Today is Blind Americans Equality Day or White Cane Safety Day!

Blind Americans Equality Day or White Cane Safety DIowa Department for the Blind Logo features the state outline of the state of Iowa with idb in braille in the center of the state.ay is an annual, national observance that recognizes the achievements of blind Americans and the importance of the white cane as the basic tool of mobility and symbol of independence for the blind. It is also a day to remind all citizens of the laws granting the right of way to blind cane travelers. 


In 1964, the United States Congress authorized the President of the United States to proclaim October 15th of each year as Blind American Equality Day, formerly, White Cane Safety Day.  It is a national observance in the United States, that was established by President Lyndon B. Johnson in an effort to raise awareness of people who carry a white cane.  In fact, the day is now celebrated around the world in many countries on the same date. 

A Proclamation on the Blind Americans Equality Day, 2021 


Check out our Cane Tips with Zach video series on YouTube for more information about the white cane and cane travel. 


Cane Tips 

Cane Types 

Sizing a Cane 

Benefits of a Longer Cane 

Maintaining a Straight Line of Travel 

October Makerspace Monday is Tonight!

Makerspace Monday @ The PlaygroundOctober Makerspace Monday
Time: 6:00 pm – 7:30 pm

Date: Monday, October 11th
Ages: All Ages
Activity: Lava Beads and Essential Oil Blends with Special Guest!
Location: Iowa Department for the Blind, 524 Fourth Street, Des Moines, IA 50309

Online Registration

If you are unable to join in person, no problem, just complete the online registration form and choose “mail activity kit and video link” directly to your preferred address.

Please contact Denise Bean at or 515-452-1338

Story Time and Crafts with Denise! Starting this Month

Cartoon image of a worm wearing glasses reading a bookTime to RELAX and just kick back! Please join Denise for an enjoyable storytime and a hands-on craft every Friday either by ZOOM or IN-PERSON, just decide which time or place works best for you! We will read together each week as we flip and listen through the pages of great books! Get ready to laugh, learn a little science, while having fun with sparks of magic along the way!

Program Begins: October 15, 2021
Times and Places:

  • Friday 10:00am – 10-:30am “Virtual Storytime” [Zoom]
  • Friday 3:30pm – 4:30pm “In-Person Storytime” [Iowa Library for the Blind, 524 Fourth Street, Des Moines, IA 50309]

Activity: Enjoy Storytime with a Craft!
Registration Link

“If meeting by zoom, once a month, in the mail, you will receive a Storytime Craft Sleeve containing crafts, designer braille word searches and coloring pages which includes four programs!”

October’s Book List

  • The Scarecrow by Beth Ferry
  • Creepy Carrots by Aaron Reynolds
  • The Pumpkin Patch Parable by Liz Curtis Higgs

READsquared is an online program designed to track your time as a family spent reading so you don’t have to! Attend Storytime, read and complete activities to earn monthly prizes. Just click to sign up here.

Hope to see you soon! Denise Bean, Youth Services Librarian

Banned Books Week 2021: Top 10 Most Challenged Books of 2020

Banned Books Week logoBanned Books Week is September 26th through October 2nd.  It is an annual event celebrating the freedom to read and spotlights current and historical attempts to censor books in libraries and schools. 

Every year the Office for Intellectual Freedom, a part of the American Library Association, compiles a list of the 10 most challenged books of the previous year.  The ALA Office for Intellectual Freedom tracked 156 challenges to library, school, and university materials and services in 2020. Of the 273 books that were targeted, here are the most challenged, along with the reasons cited for censoring the books: 

  1. George by Alex Gino DB82273 
    It was challenged, banned, and restricted for LGBTQIA+ content, conflicting with a religious viewpoint, and not reflecting “the values of our community” 
  2. Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You by Ibram X. Kendi and Jason Reynolds DB98926 and BR23102 
    It was banned and challenged because of the author’s public statements, and because of claims that the book contains “selective storytelling incidents” and does not encompass racism against all people 
  3. All American Boys by Jason Reynolds and Brendan Kiely  DB83370 
    It was banned and challenged for profanity, drug use, and alcoholism, and because it was thought to promote anti-police views, contain divisive topics, and be “too much of a sensitive matter right now” 
  4. Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson DB49958 and BRN27713 
    It was banned, challenged, and restricted because it was thought to contain a political viewpoint and it was claimed to be biased against male students, and for the novel’s inclusion of rape and profanity 
  5. The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie DB65403 and BR21549 
    It was banned and challenged for profanity, sexual references, and allegations of sexual misconduct by the author 
  6. Something Happened in Our Town: A Child’s Story About Racial Injustice by Marianne Celano, Marietta Collins, and Ann Hazzard, illustrated by Jennifer Zivoin DB100015 
    It was challenged for “divisive language” and because it was thought to promote anti-police views 
  7. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee DB77672BR12850 and LT10965 
    It was banned and challenged for racial slurs and their negative effect on students, featuring a “white savior” character, and its perception of the Black experience 
  8. Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck DB48515, BRN19107 and LT4820 
    It was banned and challenged for racial slurs and racist stereotypes, and their negative effect on students 
  9. The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison DB49914BR12618 and LT5895 
    It was banned and challenged because it was considered sexually explicit and depicts child sexual abuse 
  10. The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas DB101117BR21874 and YA LT Tho 
    It was challenged for profanity, and it was thought to promote an anti-police message 

Banned Books Week 2021:  Books Unite Us

Books Unite Us logoBanned Books Week is September 26th through October 2nd.  It is an annual event celebrating the freedom to read and spotlights current and historical attempts to censor books in libraries and schools. It brings together the entire book community — librarians, booksellers, publishers, journalists, teachers, and readers of all types — in shared support of the freedom to seek and to express ideas, even those some consider unorthodox or unpopular.

From The Banned Books Week Coalition:

The Banned Books Week Coalition is proud to announce that Jason Reynolds has been named the inaugural Honorary Chair for Banned Books Week 2021. The New York Times bestselling author will headline the annual celebration of the right to read

Reynolds is the author of more than a dozen books for young people, including:

  •  All American Boys (with Brendan Kiely) DB83370
  • Ghost (book 1 of the Track series) DB85921
  • Long Way Down  DB89688
  • Look Both Ways: A Tale Told in Ten Blocks  DB97796
  • Stamped (with Ibram X. Kendi)  DB98926

 A multiple National Book Award finalist, Reynolds has also received a Newbery Honor, a Printz Honor, an NAACP Image Award, and several Coretta Scott King Award honors. He is currently serving a two-year term as the National Ambassador for Young People’s Literature for the Library of Congress.

As an advocate for storytelling and an outspoken critic of censorship, Reynolds is the perfect person to headline Banned Books Week 2021, which has the theme, “Books Unite Us. Censorship Divides Us.” For young people in particular, books offer both shared and differently lived experiences that help them develop empathy and understand themselves and their world. In turn, censorship isolates us from each other by narrowing our view of the world.

“I’m excited about being the inaugural Honorary Chair for Banned Books Week,” says Reynolds. “More importantly, I’m excited about this year’s theme, which is so simple, yet so powerful. What does it mean when we say, ‘Books unite us?’ It means that books are the tethers that connect us culturally. Stories ground us in our humanity; they convince us that we’re not actually that different and that the things that are actually different about us should be celebrated because they are what make up this tapestry of life.”

For more about author Jason Reynolds and Banned Books Week check out