Top Ten Libraries in the Des Moines Area

20150314_150341Libraries have always been viewed as a mecca for nerds or at least a place no cool kid would hang out voluntarily. Yes, they’re full of books but they’re also a place to rent movies-usually they’ll offer newer titles as well as classics- and there’s usually classes for any age group to enjoy. The following are the best libraries in Des Moines and surrounding areas to visit.

  1. Central Library– located at 1000 Grand Avenue, this is the main Des Moines library and it has the most options in terms of books/music as well as classes that are offered on a regular basis. It’s a convenient spot to hide out during your lunch hour if you work downtown to read a magazine. They unfortunately aren’t open on weekends but they do open on Sundays from September to May. Their website is here.
  2. Franklin Avenue Library- located at 5000 Franklin Avenue, this library offers a wall of windows facing Franklin Avenue and plenty of cozy seats to sink into while you read your chosen book. They have a collection of over 100,000 items so you’re pretty much guaranteed to find what you’re looking for and if you don’t, they’ll be more than willing to help you find a different library within the Des Moines library system that does have it.  For more information, click here.
  3. Pleasant Hill Library- located at 5151 Maple Drive in Pleasant Hill, this library is also on the smaller side but their staff is some of the friendliest librarians I’ve encountered and they really make an effort to help you find what you’re looking for. They have a lot of public computers if you’re needing one to do research on. They recently added online magazines for access to that once you download it, it’s yours to keep for free. Their website is here.
  4. West Des Moines Library-located at 4000 Mills Civic Parkway in West Des Moines, this library feels like you’re walking into a modern art museum. They have over 3,000 DVD movies and an Ipad interactive game station in the children’s area. They do ask for proof of residence if you are wanting to get a library card so be sure to bring that with you before you go. For more informion about their library card requirements, click here.
  5. East Side library-located at 2559 Hubbell Avenue, the East side library has really changed from when I went as a child with their building remodel that makes the building appear both modern and a place you would want to while away your afternoon. They feature a large fireplace by their reading nook so this is a great place to go in the winter especially if you’re getting cabin fever. Their website is here.
  6. Kirkendall Public Library- located at 1210 NW Prairie Ridge Drive, this library has one of the most extensive learning catalog on this list with offerings for every age group and covering everything from learning how to use Microsoft word to music classes. They’re very good at stocking new music if you’re looking for the latest cd of your favorite artist so be sure to check back often to see what new items they’ve added. Their website is here.
  7. South Side Library- located at 1111 Porter Avenue, this is a smaller library within the Des Moines library system but they still offer a great selection of books and an updated foreign language selection. They have a teen loft that has a large selection of teen books and the tables in the area have built in outlets to plug in your laptop or to charge your phone.  For more information, click here.
  8. Altoona Library-located at 700 8th Street SW in Altoona, this is one of the more open feeling libraries in town with incredibly high ceilings and tons of windows that bring in natural sunlight. They recently added a book sale room where the computers used to be housed making it easier to find a book to add to your personal library at bargain prices. Their teen reading program in the summer is a great way to encourage teenagers to spend their long summers reading rather than watching too much television.  For more information, click here.
  9. Forest Avenue Library- located at 3516 Forest Avenue, they have one of the most impressive foreign language collections with materials in harder to find languages like Arabic and Vietnamese. Your children will love Rosie’s Forest with the interactive areas for them to learn that features artwork from locally owned Sticks. For more information, click here.
  10. Johnston Public Library-located at 6700 Merle Hay Road in Johnston, the Sundaes on Sunday is one of their events with an outdoor concert of a live string quartet playing classical music and a free ice cream sundae for those who attend. There’s even a VHS conversion tech lab where you can get help converting VHS movies into digital copies. For more information, click here.

 

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