Blog Entries

Blog Type
Staff Member

Better Together

by Jill Philby

When kids ask for help finding books here at the library, it seems as if they fall into one of two camps.  They like either fiction or non-fiction, and there isn’t much overlap.  Once in a while someone will ask for non-fiction books about dragons or some other magical creature—which always makes me chuckle—but in general, it’s a definite one or the other. 

But the few kids who ask for both are on to something.

When you pair fiction with nonfiction, you learn better.

Reading fiction works on your emotional brain.  Fict... Read Full Blog

Applications Accepted Through April 30 for Small Arts Grants

Applications are now being accepted for the City of Ames Small Arts Grant Program. This pilot program provides competitive grants for individual artists to create arts projects that will benefit Ames residents and contribute to making Ames a fun and vibrant community. The City Council has budgeted $10,000 in total for these grants.

“There are many skilled and passionate artists in the Ames community,” said Public Art Commission chair Sara Sherman. “This program provides an opportunity for those artists to share their talents with the community.”

“We are eager to see the ... Read Full Blog

Twenty Twenty-One

by Max Gulden

If someone were to ask you to pick out a single notable thing about the year 2021, what would you say? I’m going to go out on a limb and choose something a bit controversial: it ends in a one. As a nod to this endearing attribute of this most endearing year, let’s look back to some memorable films set in years that also end in a one that are—or will soon be—available through your Ames Public Library.

2011. “Nomadland.” This critically-acclaimed film follows the experiences of Fern (Frances McDormand) as she turns to the road following the death of her spouse ... Read Full Blog

Ames Public Library Grieves

Ames Public Library is committed to the City of Ames values shared by Mayor Haila in support of the Asian American and Pacific Islander community. (

Ames Public Library staff and Trustees grieve for the recent acts of violence in our nation, and our hearts go out to the victims' families and communities. To our friends in the Asian American and Pacific Islander community, please know that we stand with you. We pledge to continue our work toward greater equity and inclusion in the Library and in our community.

... Read Full Blog

Facing Our Truth

by Susan Gent


We’ve faced a lot of truths about ourselves, about technology, and about our communities over the past year. 

Iowa State University (ISU) Department of Music and Theatre invites us to continue this self-exploration as they present “Facing Our Truth: Ten Minute Plays on Trayvon, Race and Privilege.”  The show streams March 25-27 at 7:30pm and on Sunday, March 28 at 2pm. The link can be found at their website:  Those attending the Thursday performance are invited to ask the cast and director questions in a post-... Read Full Blog

Cookbooks from Your Favorite Worlds

by Alissa Lee Dornink Hawes

I have two hobbies—baking and watching superhero/fantasy/sci-fi movies—and during the last year have found myself with even more time for those. I would pick a type of dessert and make variations on that for a month or until I ran out of recipes that looked interesting in a particular cookbook. I baked my way through America’s Test Kitchen’s ‘The Perfect Cookie: Your Ultimate Guide to Foolproof Cookies, Brownies, and Bars’ looking for the perfect chocolate chip cookie and moved on to making pies from scratch using their ‘The Perfect Pie: Your Ultimate Gui... Read Full Blog

Public Invited to Virtual Brainstorming Meeting on Possible Ames Film Festival

Ames Parks and Recreation Department is hosting an exploratory meeting for film enthusiasts interested in holding an Ames-based film festival. This meeting was originally scheduled for March 2020 but was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The rescheduled meeting will be held virtually on Zoom at 6 p.m. on Tuesday, March 30, and participants may join by following this link:

For phone participants, the number is 312.626.6799 and the meeting ID is 930 7724 7074. Participants who do not wish to speak can also view the meeting on Facebo... Read Full Blog

A Year of Pandemic at the Library

by Jillian Ocken


As Ames Public Library prepares to reopen “the stacks” to the public, I can’t help but think about how much a visit to Ames Public Library has changed over the past year.

I was home with my children over spring break when the news of COVID-19 in the U.S. hit. While they enjoyed their time away from school, I was swept up in a flurry of emails and changes at the Library. There were new cleaning protocols, toys were stored away, and events were being cancelled. And then, on March 16, everyone rushed into the Library to stock up on books and movie... Read Full Blog

Reading Aloud Can Be a Bridge to Reading Independently

by Danielle Ziegler


Every year here in Iowa, after other big children’s book awards are finished, it is time for the Bridge to Reading Book Awards. This award, sponsored by the Youth Services Subdivision of the Iowa Library Association, is definitely one of my favorites. The Bridge to Reading finalists are all chosen by Iowa librarians from amazing picture books that are perfect for reading aloud. And then, children and families get the chance to vote on what books they loved best! 

The Bridge to Reading Award has a lot more purpose than just honoring a gr... Read Full Blog

Library to Reopen for Browsing March 15

Ames Public Library is moving into the next phase of reopening spaces to the public. Starting March 15, visitors will be able to browse collections on the first and second floors of the Library. Library staff will be available to answer basic reference and account questions. Computers will continue to be available for 30 minute sessions. Quick Picks, Grab and Go Bags, and @HOME Activity kits will remain conveniently located in the lobby. Play areas, study rooms, and meeting rooms will remain closed during this phase.

Visitors should limit their time in the building to 30 minutes s... Read Full Blog

Reading with a Vengeance

by Seth Warburton


I thought I knew myself as a reader.  Then 2020 happened.  Books I’d looked forward to reading fell flat.  I brought home new books from authors I loved and never even cracked the covers.  The shelves here at the Ames Public Library are full of good books, but I was having trouble finding one that fit my mood.  Books had been my gateway to adventure, my method of experiencing all the exciting lives I would never live, in interesting places and times I could never visit.  But when merely listening to the news could set ... Read Full Blog

Full STEAM Ahead

by Jerri Heid


Everyone’s talking about STEM and STEAM lately; what are they and why do we care?

STEAM Education is an approach to learning that uses Science, Technology, Engineering, the Arts, and Mathematics as access points for guiding student inquiry, dialogue, and critical thinking. We definitely see this approach in K-12 school classrooms, but did you know that even younger children are capable of using it in their learning through play?

You may have heard the saying that play is a child’s work, and it is true! During play, children learn to... Read Full Blog


by Ashley Wilson


In either movies or books, a well-presented monster will always win me over. Dragons are my favorite, vampires next, followed by any manifestation of a creature of the deep, then aliens. In my opinion ghosts and paranormal activity do not really count as monsters, and werewolves are just okay; You can try to change my mind on this one, but I have yet to encounter a truly convincing werewolf shapeshifter narrative. Plus, I’m not too keen on the howling.

Dragons take the top prize for me because regardless of their assumed or presented size, they... Read Full Blog

Loving Your Library

by Jillian Ocken


February is National Library Lovers’ Month, for people who pay attention to library-specific “holidays.” People share their love of libraries in many different ways, especially through stories, appropriately. At the Library, on the phone, in the checkout line at the grocery store, we hear so many stories: How a small town library inspired a lifelong reading habit. How a librarian helped find the resources that transformed a life. How the perfect book recommendation unlocked a child’s desire to learn to read. How a library felt like the last connection to... Read Full Blog

Lobby Opens February 1

Starting February 1, Ames Public Library will switch from curbside service to holds pickup and “grab and go” services in the Library’s lobby.

While the lobby is open, visitors may check out their holds, Grab & Go bags, Quick Picks, and other items on display in the lobby. Visitors may also pick up @Home Activity Kits and tax forms (as they become available).

Computers will be available for use in the Library’s Auditorium during lobby hours. Due to the need for distancing, computer sessions will be limited.

The Library staff and Board of Trustees are dedicat... Read Full Blog