Blog Entries

Blog Type
Staff Member

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

Playful Families…Step Into Storybooks!

by Brianne Anderson

I cannot tell you how many times my children have run upstairs and asked me to zip/snap/buckle them into some kind of dress-up outfit. They describe to me amazing stories about the adventures the three of them are taking, all while never leaving the basement. Children’s imaginations are incredible and seeing how the kids cooperate (and many times NOT cooperate) together is not only amazing to see, but it actually builds their cognitive and social development.

Creative play time is so important because it gives kids the chance to direct their own time an... Read Full Blog

A Serpent at the Opera

by Jill Philby

Birds sing.  Whales sing. Cicadas, mice, and katydids sing.  But did you know that serpents sing?  The one and only Sid the Serpent will be singing here at Ames Public Library in OPERA Iowa and Des Moines Metro Opera’s family-friendly production of “Sid the Serpent Who Wanted to Sing” on Saturday, March 4, at 2:00pm in the Farwell T. Brown Auditorium. 

Wait.  Opera?  Family-friendly?  Sure!  After all, what is opera but good story-telling, music, theater, art and dance all rolled into one.  And a good opera does what a... Read Full Blog

Embracing Graphic Novels!

by Ethan Atwell

As a librarian, I frequently have caregivers come in with a child asking to help them find a “real” book, because the child primarily reads graphic novels. Graphic novels are one of the most amazing formats to enjoy reading. Below are benefits of reading graphic novels.

Graphic novels are accessible. According to Louise Baigelman (2022) at, the blend of images and words allows struggling readers to have more context while reading and not be overwhelmed by text. They also feel accomplished because they are able to finish a book. Graphic nove... Read Full Blog

Winter Reading Challenge

This year's winter reading challenge is already in full swing. If you haven't signed up yet, no is the time! All ages can join the Winter Reading Challenge, from adults to babies.

To participate, just read 30 days before the end of January. It doesn't matter what you read or how long you read—just read! Track your days online at or pick up a paper reading challenge at the Library or Bookmobile.

Once you're done, you can pick up your free prize (courtesy of Ames Public Library Friends Foundation) at the Library or Bookmobile!

... 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