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Summer 2022: Here are the free reading programs available at central Iowa libraries

Iowa kids are out of school for the year, or will be soon. Learn about the summer programs across the metro to keep them reading.

IOWA, USA — School is out — or will be soon — for Iowa school kids, and keeping their minds engaged during the months-long break in their education can be tough. 

Below is a list of free reading programs that kids of all ages, and adults too, can take part in for the summer. Libraries also offer a wide variety of other events for kids and adults to attend.

Have a suggestion or addition to the list? Email us at news@weareiowa.com or send us a text at 515-457-1026!


The Altoona Public Library's summer reading program, Read Beyond the Beaten Path, begins June 1 and runs through Aug. 5. You can pick up a reading log from the library itself (700 8th St SW). 

Participants who turn in their reading log can enter the grand prize drawing.


The Ames Public Library's Read Beyond the Beaten Path program runs from June 1 to Aug. 23. You can sign up through the Beanstack app or use this printable version

Kids receive a board game and fill out a square every time they read for 20 minutes and can earn prizes along the way, and can enter into a prize drawing at the end.


The Bondurant Community Library's summer reading program started May 23 and will continue through June and July. They have separate programs for pre-k, kids five to 12, kids 13 to 17 and adults. You can register online or in person. 

Participants will keep track of the days they read and earn a badge for each week in which they read for at least four days. Kids 12 and under automatically earn prizes each week, while those 13 and up are entered into random prize drawings. 

All participants will receive a certificate at the end and are entered into the grand prize drawing.


The Ankeny Kirkendall Public Library has a reading program that's more geared toward younger kids, but can still be fun for all ages. Reading is Sweet will last from June 2 to July 31. Families can sign up for a free Beanstack account to keep track of their progress electronically. They also offer a free downloadable paper log. Prizes are awarded at the halfway point and at the end if kids keep track of their reading using the online log.

Their log is focused more on reading, but it also offers a list of alternative activities that will still keep kids engaged. And if reading isn't quite your speed, the library also offers a wide variety of other free events to participate in, which you can find on their events calendar.


The Clive Public Library's summer reading program is open to kids aged 0-18, and those who want to participate can pick up their slips and logs at the library.

Kids can complete the log to win a variety of prizes depending on their age group, including coupons for free meals, toys, electronics and gaming systems.

Des Moines

The Des Moines Public Library is once again hosting its All Summer Long reading program. Starting June 6, newborn through kids in grade five and grades six through 10 can sign up for this summer reading program and receive a new book and a paper activity log. Turn the activity log in by Aug. 6 to win a small prize.

Kids can complete a variety of activities for the log, including reading for themselves, reading to relatives and attending any of the Des Moines Public Library's other free events. 

You can find a list of these events on their calendar.


The Grimes Public Library's summer reading program started June 1 and will run through July 31. Participants keep track of their reading using Beanstack or with a paper calendar

For every 10 days of reading, participants are eligible to submit an entry into the library's grand prize drawing, and after 30 days of reading, participants will win a free book.


The Johnston Public Library is running three summer reading programs: one for kids, one for teenagers and one for adults.  

The kids program started May 28 and will continue through July 31. For every 30 minutes read or every listed activity completed, kids can fill in a spot on their log and collect prizes along the way. All you have to do to participate is fill out the log. 

The teen program runs at the same time. You can download the log with the instructions on their website. Participants can track their minutes or pages read, or complete some other book-related activities, and earn points. If they earn a certain amount of points, they can win prizes like I-Cubs tickets or a free book. 

The adult summer reading program is also May 28-July 31. Adults can read or listen to a book, attend an adult program at the library, or complete a quiz or trivia page to earn prizes. Events are listed on their log sheet.


At the Pella Public Library, There are separate summer reading programs for kids 0 to 2 years, 2 to Pre-K, kindergarten through fifth grade and fifth grade through high school. 

Participants keep track of how much and how often they read, or complete literacy activities, and are eligible to either win prizes or be entered into the grand prize drawing at the end of the summer.


The Urbandale Public Library is running, its annual summer reading challenge Camp iRead: Read Beyond the Beaten Path. It starts on June 2 and continues through Aug. 2. If you or your kids want to participate, you can sign up through Beanstack, download or pick up a paper log. All you have to do is log what days you read during the summer and for how long. 

Urbandale is offering a variety of prizes for participants along the way and for the grand finale. Anyone under the age of 18 can earn mini-badge animal buttons for reading all along the way. "Mid-point" prizes include free books for kids and free bracelets for adults. Kids can also pick up another free book when they finish at the end of the summer, while adults are entered into a grand prize drawing for a variety of electronics or camping supplies. 

You can find a full list of the grand prizes here.


The Waukee Public Library's summer reading program is available for kids, teens and adults alike. You can sign up using Beanstack or use a paper log.

Kids and teens can track whether they've read at least 15 minutes each day, and adults whether they've read at least 30 minutes. Kids and teen can earn prizes for every 10 days of reading and are entered into the grand prize drawing, while adults are entered into a separate grand prize drawing.

West Des Moines

The West Des Moines Public Library offers Summer Escape: Summer Reading Club, open to kids and adults alike. This program started May 23 and will continue through July 30.  

Participants can use either a Beanstack tracker, an online log or a paper log to keep track of how much reading they do every day for 35 days. It doesn't matter how long you read—it could be for five minutes or five hours, according to their website—so long as you read something. 

To sign up, visit their online sign-up page, use your Beanstack account or go to the summer reading table at the library. West Des Moines Public Library also offers other events year round for people of all ages to stay engaged in their community. 

You can find them listed in their events calendar.

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