Your Library is a Center of Civics

Your Library is a Center of Civics

by Megan Klein-Hewett

Ames Public Library values the role we play as a connector of information to help you be an informed citizen in our community. The Library always strives to make access to information easy, through events like voter registration drives and local candidate forums, but also through the Civics Center webpage at and through materials you can borrow. 

Are you registered to vote? Have you moved and need to update your voter registration records? Next Tuesday, September 28, is National Voter Registration Day and it provides the perfect opportunity to make sure your registration is up to date for the November 2 city and school board election. 

Members of the non-partisan Story County League of Women Voters will be available in the Library’s lobby from 11:30 am to 4 pm to help register new voters, voters that are new to Iowa, and voters who need to update their registration, as well as answering questions about voting in Iowa. 

Looking for something online? The Civics Center is a curated webpage about matters affecting Ames and Story County, as well as information about voting, taxes, and assistance programs for food and utilities. Consider it your one-stop webpage for information to be engaged with the community. 

The Civic Center’s Voter Information page contains links to find your polling place, request an Iowa absentee ballot, and learn about voting rights restoration for those who have had a felony conviction. For those who always struggle to know who and how to vote for judges, there’s a link to the Iowa Bar Association’s Know Your Judges resource, which helps you to learn how to evaluate judges and provides a link to the Iowa Judicial Performance evaluation. 

The Civics Center’s My Community page is full of links connecting you to a running list of opportunities to provide feedback on City of Ames projects, or keep up to date on projects and planned changes within our community. There are also links to information about City of Ames departments, such as the CyRide bus system and the Ames Police Department. 

If you’re more into physical resources, Ames Public Library has those too. We hold print copies of important documents like the City of Ames Budget, Capital Improvement Plan, and Municipal Code. The Library is also frequently given print copies of documents for review from other city departments and organizations. 

If you’re seeking news resources to stay informed, the Library carries a subscription to The Ames Tribune in addition to digital access available through NewsBank. Other available local print news sources include subscriptions to The Story City Herald, Boone News, Nevada Journal, The Des Moines Register and the Tri-County Times are available. The Library also has a wide array of regional and national publications available in print or online, including digital access to The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal

Books can also be a great resource for learning, particularly about big-picture political shifts and movements. There have been an abundance of political books written in the past few years, but here are a few selections to get you started:

  • “What You Need to Know About Voting and Why” by Kim Wehle 
    Wehle explores the American voting system, and the issues that come with it, in this accessible introduction to one of the most important aspects of American democracy. 
  • "What You Should Know About Politics But Don’t” by Jessamyn Conrad
    This non-partisan introduction to American politics covers the major issues affecting the country.
  • “The New Jim Crow” by Michelle Alexander
    Alexander’s examination of the American justice system has become a modern classic and required reading to better understand how the criminal justice system is impacted by racial discrimination.