Limited, In-Person Services Available

All library locations are now open for limited browsing, public computer use, and additional in-person services for several hours per day Monday through Saturday. Please find service hours and full details HERE.

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

DMPL Express
  • 1-5 PM Monday, Wednesday, Friday, Saturday
  • 1-7 PM Tuesday, Thursday
Pickup Window + Public Computers
  • 9 AM-5 PM Monday, Wednesday, Friday
  • 9 AM-7 PM Tuesday, Thursday
  • 10 AM-5 PM Saturday

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.

Writers' Workshop Online

5:30pm - 6:30pm
Zoom Program Room
Registration
Library Branch: DMPL Virtual
Room: Zoom Program Room
Age Group: Adults
Program Type: Educational
Registration Required
Seats Remaining: 4
Event Details:
Join us on Zoom for the DMPL Virtual 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 writing wi...

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 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: 3
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 "Children" group.
Registration
Library Branch: DMPL Virtual
Room: Zoom Program Room
Age Group: Children
Program Type: Computers & Technology
Registration Required
Waitlist Seats Remaining: 3
Event Details:
Learn how to design your own 3-D Prints! Join us for our fourth Zoom class where we learn to use scratch coding to create designs.  1-2 weeks after our class you will be able to come pick up your printed projects. This program is best for age...
This event is in the "Birth-Preschool" group.

LIVE Virtual Storytime: Baby Rhyme Time

10:15am - 10:45am
Online Programming
Library Branch: DMPL Virtual
Room: Online Programming
Age Group: Birth-Preschool
Program Type: Storytimes
Event Details:
Join Miss Jennifer at 10:15 a.m. on Facebook for a LIVE virtual Baby Rhyme Time with rhymes, songs, bounces, and puppets.  So put your baby on your lap and get ready for some fun!  Baby Rhyme Time is aimed at children 18 months...
This event is in the "Teens" group.
Registration
Library Branch: DMPL Virtual
Room: Online Programming
Age Group: Teens
Program Type: Gaming
Registration Required
Seats Remaining: 7
Event Details:
Join us in the Battle Arena! Ages 10-18 can participate in this event if you have a Nintendo Switch with a Nintendo Online subscription, and a copy of Super Smash Brothers Ultimate. Registrants will be emailed instructio...
This event is in the "Children" group.

Virtual Creative Readers

4:00pm - 5:00pm
Zoom Program Room
Registration
Library Branch: DMPL Virtual
Room: Zoom Program Room
Age Group: Children
Program Type: Arts & Crafts, Storytimes
Registration Required
Seats Remaining: 19
Event Details:
What does Lucy discover at the end of the string? Find out as we read Lucy and the String by Vanessa Roeder and create a string collage masterpiece. Registration required - Please register as a family if more than one child will b...

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.
This event is in the "Adults" group.

Take & Bake: Lemon Bars

6:30pm - 7:30pm
Zoom Program Room
Registration
Library Branch: DMPL Virtual
Room: Zoom Program Room
Age Group: Teens, Adults
Program Type: Arts & Crafts, Educational, Take & Make
Registration Required
Seats Remaining: 18
Event Details:
It's almost spring - so let's squeeze the day with our Take & Bake: Lemon Bars program! Registrants will receive a FREE bag with (almost) all the supplies needed to make an 8x8 pan of lemon bars.  The ingredients provided are: s...
This event is in the "Teens" group.

Teen Wellness: Self-Care Workshop Series

4:00pm - 5:00pm
Zoom Program Room
Registration
Library Branch: DMPL Virtual
Room: Zoom Program Room
Age Group: Teens
Program Type: Health & Wellness
Registration Required
Seats Remaining: 48
Event Details:
Self-care is an important part of wellness, but with so much going on, it can be easier said than done. Join us and our partners at Please Pass the Love to learn the basics of what self-care is and strategies for using it in your everyday life t...
This event is in the "Children" group.

Iowa Children's Choice Award Book Club

4:00pm - 5:00pm
Zoom Program Room
Registration
Library Branch: DMPL Virtual
Room: Zoom Program Room
Age Group: Children
Program Type: Book Clubs
Registration Required
Seats Remaining: 3
Event Details:
Help choose the next award winner!  Iowa’s Children’s Choice Awards are decided entirely by kids grades 3-6.  Join us for a Zoom bookclub where we will discuss Front Desk, by Kelly Yang of the Iowa Children's Choice Awards Books and go...
This event is in the "Adults" group.
Registration
Library Branch: DMPL Virtual
Room: Zoom Program Room
Age Group: Adults
Program Type: Health & Wellness
Registration Required
Seats Remaining: 7
Event Details:
Join us for an evening with Nancy Davis Kho, author of The Thank You Project, and learn about the unexpected power and lasting benefits of thanking those who helped, shaped, and inspired you. This not a tutorial on how to write a thank...
This event is in the "Birth-Preschool" group.
This event is in the "Children" group.

Zoom Storytime: All About Spring

10:15am - 10:45am
Zoom Program Room
Registration
Library Branch: DMPL Virtual
Room: Zoom Program Room
Age Group: Birth-Preschool, Children
Program Type: Storytimes
Registration Required
Seats Remaining: 9
Event Details:
Join Miss Alicia on Zoom for a storytime all about Spring! We will enjoy stories, songs, and rhymes together. This program has limited space and requires registration. After registration, you will receive a confirmation email with the link and pas...

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.

Library Learning Bags: Pet Edition

03/13/2021 @ 10:00am - 03/19/2021 @ 5:00pm
All Locations
Library Branch: DMPL Virtual
Room: All Locations
Age Group: Children
Program Type: Arts & Crafts, Educational, Take & Make
Event Details:
Library Learning Bags: Pet Edition Stop by Curbside or DMPL Express Service at any of our six branches to pick up a Library Learning Bag. This month's bag includes an opportunity to create a snuffle mat and cat toys.  These can be returned in t...
This event is in the "Children" group.

3-D Printing Basics 2: Avatars (CLASS B)

4:00pm - 5:30pm
Zoom Program Room
Registration
Library Branch: DMPL Virtual
Room: Zoom Program Room
Age Group: Children
Program Type: Computers & Technology
Registration Required
Seats Remaining: 10
Event Details:
Learn how to design your own 3-D Prints! Join us for our second Zoom class where we learn to build snowmen.  1-2 weeks after our class you will be able to come pick up your printed projects. This program is best for ages 9-16, has limited spa...
This event is in the "Children" group.
This event is in the "Teens" group.

Tween and Teen Ukulele Camp

2:00pm - 3:00pm
Zoom Program Room
Registration
Library Branch: DMPL Virtual
Room: Zoom Program Room
Age Group: Children, Teens
Program Type: Educational
Registration Required
Seats Remaining: 7
Event Details:
Get started on the ukulele and quickly learn to play familiar tunes while having fun! Play your own ukulele or borrow one of North Side Library's soprano ukuleles with your library card. Natalie Steenson will facilitate this 3-day camp for ...
This event is in the "Children" group.
Library Branch: DMPL Virtual
Room: Online Programming
Age Group: Children
Program Type: Educational, Storytimes
Event Details:
Enjoy a virtual storytime English and Spanish about Pandas! ¡Disfruten de un cuento virtual en inglés y español sobre Pandas! 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 "Children" group.
This event is in the "Teens" group.

Tween and Teen Ukulele Camp

2:00pm - 3:00pm
Zoom Program Room
Library Branch: DMPL Virtual
Room: Zoom Program Room
Age Group: Children, Teens
Program Type: Educational
Event Details:
Get started on the ukulele and quickly learn to play familiar tunes while having fun! Play your own ukulele or borrow one of North Side Library's soprano ukuleles with your library card. Natalie Steenson will facilitate this 3-day camp for ...
This event is in the "Teens" group.

Teen Take-and-Make Pop Sockets

4:00pm - 5:00pm
Zoom Program Room
Registration
Library Branch: DMPL Virtual
Room: Zoom Program Room
Age Group: Teens
Program Type: Arts & Crafts
Registration Required
Seats Remaining: 16
Event Details:
Your phone is personal, so why shouldn’t your phone grip be? Register for the program and then swing by Central's Pickup Window to pick up your pop socket design kit. Log onto the Zoom session the day of the event, and we'll design our pop sockets to...
This event is in the "Adults" group.
Registration
Library Branch: DMPL Virtual
Room: Zoom Program Room
Age Group: Adults
Program Type: Book Clubs
Registration Required
Seats Remaining: 14
Event Details:
Join four of our Book Chat Librarians to get the book recommendations you need to tackle your 2021 Reading Challenge. To learn more about the 2021 Challenge, visit our Reading Challenge hub. For even more recommendations, and to meet our stellar B...
This event is in the "Children" group.
This event is in the "Teens" group.

Tween and Teen Ukulele Camp

2:00pm - 3:00pm
Zoom Program Room
Library Branch: DMPL Virtual
Room: Zoom Program Room
Age Group: Children, Teens
Program Type: Educational
Event Details:
Get started on the ukulele and quickly learn to play familiar tunes while having fun! Play your own ukulele or borrow one of North Side Library's soprano ukuleles with your library card. Natalie Steenson will facilitate this 3-day camp for ...
This event is in the "Teens" group.

DMPL Virtual Teen Book Club

4:00pm - 5:00pm
Zoom Program Room
Registration
Library Branch: DMPL Virtual
Room: Zoom Program Room
Age Group: Teens
Program Type: Book Clubs
Registration Required
Seats Remaining: 12
Event Details:
Join us on Zoom for this special Spring Break meeting of the DMPL Teen Book Club where will be discussing American Street by AVID author, Ibi Zoboi. This program has limited space and requires registration. After registration, you will receiv...
This event is in the "Adults" group.

DMPL Virtual YA for Adults 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:
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.
This event is in the "Children" group.

Virtual Storytime: Let's Move!

10:15am - 10:45am
Online Programming
Library Branch: DMPL Virtual
Room: Online Programming
Age Group: Birth-Preschool, Children
Program Type: Storytimes
Event Details:
Kids and families! Join Miss Janee and Rosie the Reading Monster live at 10:15 a.m. on Facebook for Virtual Storytime: Let's Move! Miss Janee will read From Head to Toe by Eric Carle while Rosie and kids at home can move to the story. ...