Press Releases

Fine Restrictions Removed from Public Internet Usage at DMPL

The Des Moines Public Library is happy to announce that all patrons with active accounts will now be able to use our public computers and internet, regardless of fines and fees. Previously, patrons with a balance of $10 or more had to pay down that balance before they could log onto our public computers.

“Our patrons use the library’s public computers to find jobs, communicate with their families, and earn their degrees,” says Susan A. Woody, director of the Des Moines Public Library. “With so few opportunities for the public to use the internet for free, we decided that fines and fees should no longer be a barrier to accessing this vital resource.”

According to recent census figures, nearly a quarter of households in Des Moines do not have broadband internet, and nearly 13% of households in the city do not have a computer. The new policy supports those who have need of these free public resources.

Another change made automatically gives patrons a 2-hour internet session when they log in. Previously, patrons were limited one 1-hour session at a time.

Susan Woody Named New Library Director

Susan Amend Woody

Susan Amend Woody Named New Executive Director of the Des Moines Public Library

The Des Moines native undertakes the position after working for DMPL for 14 years.

The Des Moines Public Library is happy to announce that Susan Amend Woody has accepted an offer to become the new Executive Director. Woody was born and raised in Des Moines and has worked for the Des Moines Public Library for the past 14 years. She is currently the Director of Community Engagement. Woody was selected at the conclusion of a nationwide search that began three months ago, following the retirement of the previous director.

“We are very excited to have Sue assume the position of Executive Director and to have such a great staff in place to help with the transition,” says Wes Graham, President of the Des Moines Public Library Board of Trustees. “The search the Library conducted was exhaustive and produced a number of great candidates. At the end of the search, we found that the person to help lead the library into the future was already in our building.”

“The Des Moines Public Library has been committed to our community for more than 150 years, and I consider it a great honor to be the chosen as the new Library Director.” says Woody. “Literacy is the key to an educated community, and the Library is dedicated to offering lifelong and innovative learning opportunities.”

Woody will begin in her new role on Monday, July 16th.

Authors Visiting in Des Moines Brings Lessons on Civility in the Modern Work Place

Lea Berman and Jeremy Bernard

Former White House Social Secretaries Lea Berman and Jeremy Bernard will speak at our Authors Visiting in Des Moines (AViD) series next Tuesday, May 15. Their program begins at 7:00 PM at the Central Library (1000 Grand Avenue).

The Social Secretary is the head of the White House Social Office. As such, they are responsible for all planning, coordination, and execution of official White House events, from simple afternoon tea events to state dinners with hundreds of guests. Berman worked for President George W. Bush, while Bernard worked for President Barack Obama.

The two came together to write Treating People Well as a guide to personal and professional empowerment through civility and social skills. In the book, they offer an important fundamental message – everyone is important and everyone deserves to be treated well. They also discuss some of their experiences at the White House, including moments with celebrities, foreign leaders, and politicians.

The program begins at 7:00 PM at the Central Library, and doors will open at 6:00 PM. Following their presentation, a question-and-answer session will be moderated by Scott Raecker, Executive Director of The Robert D. and Billie Ray Center at Drake University (formally known as Character Counts in Iowa). There is plenty of parking available. Free parking can be found in the parking garage underneath the Central Library, located off of Grand Avenue, or in the parking lot at the corner of 10th Street and Grand Avenue. A recent episode of the DMPL Podcast also features Berman in conversation with host Laura Rowley. It can be found on the DMPL Podcast page or on Apple Podcasts.

Age Group: 

Library Director Search

White arena seats with one orange seat.

Plan for tomorrow as the next Library Director of the Des Moines Public Library! The Board of Trustees of the Des Moines (IA) Public Library seeks a forward-thinking and creative Director to develop and implement collaborative, community library services. The library serves 215,000+ residents from a central library (an architectural icon) and five branches anchoring neighborhoods by providing convenient access to library programs. Key opportunities include developing a new strategic vision, restoring hours of operation, and working closely with the City of Des Moines and with the Library Foundation to seek new streams of revenue. With a dedicated staff (93.7FTE), a committed Library Board, a $8.5 million annual budget, and a successful Library Foundation—the library can continue to be an agent for positive change contributing to economic development, community building and academic achievement. As Iowa's capital city, Des Moines is a small city with big city amenities. Noted for being one of Expedia’s Most Artistic Towns in America and one of the Top 10 Places to Live in the U.S. (U.S. News & World Report, 2017), the city is a hub of government action, business activity, arts and cultural affairs—with much of the activity focused on the reinvigorated downtown area where the central library is a centerpiece. The library can be a key participant with the city as it looks to the future with its Forward Plan and the Capital Crossroads Plan. Des Moines is also home to good public services and friendly, cohesive neighborhoods. Additional information on the library, city and position can be found at Des Moines Links.

Responsibilities. Under the direction of the Library Board of Trustees, the Library Director is a visionary for the Des Moines Public Library. The director will communicate with the Library Board, the City of Des Moines, the community and the library staff. The director will advocate for the Library in all communications. The Director of the Des Moines Public Library reports to a five-member Library Board of Trustees and partners with city officials as a city department head to achieve the library’s mission, goals and objectives within the context of community needs and priorities. Overall responsibilities include: fostering effective internal and external communications with the community, city officials, the Library Board, the Library Foundation, and library staff; proposing recommendations and implementing board policies and operating procedures reflecting the reality of the current economic environment; developing the library staff as a strong team through leadership, mentoring and providing staff development opportunities; providing sound fiscal management while seeking additional revenue sources; working with the Library Foundation; and exploring and developing collaborative relationships with a variety of local, regional and statewide organizations and agencies.

Qualifications. A master’s degree in library science from an ALA-accredited program is required. Five years of increasingly responsible management experience in a public library setting is preferred. Experience in a multi-branch library; a minimum of five years of executive level experience as director of a library or deputy, assistant, or associate director of a comparable or larger system; experience reporting to a governing board; and experience in a union environment are all highly desirable. Essential attributes include energy and enthusiasm; personal integrity; and excellent interpersonal skills; thorough knowledge of financial management; collaboration and consensus-building skills; sensitivity, flexibility, and creativity; and a solid understanding of philosophy, trends and “best practices” in the library and information technology fields. The Library Director must live in the City of Des Moines.

Compensation. A starting salary range of $125,000-155,000 (with placement negotiable, dependent upon experience and qualifications) and an excellent fringe benefits package.

For more information, contact Bradbury Miller Associates. To start the application process, send a cover letter and résumé as Word or PDF attachments to Dan Bradbury on or before the closing date of April 29, 2018.


Des Moines Public Library Director Greg Heid Announces Retirement

image of Library Director, Greg Heid

Heid has served as director of the Des Moines Public Library for more than seven years, and has had a 53-year career in library services.

Des Moines Public Library Director Greg Heid has announced his retirement. His last day will be on Friday, March 30, 2018.

Heid has served as director for seven years, beginning in January 2011. During that time, he has overseen several successful projects and transformations:

  • The library’s “Virtual Library” was launched, operating as a “7th branch” with downloadable e-books, e-audiobooks, 24/7 services, and an updated website.
  • The Franklin Avenue Library was renovated and expanded. It was certified as a Platinum LEED building in the process, the first public building in the city to receive that certification.
  • Other renovations were completed, including the North Side service desk, replacement of the Central Library boilers, replacement of the storefront windows at the South Side branch, upgrade of controllers and HVAC units of the majority of branch libraries, installation of a state-of-the-art security camera system throughout the library system, and replacement of roofs at several branch libraries.
  • Establishment of collection management tools to develop the best collection of titles to meet the needs of the community.
  • Improved financial reporting and budget processes.
  • Enhancement of job training and learning opportunities for library staff.
  • Oversaw updates to public computers and technology improvements that increased efficiency and enhanced customer service.
  • Expanded telephone and internet reference services.
  • Reestablished the tradition of art in the library by installing a new community art gallery in the Central Library.
  • Improvement of efficiency and customer service through technology upgrades.
  • Promoted programming that served the needs of the community by promoting early literacy skills, assisting job seekers and language learners, and cultivating culture through author visits.
  • Oversaw management of budget cuts that kept all branches open with minimal staff reduction.
  • Ensured a vibrant direction for the library through the implementation of a 10-year strategic plan which introduced strategic partnerships and cooperation with businesses, non-profits, and governmental organizations.

Heid began his library career 53 years ago, when he shelved books at his junior high library. Heid is a native of Minneapolis and holds several degrees from the University of Minnesota including bachelor degrees in Media Communication Theory, Marketing, and Advertising; with a minor in Art History, as well as a master’s degree in Library Science with a minor in Business Administration. He worked in library administration for more than 30 years, previously serving as the Associate Director of the Atlanta-Fulton Public Library, and the Director of the Newton County Library in a suburb of Atlanta, Georgia, before taking the position at the Des Moines Public Library.

“It is with mixed emotion that I leave the Des Moines Public Library. I look forward to pursuing many of my passions and interests as I transition into retirement. However, I will miss the wonderful, dedicated staff of the Library and the many colleagues that I have worked with throughout the city. I know that the Library Board of Trustees will find a capable director who will take the Des Moines Public Library to new and exciting heights.”

A farewell reception for Heid will be held at the Central Library on Friday, March 30, from 2:00-4:00 PM.

About the Des Moines Public Library

Founded in 1866, the Des Moines Public Library is the public library system for the City of Des Moines. With six branches and a collection of more than 550,000 items, the Des Moines Public Library is the largest public library system in the state of Iowa. The mission of the Des Moines Public Library is to be the bridge to a world of information and ideas for personal enjoyment and community growth. The Des Moines Public Library is the recognized leader in expanding the universe of opportunities, imagination, innovation, and lifelong learning benefiting its diverse community.

The Des Moines Public Library Launches the 2018 Adult Winter Reading Program!

Adult Winter Reading Challenge

Read novels, magazines, children’s books, and more - it all counts toward the reading challenge!

Calling all readers in Des Moines! The Des Moines Public Library is happy to announce the launch of the 2018 Adult Winter Reading Challenge! The challenge runs from January 1 through February 17. It takes place online at through Beanstack, our online reading log. All you have to do is keep track of the time you spend reading and enter it in the reading log. For every 15 minutes you spend reading, you receive an entry into our weekly drawing. Winners will receive a $20 gift card to a local Des Moines merchant.

“We want to involve everyone in the community, so every kind of reading counts!” says Sue Woody, Community Engagement Librarian, Des Moines Public Library. “Whether you’re reading books, magazines, articles online, or stories to your kids or grandkids, you can enter it in your reading log on Beanstack. Reading improves your memory and health, and bedtime stories are a great way to bring families together.”

You can register for the program right away. It’s easy! Go to and click on the Adult Winter Reading Challenge on the front page. There, you’ll find instructions on how to sign up for Beanstack and fill in your reading log. There will also be a bonus drawing for people who try a course through the Des Moines Public Library. The challenge begins January 1, but you can register now or anytime during the challenge. Let’s get Des Moines reading! Tell your friends and sign up for the Adult Winter Reading Challenge today!

About the Des Moines Public Library

Founded in 1866, the Des Moines Public Library is the public library system for the City of Des Moines. With six branches and a collection of more than 550,000 items, the Des Moines Public Library is the largest public library system in the state of Iowa. The mission of the Des Moines Public Library is to be the bridge to a world of information and ideas for personal enjoyment and community growth. The Des Moines Public Library is the recognized leader in expanding the universe of opportunities, imagination, innovation, and lifelong learning benefiting its diverse community.

The Iowa Author Fair Returns Sunday to the Des Moines Public Library!

Meet twenty authors with Iowa ties and discover new great books!

Find your next great read and discover new writers at the Iowa Author Fair! The fair returns to the Central Library on Sunday, October 8, from 1:00-3:00 PM.  Twenty Iowa authors will be sharing their latest works with the public. It’s a great opportunity to meet new people, share interesting conversations, and have fun! There will also be door prizes and refreshments. With authors of several different genres in attendance, there is something for everyone!


Larry Cotlar has been involved in sports journalism for nearly 40 years. His book, The Biggest Rolodex in Sports, reflects on his life in the field, including interviews with Michael Jordan, Tiger Woods, and Muhammad Ali, among others.

Debra Closner Franklin has been an addiction counselor for more than thirty years. Her book, Intervention for America: A Country in Need, taps into her professional experience to explore how America has become “a nation of addicts” and what can be done to right the ship.

Dr. Hugh Hammond is a retired college professor who taught English as a Second Language in Estonia, Syria, and the United Arab Emirates. His novel, The Sinking of the Estonia: The CIA Knew, recalls the true story of the 1994 sinking of the car ferry Estonia in the Baltic Sea.

Catherine Haustein writes comedic novels with a scientific twist. A graduate of the Iowa Writers' Workshop and the University of Iowa's chemistry department, she has been teaching chemistry at Central College for more than 30 years. Her newest novel, Mixed In, was published this past March.

Ken Keffer has written seven books meant to connect families to the outdoors and nature. As a professional naturalist, Ken has spent his career highlighting the importance of nature and encouraging people to explore the outdoors.

Joanne Seymour Kuster has been helping families become financially literate for decades. A native Iowan, she has lead the Money Smart Week initiative statewide and understands how building financial skills at any age paves a path to success.

Jeanne Martz, a graduate of Iowa State University, has a love for Iowa, the rural Midwest, and small-town American life. This fueled the writing of her books, The Creekers and The Women of Swenson Farm. She lives in Pleasant Hill with her husband, Jim.

Lana Jean Mitchell has been writing for six decades, beginning in her hometown of Cincinnati. Throughout her career, she has written for newspapers, magazines, and radio. Her children’s book, A Birthday Story, was inspired by someone whose birthday did not fall during the school year.

Otto Mondesi, of Des Moines, has spent several years traveling the United States and Canada in search of adventure and the great outdoors. Otto’s literary influences include the splendid tales brought to life by Vince Flynn, Stephen King, Suzanne Collins, David Hosp, and John Grisham. His book, It Just Takes One, follows the aftermath of an influenza pandemic both in American and abroad.

Cheryl Mullenbach is an award-winning author of history books for young adults and middle school readers. Her books have won recognition from the American Library Association, International Literacy Association, and more. Her books inspire readers to scratch beneath the surface of historical facts to discover the rich stories that make history real.

Randal Nerhus graduated from Iowa State University in 1982. From 2013 to 2016, he lived in the Amazon jungle studying under a Cocama shaman, and parts of that experience were incorporated into his novel. That book, Red with Native Blood, is available now.

Alan Simon, Jr. was born and raised in Des Moines. He served in the Air Force and attended Iowa State University. His first book is the thriller The People Downstairs Are Killers.

Francis Sparks grew up on a farm in Iowa. In his early thirties, Francis began chasing his dream of becoming an author, and his debut novel Made Safe was published in 2015. Francis Sparks currently lives in Des Moines with his amazing wife, Kelly. If he’s not working on his next novel or short story, you can find him teaching his children about dragons.

Pat Underwood, of Colfax, is known for both her poetry and her children's prose. She is the author of Portraits, Gatherings, Whisker Tag, At Coloring Zoo, and The Last Supper, a play kit. She is also a contributor to Voices on the Landscape: Contemporary Iowa Poets, The North American Review, and more.

Jan Walters grew up in Des Moines and currently lives on a farm in Warren County. She is the author of the A Ghost and a Cop series, which is set in Des Moines. Each book in the Ghost and a Cop series takes place on a different street in the Des Moines urban area and features a different type of supernatural killer.

Brian Webb was born and raised in Kentucky and currently lives in Des Moines. Shortly after graduating, Brian suffered an intracranial hemorrhage. He turned his life’s struggles into a way to provide hope in others through inspirational books. He’s the author of Chasing the Miracle and Don’t Give Up. Don’t Ever Give Up.

Sara J. Weis is a creative and passionate teacher who has inspired children for over eighteen years. She leads kids’ yoga classes and is the bestselling author of Go Go Yoga for Kids: A Complete Guide for Using Yoga with Kids and the creator of the Kids Yoga Challenge Pose Cards.

Daniel Willers grew up in Iowa and graduated from Iowa State University. A practicing engineer involved in the design of water and wastewater treatment systems, Daniel loves to figure out how things work. He lives in Des Moines with his wife and fantastic daughters. He writes fantasy mystery novels starring Blake Heira, a mage and priest of Morn, God of Justice.

Author Ross Caligiuri has spent most of his life writing and performing within the music industry. Life often is the university that provides us with the tools we need to create. Discover more about his book, Dreaming in the Shadows, at

Dr. Eric L. Johnson currently serves as the chief consultant with Strategies to Succeed, a company that supports professional and organizational development. He has authored three inspirational books: Beyond Self Help: A Journey to be Better, 10 Deadly Aspects of Pride, and Livin’ in the Shade: Implications of Father and Son Relationships Explored.

About the Des Moines Public Library
Founded in 1866, the Des Moines Public Library is the public library system for the City of Des Moines. With six branches and a collection of more than 550,000 items, the Des Moines Public Library is the largest public library system in the state of Iowa. The mission of the Des Moines Public Library is to be the bridge to a world of information and ideas for personal enjoyment and community growth. The Des Moines Public Library is the recognized leader in expanding the universe of opportunities, imagination, innovation, and lifelong learning benefiting its diverse community.



Celebrate your love of reading this summer with our Bookwalk! We teamed with Des Moines Parks and Recreation to bring books where you're spending your time outside. You don't have to sit down to enjoy a good book; read along while you enjoy a different book each month at one of these parks!

June Growing Vegetable Soup, by Lois Ehlert - Evelyn K. Davis Park (1400 Forest Avenue)

July One Duck Stuck, by Phillis Root, illustrated by Jane Chapman - Gray’s Lake Park (2101 Fleur Drive)

August In the Small, Small Pond, by Denise Fleming - Sargent Park (3530 East Douglas Avenue)

Enjoy the Solar Eclipse at the Des Moines Public Library!

All open branches will have eclipse sunglasses available for the public

solar eclipse

Experience the solar eclipse with the Des Moines Public Library! On Monday, August 21, a total solar eclipse will be tracking across the continental United States for the first time in nearly 40 years. Des Moines will experience a partial eclipse of 95 percent, and our library branches are celebrating! Des Moines Public Library branches will be handing out solar eclipse glasses for free on the day of the eclipse. These glasses are designed to protect people’s eyes so they may safely view the eclipse as it occurs (NASA safety tips for viewing the eclipse).

The Franklin Avenue Library is hosting a special eclipse viewing event! This starts at 12:00 PM with a lesson on viewing the eclipse safely. They’ll be handing out 500 pairs of glasses on a first-come, first-served basis beginning at 11:30 AM. We will be handing out the glasses on the west side of the building, and they are limited to one pair per person.

The Central Library, East Side Library, Forest Avenue Library, and South Side Library will each have 100 pairs of sunglasses that they’ll be handing out on a first-come, first-served basis. The Central Library will begin handing the glasses out at 9:00 AM, and the East Side, Forest Avenue, and South Side Libraries will begin handing glasses out at 10:00 AM. Again, each pair of glasses will be handed out on a first-come, first-served basis, and each person is limited to one pair. We will not be taking reservations for glasses over the phone.

(Note: the North Side Library is closed on Mondays and will not be participating in this event).

The eclipse itself will begin at 11:42 AM in Des Moines, reaching its peak at 1:08 PM. The moon will continue to move across the sun’s path after that, and the eclipse will end at 2:33 PM.

You can prepare for the eclipse during a special program on Tuesday, August 15! Dave Lynch, a member of the Des Moines Astronomical Society, will be at the Franklin Avenue Library to talk about his eclipse stories. Lynch has chased solar eclipses for forty years, making trips to ten countries and two oceans in the process. He’ll share stories and photos of his fifteen eclipse trips and talk about why he finds the phenomenon fascinating.

We welcome the public to gather outside our buildings to watch the sky during this incredible event!

Simple Steps to Success

Simple Steps Logo

Des Moines Public Library Launches Simple Steps to Success
Read. Write. Sing. Play. Talk.

The foundation for a child’s success in school and life begins the moment they’re born. The more words young children hear, the more likely it is they’ll be ready to read when they start school. Parents and caregivers have an important role in exposing children to new words, but it doesn’t have to be a stressful experience. Word development is a family opportunity that requires little time, is free, and will make a big difference to their child’s long-term scholastic success.

To help parents and caregivers understand their critical roles, the Des Moines Public Library is excited to announce a new community awareness initiative called Simple Steps to Success. The goal of the program is to increase awareness about the five pre-literacy skills of reading, writing, singing, playing, and talking.

“We want every family to understand the importance of these five skills,” says Sue Woody, Community Engagement Librarian. “Whether you’re in the car, at the laundromat, or playing at home, it’s easy for families to incorporate these practices into their daily routines.”

Simple Steps to Success will provide parents and caregivers with examples of how those pre-literacy skills can be introduced in a way that takes little time, wherever they are. Through posters, flyers, television and radio campaigns, and outreach in the community, parents and caregivers will be given support and guidance on the ways they can help their children succeed.

“With the Simple Steps program, we want parents and caregivers to understand how easy it is to have a positive impact on their child’s life,” says Woody. “You don’t need to be an expert. It’s about taking advantage of the time you already spend with your child. Even just a few minutes a day makes a big difference.”

This program was initiated by the Des Moines Public Library through a grant provided by Polk County Early Childhood Iowa. A number of community organizations are assisting with the program, including Head Start, Hispanic Educational Resources, Iowa Public Television, Lutheran Services in Iowa, Visiting Nurse Services of Iowa, and Price Chopper.

Materials regarding the Simple Steps to Success initiative are being distributed through preschools and daycare providers across Des Moines. Those materials and additional information about the program are also available on the Simple Steps website –

Polk County Early Childhood Iowa logo
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