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.
This event is in the "All Ages" group.

Self Guided Metro Mural Tour

All Day 4/1 - 5/1
Online Programming
Library Branch: DMPL Virtual
Room: Online Programming
Age Group: Adults, All Ages
Program Type: Arts & Crafts
Event Details:
Des Moines is home to some amazing artwork, and staying socially distant doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy what the city has to offer! Use this challenge to find your way to some incredible murals in your neighborhood and around Des Moines. Head to each l...
This event is in the "All Ages" group.

VIRTUAL PEEPS DIORAMA CONTEST

04/01/2021 @ 8:00am - 04/23/2021 @ 5:00pm
Library Branch: Central Library
Age Group: All Ages
Program Type: Arts & Crafts
Event Details:
Make an original shoebox-sized diorama using iconic PEEPS marshmallow candies. Create your family friendly entry using current events, themes from your favorite book, movies/television, or clever “peeps” puns! A limited number of diorama kits (sui...
This event is in the "Children" group.

Library Learning Bags: April Edition

04/10/2021 @ 10:00am - 04/17/2021 @ 5:00pm
All Locations
Library Branch: DMPL Virtual
Room: All Locations
Age Group: Children
Program Type: Arts & Crafts, Educational, Take & Make
Event Details:
Library Learning Bags: Earth Day Edition Stop by Curbside or DMPL Express Service at any of our six branches to pick up a Library Learning Bag. This month's bag includes a plant related craft in celebration of Earth Day on April 22.  The...
This event is in the "Adults" group.

Take & Make: Beeswax Wraps

12:00pm - 1:00pm
Zoom Program Room
Registration
Library Branch: DMPL Virtual
Room: Zoom Program Room
Age Group: Adults
Program Type: Arts & Crafts, Educational
Registration Required
Waitlist Seats Remaining: 3
Event Details:
Let's eliminate some plastic in our kitchens with our Take & Make: Beeswax Wrap program!  Beeswax wraps are sustainable food storage option. Instead of using cling wrap or tin foil, beeswax wrap can be reused over and over again. Particip...
This event is in the "Children" group.

Get Moving with Grace Fitness

2:00pm - 2:30pm
Zoom Meeting Room
Registration
Library Branch: DMPL Virtual
Room: Zoom Meeting Room
Age Group: Children
Program Type: Educational
Registration Required
Seats Remaining: 17
Event Details:
Kick off Week of the Young Child with Des Moines Public Library and Grace Fitness! Fitness educator Zakiya Jenkins will join us on Zoom for a 30 minute workout for the whole family. All fitness levels welcome and no fitness equipment needed! This ...

Disclaimer(s)

Children’s Program

Children under 10 years old must be accompanied by a caregiver over 12 years old.

This event is in the "Teens" group.
This event is in the "Adults" group.
Registration
Library Branch: DMPL Virtual
Room: Zoom Program Room
Age Group: Teens, Adults
Program Type: Educational
Registration Required
Seats Remaining: 54
Event Details:
Join the library and three artists to learn about the process of making public art in Des Moines and how some of our favorite murals came about. Plus, get ready for our self-guided mural tour, with public art to visit near each of our librari...
This event is in the "Teens" group.
Registration
Library Branch: DMPL Virtual
Age Group: Teens
Program Type: Gaming
Registration Required
Seats Remaining: 12
Event Details:
Join us for a Mario Kart tournament for ages 10-18. You can participate in this event if you have a Nintendo Switch with a Nintendo Online subscription, and a copy of Mario Kart 8. The day of the tournament, log onto Mario Kart 8 on your Switch ...
This event is in the "All Ages" group.

Everything Bagpipes with Kevin Chapman

6:00pm - 7:00pm
Zoom Meeting Room
Registration
Library Branch: DMPL Virtual
Room: Zoom Meeting Room
Age Group: All Ages
Program Type: Performances
Registration Required
Seats Remaining: 78
Event Details:
Kevin Chapman has played bagpipes for over forty years, both in bands and as a solo performer. He played with the Shannon Rovers Irish Pipe Band from 1978 to 2008 and has played with the Dundee Scottish Pipe Band since 2011. Kevin has playe...
This event is in the "Adults" group.

Paint Yourself Calm

6:00pm - 7:30pm
Zoom Program Room
Registration
Library Branch: DMPL Virtual
Room: Zoom Program Room
Age Group: Adults
Program Type: Arts & Crafts, Educational, Take & Make
Registration Required
Waitlist Seats Remaining: 8
Event Details:
Join us for a relaxing watercolor workshop where you will learn to paint a soothing piece of artwork in this program led by watercolorist Lisa Christensen. We will be painting a beautiful, relaxing landscape scene. This project is perfect for be...
This event is in the "Children" group.
This event is in the "Teens" group.

Among Us

4:00pm - 5:00pm
Zoom Meeting Room
Registration
Library Branch: DMPL Virtual
Room: Zoom Meeting Room
Age Group: Children, Teens
Program Type: Gaming
Registration Required
Waitlist Seats Remaining: 3
Event Details:
Are you a humble member of our crew, or the sneaky imposter? Join us for a game of Among Us, and we'll find out! At the end of the program, each participant will receive a 3D-printed Among Us figurine.    To play, you'll need to: 1...
This event is in the "Children" group.

Virtual Creative Readers

4:00pm - 5:00pm
Zoom Program Room
Registration
Library Branch: DMPL Virtual
Room: Zoom Program Room
Age Group: Children
Program Type: Arts & Crafts, Storytimes
Registration Required
Seats Remaining: 16
Event Details:
How do you scare monsters away? Find out as we read Monster Trouble! by Lane Fredrickson. We will play a game and create our own friendly monster. Registration required - Please register as a family if more than one ...

Disclaimer(s)

Children’s Program

Children under 10 years old must be accompanied by a caregiver over 12 years old.

This event is in the "Adults" group.

Join the Ukulele Craze and Learn to Play!

6:30pm - 7:30pm
Zoom Program Room
Library Branch: DMPL Virtual
Room: Zoom Program Room
Age Group: Adults
Program Type: Educational
Event Details:
  THIS CLASS IS CURRENTLY FULL. Please look out for another offering this summer! 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 s...
This event is in the "Teens" group.

Teen Wellness: Self-Care Workshop Series

4:00pm - 5:00pm
Zoom Program Room
Registration
Library Branch: DMPL Virtual
Room: Zoom Program Room
Age Group: Teens
Program Type: Health & Wellness
Registration Required
Seats Remaining: 47
Event Details:
Self-care is an important part of wellness, but with so much going on, it can be easier said than done. Join us and our partners at Please Pass the Love to learn the basics of what self-care is and strategies for using it in your everyday life t...
This event is in the "Adults" group.

AViD Presents: Hanif Abdurraqib

7:00pm - 9:00pm
Zoom Meeting Room
Registration
Library Branch: DMPL Virtual
Room: Zoom Meeting Room
Age Group: Adults
Program Type: Author Visits
Registration Required
Seats Remaining: 268
Event Details:
Hanif Abdurraqib is an award-winning poet, essayist, and cultural critic from Columbus, Ohio. His first collection of essays, They Can't Kill Us Until They Kill Us, was released in 2017, and his second nonfiction book, Go Ahead In The Rain:...
This event is in the "Teens" group.

CANCELLED - DMPL Virtual Teen Book Club

4:00pm - 5:00pm
Zoom Program Room
Cancelled
Registration
Library Branch: DMPL Virtual
Room: Zoom Program Room
Age Group: Teens
Program Type: Book Clubs
Event Details:
Join us on Zoom for this meeting of the DMPL Teen Book Club where will be discussing American Street by AVID author, Ibi Zoboi. This program has limited space and requires registration. After registration, you will receive a confirmation...
This event is in the "Adults" group.

DMPL Virtual YA for Adults Book Club

6:30pm - 7:30pm
Zoom Program Room
Registration
Library Branch: DMPL Virtual
Room: Zoom Program Room
Age Group: Adults
Program Type: Book Clubs
Registration Required
Seats Remaining: 7
Event Details:
Join us on Zoom for the DMPL Virtual YA for Adults Book Club.  This program has limited space and requires registration. After registration, you will receive a confirmation email with the link and password to the Zoom meeting.    ...
This event is in the "Children" group.
Library Branch: DMPL Virtual
Age Group: Children
Program Type: Storytimes
Event Details:
Rosie and Miss Mary will be joined for this storytime by Mr. Jay.  He is an ASL certified interpreter at Capitol View Elementary in Des Moines.  We will sing, do some rhymes and read a story all with sign language interpretation by Mr....
This event is in the "Children" group.
Library Branch: DMPL Virtual
Room: Online Programming
Age Group: Children
Program Type: Educational, Storytimes
Event Details:
Enjoy a virtual storytime English and Spanish celebrating Earth Day! ¡Disfruten de un cuento virtual en inglés y español celebrando el Día de la Tierra! facebook.com/dmlib ...

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.

Join the Ukulele Craze and Learn to Play!

6:30pm - 7:30pm
Zoom Program Room
Library Branch: DMPL Virtual
Room: Zoom Program Room
Age Group: Adults
Program Type: Educational
Event Details:
  THIS CLASS IS CURRENTLY FULL. Please look out for another offering this summer! 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 s...
This event is in the "Teens" group.

Teen Chefs: All Things Pizza with Natural Grocers

4:00pm - 4:45pm
Zoom Program Room
Registration
Library Branch: DMPL Virtual
Room: Zoom Program Room
Age Group: Teens
Program Type: Educational, Health & Wellness
Registration Required
Seats Remaining: 30
Event Details:
Calling all pizza lovers! What if you have a pizza craving, but no pizza? Natural Grocers has ideas to support your pizza habit. Let's join forces and make pizza and pizza-like snacks! By definition pizza is made of dough, tomato sauce, cheese, ...
This event is in the "Children" group.
This event is in the "Teens" group.

3-D Printing Basics 5: Bobbleheads (CLASS A)

5:00pm - 6:00pm
Zoom Program Room
Registration
Library Branch: DMPL Virtual
Room: Zoom Program Room
Age Group: Children, Teens
Program Type: Computers & Technology
Registration Required
Seats Remaining: 4
Event Details:
Learn how to design your own 3-D Prints!  This class will cover designing a Minecraft bobblehead using a spring   Each round of classes consists of 5 projects that build on each other to grow your computer assisted design knowledge.&n...
This event is in the "Birth-Preschool" group.
This event is in the "Children" group.

Virtual Build a Story!

10:15am - 10:45pm
Zoom Program Room
Registration
Library Branch: DMPL Virtual
Room: Zoom Program Room
Age Group: Birth-Preschool, Children
Program Type: Storytimes
Registration Required
Seats Remaining: 19
Event Details:
Do you have someone who loves to build and read?  Join us for a special storytime where we combine both!  Get out your materials or request a kit to check out and build the day away as we hear stories from a librarian and build our own cool...