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Welcome to the August Van Meter Public Library Newsletter!

This month we share many new and exciting changes coming to the Van Meter Public Library.

Most notably, the Library Board of Trustees elected new officers in July. Rachel Backstom became President, Kate McCombs became Vice President, and Megan Warwick remains Board Secretary. The officers renewed  their discussions identifying maintenance and improvements needed to our current building. To start, visitors will notice a new dehumidifier which aims to improve air quality.

This is just the beginning as the Director, Board, and staff continue to discuss methods to increase library visitors, programming, and donations needed to build a new library.

We look forward to seeing you at the library!


New Books Added Weekly

This summer we've added over 300 new books to our collections. You can find new titles on display throughout the library. Look at our online catalog to see what's new today!

How to Navigate our Catalog:

  1. Visit the Van Meter Public Library Website, www.vanmeter.lib.ia.us.
  2. Click on the orange button labeled "Library Catalog".
  3. On the lefthand side of the catalog you'll find the "What's Hot" lists.
  4. Check out the Most Popular, New Books, and Book Lists.
  5. Use your library card to reserve the materials and pick up at your convenience.
  6. Or, check out eBooks, audiobooks, and magazines straight from the catalog to your tablet or phone with our Libby app.

Having troubles finding the book you're looking for? Stop by today or give us a call!

A Word From Our Director


Moving Forward: Building Community 

There are three focus areas in the 2020-2025 VMPL Strategic Plan. Scholar and author, R. David Lankes, has said, “Bad libraries build collections. Good libraries build services. Great libraries build communities.” 

This month, I’ll be sharing the library’s plans to become a great library that builds its community.  

Recently, I was at a meeting where someone expressed the idea that what Van Meter needs is not a larger library, but a community center. I was confused. 

To me, libraries have always been community centers. I’ve never worked at a public library that did not have at least one “community room.” Most libraries offer local history resources and serve as their community’s archives. In many places libraries are not only community centers, they are the very heart of the community.  

In order to become more active in our community, the Van Meter Public Library will participate in community celebrations. We look forward to being part of events such as "Raccoon River Days" each June and "Sips and Snacks" each December. We will continue to develop partnerships with the school. We will continue to be an active member of the VMCDC. And, of course, we will be looking for new ways to engage with our community. 

As we meet benchmarks and achieve the goals set out in our plan, I will be reporting them in this newsletter.

~ Nancy Studebaker-Barringer

Van Meter Public Library Director

Tumblebooks Improves!

Tumblebooks has been improving it's interface to make it easier for children, tweens, and parents to search the collection. In addition, you'll find new "Book of the Day" banners featuring suggested non-fiction, graphic novels, story books, read-a-longs, and videos.

Tumblebooks has even created a Language Learning section to encourage multi-lingual readers in Spanish and French. Not to mention lots of new books added almost daily!

There is no sign-up or password required, no login needed. Simply click the Tumblebooks links on the Van Meter Public Library website or bookmark the page below.

Check out Tumblebooks today!

Have you been jealous of all the Summer Reading Program announcements for kids this summer? Do you ever think, "I wish I could get rewarded for reading books." Now you can!

What Is Beanstack?

The VMPL has purchased access to Beanstack, a great app to track the number of minutes you read to earn rewards, write and share book reviews, and challenge friends to reach their reading goals. Readers earn digital badges, raffle tickets, and prizes the more they read and intereact with the library.

Going Digital

Previously, our Reading Programs relied on everyone keeping track of their minutes using a piece of paper. Moving forward, our reading challenges will be digital, making it easier to keep track and participate all year round.

Beanstack offers a mobile app that can be downloaded to your smart phone or tablet. You can also access Beanstack from your desktop computer. Don't have access to the internet at home? Visit the VMPL to use one of our public access computers to enter your minutes and claim prizes. Many challenges allow users to backdate their reading logs.

How to Sign Up

  1. Download the Beanstack Mobile App for your phone or tablet. The app will walk you through the step by step process to "Find a Site" (Van Meter Public LIbrary) and create your account.
  2. Or, visit the VMPL Beanstack website to create a desktop account. 
  3. Parents and guardians will want to consider creating a "Family Account." Family accounts allow one person to manage multiple readers of all ages. Family Accounts are perfect for toddlers and readers who do not have their own email address. Simply enter each family member's name, age, and grade level.
  4. Once logged in, you'll be able to see VMPL challenges created for your age range. Simply click the link to participate in each challenge!

What if I Already Use Beanstack?

Multiple local libraries use Beanstack, so some of our readers may already have a Beanstack account. In these cases, Beanstack recommends downloading the app instead of using the basic desktop website.

The Beanstack App (not the website) allows readers to create accounts at different libraries and toggle between them on their phone.. App users should be able to click "Find a Site" then enter "Van Meter" to create a linked account on your phone. The app fuctions differently on each brand of smartphone, so if you have any troubles, please stop by the library for the best assistance.

Questions and Feeback

If you have questions about how to use Beanstack, trouble creating your account, can't add VMPL to your current account, prefer to track using paper, or difficulties using the app please let us know! Your feedback, positive reviews, and mindful critques will help guide us as we expand our Reading Rewards programs to all ages and readers.

Get to Know the Library (Activities)

Start Here! Learn how to use Beanstack while navigating the new VMPL website.

CONTEST ALERT! Every adult (19+) who downloads the Beanstack App and registers for the "Get to Know the VMPL" challenge by midnight on August 20th will be entered in a drawing for a $30 Amazon Gift Card!

1000 Book Challenge (Logging)

This challenege never expires and is open to all ages. Participants earn virtual badges for every 10 books they read; win a free book for every 100 books logged!

Readers are not required to disclose the name of the book, simply how many books are read each day.

Beanstack Sign Up

Are You Missing Out?

If you don't have a Van Meter Public LIbrary Card (or your card has expired), you're missing out! Patrons save hundreds of dollars by choosing to borrow materials locally.

Download audiobooks, magazines, and eBooks. Find DVDs, youth learning tablets, large print and non-fiction selections. Get the latest titles and favorite classics. Access tutoring for elementary to college classes, resume and job assistance, and veteran services. 

All this and more is at your fingertips with a free Van Meter Public Library Card!

Find your account online using the Catalog at www.vanmeter.lib.ia.us.

Summer Reading Program

Ends August 20th

All reading logs must be returned by August 20th at 3PM to deposit your raffle tickets and claim your weekly prizes. Weekly prizes are first come, first served and going fast.

The Raffle Drawing will take place Monday, August 22nd. Winners will be contacted immediately!

Fall Events: Sneak Peak

With patrons celebrating the last days of summer and families preparing to go back to school, August will be a quiet month at the library as we wrap up the Summer Reading Program...and get ready for our Fall Reading Programs!

Please Note: Online Registration will be required for all activities and events moving forward.

In addition to helping our staff prepare fiscally responsible supplies, snacks and prizes, registration is the permission slip the library needs to ensure parents approve of their child's participation. By utilizing our new Calendar feature, this will also reduce paperwork and provide for accurate reporting to the State of Iowa library.

Register early for these and all upcoming events using the Calendar feature on our new website! www.vanmeter.lib.ia.us

Fall Toddler Time

September 12th - November 18th

Ages: 2-5

Providing children with opportunities to learn pre-literacy skills, affording parents the opportunities to watch their children learn and help to foster their child's life long appreciation for the library. 

Monday Nights 5:30-6:30pm

Tuesday Morning 9:30-10:30am

* Same Program Monday & Tuesday

Fall Tween Scene

September 12th - November 18th

4th - 6th Grade

Hang out at the library after school! Each week will feature a different craft, activity, or event.

Pre-registration is required if parent/guardian will not be with the child throughout the program. Children are welcome to bring their own beverage. Popcorn or similar snack (no peanuts) will be served.

Friday Afternoons 2pm - 4pm

Register online for all our upcoming events! Visit our calendar, click on the event, then click the "More Details" link to register!

Fall Laugh and Learn

September 12th - November 18th

1st - 3rd Grade

Prepare to "laugh and learn" as a family at these regular events! Enjoy themed programs focused on literature, fine arts, STEM, and more.

Tuesday Nights 5:30-6:30pm

Fall Reading Rewards

September 12th - November 18th

All Ages

Get rewarded for reading books and interacting with the Van Meter Public Library!

The Van Meter Public Library will be closed on Monday, September 5th in observation of Labor Day.

Community Resources


Van Meter City Hall

310 Mill Street

PO Box 160

Phone: (515) 996-2644



Van Meter Public Safety

Director of Public Safety: (515) 202-4154

Sheriff’s Dispatch:

(515) 993-4567

Emergency: 911



Van Meter Community Development Corporation


Van Meter Public Library

Phone: (515) 996-2435

505 Grant Street

PO Box 160

Van Meter, IA 50261

Website: van.meter.ia.lib.us

Email: library@vanmeteria.gov