Passionate About Des Moines
and the Moms Who Live Here

Des Moines Summer Reading Programs

des moines summer readingBefore the road trips and family reunions, between camps and around the long-delayed dentist appointments, is a summertime lull. Many local attractions can help fill these few unplanned moments. But there is one magical place to rule them all: a safe haven full of ideas, characters, and imagination, complete with fearless leaders and climate control.  

Did I mention it’s free?

This land of plenty is the library, a playland devoted to the pursuit of learning and creation, and dedicated to summer programming for kids and adults alike. Adding to its regular schedule of age-appropriate storytimes, clubs, and crafts, the library extends its summertime offerings to make the most of the extra hours off school.

This week, many area libraries launched their “Libraries Rock” summer series, a calendar-filling extravaganza of special events featuring books, films, and unique guests, from furry friends to uniformed heroes. Kids from birth to 18 will find daily activities to help combat weather, boredom, or just the alleged summer brain drain.

At its core, the summer reading program has a simple foundation: read.

Read and get prizes.

Read and make friends.

Read and better understand the world.

Just read.

Driving the events are the children’s librarians, the unsung masterminds of such programs. These good-natured navigators of knowledge are planners of play, suppliers of stories, finders of…everything. They maneuver potty-training accidents and tantrums while delivering songs and art and love of all things books.

They are wonderful.   

So whether you’re a regular, a first-timer, or it’s just been a while, visit your local library this summer! Engage in a story, revel in the free access, and enjoy the encouragement to linger in the not-so-silent halls. I guarantee you, you’ll be most welcome.

The following is highlighted information for area libraries’ summer programming. For up-to-date information and full details, please visit the provided links.     

Summer Reading Programs


Reading Program Dates: TBD

Special events include storytime in the park, reading groups, a SOAR presentation on the hearing and sounds of Iowa raptors, a ground-breaking ceremony for the new library, and more.


Reading Program Dates: May 21 to July 28

Special events include pool parties, reading to therapy dogs, Comic Camp, Cardboard Car Drive-in, Hot Dog Dinner Theater, and the annual Lego building competition.

Des Moines

Reading Program Dates: June 4 to August 1

Special events include little kids yoga, instrument petting zoos, music performances, maker labs for various age groups, ISU’s Insect Zoo, bilingual bingo and storytimes, and Minecraft Club.


Reading Program Dates: June 2 to July 21  

Special events include little kids yoga, musical acts, cooking classes for grade schoolers, a magic show, and a juggling act.


Reading Program Dates: June 2 to August 4

Special events include DIY superhero gear, History Rocks with Living History Farms, a juggling act, dinosaur discovery, Touch a Truck featuring fire engines and snowplows, and ice cream socials.


Reading Program Dates: June 1 to July 31  

Special events include ISU’s Insect Zoo, Blank Park Zoo’s Animal Sounds and Stories, instrument petting zoos, Jester Puppets shows, storytime with Waukee Firefighters and their truck, a geology presentation, and magic show.

West Des Moines

Reading Program Dates: May 21 to July 27

Special events include Toddler Prom, a Harry Potter birthday party, zoo show and tell, a geology presentation, instrument petting zoo, and a carnival finale.

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