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

In-Person Services
  • 9:00 AM-7:00 PM Monday-Thursday
  • 9:00 AM-6:00 PM Friday
  • 10:00 AM-5:00 PM Saturday
  • 1:00-5:00 PM Sunday
Pickup Window
  • 9:00 AM-7:00 PM Monday-Thursday
  • 9:00 AM-6:00 PM Friday
  • 10:00 AM-5:00 PM Saturday
  • Closed Sunday

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 "Adults" group.

The Outreach Project

1:00pm - 3:00pm
Central Library Gateway Gallery
Library Branch: Central Library
Room: Central Library Gateway Gallery
Age Group: Adults
Program Type: Health & Wellness
Event Details:
The Des Moines Public Library is partnering with area organizations to connect people with community resources. Community advocates will provide information about community resources like meal sites and shelters. They may also offer support and ...

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 "Teens" group.
This event is in the "Adults" group.

Learn to Play the Ukulele

6:30pm - 7:30pm
Zoom Meeting Room
Registration
Library Branch: DMPL Virtual
Room: Zoom Meeting Room
Age Group: Teens, Adults
Program Type: Educational
Registration Required
Seats Remaining: 6
Event Details:
Get started on the ukulele and quickly learn to play familiar tunes while having fun! Play your own ukulele or borrow one of North Side Library's soprano ukuleles with your library card. Natalie Steenson will facilitate this 4-week class, t...
This event is in the "Birth-Preschool" group.

Baby Rhyme Time

10:15am - 10:45am
Central Library Children’s Area
Cancelled
Library Branch: Central Library
Room: Central Library Children’s Area
Age Group: Birth-Preschool
Program Type: Storytimes
Event Details:
Join us at 10:15 a.m. at Central Library for Baby Rhyme Time, with rhymes, songs, bounces, and books!  Baby Rhyme Time is aimed toward children 18 months and younger. ...

Disclaimer(s)

Central Parking

Free library parking is available in Central's underground parking garage for two hours per visit. Parking around the library is metered at various costs from 9 a.m. - 9 p.m. Monday-Saturday.

Indoor Program

This program is hosted indoors.  Please observe social distancing and follow local COVID-19 safety mandates. Hand sanitizer will be provided and staff will do their best to ensure any shared materials are disinfected between use. This program is subject to COVID-19 safety protocol updates, including room capacity limits. Please check our website for updates.

This event is in the "All Ages" group.

Take & Bake: Rustic Apple Tart

6:00pm - 7:00pm
Zoom Program Room
Registration
Library Branch: DMPL Virtual
Room: Zoom Program Room
Age Group: All Ages
Program Type: Educational, Take & Make
Registration Required
Seats Remaining: 23
Event Details:
Apple season calls for apple desserts!  Join us for our next Take & Bake program where Chef Easton and DMPL librarian Haley will show participants how to make a rustic apple tart. Think of this as a cross between an apple tart and a pie! ...
This event is in the "Birth-Preschool" group.

Cancelled: Toddler Wiggles and Giggles!

10:15am - 10:45am
Central Library Meeting Room 1, 2
Cancelled
Library Branch: Central Library
Room: Central Library Meeting Room 1, 2
Age Group: Birth-Preschool
Program Type: Play & Learn
Event Details:
This program is designed for young children ages 2 - 3 years old to experience music and rhymes together in a group.  At the end of the formal program there will be some time for free play with a variety of materials.  Come and enjoy m...

Disclaimer(s)

Accompanying Adults

This program is designed for children and accompanying adults. Please plan to attend and be engaged with your child for this program. Drop offs will not be permitted.

This event is in the "Adults" group.

The Outreach Project

1:00pm - 3:00pm
Central Library Gateway Gallery
Library Branch: Central Library
Room: Central Library Gateway Gallery
Age Group: Adults
Program Type: Health & Wellness
Event Details:
The Des Moines Public Library is partnering with area organizations to connect people with community resources. Community advocates will provide information about community resources like meal sites and shelters. They may also offer support and ...

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 "Children" group.

Guatemalan Kite Craft

All Day 9/25 - 9/26
Central Library Children’s Area
Library Branch: Central Library
Room: Central Library Children’s Area
Age Group: Children
Program Type: Arts & Crafts
Event Details:
Celebrate Latino Heritage with us in the children's area with a craft from Guatemala. We will be making Mini Guatemalan Kites and learning about the ancient art form. When you're finished step outside and attend the Latino Heritage Festival at Gatewa...

Disclaimer(s)

Accompanying Adults

This program is designed for children and accompanying adults. Please plan to attend and be engaged with your child for this program. Drop offs will not be permitted.

This event is in the "Adults" group.

The Outreach Project

1:00pm - 3:00pm
Central Library Gateway Gallery
Library Branch: Central Library
Room: Central Library Gateway Gallery
Age Group: Adults
Program Type: Health & Wellness
Event Details:
The Des Moines Public Library is partnering with area organizations to connect people with community resources. Community advocates will provide information about community resources like meal sites and shelters. They may also offer support and ...

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 "Adults" group.

DMPL Virtual Book Club- Fahrenheit 451

6:00pm - 7:00pm
Zoom Program Room
Registration
Library Branch: DMPL Virtual
Room: Zoom Program Room
Age Group: Adults
Program Type: Book Clubs
Registration Required
Seats Remaining: 10
Event Details:
Join us on Zoom for the DMPL Virtual Book Club. This month, we will be discussing Fahrenheit 451.  This program has limited space and requires registration. After registration, you will receive a confirmation email with the link and password ...
This event is in the "Teens" group.
This event is in the "Adults" group.

Learn to Play the Ukulele

6:30pm - 7:30pm
Zoom Meeting Room
Registration
Library Branch: DMPL Virtual
Room: Zoom Meeting Room
Age Group: Teens, Adults
Program Type: Educational
Registration Required
Seats Remaining: 6
Event Details:
Get started on the ukulele and quickly learn to play familiar tunes while having fun! Play your own ukulele or borrow one of North Side Library's soprano ukuleles with your library card. Natalie Steenson will facilitate this 4-week class, t...
This event is in the "Birth-Preschool" group.

Baby Rhyme Time

10:15am - 10:45am
Central Library Children’s Area
Cancelled
Library Branch: Central Library
Room: Central Library Children’s Area
Age Group: Birth-Preschool
Program Type: Storytimes
Event Details:
Join us at 10:15 a.m. at Central Library for Baby Rhyme Time, with rhymes, songs, bounces, and books!  Baby Rhyme Time is aimed toward children 18 months and younger. ...

Disclaimer(s)

Central Parking

Free library parking is available in Central's underground parking garage for two hours per visit. Parking around the library is metered at various costs from 9 a.m. - 9 p.m. Monday-Saturday.

Indoor Program

This program is hosted indoors.  Please observe social distancing and follow local COVID-19 safety mandates. Hand sanitizer will be provided and staff will do their best to ensure any shared materials are disinfected between use. This program is subject to COVID-19 safety protocol updates, including room capacity limits. Please check our website for updates.

This event is in the "Teens" group.
This event is in the "Adults" group.

Ray Bradbury and Fahrenheit 451: A Retrospective

7:00pm - 9:30pm
Zoom Program Room
Registration
Library Branch: DMPL Virtual
Room: Zoom Program Room
Age Group: Teens, Adults
Program Type: Author Visits
Registration Required
Seats Remaining: 291
Event Details:
Sam Weller, the authorized biographer of the late Ray Bradbury, worked intimately with the legendary author for 12-years. In this program, he will share never-before seen stories, insights, fascinating details and images related to the 1953 Bradbury ...
This event is in the "Children" group.
This event is in the "Teens" group.
Library Branch: DMPL Virtual
Room: All Locations
Age Group: Children, Teens
Program Type: Arts & Crafts
Event Details:
Celebrate Banned Books Week with a take-and-make bag inspired by Ray Bradbury's Fahrenheit 451, the NEA Big Reads book pick! Our partners at ASAP have prepared a wonderful art project appropriate for ages 5-18! Starting Thursday, Septemb...
This event is in the "Teens" group.

Teen Anime/Manga Club

4:00pm - 5:00pm
Central Library Tech Central
Registration
Library Branch: Central Library
Room: Central Library Tech Central
Age Group: Teens
Program Type: Arts & Crafts, Book Clubs, Movies
Registration Required
Seats Remaining: 17
Event Details:
Love anime and manga? Want to nerd out about it with other people who love it, too? Then join us for the Teen Anime/Manga Meetup! We’ll get together and discuss all things anime and manga, do crafts, play games, watch anime, and more! Ages 12-18...

Disclaimer(s)

Central Parking

Free library parking is available in Central's underground parking garage for two hours per visit. Parking around the library is metered at various costs from 9 a.m. - 9 p.m. Monday-Saturday.

Indoor Program

This program is hosted indoors.  Please observe social distancing and follow local COVID-19 safety mandates. Hand sanitizer will be provided and staff will do their best to ensure any shared materials are disinfected between use. This program is subject to COVID-19 safety protocol updates, including room capacity limits. Please check our website for updates.

This event is in the "Adults" group.
Registration
Library Branch: DMPL Virtual
Age Group: Adults
Program Type: Author Visits
Registration Required
Seats Remaining: 87
Event Details:
A mini-series of author events at Franklin Ave. Library includes an initial session in which Deb Engle will talk about her background, her life as a writer and her books, with plenty of time for a Q&A. The second session will include informa...
This event is in the "Adults" group.

DSM Book Festival Book Club: City of Girls

7:00pm - 8:00pm
Online Programming
Library Branch: DMPL Virtual
Room: Online Programming
Age Group: Adults
Program Type: Book Clubs
Event Details:
The Des Moines Public Library is partnering with the DSM Book Festival's DSM Book Club to cohost its online book discussion.  The DSM Book Club is an online sharing session designed to showcase Des Moines' favorite reads. This club will ...
This event is in the "Birth-Preschool" group.

Cancelled: Toddler Wiggles and Giggles!

10:15am - 10:45am
Central Library Meeting Room 1, 2
Cancelled
Library Branch: Central Library
Room: Central Library Meeting Room 1, 2
Age Group: Birth-Preschool
Program Type: Play & Learn
Event Details:
This program is designed for young children ages 2 - 3 years old to experience music and rhymes together in a group.  At the end of the formal program there will be some time for free play with a variety of materials.  Come and enjoy m...

Disclaimer(s)

Accompanying Adults

This program is designed for children and accompanying adults. Please plan to attend and be engaged with your child for this program. Drop offs will not be permitted.

This event is in the "Adults" group.

The Outreach Project

1:00pm - 3:00pm
Central Library Gateway Gallery
Library Branch: Central Library
Room: Central Library Gateway Gallery
Age Group: Adults
Program Type: Health & Wellness
Event Details:
The Des Moines Public Library is partnering with area organizations to connect people with community resources. Community advocates will provide information about community resources like meal sites and shelters. They may also offer support and ...

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 "Teens" group.

TeenTober Take and Make Bags

All Day 10/2 - 10/15
All Locations
Library Branch: DMPL Virtual
Room: All Locations
Age Group: Teens
Program Type: Arts & Crafts, Educational, Take & Make
Event Details:
Teens! Help us celebrate TeenTober at the library! Stop by any of our six branches to pick up a TeenTober Take and Make Bag. This bag contains a journal, a highlighter, stickers to decorate your journal, candy, and more! Tag your projects o...
This event is in the "Adults" group.

The Outreach Project

1:00pm - 3:00pm
Central Library Gateway Gallery
Library Branch: Central Library
Room: Central Library Gateway Gallery
Age Group: Adults
Program Type: Health & Wellness
Event Details:
The Des Moines Public Library is partnering with area organizations to connect people with community resources. Community advocates will provide information about community resources like meal sites and shelters. They may also offer support and ...

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 "Adults" group.

Writers' Workshop

5:30pm - 6:30pm
Central Library Meeting Room 1
Library Branch: Central Library
Room: Central Library Meeting Room 1
Age Group: Adults
Program Type: Educational
Event Details:
Join us at Central Library for the DMPL Writer's Workshop on the first* Monday of the month from 5:30-6:30 PM. Share samples of your work and receive feedback from other writers in the group.  If you would like to share your writing...

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.

Central Parking

Free library parking is available in Central's underground parking garage for two hours per visit. Parking around the library is metered at various costs from 9 a.m. - 9 p.m. Monday-Saturday.

Indoor Program

This program is hosted indoors.  Please observe social distancing and follow local COVID-19 safety mandates. Hand sanitizer will be provided and staff will do their best to ensure any shared materials are disinfected between use. This program is subject to COVID-19 safety protocol updates, including room capacity limits. Please check our website for updates.

This event is in the "Adults" group.

What Is Dyslexia?

6:00pm - 7:30pm
Zoom Meeting Room
Registration
Library Branch: DMPL Virtual
Room: Zoom Meeting Room
Age Group: Adults
Program Type: Educational
Registration Required
Seats Remaining: 499
Event Details:
Even though dyslexia is the most common learning disability, accurate information about what dyslexia is and is not often does not reach the general public. For example, did you know that people with dyslexia do not see backwards?  Attendee...