Blog Entries

Blog Type
Staff Member

Music: An Important Component of Early Literacy

by Ben Schrag

If you know me, you know I love to write songs. (Technically speaking, I’m an award-winning songwriter. Though, to be sure, receiving commendations for songwriting from an educational theatre organization, however prestigious, feels a bit like little like winning “best dressed” at a swimming meet!)

I’ve been writing, singing, and playing in Iowa for years and have enjoyed playing at everything from Ames Main Street shops to the Des Moines Arts Festival. But one of my favorite gigs is getting to sing and play for toddlers at the Ames Public Library.

... Read Full Blog

Spooky Stories at the Library

by Jill Philby

With Halloween just around the corner, Ames Public Library lends more spooky stories than usual.  Older children and teens love a good scare and will read books like Aaron Reynolds’ “Creepy Tales!” series, “The Jumbies” by Tracey Baptiste, or Katherine Arden’s “Small Spaces” series at any time of year. But books like Alvin Schwartz’ “Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark” are especially popular the closer we get to Halloween. 

Kids and teens love books that are scary, and the thrill in feeling the goosebumps on your arms or the shiver down your spine c... Read Full Blog

20 Minutes Makes a Difference

by Brianne Anderson


Way back in the 1982, Jim Trelease published the book, “The Read-Aloud Handbook.” Over the years, the book has gone through eight updates (the latest coming in 2019) and has sold millions of copies. In the world of books and publishing, 41 years is an incredible time for a book to stay in print, especially when the book addresses child-rearing topics which we know experts often debate.

This book has longevity because Jim Trelease captured in print one thing almost everyone can agree on: reading aloud to children is important. But not on... 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

Chillin’ with a Good Book

by Danielle Ziegler

When I was a kid growing up in the 90s, we didn’t have air conditioning at home. Instead, during long, hot summer days, my sister and I joined our friends in activities meant to make us feel cooler.  We saw many matinees at the movie theater, spent hours hanging out at our library, and watched and read things meant to make us cold.  Kids can still do that during the summer with the Ames Public Library. Check out these cold and snowy books!

One of my absolute favorite picture books, “Big Snow” by Jonathan Bean is set while a young boy anxiously... Read Full Blog

Keeping Up with the Kiddos

by Tracy Briseño

My children are voracious readers. I love that they are often deep in a book, entranced, pulled in, and thoroughly engaged. I am thankful that they have a plethora of trusted adults in their life to recommend new titles, from teachers and librarians to grandparents, aunts, and uncles. They also share recommendations with friends.

When my children started reading I wanted to read what they read, have them read what I enjoyed as a child, and be involved in all their reading decisions. Now, three children later, I know I would hold them back.

Instea... Read Full Blog

Home Voices at the Ames Public Library

by Ben Schrag

I work at a Public Library, but my background is in the creative arts; a little playwriting, a lot of songwriting. One of my regular duties is the Toddler Storytime, where these skills can come in very handy. 

When I started doing Toddler storytime, for example, I had a small conundrum. Storytimes usually start with a little welcoming rhyme to help set the tone. But when I started planning and preparing for my Toddler storytimes, I couldn’t find a rhyme that said quite what I wanted to say. They were either not quite the right message or not quite the fe... Read Full Blog

Come to the Library for Storytimes and More!

by Ben Schrag

From Christian Robinson’s “You Matter”:


“The small stuff too small to see. Those who swim with the tide and those who don’t. The first to go and the last. You matter.”


While the phrase “back to normal” may not feel entirely correct, this fall the Youth Services department returns to a full schedule of in-person offerings for our youth and families. And we are excited to share them with you!

Baby Time takes place Tuesdays at 1:30pm, Wednesdays at 11:00am, and Thursday evenings at 6:30pm.
Baby ... 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

Digital Resources for Learning

by Megan Klein-Hewett

As students of all ages return to school, those of us at the Library are winding down from the hustle and bustle of the Summer Reading Challenge and are looking toward the many tools we offer to students returning to their studies. APL offers a robust selection of online resources to help learners of all ages connect to the world of ideas.

For young learners, the Library subscribes to Bookflix and Tumblebooks. Bookflix is perfect for our youngest learners—pre-k through grade 3—and helps early readers practice important literacy skills by pairing ficti... Read Full Blog

A Good Book

by Jill Philby

When I was in elementary school, I remember thinking to myself, “I will always read chapter books that have pictures. They are so much better than books without!”  In my mind, if a book had wonderful illustrations, then the story was probably wonderful, too.

To my sister at that age, a good book meant a horse book.  To one daughter, it meant a book in which everyone was nice to everyone else.  To another, it meant a funny book. To my best friend, it meant a teen romance. 

No matter what the story is about, though, good books hav... Read Full Blog

Summer Fun for Teens!

by Ethan Atwell

We are now over a month into summer vacation and maybe you’ve run out of things to do with your teen. Not to worry; Ames Public Library is here for you and your teen!

The summer months are actually the busiest time of year for the Library. We offer Terrific Tuesday performers, storytime in the parks, library camp, free meals for 0-18 year olds, and much more. The above mentioned programs are mostly geared towards our younger patrons. But what does the Library have to offer for teens this summer?

There are loads of things for teens to do! This summ... Read Full Blog

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

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

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