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Autumn greetings from the Van Meter Public Library Newsletter!

School is back in full swing so this month we explore HelpNow, a free tutoring and study guide service that can help students and parents navigate homework and test preparations.

We've also got our October calendar of upcoming events, and don't forget our Fall Reading Challenges for toddlers- teens that are going strong until November 18th. Pick up your prizes as soon as you finish 5 non-fiction titles!

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

New Books Added Each Month!

Last month we added over 60 new titles including adult fiction, juvenile fiction, DVDs, picture books and non-fiction titles for every age group. Check out our online card 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


Parents, Children, and the Library Bill of Rights 

Van Meter Public Library supports parents’ right to make decisions about what their child is allowed to read. We require a parent’s signature for a child age 11 and under to get a library card.

The library encourages parents to be interested and involved in their children’s book selections. We are happy to provide parents with assistance in finding books for every young reader.

The exception to this is for a "Limited Privilage" library account we make available through the Van Meter Schools.

A "Limited Privilage" library account allows children to access all our online services such as e-books and free online tutoring. It also allows children to check out one physical book at a time. In the coming weeks, parents will receive additional information from the school about this and have the opportunity to opt out.  

The Van Meter Public Library opposes censorship and supports intellectual freedom as outlined in the American Library Association’s Library Bill of Rights:

I. Books and other library resources should be provided for the interest, information, and enlightenment of all people of the community the library serves. Materials should not be excluded because of the origin, background, or views of those contributing to their creation.

II. Libraries should provide materials and information presenting all points of view on current and historical issues. Materials should not be proscribed or removed because of partisan or doctrinal disapproval.

III. Libraries should challenge censorship in the fulfillment of their responsibility to provide

information and enlightenment.

IV. Libraries should cooperate with all persons and groups concerned with resisting abridgment of free expression and free access to ideas.

V. A person’s right to use a library should not be denied or abridged because of origin, age, background, or views.

VI. Libraries which make exhibit spaces and meeting rooms available to the public they serve should make such facilities available on an equitable basis, regardless of the beliefs or affiliations of individuals or groups requesting their use.

~ Nancy Studebaker-Barringer

Van Meter Public Library Director

Water Problem Solved

Thank you to Pat of the Van Meter Public Works Department for fixing our water heater.

Turns out, the water heater wasn't running hot enough which was causing bacteria to grow in the tank, thus the strong sulfur smell.

So Pat turned up the heat, flushed the system, and we're happy to report the problem is solved!

HelpNow Online Tutoring!

School is back in session and you know what that means, HOMEWORK.

As a parent, you're trying your best to help with all the writing assignments and test prep, but secretly you finally understand why your parents hated "new math" so much.

Maybe you're back in school pursuing a new career, studying a new language, or brushing up on business software like Excel. The truth is, parents and students of all ages need homework help, too.

That's why we are proud to provide HelpNow Online Tutoring by Brainfuse as a free service with your Van Meter library card account. HelpNow provides 24/7 live tutoring and access to the support you need across all grade levels including Advanced Placement classes, college level courses and entrance exams, professional licensing certification, US citizenship courses, and so much more.

HelpNow tutors are professional educators with Masters degrees. These current and former educators have experience teaching the subject at hand. Once you setup your account, you can schedule tutoring blocks that work best for your family.

HelpNow also offers an enormous catalog of study guides, flashcards, and lessons to further assist students in their pursuit of quality education. Check out these awesome tools and resources that can help with homework, right now.

Expert Help

Writing Lab: Submit your writing assignments, college entry essays, and midterm papers; receive a professional review within 24 hours.

SkillSurfer: This amazing collection of lessons, videos, and tests includes every subject, at every skill level. Skills include time management, financial literacy, media literacy, and home skills.

Send Question: Working through a tough chapter or assignment? Ask an expert for help and receive a reply within 24 hours.

Language Lab: Designed with state graduation requirements in mind, language labs allow you to hear correct pronunciations, participate in casual conversations, and study verb tenses for French and Spanish classes. 

New! Chess Tutoring: Learning to play chess helps sharpen cognitive skills while improving visual memory, attention span, and spacial reasoning abilities. Chess playing and practice supports the development of higher-order thinking skills such as problem solving, decision making, critical thinking, and planning. "Chess also helps improve general cognitive ability and scholastic achievement - especially in mathematics." University of Minnesota

Study Guides

LEAP Learning Platform: a diagnostic test center with customized study plans, lessons, and live tutoring.

Flashbulb: Create and share flashcards, tests, and games about hundreds of K-12 classroom subjects, college prep tests like the ACT and SATs, as well as 25 world languages, Real Estate, Agriculture, Culinary Arts, Medical, Insurance, Finance and other assorted professional licensing certification courses.

eParachute: Discover the college majors and careers that match your skills and interests with personality and skills assestment quizzes.

CollegeNow: Get help navigating the college application process from start to finish. Live, private assitance filling out FAFSA college loan paperwork.

ASVAB: The Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery reveals areas of strength and ability in science, math, and language. Taking this test is one of the first steps before you enlist in the Army.

Adult Learner Resources: Find study guides and more related to Microsoft Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Outlook, Computer Programming, C++ Certification, Java, SQL, and Google Tools.


Study Groups: Schedule sessions with friends and tutors using HelpNow's private, virtual study rooms. Content is recorded so that students can refer back to meeting notes, and to help ensure scholarly behavior.

Brainwave: Use the HelpNow virtual whiteboard to create and share notes and brainstorming ideas, all recorded for future reference. This is a great virtual tool for group projects and distance learning that lets participants speak, type, draw, and create on a shared screen. One of our favorite features of Brainwave is the Calculator keyboard which helps create complicated math and science formulas with the click of a button.

Access the Brainfuse HelpNow website or app, create your HelpNow account with your VM library card number, and start exploring this robust homework and tutoring resource!

Click Here for HelpNow

Tumblebooks for Home Schooling!

Tumblebooks now offers Unit Plans to integrate reading into your classroom.

Each includes a lesson plan that breaks down the topic and outlines activites, guided questions, and a list of all Tumblebooks related to the topic.

Start your search on the Tumblebooks website. Enter "Unit Plan" in the "Search By Subject" box!

Tumblebooks Expands Online Collection

New series, international best sellers, and classic tales are at your fingertips with the VMPL Tumblebooks collection. Bookmark our private page to access these popular titles!


LEGO Ninjago -- Tank & Fizz -- The Geeky Fab 5 -- The Sisters - Max Finder Mysteries -- Stitched -- The Smurfs -- Geranimo Stilton -- Nancy Drew -- Dinosaur Explorers -- Shakespeare Classics in modern English -- The Only Living Boy -- The Clockwork Girl


Do Frogs Drink Hot Chocolate? -- Do Lizards Eat Ice Cream? -- A Native American Thought of It -- What is the Sun? -- A Ticket Around The World -- Trout Are Made of Trees -- A Whale's World -- Monet Paints A Day -- Africans Thought of It -- Bugs! Bugs! Bugs!


Angus All AGlow -- I'll Save You Bobo! -- Sloth at the Zoom -- The Trouble with Time Travel -- When We Are Kind -- Wild Ideas -- Margot and the Moon Landing -- Ira Crumb


Beware, Pirates! -- The Big Tree Gang -- The Fossil Hunters -- Addison Addley -- Blast From The Past Biographies -- Tom Swift, Young Inventor -- Zibby Payne -- Black Beauty --

Little Women -- Treasure Island -- The Wind in the Willows -- The Wonderful Wizard of Oz


Neil Gaiman's Hansel & Gretel -- Asterix: 60th Anniversary Omnibus -- Astro Mouse -- Benny & Penny -- Magical History Tour -- Brina the Cat -- Fish Fenelli -- Sea Creatures -- Greek Gods -- DINOSAURS -- Windmill Dragons

Click Here and Bookmark Tumblebooks Today!

October 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 Monday, October 10th in observation of Indigenous Peoples Day.

Fall Toddler Time

Ages: 2-5

Monday Nights 5:30-6:30pm

Tuesday Morning 10-11am

*Registration Appreciated

No Toddler Time October 10th

Oct. 3rd & 4th: "C" is for Crayon

Oct. 11th: "D" is for Dinosaurs

Oct. 17th & 18th: "F" is for Fall

Oct. 24th & 25th: "H" is for Haunted

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

Fall Laugh and Learn

1st - 3rd Grade

Tuesday Nights 5:30-6:30pm

*Registration Appreciated

October 4th: Chemisty & Colors

October 11th: Dinosaur Bones

October 18th: Autumn

October 25th: Reader's Theater

November 1st: Elephants

Back to School Beanstack Challenge

Ages: Toddlers to Teens

September 12th - November 18th

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

Click Here for Beanstack!

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.

October 7th: Board Games

October 14th: Halloween Crafts

October 21st: Book Talk

October 28th: Movie

November 4th: Board Games

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!

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

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