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Happy Thanksgiving from the Van Meter Public Library!

This month we talk about the growth and importance of audiobooks, offer a sneak peak at upcoming adult programming, and share our November calendar of events.

Please note the library will be closed Friday, November 11th

as well as Thursday-Sunday Thanksgiving weekend.

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

A Word From Our Director


Thank You, Thank You, Thank you! 

Like many of you, I am focusing on gratitude and giving thanks at this time of year.  

I’m grateful to the Moms and Dads who let me read to their children and watch them learn. Many of you may not know that although I have been a librarian for more than thirty years, I’ve never been a children’s librarian before. It’s been a wonderful learning experience.

I’m grateful to volunteers like Cindy Kale and Lilly McComb who help me with children’s programs. And I couldn’t manage without our Assistant Library Director, Katrina Brocka.

I’m grateful for a generous budget from the City Council; this allows us to increase our programming and buy more books. And I’m thankful for the guidance and wisdom of our Library Trustees.  

Perhaps most of all, I’m very grateful to live and work in a community that loves its local library. Over the past eighteen months, I’ve been blessed to get to know many kind and community-minded individuals.

Van Meter is starting to feel like home. Thank you. 

~ Nancy Studebaker-Barringer

Van Meter Public Library Director

Are You Missing Out?

Since 2020, we've added more than two thousand new books to our library.

Contained within these modest walls are hundreds of unread mysteries and thrillers just waiting to be solved. Hundreds of beautiful, silly picture books are ready to be enjoyed. There are sweet stories to warm your soul, humerous jaunts to make you laugh, fantasy realms to explore, and surprises galore on every shelf. 

Visit the Van Meter Public Library and find something special today!


Carry your books in style with these awesome tote bags!

These reusable messenger-sized tote bags are made with a thick, high quality woven material.

The reenforced straps and seams make this perfect for carrying your library books, groceries, and more.

Register to Win!

  1. Register for Beanstack
  2. Visit the Library
  3. Show us your Account
  4. Collect Your Bag!

Must be age 18+ to claim prize. One per Beanstack account. While supplies last.

Sign Up for Beanstack!

We are adding new challenges to Beanstack each month!

  • On This Day in November

Read short articles about historical events that took place in November

  • Holidays Around the World

Explore 12 different winter holidays from around the globe

  • Read the Classics

Timeless tales that have shaped society

Recent studies show that Iowa Math and Reading scores have declined across the board since the start of the pandemic, citing nearly 4/10 eight graders don't understand basic math.


Online tutoring from teachers may help your child better understand the concepts of their homework assignments, ultimately resulting in improved test scores.


Get your kids the help they need for free. Sign up today for HelpNow, provded by the State Library and available to all Iowans.


You can access live tutoring services after clicking the library’s HelpNow link and creating an account.


Once you select a live service, an online whiteboard automatically launches and you are able to communicate in live, online sessions with expert tutors who have their Master's Degrees.


You'll also find static services such as flash cards, study guides, test prep, and skill builders for every grade, every class, and ever skill level.


Not sure how to get started? Visit the Van Meter Library today with your laptop for help setting up your sessions.

Audiobooks: The way of the future?

In 1932, a recording studio was created by the American Foundation for the Blind which recorded books onto vinyl records. The choice of recorded tales was limited; The Constitution, the plays of William Shakespeare, and the novel “As the Earth Turns” by Gladys Hasty Carroll. Each side of the records held just 15 minutes of speech. 

By 1955, the number of recording studios had increased across the country. The Listening Library would first pioneer children’s audiobooks to schools, public libraries, and VA hospitals. They would then forge the future of audiobooks by making Books on Tape a household name in the 1970s.

Though portable, the physical medium still limited the running time. Librarians recall checking out a suitcase of cassettes when patrons requested titles like The Bible. Or more recently, “Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix- Unabridged” which clocks in at 27 hours, or 17 cassette tapes.

Twenty years ago, Amazon’s Audible released the first portable audio player designed specifically for listening to audiobooks. It cost $200 and could only hold about two hours of content. As technology developed, file compression changes finally made it possible to hold entire books on a single device. Some libraries still offer these preloaded mp3 players as an alternative to internet downloads which you can request through Interlibrary Loans.

Today, people can listen to hundreds of hours on their smartphones and choose from thousands of titles. 35,000 books are published each year on dozens of audio apps and devices. More than 55 million Americans now listen to audiobooks annually, according to the Audio Publisher’s Association.

Did you know your Van Meter Public Library card already grants you access to more than 15,000 audiobooks using Libby and the statewide catalog?

There are many ways to access audiobooks. Some patrons like to search for the latest titles by genre or well-known author, just like looking for other materials at the library. With audiobooks, many listeners find that they prefer certain readers; readers vary from a single, monotone actor offering a straight presentation of the book, a single voice actor creating different voices for each character, or even an ensemble of actors creating a play-like portrayal of the story. Some books are read by the author, which can create a more personal, intimate vibe, especially when listening to autobiographies.

Evaluating your reading behaviors can help you navigate the Libby app. Patrons that access Libby for audiobooks note that it is helpful to curate your own collection of titles; you may need to wait for a popular book to become available. Having several books in the cue can keep you reading while you wait for another title. Or you may prefer to find titles that are available immediately and expand your interests in doing so.

The Van Meter Public Library also buys audiobooks which means our patrons have first dibs. A listing may say there are several people in line, and then at once download the book because we have our own copy. Understanding what audiobooks are popular with our patrons will help grow this collection, and we encourage listeners to tell us what you’d like to hear.

Audiobooks have become the leader in modern publishing, with innovation leading the way to greater accessibility. Long gone are the days when listening didn’t count as reading. Studies show that audiobooks work as a great companion for readers struggling with dyslexia, improves listening skills, and concept comprehension. Avid users now listen to fill their time during chores, commuting, or to multitask with other work. To paraphrase Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, “[audiobooks] make it possible for you to read when your eyes are busy.”

If you need help accessing your online account, finding a book, learning how to search for specific readers, or downloading the Libby app, please stop by the library and we’d be happy to assist you!

November Calendar of Events

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 Friday, November 11th in observation of Veterans Day.

The Van Meter Public Library will be closed Thursday, November 24th through Sunday, November 27th in observation of Thanksgiving weekend.

Back to School Beanstack Challenge

Ages: Toddlers to Teens


November 18th.

Prizes may be collected until November 30th.

Kids who read 5 (five) non-fiction titles and keep track using Beanstack will win a small prize and book!

Click Here for Beanstack!

Fall Toddler Time

Ages: 2-5

Monday Nights 5:30-6:30pm

Tuesday Morning 10-11am

*Registration Appreciated

No Toddler Time October 10th

Oct. 31st & Nov. 1st: "E" is for Elephant

Nov. 7th & 8th: "O" is for Outerspace

Nov. 14th & 15th: "T" is for Turkey

Toddler Time returns January 9th!

Fall Laugh and Learn

1st - 3rd Grade

Tuesday Nights 5:30-6:30pm

*Registration Appreciated

November 1st: Elephants

November 8th: Outerspace

November 15th: Gratitude

Laugh & Learn returns the week of January 9th!

Tween Scene 

4th - 6th Grade

Friday After School 2pm- 4:00pm

*Registration Required

Attention: Due to the after-school nature of these events, parents must complete a permission slip with emergency contact information in addition to registering and before the child attends their first event.

Parents who register for Tween Scene will receive a weekly email outlining the event each Friday, along with a link to the one-time emergecy contact form.

Parents will be called at 2:15pm if tween does not arrive as expected to the event.

Snack Provided, Bring Your Own Water Bottle.

November 4th: Board Games

November 11th: CLOSED

November 18th: Christmas Crafts

Tween Scene will return the week of January 9th!

1000 Books Reading Challenge

All Ages

Turn reading into a game! Create an online account and start reading to win badges, prizes, and free books all along your reading journey.

Sign up today and win a free tote bag!

Click Here for Beanstack!

Van Meter Public Library is now

on Instagram!

Facebook and Instagram users can like and follow the VMPL to learn about upcoming events, programs, and activities happening at the library!

Follow us on Instagram at vmpublib

We are happy to announce that Adult Programming and Events are in the works for 2023! We are reaching out to program facilitators and will offer a Medicare seminar in January. We've also had suggestions of Coloring Classes, Cheese Board demos, and IRA/ 401k required minimum distribution conversations.  Email program suggestions and preferred schedule times to Katrina!

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

Find us on Facebook and Instagram!

Library Hours

Monday, Wednesday, Fridays

10am - 5pm

Tuesday and Thursdays

12pm (Noon) - 8pm


10am - 3pm