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Urbandale Public Library/90th Anniversary of Nancy Drew

Generations of fans have been inspired by the courage and intelligence of teen sleuth Nancy Drew. Throughout the month of January 2021, we’re celebrating the 90th anniversary of this timeless character with a series of events for all ages.

Special Events

Celebrating 90 Years of Nancy Drew & Her Mysterious History

  • Thursday, January 7 @ 6:30 PM (All Ages)
  • Register online or by calling 515-278-3945

Learn about the mysterious history behind Nancy Drew and her creators as they shaped Nancy Drew into America’s favorite teenage sleuth! We’ll also discuss Nancy Drew books and collectibles that date back to her origins in 1930. Presented by Nancy Drew historian Jennifer Fisher (

Nancy Drew Mystery Book Discussion

  • Tuesday, January 19 @ 6:00 PM (Multi-Generational/ All Ages)
  • Register online or by calling 515-278-3945

Calling all detectives and fans of mysteries! We’re celebrating the 90th anniversary of Nancy Drew with a special book discussion!

Join us to discuss the very first book in this classic series, The Secret of the Old Clock by Carolyn Keene. Ages 8 through adult are welcome (the reading level for this book is age 8-14). This is a great opportunity to introduce your child or grandchild to the series and discuss the story together! The Library will have a limited number of the books available for checkout and curbside pickup or you can bring your own copy.   

Active Adults Online – Mystery Version!

  • Friday, January 22 @ 11:00 AM (Adults 18+)
  • Register online or by calling 515-278-3945

This month’s Active Adults program will focus on mysteries, detectives, and more!  We’ll discuss Nancy Drew trivia, use our best sleuthing skills to solve some mysteries, share some Nancy Drew-poems, and more! If you are a Nancy Drew fan – or just love mysteries, join us for Active Adults Online this month!

What’s in a Color? Mystery Solving Science-To-Go with WiSE

  • Wednesday, January 27 @ 4:30 PM (Ages 6-10)
  • Register online or by calling 515-278-3945

Learn how chromatography works, and how forensic investigators use science to solve mysteries! Chromatography is a method for analyzing mixtures by separating them into the chemicals from which they are made. After learning about a fictional crime involving a ransom note, students will use this method to test a variety of markers and discover the culprit! This program will be led by representatives from Iowa State’s Women in Science and Engineering (WiSE). Ages 6-10, some adult assistance may be needed.

Fingerprinting: Forensic Science-To-Go with WiSE

  • Thursday, January 28 @ 4:30 PM (Ages 10-14)
  • Register online or by calling 515-278-3945

Students will have the opportunity to take on the role of a forensic detective to solve a “crime.” Through this activity, we’ll learn about the biology of fingerprints and how common each type is, then we’ll apply this knowledge to find the culprit. Students will also discuss the accuracy of forensic evidence and how it is used in court. This program will be led by representatives from Iowa State’s Women in Science and Engineering (WiSE). Ages 10-14, younger siblings welcome to observe.

CSI: Urbandale

  • Wednesday, February 3 @ 4:00 PM (Ages 7-18, families welcome!)
  • Register online or by calling 515-278-3945

Join Officer Weaver as she gives us an all-access look inside the Crime Lab at the Urbandale Police Station! This real life Nancy Drew will reveal how modern technology is used to investigate crimes as she demos real techniques like casting a footprint, using fog to reveal and dust fingerprints, and more! Target Audience: Ages 7-18, families welcome!

Other events and activities are still in the planning stages, so watch this page and our program calendar for more information coming soon! 

Related Resources

Library Material

Whether you’re new to Nancy Drew or a long-time fan, we encourage you to check out our extensive Nancy Drew collection! We have the original series, plus graphic novels, movies, a contemporary series featuring a grade-school Nancy Drew, audiobooks, and more!


Learn about the REAL author

Many people are surprised to learn that the Carolyn Keene, the author listed on the Nancy Drew series, did not exist. The original, real author was Mildred Wirt Benson, a newspaper reporter in Ohio – a woman with ties to Iowa and an interesting story of her own!  Learn more about her through “The Mysterious Mildred BensonThe life and works of a ghost writer from Iowa,” a special collection in the Iowa Women’s Archives at the University of Iowa.