Ames Public Library

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Ames Public Library

Contact Information[edit | edit source]



515 Douglas Ave.

Ames, Iowa 50010



Hours of Operation:

Monday-Thursday, 9 am to 9 pm

Friday & Saturday, 9 am to 6 pm

Sunday, 1 pm to 5 pm

Directions/Parking Map:
The Ames Public Library is located between 5th & 6th Streets and Douglas Ave. in downtown Ames.

On-street metered parking is available around the building. Off-street metered parking is available in the City of Ames parking lot north of the library, off 6th St. and Douglas Ave.

Description of Collections[edit | edit source]

The Ames Public Library offers access to a 900+ volume genealogy collection, owned by the Story County Genealogical Society. The print collection covers Story County and Iowa, as well other significant North American locations. Major European immigrant groups to the United States are also covered. This reference collection is available during all hours of operation and is located on the 2nd floor, behind the Adult Services reference desk.

The Heritage Room offers reference materials focusing on the history of Iowa, Story County, Ames, and surrounding counties. Unique holdings include Story County plat maps, Ames Sanborn maps, Ames High School yearbooks, Ames City Directories, Ames Phone Books. The Heritage Room, located in the Administrative Suite on the 2nd floor, is open Monday-Friday, 9 am to 5 pm.

Online database access includes Library Edition, Heritage Quest, and digitized Ames Tribune newspapers.

Services[edit | edit source]

History[edit | edit source]

The Ames Public Library was not originally a free public library. During the 1890s, subscribers paid dues to keep a small reading room open. For example, in 1897 a local P.E.O. Society purchased 33 shares of stock and later voted two dollars per month to support the library.

In 1902, the P.E.O. local chapter appointed a committee to investigate how a free public library might be established. Ames Mayor Parley Sheldon met with the group and then later wrote to Andrew Carnegie asking for $10,000 to erect a library building. Ames received the grant. By 1904 the city voted to accept Carnegie's gift, created a Board of Trustees, received a land gift for the building, constructed the library, and hired a librarian. October 20, 1904 was the first day of business.

Building expansions in 1907 and 1940 made it possible for the Library to increase collections and serve more citizens. The Library tried to reach more people with a branch near campus which opened in 1946. It later closed in 1950 due to low use. Outreach, however, was still a goal so in 1966 Bookmobile operation began.

By the 1980s, the Library building could not support the growing demand for services. In 1983, a bond referendum for a library addition passed. In 1985, the new expansion and the remodeled original building were dedicated.

In November of 2011, voters approved a $20 million bond issue to once again expand and renovate the Library with 76 percent of the vote.

In fall of 2012, the Library moved to a temporary location in Lincoln Center, where it operated for a year and a half.

On September 14, 2014, Ames Public Library reopened the renovated and expanded building at 515 Douglas Avenue. Designed by MSR Architecture, the renewed building blends and contrasts the aesthetics of the original building and all of the expansions with the contemporary addition.

Tips for Your Visit[edit | edit source]

Guides[edit | edit source]