All Buildings Remain Closed, Curbside Service Available

All Des Moines Public Library buildings remain closed to the public until further notice as a preventative measure to stop the spread of COVID-19 (coronavirus). Patrons can now place new holds on materials, and curbside pickup service is available at all locations. Read more about that HERE

Reading Challenge

Reading Challenge 2020

2020 Reading Challenge FAQs

  • Choose one book from each of our 12 categories and log your progress online. You can read books and categories in any order - there are no assigned months. Find the categories below.
  • We will offer suggestions, but feel free to choose any book that fits within a category.
  • Books, audiobooks, and eBooks all count.
  • A different book must be read for each different category. 
  • Participants who stay on track (i.e., have read three books in three months, six books in six months, etc.) will be eligible to win monthly prizes. At the end of each month, one winner will receive a $20 Visa gift card. At the end of each quarter (March, June, September), we'll draw three winners. Each winner will receive a $25 Visa gift card.
  • Those who complete the challenge (read a book in each of the 12 categories over the course of the year) will be eligible to win one of our grand prizes. One winner will receive a $150 Visa gift card and two will win a $50 Visa gift card.
  • You can always play catch-up! If you don't register until February, you can still be eligible for the monthly prize by reading two books by the end of the month, or for the first quarter prize by reading three books by the end of March. If you miss a month, read two books the next month to stay on track. If you don't register until November, you can still read 12 books before the end of 2020 and be eligible for the grand prize.
  • Must be 18 years of age or older to participate. An individual that turns 18 over the course of the year may register and begin participating on or after their birthday.

  • The contest begins on December 31, 2019.
  • Tag us on social media or use our hashtag and let us know what you're reading: #DMPLReads20
  • Join our Facebook Group - #DMPLReads20 - and talk about which books you're reading with other challenge participants.

The prize structure is as follows:

  • January: 1 $20 winner
  • February: 1 $20 winner
  • March: 3 $25 winners
  • April: 1 $20 winner
  • May: 1 $20 winner
  • June: 3 $25 winners
  • July: 1 $20 winner
  • August: 1 $20 winner
  • September: 3 $25 winners
  • October: 1 $20 winner
  • November: 1 $20 winner
  • December: 1 $150 winner and 2 $50 winners

2020 Reading Challenge Picks

Choose a book...

Dreaming of a whirlwind trip to Paris, or climbing Mt. Everest? Live vicariously through whichever book you choose for this category.

Our librarian recommendations can be found here

Our AViD 2020 lineup has officially been announced! Check out the full listing and event info here, or head to our list of recommendations (available here).

Sci-fi fanatic? Romance enthusiast? YA die-hard? Pick a book from whichever genre is your personal favorite!

Explore different perspectives by choosing a book written by someone of a different race, gender identity, sexual orientation, or ethnicity than your own.

Our librarian recommendations can be found here.

Read something inspired by the beautiful state of Iowa! This can be a book about Iowa, by an author from or living in Iowa, or the 2020 All-Iowa Reads book, The Mothers by Brit Bennett!

Librarian recommendations here

Censorship keeps us all in the dark. Keep the light on and choose a book that's been banned or challenged.

Librarian recommendations here

What was topping the list of New York Times bestsellers when you were born? Did any famous authors make their book debut?

Do a little searching on the Internet to find out, or use the Publication Date filter in our catalog to find a book for this category. Still stumped? Ask a librarian for help!

Tons of incredible books are initially written in a language other than English! Choose a book that's been translated for this category.

Librarian recommendations here

Every year, the National Book Foundation recognizes some of the best books of the year with the National Book Awards. Choose a winner from any year for this category.

Librarian recommendations are here, or you can browse a full list of previous winners here.

Start a reading adventure.

Librarian recommendations here

Sometimes, authors really knock it out of the park on their first published book. Find a new favorite author by checking out a new debut for this category. 

Librarian recommendations here

Graphic novels, poetry, books written completely in email exchanges -- they all count for this category!

Librarian recommendations here.