Guide to Central Library in Des Moines (DMPL)


Central Library Des Moines

I love going to the library with my kids. It’s free, they love looking at books and picking ones to bring home, and it gets us out of the house! I call that a win for everyone.

Des Moines Central Library

1000 Grand Avenue Des Moines

Central Library Des Moines

Reasons We Love the Central Library

The Central Library is located in downtown Des Moines. I love that we feel like we’re in the city when we visit. There is a nice outside area with benches and it’s close to the John and Mary PappaJohn Sculpture Park. The newest addition outside the library is the Miffy Fountain by artist Tom Sachs.

The architectural design of the library is unique. The walls are a copper mesh and offer a unique view from inside and out. There are plenty of tables and chairs throughout for reading and working. 

The second floor of the library has an art gallery. It showcases several exhibits featuring Iowa artists each year. 

A selection of librarian picks and seasonal books. I love browsing the books that are set out at the front of the library. There is always a great selection of bestsellers, non-fiction, and seasonal picks such as beach-reads, holiday related, or mysteries. It feels like a bookstore, but you get to check out the books for free!

What my kids love about the Central Library

My kids are young, so they love playing in the children’s area. There are lots of hands-on activities, like a train table, kitchen, trucks, large building blocks, and more. There is also a mailbox for kids to send a letter to Rosie. Of course, there is also a great selection of children’s books and DVDs. 

Programs at the Central Library 

There are so many activities and things to do at the Central Library. Check their events calendar for special programs. 

  • Baby Rhyme Time (ages 0 – 18 months) 
  • Toddler Storytime (ages 18 months – 3 years)
  • Preschool Storytime (ages 3 – 6 years)
  • Evening Family Storytime (entire family)
  • Crafternoon (ages 3-8)
  • B.A.M. (Books, Art, Make) (ages 5-12)
  • Maker Monday (ages 5-12)
  • Summer Reading program

Insider tips

There is a free underground ramp off of Grand Avenue. My kids think it’s really cool to park underground and then you don’t have to worry about feeding a parking meter. I also appreciate that the library opens at 9 a.m. Some other branches don’t open until 10 a.m.

There are several entrances to the library, one off of Locust and one off of Grand. 

In the summer there are free activities for kids on the front lawn on Friday mornings starting at 10 a.m. The activities vary, but usually, there are bubbles, some kind of craft, and music. 

This post is part of Des Moines Moms Blog’s Guide to Libraries in the Greater Des Moines area

Des Moines Library Guide for families


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