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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

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

Pickup Window Hours:
Sunday: CLOSED
Monday: 9 AM - 5 PM
Tuesday: 9 AM - 7 PM
Wednesday: 9 AM - 5 PM
Thursday: 9 AM - 7 PM
Friday: 9 AM - 5 PM
Saturday: 10 AM - 4 PM

Computers by Appointment:
Sunday: CLOSED
Monday: 9 AM - 5 PM
Tuesday: 9 AM - 8 PM
Wednesday: 9 AM - 5 PM
Thursday: 9 AM - 8 PM
Friday: 9 AM - 5 PM
Saturday: 10 AM - 5 PM

DOT Kiosk:

Sunday: CLOSED
Monday: 9 AM - 5 PM
Tuesday: 9 AM - 8 PM
Wednesday: 9 AM - 5 PM
Thursday: 9 AM - 8 PM
Friday: 9 AM - 5 PM
Saturday: 10 AM - 5 PM

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 "Birth-Preschool" group.
This event is in the "Children" group.

Crafternoons

2:15pm - 2:30pm
Online Programming
Library Branch: Central Library
Room: Online Programming
Age Group: Birth-Preschool, Children
Program Type: Arts & Crafts, Play & Learn
Event Details:
Crafternoons: Felt Finger Puppets Have fun making your very own group of monsters, book characters, or a bunch of animals! The possibilities are endless! what you'll need: Felt, assorted colors Paper can also be used Templat...
This event is in the "Adults" group.

DMPL Virtual Genre Voyager Book Club

2:30pm - 3:30pm
Online Programming - Zoom
Registration
Library Branch: Central Library
Room: Online Programming - Zoom
Age Group: Adults
Program Type: Book Clubs
Registration Required
Seats Remaining: 5
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 "Adults" group.

DMPL Virtual Genre Voyager Book Club

6:30pm - 7:30pm
Online Programming - Zoom
Registration
Library Branch: Central Library
Room: Online Programming - Zoom
Age Group: Adults
Program Type: Book Clubs
Registration Required
Seats Remaining: 2
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.

Grab-and-Go Thursday

10:00am - 4:00pm
Online Programming
Library Branch: Central Library
Room: Online Programming
Age Group: Children
Program Type: Arts & Crafts, Play & Learn
Event Details:
Thursdays are Grab-and-Go at DMPL! Stop by any DMPL branch during their curbside hours to pick up your Summer Reading Grab-and-Go Bag, full of take-home crafts and activities appropriate for *ages 2 to 12, as well as a Summer Read...
This event is in the "Teens" group.

Let's Paint! with ASAP: Tropical Landscape Painting

3:00pm - 4:00pm
Online Programming
Library Branch: Central Library
Room: Online Programming
Age Group: Teens
Program Type: Arts & Crafts, Take & Make
Event Details:
Join* After School Arts Program (ASAP) teaching artist Jill Wells for a virtual art lesson in tropical landscape painting! Using just four paint colors, a round brush, mixed-media paper, a cup for water, and a paper towel, you'll learn to c...
This event is in the "Birth-Preschool" group.
This event is in the "Children" group.

Storytelling with Donna Washington

6:00pm - 7:00pm
Online Programming
Library Branch: Central Library
Room: Online Programming
Age Group: Birth-Preschool, Children
Program Type: Performances
Event Details:
Enjoy the art of storytelling with Donna Washington! Donna Washington is an internationally known, multiple award winning storyteller, spoken word recording artist, and author. Donna has even been called a “Walking Disney Movie”, and told she wa...
This event is in the "Birth-Preschool" group.
This event is in the "Children" group.

Virtual Storytime: Mermaid Fun!

10:15am - 10:45am
Online Programming
Library Branch: Central Library
Room: Online Programming
Age Group: Birth-Preschool, Children
Program Type: Storytimes
Event Details:
Join Youth Librarian Miss Janee virtually for our Virtual Storytime Friday mornings at 10:15 AM on Facebook! Gather the family and go under the sea with mermaids when kids listen to the story, Three Little Mermaids by Mara Van Fleet and count the sea...
This event is in the "Birth-Preschool" group.
This event is in the "Children" group.

Leak-Proof Bag Experiment

10:15am - 11:00am
Online Programming
Library Branch: Central Library
Room: Online Programming
Age Group: Birth-Preschool, Children
Program Type: Play & Learn
Event Details:
Watch as Miss Jennifer shows you how to poke holes in a plastic bag without causing any leaks. Supplies you will need: Water Plastic bag that seals Sharpened pencils Tray or bowl  This deals with the science concepts of polym...
This event is in the "Birth-Preschool" group.
This event is in the "Children" group.

Crafternoons

2:15pm - 2:30pm
Online Programming
Library Branch: Central Library
Room: Online Programming
Age Group: Birth-Preschool, Children
Program Type: Arts & Crafts, Play & Learn
Event Details:
Crafternoons: Nature Creatures! Have fun making your very own unique critters using materials you find after going on a nature walk in a park or your own backyard.  What you'll need: Collected items from outside, such as st...
This event is in the "Birth-Preschool" group.
This event is in the "Children" group.

Live Virtual Zoo Tour with the Blank Park Zoo

1:30pm - 2:00pm
Online Programming
Library Branch: Central Library
Room: Online Programming
Age Group: Birth-Preschool, Children
Program Type: Educational
Event Details:
Celebrate the end of summer reading with another LIVE virtual program from the Blank Park Zoo! This time, you'll have a chance to enjoy a zoo tour from the comfort of your home. One of the zoo's educators will take you o...
This event is in the "Birth-Preschool" group.

Virtual Storytime: Baby Rhyme Time

10:15am - 10:45am
Online Programming
Library Branch: Central Library
Room: Online Programming
Age Group: Birth-Preschool
Program Type: Storytimes
Event Details:
Join Miss Jennifer for a virtual Baby Rhyme Time at 10:15 a.m. on Facebook 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 and young...
This event is in the "Adults" group.

Friday Night Sips & Bites: Jasper Winery

6:30pm - 7:30pm
Online Programming - Zoom
Registration
Library Branch: Central Library
Room: Online Programming - Zoom
Age Group: Adults
Program Type: Educational
Registration Required
Seats Remaining: 13
Event Details:
If you're staying in on Friday nights, try DMPL's Sips & Bites where we learn about local producers of fine food and drink from the comfort of our homes. Feeling curious about wine? Join us on Zoom as winemaker Mason Groben from Jasper Wi...
This event is in the "Children" group.
Library Branch: Central Library
Room: Online Programming
Age Group: Children
Program Type: Performances
Event Details:
Join the Science Tellers for a story told through science experiments. "Dragons: Return of the Ice Sorceress" tells the story of two kids that go on a daring adventure to find a dragon and save the kingdom from the Ice Sorceress! When thing...
This event is in the "Adults" group.

DMPL Virtual YA for Adults Book Club

6:30pm - 7:30pm
Online Programming - Zoom
Registration
Library Branch: Central Library
Room: Online Programming - Zoom
Age Group: Adults
Program Type: Book Clubs
Registration Required
Seats Remaining: 6
Event Details:
Join us on Zoom for the DMPL Virtual YA for Adults Book Club. This month, we will be discussing Darius the Great is Not Okay Adib Khorram.  This program has limited space and requires registration. After registration, you will receive a ...
This event is in the "Adults" group.

DMPL Virtual Book Club

6:30pm - 7:30pm
Online Programming - Zoom
Registration
Library Branch: Central Library
Room: Online Programming - Zoom
Age Group: Adults
Program Type: Book Clubs
Registration Required
Seats Remaining: 4
Event Details:
Join us on Zoom for the DMPL Virtual Book Club. This month, we will be discussing Trust Exercise by Susan Choi.  This program has limited space and requires registration. After registration, you will receive a confirmation email with the link...
This event is in the "Adults" group.
Registration
Library Branch: Central Library
Room: Online Programming - Zoom
Age Group: Adults
Program Type: Educational
Registration Required
Seats Remaining: 405
Event Details:
Join us for a Zoom conversation with award-winning author, educator, and public speaker, Rev. Dr. Jennifer Harvey, as she discusses her book Raising White Kids. Sure to be relevant and thought-provoking, this is an event created to tackle some of tod...

Closed for Labor Day

All Day 9/5 - 9/7
Branches:
Central Library, East Side Library, Forest Avenue Library, Franklin Avenue Library, North Side Library, South Side Library, Off Site
Description:
Closed for Labor Day ...
This event is in the "Adults" group.

Writers' Workshop Online

5:00pm - 7:00pm
Online Programming - Zoom
Registration
Library Branch: Central Library
Room: Online Programming - Zoom
Age Group: Adults
Program Type: Educational
Registration Required
Seats Remaining: 10
Event Details:
Join us on Zoom for the DMPL Virtual Writer's Workshop. Share samples of your work and receive feedback from other writers in the group. This program has limited space and requires registration. After registration, you will receive a confirma...

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 "All Ages" group.

Des Moines Public Library Board Meeting

4:15pm - 5:30pm
Online Programming - Zoom
Library Branch: Central Library
Room: Online Programming - Zoom
Age Group: All Ages
Program Type: Library Meeting
Event Details:
The Library Board of Trustees will meet at 4:15 PM at the Central Library in the Administrative Board Room. ...
This event is in the "Adults" group.

Friends of the Forest Avenue Library

4:30pm - 5:45pm
Online Programming - Zoom
Library Branch: Central Library
Room: Online Programming - Zoom
Age Group: Adults
Program Type: Library Meeting
Event Details:
Join us from 4:30-5:45 PM for the monthly meeting of the Friends of the Forest Avenue Library. ...
This event is in the "Adults" group.

Writers' Workshop Online

5:00pm - 7:00pm
Online Programming - Zoom
Registration
Library Branch: Central Library
Room: Online Programming - Zoom
Age Group: Adults
Program Type: Educational
Registration Required
Seats Remaining: 10
Event Details:
Join us on Zoom for the DMPL Virtual Writer's Workshop. Share samples of your work and receive feedback from other writers in the group. This program has limited space and requires registration. After registration, you will receive a confirma...

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.
Branches:
Central Library, East Side Library, Forest Avenue Library, Franklin Avenue Library, North Side Library, South Side Library, Off Site
Description:
Closed for Staff In-Service ...