Library News

Des Moines Public Library Director Greg Heid Announces Retirement

image of Library Director, Greg Heid

Heid has served as director of the Des Moines Public Library for more than seven years, and has had a 53-year career in library services.

Des Moines Public Library Director Greg Heid has announced his retirement. His last day will be on Friday, March 30, 2018.

Heid has served as director for seven years, beginning in January 2011. During that time, he has overseen several successful projects and transformations:

  • The library’s “Virtual Library” was launched, operating as a “7th branch” with downloadable e-books, e-audiobooks, 24/7 services, and an updated website.
  • The Franklin Avenue Library was renovated and expanded. It was certified as a Platinum LEED building in the process, the first public building in the city to receive that certification.
  • Other renovations were completed, including the North Side service desk, replacement of the Central Library boilers, replacement of the storefront windows at the South Side branch, upgrade of controllers and HVAC units of the majority of branch libraries, installation of a state-of-the-art security camera system throughout the library system, and replacement of roofs at several branch libraries.
  • Establishment of collection management tools to develop the best collection of titles to meet the needs of the community.
  • Improved financial reporting and budget processes.
  • Enhancement of job training and learning opportunities for library staff.
  • Oversaw updates to public computers and technology improvements that increased efficiency and enhanced customer service.
  • Expanded telephone and internet reference services.
  • Reestablished the tradition of art in the library by installing a new community art gallery in the Central Library.
  • Improvement of efficiency and customer service through technology upgrades.
  • Promoted programming that served the needs of the community by promoting early literacy skills, assisting job seekers and language learners, and cultivating culture through author visits.
  • Oversaw management of budget cuts that kept all branches open with minimal staff reduction.
  • Ensured a vibrant direction for the library through the implementation of a 10-year strategic plan which introduced strategic partnerships and cooperation with businesses, non-profits, and governmental organizations.

Heid began his library career 53 years ago, when he shelved books at his junior high library. Heid is a native of Minneapolis and holds several degrees from the University of Minnesota including bachelor degrees in Media Communication Theory, Marketing, and Advertising; with a minor in Art History, as well as a master’s degree in Library Science with a minor in Business Administration. He worked in library administration for more than 30 years, previously serving as the Associate Director of the Atlanta-Fulton Public Library, and the Director of the Newton County Library in a suburb of Atlanta, Georgia, before taking the position at the Des Moines Public Library.

“It is with mixed emotion that I leave the Des Moines Public Library. I look forward to pursuing many of my passions and interests as I transition into retirement. However, I will miss the wonderful, dedicated staff of the Library and the many colleagues that I have worked with throughout the city. I know that the Library Board of Trustees will find a capable director who will take the Des Moines Public Library to new and exciting heights.”

A farewell reception for Heid will be held at the Central Library on Friday, March 30, from 2:00-4:00 PM.

About the Des Moines Public Library

Founded in 1866, the Des Moines Public Library is the public library system for the City of Des Moines. With six branches and a collection of more than 550,000 items, the Des Moines Public Library is the largest public library system in the state of Iowa. The mission of the Des Moines Public Library is to be the bridge to a world of information and ideas for personal enjoyment and community growth. The Des Moines Public Library is the recognized leader in expanding the universe of opportunities, imagination, innovation, and lifelong learning benefiting its diverse community.

The Des Moines Public Library Launches the 2018 Adult Winter Reading Program!

Adult Winter Reading Challenge

Read novels, magazines, children’s books, and more - it all counts toward the reading challenge!

Calling all readers in Des Moines! The Des Moines Public Library is happy to announce the launch of the 2018 Adult Winter Reading Challenge! The challenge runs from January 1 through February 17. It takes place online at through Beanstack, our online reading log. All you have to do is keep track of the time you spend reading and enter it in the reading log. For every 15 minutes you spend reading, you receive an entry into our weekly drawing. Winners will receive a $20 gift card to a local Des Moines merchant.

“We want to involve everyone in the community, so every kind of reading counts!” says Sue Woody, Community Engagement Librarian, Des Moines Public Library. “Whether you’re reading books, magazines, articles online, or stories to your kids or grandkids, you can enter it in your reading log on Beanstack. Reading improves your memory and health, and bedtime stories are a great way to bring families together.”

You can register for the program right away. It’s easy! Go to and click on the Adult Winter Reading Challenge on the front page. There, you’ll find instructions on how to sign up for Beanstack and fill in your reading log. There will also be a bonus drawing for people who try a course through the Des Moines Public Library. The challenge begins January 1, but you can register now or anytime during the challenge. Let’s get Des Moines reading! Tell your friends and sign up for the Adult Winter Reading Challenge today!

About the Des Moines Public Library

Founded in 1866, the Des Moines Public Library is the public library system for the City of Des Moines. With six branches and a collection of more than 550,000 items, the Des Moines Public Library is the largest public library system in the state of Iowa. The mission of the Des Moines Public Library is to be the bridge to a world of information and ideas for personal enjoyment and community growth. The Des Moines Public Library is the recognized leader in expanding the universe of opportunities, imagination, innovation, and lifelong learning benefiting its diverse community.

The Iowa Author Fair Returns Sunday to the Des Moines Public Library!

Meet twenty authors with Iowa ties and discover new great books!

Find your next great read and discover new writers at the Iowa Author Fair! The fair returns to the Central Library on Sunday, October 8, from 1:00-3:00 PM.  Twenty Iowa authors will be sharing their latest works with the public. It’s a great opportunity to meet new people, share interesting conversations, and have fun! There will also be door prizes and refreshments. With authors of several different genres in attendance, there is something for everyone!


Larry Cotlar has been involved in sports journalism for nearly 40 years. His book, The Biggest Rolodex in Sports, reflects on his life in the field, including interviews with Michael Jordan, Tiger Woods, and Muhammad Ali, among others.

Debra Closner Franklin has been an addiction counselor for more than thirty years. Her book, Intervention for America: A Country in Need, taps into her professional experience to explore how America has become “a nation of addicts” and what can be done to right the ship.

Dr. Hugh Hammond is a retired college professor who taught English as a Second Language in Estonia, Syria, and the United Arab Emirates. His novel, The Sinking of the Estonia: The CIA Knew, recalls the true story of the 1994 sinking of the car ferry Estonia in the Baltic Sea.

Catherine Haustein writes comedic novels with a scientific twist. A graduate of the Iowa Writers' Workshop and the University of Iowa's chemistry department, she has been teaching chemistry at Central College for more than 30 years. Her newest novel, Mixed In, was published this past March.

Ken Keffer has written seven books meant to connect families to the outdoors and nature. As a professional naturalist, Ken has spent his career highlighting the importance of nature and encouraging people to explore the outdoors.

Joanne Seymour Kuster has been helping families become financially literate for decades. A native Iowan, she has lead the Money Smart Week initiative statewide and understands how building financial skills at any age paves a path to success.

Jeanne Martz, a graduate of Iowa State University, has a love for Iowa, the rural Midwest, and small-town American life. This fueled the writing of her books, The Creekers and The Women of Swenson Farm. She lives in Pleasant Hill with her husband, Jim.

Lana Jean Mitchell has been writing for six decades, beginning in her hometown of Cincinnati. Throughout her career, she has written for newspapers, magazines, and radio. Her children’s book, A Birthday Story, was inspired by someone whose birthday did not fall during the school year.

Otto Mondesi, of Des Moines, has spent several years traveling the United States and Canada in search of adventure and the great outdoors. Otto’s literary influences include the splendid tales brought to life by Vince Flynn, Stephen King, Suzanne Collins, David Hosp, and John Grisham. His book, It Just Takes One, follows the aftermath of an influenza pandemic both in American and abroad.

Cheryl Mullenbach is an award-winning author of history books for young adults and middle school readers. Her books have won recognition from the American Library Association, International Literacy Association, and more. Her books inspire readers to scratch beneath the surface of historical facts to discover the rich stories that make history real.

Randal Nerhus graduated from Iowa State University in 1982. From 2013 to 2016, he lived in the Amazon jungle studying under a Cocama shaman, and parts of that experience were incorporated into his novel. That book, Red with Native Blood, is available now.

Alan Simon, Jr. was born and raised in Des Moines. He served in the Air Force and attended Iowa State University. His first book is the thriller The People Downstairs Are Killers.

Francis Sparks grew up on a farm in Iowa. In his early thirties, Francis began chasing his dream of becoming an author, and his debut novel Made Safe was published in 2015. Francis Sparks currently lives in Des Moines with his amazing wife, Kelly. If he’s not working on his next novel or short story, you can find him teaching his children about dragons.

Pat Underwood, of Colfax, is known for both her poetry and her children's prose. She is the author of Portraits, Gatherings, Whisker Tag, At Coloring Zoo, and The Last Supper, a play kit. She is also a contributor to Voices on the Landscape: Contemporary Iowa Poets, The North American Review, and more.

Jan Walters grew up in Des Moines and currently lives on a farm in Warren County. She is the author of the A Ghost and a Cop series, which is set in Des Moines. Each book in the Ghost and a Cop series takes place on a different street in the Des Moines urban area and features a different type of supernatural killer.

Brian Webb was born and raised in Kentucky and currently lives in Des Moines. Shortly after graduating, Brian suffered an intracranial hemorrhage. He turned his life’s struggles into a way to provide hope in others through inspirational books. He’s the author of Chasing the Miracle and Don’t Give Up. Don’t Ever Give Up.

Sara J. Weis is a creative and passionate teacher who has inspired children for over eighteen years. She leads kids’ yoga classes and is the bestselling author of Go Go Yoga for Kids: A Complete Guide for Using Yoga with Kids and the creator of the Kids Yoga Challenge Pose Cards.

Daniel Willers grew up in Iowa and graduated from Iowa State University. A practicing engineer involved in the design of water and wastewater treatment systems, Daniel loves to figure out how things work. He lives in Des Moines with his wife and fantastic daughters. He writes fantasy mystery novels starring Blake Heira, a mage and priest of Morn, God of Justice.

Author Ross Caligiuri has spent most of his life writing and performing within the music industry. Life often is the university that provides us with the tools we need to create. Discover more about his book, Dreaming in the Shadows, at

Dr. Eric L. Johnson currently serves as the chief consultant with Strategies to Succeed, a company that supports professional and organizational development. He has authored three inspirational books: Beyond Self Help: A Journey to be Better, 10 Deadly Aspects of Pride, and Livin’ in the Shade: Implications of Father and Son Relationships Explored.

About the Des Moines Public Library
Founded in 1866, the Des Moines Public Library is the public library system for the City of Des Moines. With six branches and a collection of more than 550,000 items, the Des Moines Public Library is the largest public library system in the state of Iowa. The mission of the Des Moines Public Library is to be the bridge to a world of information and ideas for personal enjoyment and community growth. The Des Moines Public Library is the recognized leader in expanding the universe of opportunities, imagination, innovation, and lifelong learning benefiting its diverse community.



Celebrate your love of reading this fall with our Bookwalk, brought to you by Des Moines Parks and Recreation and the Des Moines Public Library. You don't have to sit down to enjoy a good book; read along while you enjoy a different book each month at one of these parks!

November: Bundle up and head out to the Waveland Trail near the Franklin Avenue Library for a great late fall read!

Enjoy the Solar Eclipse at the Des Moines Public Library!

All open branches will have eclipse sunglasses available for the public

solar eclipse

Experience the solar eclipse with the Des Moines Public Library! On Monday, August 21, a total solar eclipse will be tracking across the continental United States for the first time in nearly 40 years. Des Moines will experience a partial eclipse of 95 percent, and our library branches are celebrating! Des Moines Public Library branches will be handing out solar eclipse glasses for free on the day of the eclipse. These glasses are designed to protect people’s eyes so they may safely view the eclipse as it occurs (NASA safety tips for viewing the eclipse).

The Franklin Avenue Library is hosting a special eclipse viewing event! This starts at 12:00 PM with a lesson on viewing the eclipse safely. They’ll be handing out 500 pairs of glasses on a first-come, first-served basis beginning at 11:30 AM. We will be handing out the glasses on the west side of the building, and they are limited to one pair per person.

The Central Library, East Side Library, Forest Avenue Library, and South Side Library will each have 100 pairs of sunglasses that they’ll be handing out on a first-come, first-served basis. The Central Library will begin handing the glasses out at 9:00 AM, and the East Side, Forest Avenue, and South Side Libraries will begin handing glasses out at 10:00 AM. Again, each pair of glasses will be handed out on a first-come, first-served basis, and each person is limited to one pair. We will not be taking reservations for glasses over the phone.

(Note: the North Side Library is closed on Mondays and will not be participating in this event).

The eclipse itself will begin at 11:42 AM in Des Moines, reaching its peak at 1:08 PM. The moon will continue to move across the sun’s path after that, and the eclipse will end at 2:33 PM.

You can prepare for the eclipse during a special program on Tuesday, August 15! Dave Lynch, a member of the Des Moines Astronomical Society, will be at the Franklin Avenue Library to talk about his eclipse stories. Lynch has chased solar eclipses for forty years, making trips to ten countries and two oceans in the process. He’ll share stories and photos of his fifteen eclipse trips and talk about why he finds the phenomenon fascinating.

We welcome the public to gather outside our buildings to watch the sky during this incredible event!

New Online Resources Added

database icons

Get news, financial information, product reviews, and more – for free – through the Des Moines Public Library

The Des Moines Public Library has added new resources to our Virtual Library! People across Des Moines want to learn new skills that advance their careers. They want to know the latest national news. They’d like to be able to do more maintenance to their vehicles by themselves. The library strives to fulfill the needs of our community and provide access to information through technology. We’re happy to announce the addition of the following resources, available for free with a Des Moines Public Library card: is an on-demand learning solution designed to help you learn business, technology, and creative skills to achieve personal and professional goals. Whether you want to learn programming and coding, develop design techniques, or master video production, can help you. Get enrolled in one of thousands of classes today – for free!

Des Moines Public Library’s Virtual Library now has an extensive auto repair and maintenance database! Chilton has a long history of providing information to consumers regarding auto labor and parts. They continuously and carefully craft information so that automotive enthusiasts, students, and service professionals know what to look for. Take simple repairs into your own hands.

Reach your financial goals with help from Morningstar Investment Research Center. Learn about smart investing and staying ahead of the market. Morningstar offers easy-to-use portfolio tools and comprehensive financial information about thousands of stocks, funds, and bonds. Stay up-to-date on the latest news and information through curated articles and videos about current financial events. Add Morningstar to your financial toolbox!

Consumer Reports
Find the product that’s right for you! Receive free access to product reviews on appliances, cars, home products, and more. Consumer Reports is known as a trusted, unbiased source of information for shoppers. The library offers free access to new reviews as well as archived reviews dating back to 1991!

Digital Access to The New York Times
Never run out of your monthly allotment of stories and columns – get digital access to The New York Times for free through the Des Moines Public Library. No newspaper in history has won more Pulitzer Prizes, showcasing the breadth and scope of their staff’s reporting skills. Whether you need to know the breaking news of the day or want to read in-depth investigations, get it free with your Des Moines Public Library card!

These are just a handful of the databases and resources that can be found at our Virtual Library. To see everything that’s available, go to Lifelong learning is for everyone – take advantage of all we have to offer today!