Blog Entries

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Staff Member

Summer Reading Challenge Begins June 1

Ames Public Library's 2022 summer reading challenge, "Read Beyond the Beaten Path," will begin for all ages on June 1. Participants will earn prizes just for keeping track of their reading! Head over to to get signed up on the Reading Challenge website or to download the Beanstack app, so you'll be ready to go on June 1! You can also pick up a reading challenge gameboard from the Library or Bookmobile starting June 1 to track your reading on paper.

We also have a summer full of fun events planned for all ages to help you go beyond the beaten path! Kids an... Read Full Blog

Living the Van Life!

by Ellen Wanamaker

Library books are free, of course. What’s not free is the trip you take because you read about it in a library book and JUST HAD TO GO THERE.

Last spring I was feeling restless (like everyone else) and picked up a copy of Lonely Planet’s “The Vanlife Companion” by Ed Bartlett and Becky Ohlsen, a book about how to rent a camper van, and how to outfit it for epic rolling adventures. This book also features some ambitious road trip itineraries. Some of those were very cool but very far away: Western Australia’s Southwest Coast (amazing) and Patagonia’s Carretera... Read Full Blog

Road Trip!

by Jillian Ocken

Who’s ready for vacation? It’s almost time to pack up the family, hop in the car, and head out in search of adventure!

If you haven’t picked a destination yet, be sure to check out Ames Public Library’s Adventure Passes. There are a lot of great places to visit nearby, and even some in Ames! Adventure Passes are like tickets to local attractions that you can borrow from the Library for free. Choose from places like Blank Park Zoo, Reiman Gardens, The Science Center of Iowa, the African American Museum of Iowa, and more! Be sure to reserve your Adventure Pa... Read Full Blog

Finding Your Next Great Read

by Cathy Cooney

Picture the last really, really good book you read. The one you couldn’t wait to get back to when you had to put it down to go to work, cook, or let the dog out. The one you thought about for days afterward. The one that made you go back and read everything else that author had written. The one you told all of your friends and family they needed to read next.

Sometimes a book that good leads to a reading slump, where nothing seems to catch your interest. Luckily, your Ames Public Library staff can help! One of my favorite parts of my job is connecting custo... Read Full Blog

All the World’s a Stage at the Ames Public Library

by Danielle Ziegler

Do you know kids and teens aged 7 to 14 years old who are interested in theater? Is your family’s summer filling up already, with no time for months of rehearsals and shows? Or maybe your child has never been in a show before and you’re not sure if they’d love it or not. Why not try Prairie Fire Theater’s “Peter Pan” at your Ames Public Library this summer?

Prairie Fire Theater is a professional theater company out of Barrett, MN.  How it works is that they send two professional actors/directors to a community where, in just one week, they will put on a... Read Full Blog

The Magic of Story Time

Brianne Anderson

“When I say to a parent, "read to a child", I don't want it to sound like medicine. I want it to sound like chocolate. " — Mem Fox

Mem Fox is a hugely prolific Australian author whose picture books have graced our library shelves for years. Her quote above perfectly describes what we strive for every day at the Library- to make reading a fun and enjoyable activity for children (and parents!) instead of something prescribed.  

Even before your child is born, you become their most important teacher. It doesn’t matter how prepared you are, or how mu... Read Full Blog

Earth Week at Your Library

by Megan Klein-Hewett

As the City of Ames makes progress in the Climate Action Plan (CAP) process, Earth Day provides an opportunity for each of us to learn about and engage in actions that will lead to greater environmental sustainability in our community. Whether you wish to learn in person, change your habits locally, or read up on climate change, the Library has something to connect you to climate action in our community.

Ames Public Library is again working with the City of Ames to present EcoChats, a series of presentations featuring local experts on topics focused o... Read Full Blog

Ready for Gardening

by Jillian Ocken

The crocuses are just about done blooming, the Daffodils are getting started, and my brain has fully entered gardening mode. It’s too bad the weather hasn’t caught up with me yet!

I’m especially excited for spring this year because two family members are asking me for ideas on their own landscaping projects. I’m no expert, but I enjoy the creativity of starting a new garden—and I love plants!

My first instinct when starting a gardening project is to visit every garden center in a 100-mile radius to pick out plants, but that doesn’t work this early in ... Read Full Blog

20th Annual First Amendment Days Celebration

by Anessa Olson

“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.” This is the First Amendment to the United States Constitution. These five freedoms are an essential part of American law and culture, and are woven into the fabric of our lives in ways both large and small. From big nation-wide protest movements to the clothes our children wear to school, the Firs... Read Full Blog

What to read next…?

by Ellen Wanamaker

I’ve done it again, that thing that librarians do. I’ve brought home too many books and can’t settle on which one to start. It’s a good problem to have, being surrounded by so many books that you’re paralyzed by the sheer pile of awesomeness in front of you.

One of the books in my heap is “The Falcon Thief: A True Tale of Adventure, Treachery, and the Hunt for the Perfect Bird” by Joshua Hammer. This one made it home because I’m just a sucker for books about birds. Also, how can you resist a true crime story about a man so desperate to steal rare peregri... Read Full Blog

What a Novel Idea!

by Anastasia Tuckness

What do roleplaying games, flip-flops, and magnetic cup holders have in common? Not much, you might say, except this: they all became part of Ames Public Library as a result of our Novel Ideas program! Novel Ideas fosters innovation and creative thinking among Library staff. In the four years since its inception, it has done just that, prompting some unique and interesting initiatives. Any staff member can propose an idea to be considered by the Novel Ideas team. After approval, a cross-department team works together to implement it. Funding comes from a specia... Read Full Blog

Reading Requests

by Jill Philby 

We get lots of requests at Ames Public Library.  Sometimes it is a simple request, like needing a study room.  Other times, it’s a bit more complicated, like putting an item on hold or a purchase request.  And, occasionally, it is for something that may take a bit more time and thought, such as title suggestions for advanced young readers—children who are reading quite a bit higher than their grade level. 

When we have an adult talk to us here in Youth Services about their advanced reader, we get excited.  It’s exciting that ... Read Full Blog


by Alissa Lee Dornink

My friend recently sent me a life-sized carboard cutout of the character Dean Winchester, of Supernatural fame, that she found at a vintage shop in Minneapolis. For those not familiar, Supernatural was a long running CW show that followed two brothers as they crisscrossed the country in their 1967 Chevy Impala hunting monsters and fighting evil supernatural beings.

I thought it would be in keeping with the road trip spirit of his character to bring him along as I traveled to visit family in Nebraska and Minnesota, so I folded him up and brought him al... Read Full Blog

To Make Your Day

by Max Gulden

One of the many enjoyable things about library work is making someone’s day by introducing them to something they haven’t encountered before. Be it a book they hadn’t heard of, a timely program they didn’t realize was on offer, or a community resource about which they were unaware, sharing just what is needed on any given day is enduringly rewarding.

One thing that is particularly enjoyable is introducing people to online library resources. Barely a day goes by when we aren’t able to introduce someone to online access to e-books, e-audiobooks, movies, ... Read Full Blog

Climate Action Plan “Six Big Moves” Survey Available on City Website until March 16

A survey to generate feedback from Ames residents on actions they would be willing to take to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) as part of the City’s community climate action planning is now available on the City’s website. Participants are asked to take the survey one time to share their thoughts.

The survey is available at  and will remain available through 5 p.m. on Wednesday, March 16. Paper copies of the survey will be available at the Ames Public Library, 515 Douglas Ave. by the end of the week.... Read Full Blog