Upcoming STEM Fest at the Iowa Department for the Blind

Our STEM festival is back! STEM stands for Science-Technology-Engineering-Math and the library is excited to partner with the South Central (SC) STEM Hub to host an event themed: Let the Sunshine In!

When: Saturday, February 25, 2023 from 2:00pm – 4:00pm
Where: Iowa Department for the Blind (524 4th St., Des Moines)
Who: The festival is open to the public and will serve all children in grades K-12 and their families.

Exhibitors from around the metro area will share expertise in STEM, and all activities will be based on the best practices of Universal Design concepts and materials will be provided in accessible formats (large print and braille). Participants can take part in cooking and wood shop demonstrations highlighting non-visual techniques.

The Great Des Moines Botanical Garden will be one of the exhibitors at the STEM Fest.

The Greater Des Moines Botanical Garden is committed to exploring, explaining, and celebrating the world of plants with everyone. We look for ways to build partnerships with those from all walks of life in not only the Des Moines metro, but across the state and even the country. Part of how we do that is by ensuring we’re being fully inclusive to all. To achieve this, we participate in many activities and events throughout the year. Over the past few years, we’ve had the privilege of partnering with the Iowa Department of the Blind and Print Disabled and have hosted them onsite at the Botanical Garden for educational programs. So, we were very excited to receive an invitation to participate at the Universal STEM Fest coming up! One of the many things we love about plants is how overwhelmingly sensory they are. Their touch, scent, taste, and even their sound can stand alone as an unforgettable experience, and our traveling Plant Petting Zoo offers people the opportunity to interact with plants using different senses. The more people can experience the botanical world around us and share it with others, the more enriched our lives and communities become. We’re so excited to share that enrichment with everyone on February 25!

The goal of the event is to communicate that STEM is all-inclusive and that the best ideas come when diverse minds team up to solve problems.

Register to attend or exhibit at https://scstemhub.drake.edu/festivals/

Attendees who pre-register will receive a free tote bag while supplies last. Walk-ins are welcome, also.

Image of a sun shining Let the Sunshine In! Text: IDB STEM Fest Saturday, February 25, 2023 Iowa Department for the Blind 2:00pm - 4:00pm

Library News Podcast: February 2023

Join library staff for February’s Library News podcast which features:

  • Information about the Iowa Department for the Blind’s Legislative Open House on Monday, February 20th
  • Information about the 2023 Iowa Regional Braille Challenge and STEM Fest
  • Top ten most downloaded fiction books on BARD
  • The library’s new Peek-A-Box program
  • News from the National Library Services for the Blind and Print Disabled
  • Upcoming youth programming and more…

Let the Sunshine In With a 2023 Iowa Regional Braille Challenge T-Shirt

Shirts are heather yellow with black lettering. The front of the t-shirt says in print: BRAILLE let the sunshine in., with a graphic of a sun with a smiling face surrounded by sunbeams, hidden in some of the sunbeams is the word braille in braille.To help us celebrate the 2023 Iowa Regional Braille Challenge and Braille literacy, we are pleased to work with local, small business The Side Garage this year for the Braille Challenge t-shirt.  This year’s theme, chosen by the students, is Braille! Let the Sunshine In.The back of the t-shirt says, BRAILLE let the sunshine in, in braille.

All shirts are crew neck and short sleeved. Shirts are heather yellow with black lettering.  The front of the t-shirt says in print: BRAILLE let the sunshine in., with a graphic of a sun with a smiling face surrounded by sunbeams, hidden in some of the sunbeams is the word braille in braille.  The back of the t-shirt says, BRAILLE let the sunshine in, in braille. 

All sizing is unisex and all shirts are $20.00.  Participants of the Braille Challenge will be provided with a t-shirt that have been  generously donated by the Friends of the Iowa Library for the Blind and Physically Handicapped.

All proceeds from the t-shirt sales will benefit the Friends of the Iowa Library for the Blind and Physically Handicapped and future Braille Challenges.

We are taking orders through Friday, February 10, 2023.  You can choose to have your t-shirt shipped directly to you or pick up at Braille Challenge on Saturday, February 25th at the Iowa Department for the Blind.  If you will not be at the event, please have the shirt shipped directly to you.

Let the sunshine in and order a t-shirt today!

T-shirt Order Form

Save the Date: Iowa Regional Braille Challenge and STEM Fest

Braille Challenge Logo
Image of a sun shining Let the Sunshine In! Text: IDB STEM Fest Saturday, February 25, 2023 Iowa Department for the Blind 2:00pm - 4:00pm

The Iowa Library for the Blind and Print Disabled will host its 17th Regional Braille Challenge on February 25, 2023, from 8:30 AM – 4:00 PM. Braille readers (grades 1-12) from Iowa will gather at the Iowa Department for the Blind, 524 Fourth Street in Des Moines, to test their braille skills in five categories: reading comprehension, braille spelling, charts and graphs reading, proofreading, and braille speed and accuracy. Immediately following the competition, winners from each age group are announced.

Winners of this Iowa Regional Braille Challenge will go on to compete at the national finals held at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles. From there, 50 students (10 in each of the five categories) with the highest scores from around North America and the UK embark on another competition to test their braille skills alongside peers from around the world.

This year, an in-person STEM festival is back. STEM stands for Science-Technology-Engineering-Math. From 2:00 PM – 4:00 PM that same day, the Iowa Department for the Blind (IDB) will partner with the South Central (SC) STEM Hub to host an event themed: Let the Sunshine In! The festival is open to the public and will serve all children in grades K-12 and their families.

Exhibitors from around the metro area will share expertise in STEM, and all activities will be based on the best practices of Universal Design concepts and materials will be provided in accessible formats (large print and braille). Participants can take part in cooking and wood shop demonstrations highlighting non-visual techniques.  The goal of the event is to communicate that STEM is all-inclusive and that the best ideas come when diverse minds team up to solve problems.

Register to attend or exhibit at https://scstemhub.drake.edu/festivals/. Attendees who pre-register will receive a free tote bag while supplies last. Walk-ins are welcome.

January Makerspace Monday Recap and What’s Next in February

Imagine this, a room saturated with the smells of lavender, lemon, peppermint, and the sweet zest of orange. Roller-tubes were filled with grapeseed oil and essential oil to create a stress-free meditation tool. We discovered mediative techniques such as the Bear, Whale, Birthday Cake and Box Breathing. Our night ended, with a little science. Mixing and stirring cocoa powder, bees wax and coconut oil together to make lotion bars!

Coming up in February

Date: February 13th
Time: 6 – 7:30pm
Activity: “Chocolate & Art!”
Where: 524 4th Street, Des Moines, IA 50309
Online Registration

Are you curious about how to mix a little braille and chocolate together? Or do you want to learn about copper wrapped into a sculpture? Then you better sign up quick! In February, you will turn chocolate into a chocolate bar, however, this chocolate bar will be in braille! Topping off the night with Copper Art Designs.

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 denise.bean@blind.state.ia.us or 515-452-1338 

Check out the Makerspace Mondays page!

Library Chat Podcast: January 2023

January’s Library Chat begins a new chapter for the podcast.  Library staff members, Sarah Willeford, Leslie Heinzler and Denise Bean introduce staff members, Angie Houk, Jodi Aldini, and Leland Smith who will be taking over the Library Chat Podcast starting in February.  Sarah, Leslie and Denise had so much fun creating each episode and would like to thank everyone for listening.  They can’t wait to hear what Angie, Jodi and Leland have instore for Library Chat.