Blog Entries

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Staff Member

Tracy Loves Juvenile Nonfiction – Round 2: Biographies

by Tracy Briseño

I have always loved biographies. I love learning about people and the time they live in. I think it is a really interesting glimpse into other’s thoughts and decisions within the context of place and history.

Last year, my daughter became enamored with reading about women scientists. She read through everything her teacher had and was working her way through her school library, too. We visited the public library together to pick out books and ended up taking home over 50 biographies, extending well beyond her original focus of female scientists. We read so... Read Full Blog

Tracy Loves Juvenile Nonfiction – And You Should Too

by Tracy Briseño

Years ago, I worked in youth services at the library. I was always excited when a kid would come in and announce “I don’t like to read”. I knew that they were giving me a chance. I knew they hadn’t found the right book yet. Challenge accepted! 

I would often take these kids over to the juvenile nonfiction section and start pulling out titles. I’d ask them about what they liked to do, what they liked to watch, what they liked to do outside. I’d assure them that they didn’t have to like anything I picked out. But I’d sort through – do they like weapons ... Read Full Blog


by Brianne Anderson

My day is not complete at the Library without a caregiver hauling out a screaming toddler, tears streaming down their little face, kicking, screaming and wailing. Boy do I feel for those caregivers when trying to manage a screaming child, but I also kinda feel good inside. That child had so much fun at the library today that they don’t want to leave! That’s a win in my book. (Sorry, parents.)

Throwing a temper tantrum is completely developmentally appropriate for a two-year-old. A young child’s brain is just developed enough to understand they have inde... Read Full Blog

Parenting Problems and Answers at the Ames Public Library

by Danielle Ziegler

Although the Ames Public Library Youth Services department offers many books, storytimes, and activities for the younger crowd, we don’t want to forget about parents and guardians! Adults are welcome to use the youth department, whether getting great books for the young people in their lives or themselves. (But don’t forget that we also have an amazing Adult Services department!)

Parents and guardians should check out the Parenting Collection, located at the South side of the Library’s youth department. This small collection focuses on books to aide in ... Read Full Blog

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

Eric Carle’s Caterpillar

by Jill Philby

Just over 50 years ago, a very hungry little caterpillar burst out of an egg and ate his way through all sorts of food on the way to transforming into a beautiful butterfly!  Author/illustrator Eric Carle’s “The Very Hungry Caterpillar” has been a perennial favorite among both children and adults. Now a stage production, the caterpillar and his friend, Brown Bear, will be visiting Ames’ Stephens Auditorium on Monday, February 12, 2024 at 6:30pm.

To celebrate Eric Carle and his caterpillar, Ames Public Library will be giving away one Family Pack of four ... 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

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

Free Lunch for Kids and Teens

Ames Public Library is once again offering free lunch for kids and teens this summer! 

Families are invited to Free Summer Meals for Kids and Teens weekdays from 11:30am-12:30pm in the Library's Auditorium.

Lunch is free to all youth 18 years and younger; meals for adults accompanying youth are $3.50. (Sorry, no baby formula is available.)


Thank you to the Ames Public Library Friends Foundation for sponsoring Free Summer Meals for Kids and Teens!

... Read Full Blog

Free Children’s Movies at the Ames Public Library

by Ben Schrag

Summer is a great time to come to the library. Not only do we have lots of books, but we also have fun things to do! Today I want to tell you about our Family Flicks series - a great way to stay cool and have some fun this summer.

As part of our wide offering of summer programs, the Ames Public Library will show two family films per month. One will be a matinee showing of a more recent animated movie. The other will be an evening showing of a retro classic for the whole family.

And you can't forget the popcorn! We will have our popcorn popper on han... Read Full Blog

Find Your Voice at Ames Public Library

by Jill Philby

Here it is—the end of May and June is doing its best to bust out all over! At your home, June may mean ball games or gardening, suddenly having a houseful of children all day, every day instead of at school, or it might just mean spending time in a lawn chair reading and relaxing. But at Ames Public Library, June 1 means our “Find Your Voice!” summer reading challenge has begun!

I like to read! Can I participate? Absolutely! Everyone can sign up to participate—adults, teens, children, and even infants and toddlers. We want everyone to participate because we ... 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

Summer is Coming

Join Ames Public Library for free special activities and a reading challenge for all ages this summer!

Everyone from babies to adults can earn prizes just for tracking their reading in the Summer Reading Challenge. Pick up a game board or sign up online starting June 1.

Once again this summer, children and teens can eat a nutritious free lunch at Ames Public Library. Lunch is available weekdays form Monday, June 5, through Friday, August 18 (except July 4).

Check the Library's calendar for free events including: Book clubs, meetups, and presentations for a... Read Full Blog