The Ames Public Library is located in Ames, Iowa and is in the midst of a renovation and expansion project with an expected completion date of August 2014. The Ames Public Library Renewal Project’s goal is to create a “comfortable, flexible, and efficient space for Ames to learn, imagine, gather, and share in the 21st century” [7]. The city of Ames has a population of 58,965, including students who attend Iowa State University [2].


The Ames Public Library opened as a free public library in 1904 as a result of receiving a Carnegie grant [3]. Building expansions occurred in 1907 and 1940 [3]. An addition to the original Ames Public Library building occurred in 1985. By 2005, it was determined that the building needed more room in response to community needs. The library hired a planner in 2008 to complete a needs assessment. The building will increase from 48,000 to 77,455 square feet [6]. Special emphasis will be given to restoring historic sections, increasing shelf space, and expanding children’s services. These areas of focus resulted from public forum feedback. Also, the facility needed upgrades to handle maintenance issues, including sewer back-up, air conditioning failure, and ceiling leaks [5].

Ames Public Library entrance; Obtained from under the terms of the Attribution 2.0 Creative Commons license.


1904- Ames Public Library opened
1907- First building expansion
1940- Second building expansion
1966- Bookmobile began
1983- Bond referendum for addition passed
1985- Expansion and remodeled original building dedicated
2008- Library planner hired to assess needs
2009- Public meetings conducted
2010- Fundraising study conducted
2011- Design draft unveiled
2013- Collection moved to temporary location for 18 months (expected)
2014- Expected completion date

Project description

In 2009 and 2010, many public meetings were held with the referendum passing in 2011. In 2010, the Hodge Group conducted a fundraising study. Meyer, Scherer & Rockcastle Architecture and Interior Design was hired. When priorities were determined, providing increased Storytime, tween, and teen space were identified as key areas [5, 6].

In February 2013, the “Move Team” moved the entire collection to a temporary location for an expected 18 months [5]. This was done by staff and community volunteers, so money could be used to spend on the library instead on the physical move. Ames' city departments assisted architects and engineers. Construction crews are carrying out physical aspects of the project, including improved lighting and modernization of design elements. This has occurred in phases. Some aspects of the project were completed before moving to the temporary location. The move took six days, which was less than expected.

Library staff members measure progress and monitor operations in the temporary location. They report to the public on progress. The newly renovated building is expected to open to the public in August 2014. The community is especially excited about increased meeting room space and the greatly expanded Youth Services area. The project is progressing on schedule, as of February 2014.


Meyer, Scherer & Rockcastle Architecture and Interior Design drafted the design plan. Abbreviated MS&R, this company has expertise working with non-profits as well as interior, sustainable, and cost-effective design. They have completed numerous library, office, residential, and corporate headquarters projects throughout the U.S. [4]


The project’s financial support comes from an $18 million bond referendum that passed in November 2011, with an additional $2 million coming from grants and donations [7]. Total cost is just under $20 million.

Contact information

Ames Public Library
515 Douglas Ave.
Ames, Iowa 50010


[1] Ames Public Library
[2] City of Ames
[3] Library History
[4] Meyer, Scherer & Rockcastle Architecture and Interior Design
[5] Project Overview Video
[6] Renewal Overview
[7] Renewal Project Description