Public Library Begins In-Person Services

The Des Moines Public Library has reopened the David Chipperfield-designed downtown branch for limited in-person services. Photo: Farshid Assassi.

The Des Moines Public Library’s Central Library downtown has reopened for limited in-person services. The new phase, called DMPL Express, includes limited browsing of shelves, library card signups and renewals, printing, faxing and copying services, and walk-in public computer usage.

Five other public library buildings will follow suit on Tuesday, Oct. 13.

Susan Woody, Des Moines Public Library director, said library leaders have worked with city officials and the library board of trustees for several months to create a safe reopening plan. Each library has added new safety measures and procedures, and masks and social distancing will be required at all times.

“Our focus has been on the safety of our staff and community since the day we closed,” Woody said. “We took our time to get it right, and we are now ready to start welcoming our community back into our buildings.”

Des Moines Public Library shut its doors to the public in March to help stop the spread of COVID-19, but the library never truly closed, as staff shifted to creating virtual programming, introducing new digital tools and resources, and offering a new curbside pickup service. But options like public computers and the ability to browse shelves for books are services that are impossible to replicate digitally, Woody said.

“The library plays such an important, essential role in our communities, and we have missed being able to serve our customers in person,” she said.

Go here to see the full scope of in-person services at Central Library.

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