code. solve the puzzle and win a prize! ...
This event is in the "Birth-Preschool" group.

Preschool Storytime

October 31, 2019
10:15am - 10:45am
Central Library
Library Branch: Central Library
Room: Central Library Imagination Station
Age Group: Birth-Preschool
Program Type: Storytimes
Event Details:
Join us for stories, songs, and movement that build literacy and school-readiness skills....
This event is in the "Birth-Preschool" group.

Friday Morning Fever Toddler and Preschool Dance Party

November 1, 2019
10:00am - 11:00am
Central Library
Library Branch: Central Library
Room: Central Library Meeting Room 1, 2, 3
Age Group: Birth-Preschool
Program Type: Play & Learn
Event Details:
Put on your boogie shoes and twirl into the Central Library for a toddler and preschool dance party! Dance, do a craft and play with beach balls under the lights of a disco ball....
This event is in the "Children" group.

Crafternoon

All Day
Central Library
Library Branch: Central Library
Room: Central Library Children’s Area
Age Group: Children
Program Type: Play & Learn
Event Details:
Stop by the children's area at Central Library to explore, create, and play! This is an unstaffed program where activities are self-led. Parent/Guardian must be present with child. Supplies are limited. ...
This event is in the "Children" group.

Rosie's Fall Challenge

All Day
Central Library
Library Branch: Central Library
Age Group: Children
Program Type: Gaming
Event Details:
Find all the hidden clues around the children’s section and complete the activities to win a prize! While supplies last....
This event is in the "Adults" group.

Writers' Workshop

November 4, 2019
5:00pm - 7:00pm
Central Library
Library Branch: Central Library
Room: Central Library Meeting Room 3
Age Group: Adults
Program Type: Educational
Event Details:
Join us for an informal writers' workshop on the first Monday of the month from 5-7 PM. Share samples of your work and receive feedback from other writers in the group. ...
This event is in the "Children" group.

Rosie's Fall Challenge

All Day
Central Library
Library Branch: Central Library
Age Group: Children
Program Type: Gaming
Event Details:
Find all the hidden clues around the children’s section and complete the activities to win a prize! While supplies last....