Blog Entries

Blog Type
Staff Member

In Taxing Times

by Max Gulden

The dreaded time has again: tax season. Fortunately, Ames Public Library offers access to a variety of tax-related resources to help make tax season just a little bit easier.

This year, Ames Public Library is hosting Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) tax preparation appointments in partnership with Iowa State University and the United Way of Story County. These appointments are being held at the library and are facilitated by certified volunteers, many of whom have offered tax preparation services at the library in previous years.

To schedule a... Read Full Blog

Holiday Gift Ideas from Ames Public Library

by Ellen Wanamaker

Shopping for holiday gifts at the library seems counter-intuitive, since, well… libraries let you borrow things for free! While you can check out armfuls of books, movies, music, magazines, games, puzzles and puppets for free, there are ways to do holiday shopping at Ames Public Library as well.

Literary Grounds is Ames Public Library’s bookstore, located on the first floor. You can shop for gently-used books, puzzles, and more. Most items cost between $1 and $5, and all proceeds benefit the APL Friends Foundation, which serves to enhance APL’s services,... Read Full Blog

Introducing the IDEA Center

by Anessa Olson

The IDEA Center is the Ames Public Library’s new digital conversion and editing lab. The purpose of the space is to provide free access to the equipment and software needed to preserve your family’s history by transferring treasured memories from vulnerable analog formats into digital files that can more easily be shared and saved. The IDEA Center has three stations, one each for video and audio conversion, scanning, and editing.

The video conversion station will be able to convert VHS, S-VHS, and VHS-C tapes into digital video files that can be burn... Read Full Blog

Damaged Book? Leave the repair to us!

Rips, spills, and unglued spines happen. Luckily, we have an expert mender on staff with all the tools to give our items another chance at life.

If you find any damage on a Library item, please don't attempt to fix it yourself! Take it to a Library staff member so our specialist can mend it and get it back in circulation. 

... Read Full Blog

Back to School Reading

by Tracy Briseño

It’s back to school time; For my family, that means less free reading time, more early mornings and after school activities, and busy days. This could lead to us borrowing fewer books and reading less.

Instead what tends to happen is that our reading shifts. The high schooler reads more on Libby and turns to well-loved graphic novels for fun, quick reads. The fifth grader usually find topics from school or elsewhere that spark her curiosity. (Right now it’s biographies, but last year it was gross bugs.) The first grader gets hooked on a subject or type of book ... Read Full Blog

Tools for School

Did you know...
Ames Community School District students get a FREE Ames Public Library account through their school!

Use your account all year long for access to books, Wi-Fi hotspots, online tools, STEM Kits, and much more!

Get ready for school with these great online tools for free using your Ames Public Library card:

Brainfuse: Live online tutoring, Writing lab, Test preparation, Language lab Britannica Library: Age-appropriate articles, videos, and biographies for children and teens BookFlix: Read-aloud stories, nonfictio... Read Full Blog

‘Tis the Season!

by Max Gulden

There are a few things that just seem inevitable this time each year. People in top hats taking heed of the meteorological expertise of a shadowy subterranean mammal. The glimmer of warmer weather foretelling the approach of spring. A frigid blast of arctic chill to remind us it’s still only February. And then, of course, everyone’s favorite yearly tradition: tax season. For those who truly dread this particular tradition, fortunately, the Ames Public Library offers access to a variety of tax-related resources to help make tax season just a little bit easier.

Read Full Blog

Adventure Pass


by Tracy Briseño

Have you ever visited Blank Park Zoo in the winter? Gone to Reiman Gardens to sit with the butterflies when it is twenty degrees outside? When the cold and snow feel endless and you are trying to figure out what to do, I recommend checking out the library’s Adventure Pass Program. Using your library card, you are able to reserve a time to visit one of six locations. You can reserve a pass to each location once every 365 days.

You can visit Reiman Gardens and explore plants outdoors and inside the indoor conservatory. There’s also a tropica... Read Full Blog

Tools for School

Get homework help with the Library's free online resources, check out a Wi-Fi hotspot for Internet access, and use our space for quiet study time! 

Your Library card gets you free access to premium online resource, like Brainfuse Homework Help, TumbleBookLibrary, Britannica Library, and many more to help students reach their educational goals. Best of all, they're available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week!

You the library also lends many helpful resources, from books to Wi-Fi hotspots to STEM learning kits. All you need is a Library card.

How do yo... Read Full Blog

Libraries in Cahoots

by Anessa Olson

The Ames Public Library has almost 400,000 items in a variety of formats.  That’s a lot.  But no library can contain everything, so odds are good that sometime in your life you’ll want something that we don’t have. Fortunately, we aren’t limited to our own resources.  Libraries all across the country work together, lending and borrowing materials from each other on behalf of their patrons in a process called inter-library loan, or ILL. 

For you, the ILL process is very simple.  Just fill out our request form, available on our websit... Read Full Blog


by Brianne Anderson

“The things I want to know are in books; my best friend is the man who’ll get me a book I ain’t read." — Abraham Lincoln

By far one of the best parts of our job as librarians is getting to recommend books. Don’t get us wrong, we love the satisfaction of helping someone discover a link to an ancestor, or helping kids find just the right source for their school paper, but the absolute best feeling is when we get to walk the shelves, pulling out our favorite titles and describing them to patrons. Our goal at APL is to be just like Abraham Lincoln’s bes... Read Full Blog

Solar-Powered Bench Offers Charging Stations

There's a new bench in front of Ames Public Library, and this one's powered by the sun!

Made by SELS - Smart Era Lighting Systems, the new new seating option offers wireless and USB charging stations for phones and electronic devices, including USB ports and wireless. It also has built-in lights for night time. The system is completely self-sufficient, storing power collected by solar panels in built-in batteries. As an added bonus, the Library's wi-fi can keep you connected to internet while you charge.

Stop by and charge up while you wait for the bus or enjoy the ... Read Full Blog

Read for Fun

by Tracy Briseño

I challenge you. I challenge you to read for fun this summer. Just for you. Whatever you want. I encourage you to do it visibly where your kids or neighborhood kids can see you. It sets a powerful example. But mostly, I encourage you to read for your own enjoyment or interest. Just to be clear – I embrace a WIDE view of reading. Read the newspaper, read an e-book, listen to an audiobook, crack open your favorite magazine, read a picture book for fun (no kids required!) or dive into a book you’ve always wanted to try. Just read.

We know that reading for fun... 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


by Tracy Briseño

It is becoming colder and darker. I am not excited about winter. I don’t like being cold, and I thrive in the sunshine. This is a time that my introvert self likes to hibernate at home. If you are like me, here are some suggestions for how the library can help you enjoy this season of chilliness.

Checkout the library’s online options for reading, listening to music, or watching movies, films, and TV shows. The library’s Winter Reading Challenge is for all ages and runs from December 15th - Feb 14th. You can sign up online or through the Beanstack app. Thro... Read Full Blog