Library News

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.


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 IS AN EQUAL OPPORTUNITY EMPLOYER


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 dmpl.org 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 dmpl.org 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 Lynda.com 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.