Summer Reading Programs in Des Moines

Summer Reading in Des Moines 2018

Summer reading in Des Moines is one of many fun activities to stay busy this summer. Your local library offers great events and activities for children of all ages and challenges to keep your child motivated. Some libraries offer prizes and fun celebrations. Check out all the Summer reading opportunities in Des Moines.

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Kick off event Sunday, June 3; 2:30 to 4:30 p.m.

The kid’s summer reading program here will begin June 3 through August 3.  Mark your calendars for their  Kick-Off event on Sunday, June 3. At the event, there will be booths with different visitors from organizations around the metro that have programs and events for families going on this summer.  Examples: Blank Park Zoo, Living History Farms, Girl Scouts, Altoona Aquatic Center, Animal Rescue League, and more! There will also be early registration for their summer programs.  Here are some programs:

  • Music Mondays
  • Duke Otherwise concert
  • BPZ: Animal Sounds and Stories
  • SCIowa: Global Soundscapes
  • Instrument Petting Zoo with the Des Moines Symphony
  • Daddy Derby
  • LEGO Library Lock-in
  • Ninja Training
  • Sing-a-Long Movie
  • PJ Party
  • Pete the Cat Party
  • Slime Time


Take a look at the link above to print off the pdf summer reading calendars and to see all the fun events that will be happening all summer long!


When your child reads 8 books this summer, they can receive a free children’s book. Visit Barnes and Noble summer reading program to download and print their reading journal. In order to receive a free book, a parent must sign on the page. The reading program begins May 15 and runs until September 3. There is a set list of books that a child can pick for free, broken down by grades. Take a look at the options here.


All programs begin Monday, May 21 – Saturday, July 28.

Rubber Ducky Club: Bond with your little duckling this summer with this early literacy reading program. Start a tradition of summer reading with a focus on the five early literacy practices: Talk, Sing, Read, Write, and Play! Enjoy a rubber ducky prize for completing the first six activities and receive a book prize along with a pass to the summer reading pool party for completing all 12.

Dewey Bear Club: Does your preschooler love to listen to stories? Is your child just starting to read and still needing a lot of support? This summer reading program is for you! Record minutes and earn incentives along the way. Prizes include free coupons and passes to local businesses, books, and a family pass to our summer reading pool party. Completion of journals allows reader to be eligible for our Bonus Reading Program.

Reading Journals: This is a self-paced summer reading program for independent readers of all levels. Record minutes and earn incentives along the way. Prizes include free coupons and passes to local businesses, books, and passes to our summer reading pool party. Completion of journals allows reader to be eligible for our Bonus Reading Program. 

Bonus Reading Logs: Reading Rocks! Need more incentives to keep reading? Upon completion of the above programs, Dewey Bear readers on up may participate for our bonus reading program. Continue tracking minutes through August for a chance to win some rocking raffle prizes. We will draw for the winners the last week in August. The more reading you do, the more tickets you earn, and the more chances you have to win!

Celebrate all your reading with a Big Reading Pool Party and the Clive Aquatic Center on Saturday, July 28 from 10 to 11:15 a.m. Teens will receive an extra pass to bring along a friend.


The Des Moines Public Library’s All Summer Long reading challenge begins Monday, June 4 and runs 10 weeks, ending Saturday, August 11.

During this time, children 18 or younger are encouraged to read, listen to books or complete a variety of challenges totaling 360 minutes of summer reading and learning!

Children receive a book tote for signing up and can choose an exciting book upon completion of the challenge.  Check the online calendar or stop in to your local  Des Moines library to see what fun programs are planned at each location.  Groups and daycares are encouraged to participate as well with an adapted All Summer Long program.


Granger Public Library’s Summer Reading Program will kick off June 6 and run until July 18. Teens and adults can register for free prizes every time they visit the library. The first 25 teens and the first 25 adults will receive a prize. They will also offer some fun story times, events and activities.


This years’ Summer Reading Program runs from June 4 through July 27.  Sign up at the library or online. Earn points by reading and completing activities. As you earn points, you earn prizes. Stop by the Library to claim your prizes!

There will be fun events, story times and activities scheduled throughout the Summer as well.


Join the Indianola Libvrary this summer  for fun programs for all ages! The Summer Reading Challenge begins May 29 and runs through July 28. Complete the Challenge to earn great prizes and an exclusive ticket to the pool party July 30 at the Indianola Veterans Memorial Aquatic Center.

Kick off the summer with the Blank Park Zoo on Tuesday, May 29 5 to 7 p.m. There will be hot dogs and ice cream at the Annette Nature Center. Stay for crafts, activities and live animals. Make sure you register!

Kick off the summer with a party on Thursday, May 31 6 to 8 p.m. There will be live music, food vendors, and giant lawn games, including pick-up bags tournament.

The Indianola Public Library will offer fun story times, activities and events all summer long. Keep an eye on their event calendar.


The Johnston Public Library Libraries Rock Summer Reading Program is a free, 7 week program that encourages kids of all ages to read and keep their brain active throughout the summer. Visit the library between June 2nd and July 21st to pick up a reading log and a music kit. When a child completes 15 activities or reads 15 times for 30 minutes, they can bring in their reading log to receive a goodie bag full of fun prizes. Once a child completes 30 activities or reading they get a free book and their name in our grand prize drawing!

There will be a variety of free programs and events at the library such as Critter Camp, Boxcar Drive-In, Press Play, Little Lotus Yoga, Special Performers and more. Registration is required for most of these events and activities.

The Johnston Public Library also offers a Teen Summer Reading Program for kids entering 6th grade and up. Read, attend programs and earn awesome prizes including ice cream from Dairy Queen, Iowa Cubs tickets, a free book and more!


The Summer Reading Program will kick off on June 2 with a special “Summer Rocks in Urbandale” outdoor event. There will be entertainment and activities for the whole family as well as special guests to talk about the summer activities available in the city.  They will also be unveiling our All Urbandale Reads book selection at that time.

Some events include: 

  • Celebration of Lucha Libre (Mexican Wrestling)
  • Rise and Shine (Music and Movement for ages 2-7)
  • Teen Art Days (ceramics, soldering, sewing and manga)
  • Crafts and Culture with Living History Farms for ages 7-12
  • Robotics
  • Dinosaur and science Clubs
  • Evolution of Dance
  • Belly Dancing
  • Teen Author Event
  • and so much more!

Summer Reading runs through August 4th. Some events require advanced registration, but all events are free. In addition to attending special events, kids can sign up at the library to be a part of the Summer Reading Club.  It is asked that families spend time reading or being read to 30 days during the summer. There is no requirement on number of pages, minutes, or books.

Enthusiastic readers may read for hours at a time, but for others even 10 minutes of reading can be a huge accomplishment! The goal is to get children in the habit of reading.


“Rock & Read” at the Waukee Public Library this summer!

All ages of children, teens and adults can read or listen to books and earn prizes from June 1 through July 31. This year’s theme is focused on music, though you don’t have to be musically gifted to participate. There will be many fun programs and events held throughout June and July; be sure to check the library website for events that require registration. These activities are made possible with generous support from Mi-Fiber. Register for the Summer Reading Program here.


Sign up for reading logs starts on May 21 for all ages 0 to adult. Everyone in the family is encouraged to participate. 

Sign up for June programs and events including Egg Drop, Mother Goose Storytime, Laser Tag, etc. starts on Monday, June 4 at 9 a .m. You can register online by clicking the link above, over the phone at 515-222-3405 or in person. The  programs and events fill quickly in the summer, so register fast!

Sign up for July programs and events starts Monday, July 2 at 9 a.m

They will offer a halfway prize starting Monday, June 18 and final prizes become available on Monday, July 9. Prizes include: zoo passes, Iowa Cubs game tickets, community coupons, bubbles, crayons, sidewalk chalk, Barnes and Noble gift cards, and more!

Super readers can do additional reading after they have finished their reading log and earn entries into a raffle for a grand prize (ages 0-18).

Reading logs are due Friday, July 27 at 5 p.m. 

Celebrate the end of the program with a carnival on Saturday, July 28 from 10 a.m. to Noon. 

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