Our Library Receives Regional Library of the Year Award

Picture of Library Staff
The staff of the Iowa Library for the Blind and Print Disabled

The Iowa Department for the Blind is incredibly pleased to share that the Iowa Library for the Blind and Print Disabled, a division of the Iowa Department for the Blind, has been named 2020-2021 Regional Library of the Year by the National Library Service for the Blind and Print Disabled at the Library of Congress. Our library provides reading materials in braille, audio, large print, and other alternative formats to Iowans of all ages who cannot read standard print. We also provide instructional materials in all alternative formats to pre-K12 students in Iowa schools through a grant from the Iowa Department of Education.

Once again, during a time of great challenge and uncertainty, our library embraced the challenges, kept services going, and even created new programs. Our library did not miss a day of sending out books, even during the early days of the pandemic. Our Instructional Materials Center ensured that all orders from schools for materials were filled in as timely a manner as possible to make sure that students struggling with online learning were not further set back by lack of textbooks and worksheets. We held online trainings for para-educators on braille, access technology, and library ordering that served over 30 para educators and provided a stipend to defer the cost of participation.  We created a new program called IDB Reads where narrators read and discussed books with patrons over the phone to help reduce isolation and create community. We took Maker Space Mondays and STEM and Stories Saturdays online. We have sent out materials and presented the programs live and via YouTube to the youth and families monthly.

As IDB Director, Emily Wharton, stated: “I’ve been telling our legislature, the Governor, and everyone who would listen how fantastic our library is and about all the wonderful things they are doing to empower blind Iowans of all ages.—especially the youth It is truly gratifying to see their hard work and dedication recognized by NLS.” Library Director, Sarah Willeford, shared: “I want to thank our entire team for their creativity and teamwork. Your passion for braille literacy, providing timely and abundant reading material for all patrons,, willingness to fight to make  sure students get high-quality educational materials, and ability to adapt to change continue to give me joy and energy.”

All Iowa Reads Author Visits – Iowa Center for the Book

The Iowa Center for the Book is excited to sponsor virtual visits in 2021 from each of the All Iowa Reads authors!

All Iowa Reads fosters a sense of unity through reading. Iowans are encouraged to come together in their communities to read and talk about a single book title in the same year.

There are three winning titles each year, an adult title, a teen title, and a kids title.  Starting this month, the authors of the winning selections will offer free virtual author visits to the public.  Each author will conduct three webinars each over the course of the next few months.

  • May 15th at 2:00pm:  Remy Lai, the author of the 2021 Kids All Iowa Reads title, Pie in the Sky will conduct the first of her free virtual webinars.
  • May 19th at 7:00 pm: Nickolas Butler, the author of the 2021 Adult All Iowa Reads title, Little Faith will conduct the first of his free virtual webinars.
  • Late June:  Randy Ribay, the author of the 2021 Teen All Iowa Reads title, Patron Saints of Nothing, is scheduled for his first free webinar.

All the webinars will be hosted by the Iowa Center for the Book and will last about an hour.  The author will discuss the book and answer questions from attendees submitted in the chat window during the webinar.

You can find more information, see the complete schedule of the virtual author visits, and register for the webinars at www.IowaCenterfortheBook.org/AIR.

Do you want to read the book before the webinar? Call the library and request them!  We have all three selections in audio, braille, and large print.

April Recap @ The Playground

On April 12th at our Makerspace Monday event, we touched and explored each strand of yarn softness, as we weaved and tied our Feathery Fun Macramé! Did you know a “chicken” has the longest feather and a “BEE Hummingbird” has the smallest feather? In fact, this little bird’s nest is the size of a quarter, kid you not! We also learned how to create hanging wall feather macramé art. Not only do we make incredibly “cool” stuff at the MakerSpace events but we also learn about science too.

Next, on April 17th for our STEM and Stories Saturday we met up with Cat, no, not a cat that goes meow, but our friend Cat Turner McAculiffe, TheraPets Coordinator from the Animal Rescue League of Iowa. Cat shared with us all of the MANY wonderful animal programs that ARL does each and every day around the entire state of Iowa. Cat even introduced us to her parrot that talks! Thank you so much for joining our library for a visit Cat, we are fortunate to have you in our community doing all the good that you do for our furry little friends.

Coming up next month on May 10th for Makerspace Monday Event, we will be using clothespins, twine, and sparkles as we make a Springtime Clothespin Planter, just in time for Mother’s Day! Seeds will be sprouting on May 15th with guest Roger Erpelding, Master Gardner as he shares with us his love for gardening. Who knows, you may want to become a Master Gardner too.

Coming up in May @ the Playground

Makerspace Monday Virtual Event
Date and Time: May 10th 6:30 p.m.

Activity: Springtime Clothespin May Planter
Register Here

STEM and Stories Saturday Virtual Event
Date and Time: May 15th 10:00 p.m.

Activity: Roger Erpeling, Master Gardner
Register Here

Coming up this Summer!

2021 Tales and Travels Summer Reading Program
Dates: June 7, 2021 – August 6, 2021 on Monday, Wednesday and Fridays
Time: 1:00pm – 1:45pm
More Information
Register Here

Cozy Mystery Served Up with a Glass of Peach Iced Tea

The Cozy Mystery IDB Read group has been enjoying stories by Bree Baker in her Seaside Café Mysteries series.  They center around Everly Swan and her seaside iced tea shop and café called Sun, Sand and Tea.  After a failed attempt at culinary school and leaving her ex-boyfriend, Everly has returned to her hometown of Charm, North Carolina and opened her café on the beach.  She is trying to get her newly established café off the ground but murder and mayhem seem to be following her around the island.  With the help of some loving aunts, her childhood best friend and a hunky new detective in town, Everly tries to solve these murders on her own. This series comes with some great characters and many plot twists and turns.  It makes you want to travel to the Outer Banks of North Carolina, especially when the author describes the ocean air and all the wonderful things served at Sun, Sand and Tea.  Peach Iced Tea seems to be a specialty of Everly’s made from a secret family recipe.  While we couldn’t track down the secret family recipe, below is a recipe for Peach Iced Tea from www.eatingwell.com.  Make a batch and imagine you are sitting on the beach in North Carolina.

The IDB Read Cozy Mystery Group meets every Wednesday and Friday from 10:00-11:00 am via a conference call.  Call the library at 515.281.1323 for the conference call number and you too can listen to one of our volunteer narrators, Judy Fausch, read live from the Seaside Café Mysteries series. 

Peach Iced Tea Recipe


  • 2 ripe peaches, pitted and cut into chunks
  • ½ cup loosely packed fresh mint leaves, plus more for garnish
  • 6 black tea bags
  • 6 cups boiling water
  • Ice for serving


Place peaches and mint in the bottom of a large heatproof and shatterproof pitcher. Muddle with a wooden spoon until the peaches are pulpy and broken down. Hang tea bags in the pitcher and pour in boiling water. Let steep for at least 20 minutes. Remove the tea bags. Refrigerate the tea until cold. Fill glasses generously with ice. Strain the tea and pour over the ice. Garnish with mint if desired.


To make ahead: Refrigerate for up to 24 hours.

Nutrition Facts

Serving Size: 1 1/4 Cups 

Per Serving:  14 calories; protein 0.4g; carbohydrates 3.3g; dietary fiber 0.7g; sugars 2.4g; fat 0.1g; vitamin a iu 282.7IU; vitamin c 2.6mg; folate 6mcg; calcium 15.1mg; iron 0.6mg; magnesium 7mg; potassium 94.3mg; sodium 5.6mg.

Tales and Travels Summer Reading Program

Next Stop, Tales and Travels Summer Reading Program!

The Summer Reading Program Tales and Travels is coming fast. This program will encompass Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math.

Go ahead, hop in, and buckle up your seatbelt. You do not want to miss out on this summer’s traveling vacation, because we are starting up our engines VAROOM, VAROOM as we shift into gear!
The Summer Reading Program will have, 27 youth programs and will be offering 9 activity kits containing 3 programs each week, along with prizes too numerous to count. We will be taking you for a bus, train, or boat ride as we travel through the many Tales of our Library. This 2021 summer event promises to be nothing short of magical, mysterious, and outrageously fun! What if I told you that you might learn a little magic trick along the rails?

Also, at time of sign up, your family will receive 2 Blank Park Zoo passes, access to our online ReadSquared program, free personalized SRP T-Shirt and passport! Step on for a spectacular ride because we will take off on June 7th at 1:00 pm sharp! We will meet every Monday, Wednesday and Friday for 45 minutes of entertaining, engaging, hands-on activities. Spots are limited, don’t miss out!

2021 Tales and Travels Summer Reading Program

Dates: June 7, 2021 – August 6, 2021 on Monday, Wednesday and Fridays
Time: 1:00pm – 1:45pm
Register Here