Library News Podcast: May 2022

Join library staff for May’s Library News podcast which features Children’s Book Week, the Elizabeth Perowsky Volunteer Luncheon, and the Friends of the Library.  As well as the top ten fiction books downloaded on BARD last month, information about Makerspace Monday, other upcoming Youth programs and ongoing library events and programs.

April Makerspace Monday Recap and What’s Next

Makerspace Monday @ The PlaygroundDelicious chocolate covered pretzels were enjoyed as a snack when we made discoveries that took place over 6,000 years ago. Did you know that Plaster of Paris got its name because the material called gypsum used in it is abundant in Paris. It is also used to help heal broken bones. Wow, who knew that? But on this night, we whipped and mixed water and Plaster of Paris to make a plant holder for our little succulent plant! As the evening ended, we put our spur wheels into a spinning roll and created metal art tooling, which by the way, is originated from Mexico! The artistic juices were flowing!

Coming up next month, Bowl Stamping! This has never been done before at our youth library, so you don’t want to miss out. By adding in your unique touch, not only will texture be added with a stamp, but your finished art piece can also be used to hold your very special treasure or souvenirs from the past.

Picture of a white bowl with pink flowers

Coming Up Next for our May Makerspace Monday

Time: 6:00 pm – 7:30 pm
Date: May 9th, 2022 
Ages: All Ages
Activity: Bowl Stamping!
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

Library Chat Podcast: April 2022

Clip art image of headphonesIn April’s Library Chat Podcast, we continue our new format where we invite a different library staff members to join us as a special guest.  They will choose the topic to be discussed during Library Chat and we will talk about what they do on the library team, as well as books and podcasts around their chosen topic.  For April’s Library Chat Leslie Heinzler, Special Services Librarian joins us to talk about the 2022 All Iowa Reads titles.  For more information about the library and our podcasts go the library’s blog.

Podcast Discussed:

Unlikable Female Characters Episode 57

Books Discussed:  2022 All Iowa Reads Book Lists


Adult Title
The Butterfly Effect by Rachel Mans McKenny  BRN28392, LT13353, DBC19960

Teen Title
What I Carry by Jennifer Longo  YA BR Lon, YA LT Lon, DB103425

Children Title
The Lonely Heart of Maybelle Lane by Kate O’Shaughnessy  JBR O’Sh, JLT O’Sh, DBC19978

2022 All Iowa Reads Shortlists (other titles considered)

Adult Titles
How Much of These Hills is Gold by C. Pam Zhang  DB99144
Valentine by Elizabeth Wetmore  DB99620
The Monsters We Make by Kali White  DBC19959
Barn 8 by Deb Olin Unferth  DB98859
The Lager Queen of Minnesota by J. Ryan Stradal  DB95922
Love, Zac: small-town football and the life and death of an American boy by Reid Forgrave  DB101188

Teen Titles
Slay by Brittney Morris  DB99185
Displacement by Kiku Hughes
Camp by L.C. Rosen
Blanca & Roja by Anna-Marie McLemore  DB93530
The Weight of Our Sky by Hanna Alkaf  DB94195

Children Titles
Show Me a Sign by Ann Clare LeZotte  BR23598, DB102083
Stand up, Yumi Chung! By Jessica Kim
Sal and Gabi Break the Universe by Carlos Hernandez  BR22981, DB94118
From the Desk of Zoe Washington by Janae Marks  JRB Mar, DB98670
Itch by Polly Farquhar

2022 Summer Reading Program

Image of a blue dragon sniffing a flower.Ready, Set, Adventure!

June 6th – July 29th 
Virtually Monday, Wednesday, Friday from 1:00pm – 1:45pm
For youth (0 – 18 years old)

Online Registration

This Summer Reading Program will have 24 sensational programs full of crafts, food, science, adventure and tons of fun and laughter!

  • Mondays – Double Craft Mondays
  • Wednesdays – Story Prompt Wednesday
  • Fridays – Food Frenzy Fridays

Get ready to meet an author reading from his very own book. Have you ever thought of mailing a coconut as a postcard, well, that is how they do it in Hawaii? Or, how about the delicious scent of Orange Cream Cake being cooked right in your very own kitchen. You will also discover how a rock is formed by eating your way through Starburst Candies or discover how to eat and make edible crayons. That is right, edible crayons, imagine that!

Upon sign up participants will receive:

  • a TEAM Summer t-shirt personalized with your name in Braille or Large Print
  • passes to the Blank Park Zoo
  • a 9-piece puzzle set [which by the way, if all the pieces are earned you win a grand prize]
  • Braille Uno Game cards
  • and other prizes you will have to wait and see.

All of this is just a little sampling of what your Summer Reading Program has instore for you. We have a brand-new activity this year, you will be given a Story Prompt each week, by the end of summer your Story Prompt will be made into a book and added into our library collection like a real author! Wow can’t wait!

Sign up early and RESERVE your spot!

Watch for updated information on our Summer Reading Program Page

Denise Bean, Youth Services Librarian

Our Volunteers Take the Prize

Thanks to our volunteersApril is National Volunteer Month and the library would like to thank and acknowledge our many volunteers during that month who generously donate their time and efforts to the library.  The library has many behind the scenes volunteers who help with narrating books, braille transcription, editing, shelving and processing books, and much more!  Even during this challenging time, we have volunteers who are assisting our library in providing services and resources to our patrons all across Iowa.

Today we are wrapping up National Volunteer Week with our Elizabeth Perowsky Workshops and Luncheon.  Our volunteer audio narrators are attending a workshop to share their knowledge and expertise with each other and discuss their continued work on recording books for our library collection.  This afternoon our volunteers from all areas of the library will enjoy lunch, networking and awards.  The Friends of the Iowa Library for the Blind and Physically Handicapped will also host their annual meeting which will feature the library staff as they discuss their work over the last two years.

Every moment our volunteers give makes a huge difference in so many ways.  Their willingness to share both their time and talents by volunteering with the Library says a lot.  Their willingness to give selflessly to help others speaks to both their strength and the quality of their character.

Staff member, Jodi Aldini, wrote a poem honoring our volunteers.

Volunteers Take the Prize

Today’s the day we celebrate
All of our volunteers.
You’re a crucial part of our Library,
And have been for many years.

You give of yourself and your time,
As if it’s no big deal.
We want to reach out to all of you
And tell you how we feel.

Whether you’re a Pioneer, Transcriber, or Narrator,
Or tackling the new braille.
The impact you have on blind Iowans
Is something no one can curtail.

We couldn’t do it without you,
Your work is second to none.
We’re in awe of your dedication
To get each task done.

The difference that you make,
Cannot be disguised.
That’s why we’re honoring all of you,
Because our “Volunteers Take the Prize!”

— Jodi Aldini

If you are interested in learning more about volunteering for the library check out our Volunteer Page.

Book Reviews from Deena

Check out these book reviews from Deena.  Deena was a member of the Library’s Patron Service Team who recently retired.  She has generously continued to share book reviews with us.  Thank you, Deena! 

Let us know if you would like any titles added to your booklist or head over to BARD (Braille and Audio Reading Download) to download the titles now.  Need more information about BARD?  See our BARD Page

Look Me in the Eye: my life with Asperger’s by John Elder Robison  DB64970
John Elder Robison tells the story of his life as a person with  Asperger’s and how he felt socially inept and did not fit in, thus the title “Look me in the eye”.
He came from a dysfunctional family.  His father was an alcoholic and beat him and his brother and his mother was mentally ill.  John found his niche in electronics and worked building circuits and special effects for the band KISS, among others. After several years of that he decided he needed a “real job” and used his electronic abilities to get another job. He married his high school sweetheart and became a father. It wasn’t until in his forties, when he learned he had Asperger’s that felt he fit into the world. Recommended for KISS fans, and anyone wishing to know more about people with Asperger’s and their reactions and how they think.

Wintergirls by Laurie Halse Anderson BR18651, DB69104
Lia’s best friend, Cassie just has died as a result of Bulimia.  Lia is Anorexic and continually sets goals to lose five more pounds.  Cassie comes back to haunt Lia and urge her to join her.

Alibi Man by Tami Hoag   BR16909, DB63498
Elena Estes, a former cop, now works at a horse stable.  She goes for a walk and discovers a groom, Irina that she works with dead in a canal.  Elena investigates Irina’s death and helps the police.  Irina was Russian and the Russian mob appears to be involved.  This was a page turner with an unexpected ending.

The Loop by Nicholas Evans  LT5749, DB46713
I really did not think I would like this as much as I did. This takes place in Montana where wolves were reintroduced to the area.  Helen Ross works to put radio collars on the wolves to track and protect them.  The ranchers in the area are against the wolves because they have killed cattle.  Luke, the son of the leader of the ranchers, assists Helen with the wolves, much to the embarrassment of his father.  It all comes to head when Luke is caught trying to save some wolf pups. Recommended for animal lovers and environmentalists.