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Summer Reading Programs in Des Moines

Education, Indoor Activities, Summer Guide, Summer in Des Moines

Summer Reading Programs in Des Moines

Summer Reading, library, reading, books, reading challenges

Summer Reading Programs in Des Moines

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. The common theme for this summer is ‘A Universe of Stories’. Take a look at each library to see what fun celebrations and prizes they will be offering.

Note: We will be adding to this list as local libraries announce their summer reading programs.

Summer Reading, library, reading, books, reading challenges


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

There will be a number of guests set up at booths in our meeting room to share information about events and activities in the summer. Families are invited to stop in, sign up for the reading program, and get information about some of the fun camps, classes, and events happening in the area. This event is free and there is no registration. Guests will have access to early registration for some of our summer programs at the library if they attend the event.
The theme of the reading program is ‘A Universe of Stories’. They will have a number of space and science programs, including a Rockin’ Rockets program (all ages), and Absolute Science program (all ages), and their monthly STEAM Team (ages 2-12). All require registration. Register by clicking the heading above.
Here are a few more all-ages programs happening this summer:
  • Daddy & Me LEGO Challenge
  • Blank Park Zoo: Otherworldly Animal Adaptations
  • Worm Races
  • Bubble Bonanza
  • Absolute Science
  • Bounce Back to School


When your child reads 8 books this summer, they can receive a free children’s book. Visit the 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. There is a set list of books that a child can pick for free, broken down by grades.


Stop in and sign up today.  They have got themed story times and fun weekly programs happening in June and July.  The main programs on the calendar for this year’s Summer Reading Program are Absolute Science, Blank Park Zoo, Des Moines Science Center, ISU Insect Zoo, Dr. Oxygen, Des Moines Astronomical Society, Magician Rick Brammer and more.  Other library programs include Astronaut Day, Paint the Night Chalk Art, Teen Night Constellation Jars, Geek Out Day, Women and Drones, Space Alien Puppets, My Very Silly Monster Drawing Workshop, Teen Night Galaxy T-shirts, Stomp Rockets, Moon Landing Party, Splash Party, and the Ice Cream Social finale.


All programs begin Monday, May 20 – Saturday, August 3

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 activities.

Dewey Bear Club: Does your preschooler love to listen to stories? Is your child just starting to read and still need 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 the 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 the 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, August 3 from 10 to 11:15 a.m. Teens will receive an extra pass to bring along a friend.


The Des Moines Public Library summer reading program in back, featuring even more activities, programs, and crafts!  All Summer Long has something for the whole family. You can sign up in-person beginning June 3 at any of our locations or register online right now.


Granger Public Library’s Summer Reading Program will kick off June 5 and run until July 17. 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 storytimes, events, and activities.


This years’ Summer Reading Program runs from June 3 through July 26.  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.


Indianola kick-off summer party is May, 30 6 to 8 p.m. 

Join the Indianola Library this summer for fun programs for all ages! Their Summer Reading Challenge begins May 30 and runs through July 27. Complete the Challenge to earn great prizes and an exclusive ticket to our pool party July 29 at the Indianola Aquatic Center. Take a look at their Facebook page to see all the fun activities they will be offering this summer.


Join Johnston Public Library’s free, 7-week program that encourages children to read and keep their brain active through the summer. They will also offer free children’s events at the library. You can signup between May 28th and July 7th to pick up an activity log.

What are the rules?

  • Fill in a picture for every activity completed or for every 30 minutes of reading.
  • When 10 pictures are completed, bring your log to the library to collect an activity kit.
  • Complete an additional 10 pictures to collect coupons for free ice cream at Dairy Queen and fun activities around the metro.
  • Complete the final 10 pictures to choose a free book and receive an entry into the grand prize drawing
  • All activity logs must be submitted by Saturday, July 13th.

Prizes include an activity kit, Free Ice cream from Dairy Queen, I-cubs tickets, a pass to Blank Park Zoo, and other fun coupons, a free book, and an entry into the grand prize drawing.


Kicks off June 3 through August 16. You can register online here!

The entire summer is filled with story times, movies, entertainment, Hatch, STEM & coding. Take a look at all the details here.


“Explore the Universe” at the Waukee Public Library this summer!

All ages of children, teens, and adults can read or listen to books and earn prizes.  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.


Registration begins Monday, May 20 and the Summer reading program is for all ages!

Sign-up by visiting the library or online.

Prizes for the program include galaxy slime, glow-in-the-dark stars, a themed tote bag, Blank Park Zoo passes, I-Cubs tickets, library fine forgiveness coupons, and more!

Summer Reading Club ends on Friday, July 26 (all prizes must be claimed by that date) and the Summer Reading Carnival is on Saturday, July 27 from 10 AM-12 PM at the library.

About Author

Erin is a reliable resource and stepping stone for women and families to find support and make connections within our community. She wants families to feel confident to reach out and ask for help and advice to get pointed in the right direction. She enjoys traveling and exploring with her two children in tow!

(2) Comments

  1. Margaret Christian says:

    I’m curious. If you are listing Altoona as a place for summer reading, why not include the activities at Bondurant Public Library? We have special programs twice each week for kids during June and July, as well as four storytimes.

  2. says:


    Thank you for reaching out! I would love to include Bondurant. If you have details you can send me for their reading program, that would be great. My email is Thanks!

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