Library Reopening with Limited, In-Person Services

Central Library will reopen for some in-person services on a limited basis Monday, Sept. 28. Additional in-person services will begin at our remaining buildings on Tuesday, Oct. 13. Read more about this new phase of our reopening plan, called DMPL Express, HERE.

PRIDE Month - Resources & Books

Pride

June is Pride Month! Though Capital City Pride has canceled Des Moines' annual celebration of the LGBTQ community due to concerns over the COVID pandemic, we wanted to help start the month with a list of local resources utilized by the LGBTQ community, as well as some book recommendations for readers of all ages.

Resources

One Iowa – An organization that advances, empowers, and improves the lives of LGBTQ Iowans statewide through education, training, and policy promotion.

Human Rights Campaign Iowa – An advocacy group that fights for LGBTQ equality in Iowa alongside state and local groups and lawmakers.

Des Moines Pride Center – A community organization that serves, supports, and celebrates gender and sexual minorities and their allies.

Iowa Safe Schools – provides safe, supportive, and nurturing learning environments and communities for LGBTQ and allied youth through education, outreach, advocacy, and direct services.

Iowa Queer Communities of Color Coalition (IQ3C) – Using an intersectional lens, IQ3C addresses the inequity of services, lack of support and space, socioeconomic disparities, and institutional racism experienced by communities of color through education, advocacy, intentional inclusivity and organizing.

University of Iowa Hospitals & Clinics – Resources for families and allies of LGBTQ individuals

PRIDE MONTH Book Suggestions

Our staff put together a short book list of reading suggestions for Pride Month below. Go to our Recommended Reads page for even more LGBTQ book lists, for KIDS, TEENS, and ADULTS.

Real Life

'Real Life,' by Brandon Taylor

Almost everything about Wallace, an introverted African-American transplant from Alabama, is at odds with the lakeside Midwestern university town where he is studying for a biochem degree. For reasons of self-preservation, he has kept a distance even from his own friends - some dating each other, some dating women, some feigning straightness. But a series of confrontations with colleagues, and an unexpected encounter with a young straight man, conspire to fracture his defenses, while revealing hidden currents of resentment and desire that threaten the equilibrium of their community.

All My Mother's Lovers

'All My Mother's Lovers,' by Ilana Masad

Intimacy has always eluded twenty-seven-year-old Maggie Krause. Until, that is, Lucia came into her life. But when Maggie's mom, Iris, dies in a car crash, Maggie returns home only to discover a withdrawn dad, an angry brother, and, along with Iris's will, five sealed envelopes, each addressed to a mysterious man she's never heard of.

Told over the course of a funeral and shiva, and written with enormous wit and warmth, All My Mother's Lovers  is the exciting debut novel from fiction writer and book critic Ilana Masad. A unique meditation on the universality and particularity of family ties and grief, and a tender and biting portrait of sex, gender, and identity, All My Mother's Lovers challenges us to question the nature of fulfilling relationships.

Something that May Shock

'Something That May Shock and Discredit You,' by Mallory Ortberg

Daniel Mallory Ortberg is known for blending genres, forms, and sources to develop fascinating new hybrids - from lyric rants to horror recipes to pornographic scripture. In his most personal work to date, he turns his attention to the essay, offering vigorous and laugh-out-loud funny accounts of both popular and highbrow culture while mixing in meditations on gender transition, family dynamics, and the many meanings of faith.

From a thoughtful analysis of the beauty of William Shatner to a sinister reimagining of HGTV's House Hunters, and featuring figures as varied as Anne of Green Gables, Columbo, Nora Ephron, Apollo, and the cast of Mean GirlsSomething That May Shock and Discredit You is a hilarious and emotionally exhilarating compendium that combines personal history with cultural history to make you see yourself and those around you entirely anew. It further establishes Ortberg as one of the most innovative and engaging voices of his generation, and it may just change the way you think about Lord Byron forever.

Under the Rainbow

'Under the Rainbow,' by Celia Laskey

Big Burr, Kansas, is the kind of place where everyone seems to know everyone, and everyone shares the same values-or keeps their opinions to themselves. But when a national nonprofit labels Big Burr "the most homophobic town in the US" and sends in a task force of queer volunteers as an experiment - they'll live and work in the community for two years in an attempt to broaden hearts and minds - no one is truly prepared for what will ensue.

As tensions roil the town, cratering relationships and forcing closely guarded secrets into the light, everyone must consider what it really means to belong. Told with warmth and wit, Under the Rainbow is a poignant, hopeful articulation of our complicated humanity that reminds us we are more alike than we'd like to admit.

Wow No Thank You

'Wow, No Thank You,' by Samantha Irby

Irby is forty, and increasingly uncomfortable in her own skin despite what Inspirational Instagram Infographics have promised her. She has left her job as a receptionist at a veterinary clinic, has published successful books and has been friendzoned by Hollywood, left Chicago, and moved into a house with a garden that requires repairs and know-how with her wife in a Blue town in the middle of a Red state where she now hosts book clubs and makes mason jar salads. This is the bourgeois life of a Hallmark Channel dream. She goes on bad dates with new friends, spends weeks in Los Angeles taking meetings with "tv executives slash amateur astrologers" while being a "cheese fry-eating slightly damp Midwest person," "with neck pain and no cartilage in [her] knees," who still hides past due bills under her pillow.

Later

'Later,' by Paul Lisicky

When Paul Lisicky arrived in Provincetown in the early 1990s, he was leaving behind a history of family trauma to live in a place outside of time, known for its values of inclusion, acceptance, and art. In this idyllic haven, Lisicky searches for love and connection and comes into his own as he finds a sense of belonging. At the same time, the center of this community is consumed by the AIDS crisis, and the very structure of town life is being rewired out of necessity: What might this utopialook like during a time of dystopia?

Later dramatizes a spectacular yet ravaged place and a unique era when more fully becoming one's self collided with the realization that ongoingness couldn't be taken for granted, and staying alive from moment to moment exacted absolute attention. Following the success of his acclaimed memoir,The Narrow Door, Lisicky fearlessly explores the body, queerness, love, illness, community, and belonging in this masterful, ingenious new book.

Out of the Blues

'Out of the Blues,' by Trudy Nan Boyce

On her first day as a newly minted homicide detective, Sarah "Salt" Alt is given the cold-case murder of a blues musician whose death was originally ruled an accidental drug overdose. Now new evidence has come to light that he may have been given a hot dose intentionally. And this evidence comes from a convicted felon hoping to trade his knowledge for shortened prison time... a man who Salt herself put behind bars.

In a search that will take her into the depths of Atlanta's buried wounds--among the city's homeless, its politically powerful churches, commerce and industry, and the police department itself--Salt probes her way toward the truth in a case that has more at stake than she ever could have imagined. At once a vivid procedural and a penetrating examination of what it means to be cop, Out of the Blues is a remarkable crime debut.

Hurricane Child

'Hurricane Child,' by Kheryn Callender (Young Adult Book)

Being born during a hurricane is unlucky, and twelve-year-old Caroline has had her share of bad luck lately. She's hated and bullied by everyone in her small school on St. Thomas of the US Virgin Islands, a spirit only she can see won't stop following her, and, worst of all, Caroline's mother left home one day and never came back.

But when a new student named Kalinda arrives, Caroline's luck begins to turn around. Kalinda, a solemn girl from Barbados with a special smile for everyone, becomes Caroline's first and only friend -- and the person for whom Caroline has begun to develop a crush.

Now, Caroline must find the strength to confront her feelings for Kalinda, brave the spirit stalking her through the islands, and face the reason her mother abandoned her. Together, Caroline and Kalinda must set out in a hurricane to find Caroline's missing mother -- before Caroline loses her forever.

It's Not Like It's a Secret

'It's Not Like It's a Secret,' by Misa Sugiura (Young Adult Book)

This charming and bittersweet coming-of-age story featuring two girls of color falling in love is part To All the Boys I've Loved Before and part Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda.

When sixteen-year-old Sana Kiyoharaand her family move to California, she begins to wonder if it's finally time for some honesty, especially after she meets Jamie Ramirez. Jamie is beautiful and smart and unlike anyone Sana's ever known. There are just a few problems: Sana's new friends don't trust Jamie's crowd; Jamie's friends clearly don't want her around anyway; and a sweet guy named Caleb seems to have more-than-friendly feelings for her. Meanwhile, her dad's affair is becoming too obvious to ignore.

Sana always figured that the hardest thing would be to tell people that she wants to date a girl, but as she quickly learns, telling the truth is easy...what comes after it, though, is a whole lot more complicated.

Lies My Girlfriend Told Me

'Lies My Girlfriend Told Me,' by Julie Anne Peters (Young Adult Book)

When Alix's charismatic girlfriend, Swanee, dies from sudden cardiac arrest, Alix is overcome with despair. As she searches Swanee's room for mementos of their relationship, she finds Swanee's cell phone, pinging with dozens of texts sent from a mysterious contact, L.T. The most recent text reads: "Please tell me what I did. Please, Swan. Te amo. I love you."

Shocked and betrayed, Alix learns that Swanee has been leading a double life, secretly dating a girl named Liana the entire time she's been with Alix. Alix texts Liana from Swanee's phone, pretending to be Swanee in order to gather information before finally meeting face-to-face to break the news.

Brought together by Swanee's lies, Alix and Liana become closer than they'd thought possible. But Alix is still hiding the truth from Liana. Alix knows what it feels like to be lied to, but will coming clean to Liana mean losing her, too?

Julian is a Mermaid

'Julián Is a Mermaid,' by Jessica Love (Children's Book)

While riding the subway home from the pool with his abuela one day, Julián notices three women spectacularly dressed up. Their hair billows in brilliant hues, their dresses end in fishtails, and their joy fills the train car. When Julián gets home, daydreaming of the magic he's seen, all he can think about is dressing up just like the ladies in his own fabulous mermaid costume: a butter-yellow curtain for his tail, the fronds of a potted fern for his headdress. But what will Abuela think about the mess he makes. Even more importantly, what will she think about how Julián sees himself? Mesmerizing and full of heart, Jessica Love's author-illustrator debut is a jubilant picture of self-love and a radiant celebration of individuality.

Pride Harvey Milk

'Pride: The Story of Harvey Milk and the Rainbow Flag,' by Rob Sanders (Children's Book)

In this deeply moving and empowering true story, young readers will trace the life of the Gay Pride Flag, from its beginnings in 1978 with social activist Harvey Milk and designer Gilbert Baker to its spanning of the globe and its role in today''s world. Award-winning author Rob Sanders's stirring text, and acclaimed illustrator Steven Salerno's evocative images, combine to tell this remarkable, undertold story. A story of love, hope, equality, and pride.
 

Family is Familyi

'A Family is a Family is a Family,' by Sara O'Leary (Children's Book)

When a teacher asks the children in her class to think about what makes their families special, the answers are all different in many ways, but the same in the one way that matters most of all.

One child is worried that her family is just too different to explain, but listens as her classmates talk about what makes their families special. One is raised by a grandmother, and another has two dads. One is full of stepsiblings, and another has a new baby.

As one by one, her classmates describe who they live with and who loves them, family of every shape, size and every kind of relation, the child realizes that as long as her family is full of caring people, her family is special.

A warm and whimsical look at many types of families written by award-winning author Sara O'Leary, A Family is a Family springs to life with quirky and sweet illustrations by Qin Leng.

Published on May 28, 2020
Last Modified September 30, 2020