Urbandale Public Library: Free Indoor Fun

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Urbandale Public Library: Free Indoor Fun

Libraries are timeless and with all the activities, book clubs, services, and more that the Urbandale Public Library has to offer, it is more than just a place to go check out a book. We visited on a Friday afternoon and were met by a whole host of community members utilizing a plethora of things the library had to offer, demonstrating the continued importance and benefit of local libraries. The Urbandale Library is just one of the amazing libraries located in the Des Moines area. You do not need to be residents of Urbandale to visit! Learn more about all the fun, upcoming programs, and more at the Urbandale Public Library. 

More than Books

You can do so much with library cards! Urbandale Public Library cardholders not only get access to the shelves and shelves of books available in-house, but also to video games, launchpads, mobile hotspots, Blu-Rays/DVDs, eBooks, eAudiobooks, Hoopla Videos and Music, and a variety of other materials including STEAM kits, Kindles, and puppets. eBooks, eAudiobooks, eMagazines, and other digital content are available at any time to library card holders. If you’d like recommendations for your next great read and to keep up on the latest activities being offered, follow the Urbandale Public Library on Spotify and SoundCloud for a new podcast episode “UPL Recommends,” released the fourth Friday of every other month. 

Programming for Everyone

Ongoing through the week, young library-goers can participate in the scavenger hunt which rotates about the kids’ space every two weeks. Pick up a copy of the current items to locate near the kids’ space checkout desk. Several activities and toys can also be found in the kids’ space for little hands to play and explore. Below is a breakdown of programming and age recommendations for each program. Each storytime and program promotes early literacy skills which is crucial for life-long learning. 

Baby Bounce

9 am – Mondays and Thursdays, 9:30 am – 1st and 3rd Saturdays

Designed for babies aged 0-24 months and caregivers, this program will incorporate bouncing, singing, shaking, and playing together. Come and practice counting, rhythm, body part identification, animal sounds, sensory stimulation, fine and gross motor skills, and more. This program contains 20-25 minutes of interactive programming, followed by unstructured playtime. Registration encouraged.

Toddler Time

9:50 am – Mondays and Thursdays

This is a short-attention span story time. Recommended for toddlers aged 2-3 years old with a caregiver. Books, rhymes, and music will appeal to kiddos with the wigglies who crave movement. Caregivers will assist their toddlers to engage and enjoy literacy. This program contains 20-25 minutes of interactive programming, followed by unstructured playtime. Registration encouraged.

Storytime Explorers

10 am – 1st and 3rd Fridays

At this slightly longer storytime for kiddos around 3-6 years old, this program will explore the fascinating world around us using a combination of fiction and nonfiction stories. Each storytime will typically include reading, discussion, one craft, and one science activity. Registration encouraged.

Family Storytime

10:45 am – Mondays and Thursdays, 10:30 am – 1st and 3rd Saturdays

Similar to the Toddler Time and Storytime Explorer programs, this storytime provides more opportunities for interactive stories, singing, rhyming, and educational fun! Registration encouraged. 

Music and Movement

9:30 am / 10:30 am (Two Opportunities) – Wednesdays

Combining music and literacy is the focus of this program geared toward kiddos ages 2-7 years old. Stretching, dancing, singing, rhyming, jumping, and instrument play will accompany the stories in this program. 

Afterschool Fun

4:15 pm – Tuesdays

With a variety of topics from Lego building to crafts to board games, this program for kiddos 5+ years old offers an opportunity to make new friends and enjoy hands-on activities. The target age is children ages 5-10 years old who must be supervised by an adult. Registration is not required.

Additionally, an activity cart in the Teen area containing coloring, origami, games, and snap circuits is available during regular library hours for entertainment and exploration.

Check the Urbandale Public Library website for the current online calendar of all the programs they have to offer including programs for teens and adults. 

Urbandale StoryWa​lk

When the weather is nice from spring to fall, the Urbandale StoryWalk features a family-friendly story spread over 20 posts and signs as you stroll along the beautifully paved path surrounding the pond in Walker Johnson Park. Featured stories are changed every few weeks so your family will look forward to getting some fresh air and enjoying a story on your next walk in the park.

1,000 Books Before Kindergarten

A fun and free program, 1,000 Books Before Kindergarten encourages parents and caregivers to read aloud with their kiddos. Register online and collect your first prize at the library just to register. Then continue to read aloud to your kiddo(s), log the books you’re reading as you go along, and collect awards at each milestone along the way – it’s that easy! Any books count and you can sign your child up at any point between birth and age 5 years old. 

Meeting Rooms, Study Rooms, and a DIY Studio

Meeting Room

​If you need a space to hold your next meeting, consider your local public library. The library has space for up to 82 attendees in a 28’x66’ full conference room which can be utilized in full or half. A smaller 15-attendee conference room is also available. Public meeting spaces are available for free to individuals and non-profit organizations holding meetings that are civic, cultural, educational, or public informational. For-profit organizations are welcome for a per-hour charge. See a list of complete policy rules and reserve a room online

Study Rooms

​The Urbandale Public Library houses a total of six study rooms available for a small group meeting or study session. Four small study rooms are available and will comfortably seat 1-2 people. Two larger study rooms will accommodate 2-6 people and are equipped with a 46” display monitor and whiteboard. Walk-ins are welcome, but reservations are encouraged to guarantee availability. If you don’t need a room, there are plenty of available tables and desks located throughout the library.

DIY Studio

​Let your creativity take flight in the library’s DIY Studio! Complete with a high-quality scanner, photo and video editing software, a VHS to DVD converter, a CD/DVD buffer, and other equipment, you can produce your movies, edit photos, design websites, and create your desired digital project. Walk-ins are welcome, but reservations are encouraged to guarantee availability.

A printer, copier, paper cutter, and other traditional office supplies are also always available to library patrons. 

Book Clubs and Sets

Adult book clubs are available with discussions held monthly. Collections of titles are also available for book discussion groups if you’re starting your own so everyone can have their own copy. Place your request today and start your book club tomorrow!

Adventure Pass

Get the pass that gets you in! Using your Urbandale Public Library card, you can check out an Adventure family pass to access several local museums and attractions absolutely free! Participating attractions include the Des Moines Children’s Museum, Reiman Gardens, Blank Park Zoo, Botanical Garden, Science Center of Iowa, and (seasonally) Brenton Skating Plaza!

Fun Facts

During their most recent fiscal year, the Urbandale Public Library shared the following stats and facts with the community:

  • 185,461 Library Visits – an average of over 500 visitors per day!
  • 45,189 Library Cardholders
  • 562,672 Items Checked Out
  • 56,006 Wi-Fi Sessions
  • 637 Programs Offered with 16,079 Attendees
  • 29,016 Reference Questions Answered
  • 277,718 Visits to the Urbandale Public Library Website

Michelle Jarnagin

Michelle Jarnagin

My name is Michelle Jarnagin and I live with my husband Dave and our son Devic in Des Moines. We have two Chihuahuas - Loki and Ollie. I work full time as a social worker and Dave is the stay-at-home parent in our household. Devic is currently in Kindergarten and will be entering 1st Grade this fall. In our free time, our family enjoys walking with the dogs, exploring parks and playgrounds, and visiting bowling/arcade centers. This summer you're likely to find us at the baseball fields for Devic's second season or enjoying one of the many festivals/activities Des Moines has to offer.

2 thoughts on “Urbandale Public Library: Free Indoor Fun

  1. Avatar Bob Barker says:

    Does the Urbandale Public Library have any other activities for toddlers? Train tables, Duplos, etc?

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