Logo PNG.png

Happy 4th of July from the Van Meter Public Library Newsletter!

July is the start of the 2023 fiscal year for the Van Meter Public Library. That means we have lots of new books available to check out, the summer reading program is running smooth, and we're already planning for Fall. This month we talk about Beanstack, an online reading rewards challenge app for all ages.

We've also got our July calendar of upcoming events and updates about our NEW website!

We look forward to seeing you at the Van Meter Public Library!

New Year, New Books!

July is the start of our 2023 Fiscal year, and that means in June we purchased lots of new books! We've got over 200 new titles, with additions to every collection including adult fiction, juvenile fiction, biographies, DVDs, picture books, young adult/teens, graphic novels, and non-fiction titles for every age group. Check out our 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. The "Search Box" is then located in the top left corner.
  4. Or, click "More Search Options" to search by author, keyword, or subject.
  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 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: Planning the Next 5 Years 

There are three focus areas in the 2020-2025 VMPL Strategic Plan. Last month, I talked about ways that we plan to build organizational health. This month, I will focus on ways the library will expand its services and materials to better serve all ages.

Children’s Programs and Services

The library offers programs and services aimed at sparking curiosity and encouraging a love of learning for children from birth through elementary school. Currently, we offer weekly Toddler Times for preschool and kindergarten age children. Laugh & Learn is our weekly program for elementary age children. We have two goals related to these programs: to develop an evaluation process for continuous improvement and to increase attendance for each.  

Programs for Tweens and Teens

During the plan period, we will increase our programs and services that nurture a love of literature and help teens prepare to be engaged citizens. Tweens and teens (ages 12-16) are a hard audience to reach. Their options for extra-curricular activities often exceed the time they have in a day. With that in mind, we have already begun to lay the foundation for growing our programming. We have set an attainable benchmark for success: The initial programs offered in 2024 will engage an average of 10 or more teens.

Adult Programming

We have a plan for the library to support the lifelong learning process for adults with in-library programs. We are currently aiming to offer our first program in the fall of this year, and expect to offer two to four programs in 2023. Our benchmark for success will be an average of 10 adults attending programs offered in 2022 and 2023.  

Online Resources

Finally, we plan to increase access and usage to a wide range of online tools for lifelong learning. The State Library of Iowa offers access to thousands of e-books, free online tutoring and resources for elementary through adult learners, and much more. VMPL also offers thousands of interactive e-books for children through a service called TumbleBooks. Our plan focuses on promoting these services in order to increase usage.

Next month, I will be writing about the need for the library to expand its role in the greater Van Meter community.

~ Nancy Studebaker-Barringer

Van Meter Public Library Director

Introducing Beanstack!


If you were a kid in the 1980s and 90s, you might remember a reading program where we sought the ultimate prize of a personal pizza. It was a simple scheme- we read lots of books, collected stickers, and eventually, our parents took us out for that free pizza.

As country kids, heading to the city was a big deal but going out to dinner at a restaurant in the city was enormous. So you better believe we dedicated ourselves to winning.

Sure, some of us read all year long, but when that reading program started, everyone seemed to be a bookworm. It didn't matter if one kid read spooky tales and the other sports biographies; the halls were flush with kids sharing the new information they learned. Youthful conversations about books and topics would lead us to deeper conversations about ourselves. Before we knew it, the experience of reading books and sharing our insights had helped us form friendships.

It is with that nostalgic spirit that we present Beanstack, a modern reading program that combines technology with motivation!

What Is Beanstack?

Beanstack is an online service where readers of all ages can track the number of minutes they read, write book reviews, and challenge friends to reach their reading goals. The VMPL is currently testing this online resource as part of the Tween/ Teen Summer Reading Program with plans to roll out challenges for the whole family this fall.

Parents or tweens first create their own account on Beanstack. Parents and guardians are welcome to create family accounts. Family accounts are easy for one person to manage, and let younger readers join the fun. Simply enter each person's name, age, and grade level. Once logged in, you'll be able to see all challenges created for your age range. We are currently only offering the Tween Challenge, ages 12-16.

Summer Reading Challenge

Our Tween Summer Reading Challenge awards badges, raffle tickets and prizes for logged reading minutes. Those who download the app can use the built-in timer to track reading minutes and challenge friends. Those accessing the website can enter their minutes manually. MInutes add up over time, inching you closer to the next milestone. Everytime you reach a milestone, you unlock a virtual badge! The more badges you collect, the more raffle tickets and free books.

Readers also unlock badges by completeing activities. For the 2022 Teen Summer Reading Challenge, our activities include visiting the library, Teen Takeover Thursday events, writing book reviews, and locating the hidden "Word of the Day". 

Coming This Fall

As we experiement with the new challenge this summer, we welcome user feedback and comments. Our goal for this fall is to offer several, concurrent Beanstack challenges for all age groups. One of the reasons we choose Beanstack is their participation in national reading challenges such as the annual Battle of the Books, 1000 Books Before Graduation, and monthly themed challenges designed for book clubs, heritage representation and celebration, and genre specific fun.

We are thrilled to offer this new online resource. Watch this space as we expand our reading rewards programmings in the future for all ages served by the Van Meter Public Library. 

Access the Van Meter Public Library Summer Reading Challenge Here!

Beanstack Rewards

Save Money, Visit the Library! 

See how much you can save every time you check out books, movies, audiobooks, and more at the library. Look at your receipt to find how much money you saved today and this year!

Van Meter Public Library Patrons Saved $91,000+ in fiscal year 2022!

You can see your account 24/7 online using the Van Meter Library Catalog and your library card number at www.vanmeter.lib.ia.us.

July Calendar of Events

Click the images to learn more about upcoming events at the VMPL!

Be sure to bookmark the new Van Meter Public Library website. Register for upcoming events, check out eBooks, view our entire catalog, and get access to community services!


The Van Meter Public Library will be closed on Monday, July 4th in observation of Independence Day.

Summer Toddler Time

Ages: 2-5

Monday Nights 5:30-6:30pm

Wednesday Morning 9:30-10:30am

No Toddler Time Week of July 4th

July 11th and 13th: Planes

July 18th and 20th: Boats

July 25th and 27th: Trains

Art for Young Artists- NEW for JULY!

Kindergarten - 5th Grade

Saturday Mornings 10am-11am

July 9th Roy Lichtenstein- Pop Art

July 16th: Georgia O'Keefe- Flowers

July 23rd: Jackson Pollack- Abstract

July 30th: Henri Matisse- Layered Paper

Summer Laugh and Learn

Kindergarten - 5th Grade

Wednesday Nights 5:30-6:30pm

July 6th: Duct Tape Crafts

July 13th: Chemistry/Art Mashup

July 20th: Board Games

July 27th: To Be Determined

Middle School Movie Matinee

2nd Grade - 5th Grade

Monday Afternoons 2pm- 4:30pm

Attendees will choose between two movies to watch. Popcorn Provided, Bring Your Own Water Bottle.

Beanstack Challenge - NEW!

Ages 12-16

June - July 30th

Create an online account and start reading to win badges, raffle tickets and free books! Complete activites to earn more rewards.

Activities: Earn raffle tickets every time you visit the library, attend Teen Takeover events, and find the hidden "Word of the Week!"

Teen Takeover Nights

Ages 12-16

Thursday Nights 6pm-8pm

Join Katrina Thursday nights for tween/teen focused crafts, games, movies, and fun. Music and snacks provided; bring your own water bottle.

July 7th: Movie Night: Treasure/ Pirates

See the movie that proclaims, "Goonies Never Say Die!" Rated PG.

July 14th: Meditate & Paint

Paint decorative glass bottles as we learn tween-focused relaxation techniques.

July 21st: Poetry Slam & Open Mic

Stand up and let your voice be heard. Karaoke, comedy, poetry. Don't want to perform? We need audience members!

July 28th: End of Summer Tween Bash

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