About the Ames Public Library
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Ames Public Library
is a department of
the City of Ames.

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About the Ames Public Library
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History of APL

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The Ames Public Library was not originally a free public library. During the 1890s, subscribers paid dues to keep a small reading room open. For example, in 1897 a local P.E.O. Society purchased 33 shares of stock and later voted two dollars per month to support the library.


In 1902, the P.E.O. local chapter appointed a committee to investigate how a free public library might be established. Ames Mayor Parley Sheldon met with the group and then later wrote to Andrew Carnegie asking for $10,000 to erect a library building. Ames received the grant. By 1904 the city voted to accept Carnegie's gift, created a Board of Trustees, received a land gift for the building, constructed the library, and hired a librarian. October 20, 1904 was the first day of business.



Ames Public Library, circa 1930
Ames Public Library, Circa 1930

Building expansions in 1907 and 1940 made it possible for the Library to increase collections and serve more citizens. The Library tried to reach more people with a branch near campus which opened in 1946. It later closed in 1950 due to low use. Outreach, however, was still a goal so in 1966 Bookmobile operation began.



Ames Public Library, 1940
Ames Public Library, 1940

By the 1980s, the Library building could not support the growing demand for services. In 1983, a bond referendum for a library addition passed. In 1985, the new expansion and the remodeled original building were dedicated. The current building covers half a city block.



Ames Public Library, 2006
Ames Public Library, 2006

Library Renewal Project

In 2008, Ames Public Library hired a library planner to assess space needs based on current activity, projected growth of Ames, and anticipated changes in library usage in the years to come. The end result was a recommendation for a library facility of about 94,000 sq. ft.

In 2009, Ames Public Library and Meyer, Scherer & Rockcastle (MS&R) Architecture & Interior Design conducted 19 public meetings to gather information and feedback from the community.


In 2010 , The Hodge Group conducted a fundraising feasibility study to determine how much money may be raised in private donations and grants to support the project, and how much money may be raised through a bond.


In February of 2011, MS&R unveiled the design draft for a proposed library expansion based on community feedback and the findings of the fundraising feasibility study.


In November of 2011, voters approved a $20 million bond issue to expand and renovate the Library with 76 percent of the vote.


In fall of 2012, the Library moved and reopenedat a temporary location in Lincoln Center


In 2013, construction work began at 515 Douglas Avenue.