Arabela Clevenger

Arabela Clevenger

Published: 25 Sep 2023


The Ames Library is an iconic landmark that holds a significant place in the hearts of both locals and tourists. Located in the heart of Ames, Iowa, this magnificent library is not just a repository of books but a treasure trove of knowledge and history. With its rich history spanning over several decades, the Ames Library has become a symbol of intellectual curiosity and learning in the community.

But the library holds many fascinating secrets and mind-blowing facts that are often overlooked by visitors. In this article, we will uncover 17 such incredible facts about the Ames Library that will leave you amazed and make you appreciate this architectural masterpiece even more. From its unique architectural design to its collection of rare books, each fact sheds light on the library’s important role as a cultural hub and a place of exploration for students, scholars, and book lovers alike.

Table of Contents

The Ames Library is named after its founder, John Ames.

John Ames, a renowned philanthropist and bibliophile, dedicated his life and resources to the creation of this remarkable library. His vision was to provide a space that inspires learning and promotes intellectual growth.

The library’s architecture is a stunning blend of modern and classical design.

Designed by the renowned architect Robert Smith, the building seamlessly combines elements of contemporary aesthetics with traditional architectural features. The result is a visually captivating structure that stands as a testament to architectural excellence.

The library houses over a million books.

With an extensive collection of books spanning various genres and eras, the Ames Library is a paradise for book lovers. Whether you’re seeking historical documents, literary classics, or contemporary novels, you’re sure to find a treasure trove of knowledge within its walls.

The library’s rare book collection is a bibliophile’s dream.

The rare book collection at the Ames Library is a hidden gem. It houses priceless editions of some of the most significant literary works in history, including first editions, limited prints, and manuscripts written by renowned authors.

The library hosts regular author talks and book signings.

Ames Library is not just a place for books; it also fosters a vibrant literary community. Authors from around the world are invited to share their insights and experiences, creating a space for intellectual exchange and connecting readers with their favorite writers.

The library offers state-of-the-art digital resources.

In addition to its print collection, the Ames Library embraces technology to provide cutting-edge digital resources. Visitors can access e-books, academic journals, and online databases, offering a comprehensive research experience.

The library’s stunning reading rooms provide a tranquil environment for studying.

With its grandiose chandeliers, comfortable seating, and panoramic views of the surrounding gardens, the reading rooms at the Ames Library offer a serene and inspiring atmosphere for focused studying and research.

The library is a hub of cultural events and exhibitions.

From art exhibitions showcasing local talent to cultural festivals celebrating diversity, the Ames Library serves as a gathering place for the community to engage in enriching cultural experiences.

The library’s staff is dedicated to providing exceptional customer service.

The knowledgeable and friendly staff at the Ames Library are committed to making each visitor’s experience memorable. Whether you need assistance finding a specific book or seeking research guidance, they are always ready to help.

The library offers various educational programs for all ages.

From storytelling sessions for children to workshops on academic research techniques for students, the Ames Library provides a wide range of educational programs tailored to cater to the diverse needs and interests of its patrons.

The library features a quiet garden for peaceful outdoor reading.

Nestled within the library’s premises is a beautifully landscaped garden, a serene sanctuary where visitors can enjoy a good book amidst the refreshing sights and sounds of nature.

The library has an impressive collection of local history archives.

As a repository of local history, the Ames Library preserves historical documents, photographs, and records that provide insights into the rich heritage and development of the surrounding community.

The library offers advanced research facilities.

Equipped with cutting-edge technology and dedicated research spaces, the Ames Library provides the necessary tools and resources to facilitate in-depth research across various disciplines.

The library regularly collaborates with schools and universities.

Recognizing the importance of education, the Ames Library actively engages in partnerships with educational institutions to promote learning, support research, and enhance access to educational resources.

The library’s stunning stained glass windows depict literary themes.

Walking through the hallways of the Ames Library, you’ll be captivated by the exquisite stained glass windows that portray scenes and characters from beloved literary works, offering a visual feast for book enthusiasts.

The library provides a variety of study spaces to suit different preferences.

Whether you prefer quiet individual study or collaborative group work, the Ames Library offers a range of seating arrangements and study areas to cater to different learning styles.

The library actively promotes literacy and lifelong learning.

At the core of its mission, the Ames Library strives to foster a love for reading and continuous learning within the community. Through its diverse programs and initiatives, it encourages individuals of all ages to engage with the written word and embrace the joy of lifelong discovery.


Ames Library is truly a remarkable landmark, filled with history, culture, and knowledge. From its stunning architecture to its extensive collection of books and resources, it has captivated the hearts and minds of visitors for generations. The 17 mind-blowing facts about Ames Library highlighted in this article are just a glimpse into the incredible world that awaits inside its walls.

Whether you are a book lover, a history enthusiast, or simply someone seeking inspiration, Ames Library offers an experience like no other. Its rich heritage, innovative design, and commitment to education make it a must-visit destination for locals and tourists alike. So, plan your visit today and uncover the wonders that await you at Ames Library.


1. What is the history of Ames Library?

The construction of Ames Library began in 1908 and was completed in 1913. It was originally built as a tribute to Mabel Ames, the daughter of Illinois State University’s founder, and has since become a symbol of knowledge and learning.

2. How many books are there in Ames Library?

Ames Library houses an impressive collection of over 1.8 million books, making it one of the largest academic libraries in the state.

3. Is Ames Library open to the public?

Yes, Ames Library is open to both Illinois State University students and the general public. Visitors can explore the library’s stunning architecture, access the extensive collection, and utilize its facilities and resources.

4. Does Ames Library have any special collections?

Yes, Ames Library is home to several special collections, including the Circus and Allied Arts Collection, the Milner Collection on Women in Music, and the Harold F. Johnson Collection of Theodore Dreiser.

5. Can I borrow books from Ames Library?

Yes, Illinois State University students, faculty, and staff have borrowing privileges at Ames Library. Community members and visitors can access the collection for research purposes but are not able to check out materials.

6. Are there any study spaces available at Ames Library?

Absolutely! Ames Library offers a variety of study spaces, including individual study carrels, group study rooms, and comfortable seating areas. There are also computer labs and printing facilities for students and visitors to utilize.