The Holidays Are Coming!

library-treeTo celebrate the holidays, library staff created a holiday tree out of books.  The picture on the left shows the book tree. The book tree was created using around 75 large print books.  Books were placed in a circle with their spines facing out to create a base.  Smaller and smaller circles of books were added to create the tree shape.   The tree is about 4 feet tall with a yellow book on top to serve as the star.

Here are some books in audio, braille and large print to get you ready for the holidays.

The Cat Who Came for Christmas by Cleveland Amory – DB26048, LT631, BR7225

As head of The Fund For Animals, the author is forever saving and housing homeless dogs, cats, and birds in his New York City apartment. But he never allows himself to keep one as a pet because of his heavy travel schedule. Everything changes one fateful Christmas Eve, however, when Amory rescues and brings home an injured, terrified cat, and finds that he can’t part with it. This is the story of their first year together, as the lives of man and cat intertwine.


A Simple Christmas: Twelve Stories that Celebrate the True Holiday Spirit by Mike Huckabee – DB69899

Talk-show host Mike Huckabee — a former presidential candidate, Arkansas governor, and pastor — shares experiences that taught him the true meaning of Christmas, emphasizing God, family, love, and hope instead of shopping and presents.


Holidays on Ice by David Sedaris – DB68134, BR15182

Six short Christmas tales by humorist, playwright, and National Public Radio commentator. Sedaris relives his stint as a department store elf in “SantaLand Diaries.” In “Seasons Greetings to Our Friends and Family!!!,” a housewife facing homicide charges updates loved ones in her annual holiday newsletter.


Christmas in Plains: Memories by Jimmy Carter – DB53307, BR13767

Carter, who served as the thirty-ninth president of the United States, reminisces about family Christmases over the years, beginning with his childhood on a Georgia farm, through his years in the U.S. Navy, the Georgia governor’s mansion, the White House, and then back to Plains.


Keeping Christmas: An Edwardian-Age Memoir –  BRN1184

A homey, amusing recollection of Christmas in the German neighborhood of Baltimore’s Union Square. Included are stories of decorating an oversize tree with candles, indulging in elaborate, mouthwatering feasts, and exchanging gifts.


Hanukkah in America: a History by Dianne Ashton – DB81412

Professor of religion examines regional variants of the ancient Jewish tradition. In New Orleans, Hanukkah means decorating a door with a menorah made of hominy grits; latkes in Texas are seasoned with cilantro and cayenne pepper; children in Cincinnati sing Hanukkah songs and eat oranges and ice cream.

An Irish Country Christmas by Alice Taylor – DB48633

Taylor recalls the work and the celebration of a Christmas that “glowed like a warm fire in the middle of a long, cold winter,” when she was nine years old. She describes preparing the Christmas goose, cleaning the chimney, gathering the holly and ivy, and having a parcel arrive on Christmas Eve.


Complete Kwanzaa: Celebrating our Cultural Harvest by Dorothy W. Riley – DB42533

An anthology of essays, folktales, poems, personal profiles, and recipes on the African American festival of Kwanzaa. The selections serve to illuminate the seven principles of the event and to guide in its celebration.

The Thirteenth Gift: A True Story of a Christmas Miracle by Joanne H. Smith – DB80286

Journalist describes receiving mysterious gifts on the twelve days leading up to her first Christmas alone following the death of her husband. Details her efforts, with the help of her three children, to identify the sender of the gifts, and the impact the gifts had on them.


Light Another Candle:  the Story and Meaning of Hanukkah by Miriam Chaikin – BRN18835

The story of Hanukkah told against a background of highpoints in Jewish history that help explain its significance.


Kwanzaa: an African-American Celebration of Culture and Cooking by Eric V. Copage – DB34528

Kwanzaa is a week-long (December 26-January 1) African-American celebration of the ‘first-fruits’. The author has compiled a sourcebook for the observance. Included are selections from historical works, folklore, and biographies that illustrate the ‘Nguzo Saba’ (seven principles of Kwanzaa), interspersed with a host of recipes from the African diaspora.

Happy Thanksgiving!

turkeyThe library will closed on Thursday, November 24th and Friday November 25th.  We would like to wish you a happy Thanksgiving and share with you some Thanksgiving themed books that can be downloaded from BARD.

An old-fashioned Thanksgiving by Louisa May Alcott   DB09773

A warm Thanksgiving tale with a surprise ending. The seven Bassett children decide to prepare Thanksgiving dinner themselves after their parents leave suddenly to care for an ailing grandmother. Includes recipes from the dinner. For children and adults.

It’s Thanksgiving by Jack Prelutsky   DB20097

Twelve original, humorous poems about Thanksgiving feature the traditional family dinner, the first Thanksgiving, turkey thoughts, Dad’s disastrous carving job, and too many turkey leftovers. For grades 2-4 and older readers.

Thanksgiving  by Janet Evanovich    DB63690

Williamsburg, Virginia. A chance encounter with a wayward pet rabbit introduces potter Megan Murphy to the animal’s owner, pediatrician Patrick Hunter. Megan and Patrick become unlikely guardians of an abandoned infant, and as Thanksgiving approaches, the pair contemplates making their makeshift family legitimate.

Thanksgiving on Thursday By Mary Pope Osborne   DB55024

The magic tree house takes Jack and Annie back to the Pilgrims’ first Thanksgiving celebration with the Wampanoag Indians. Preparing for the feast is harder than Annie and Jack realize and makes them even more thankful for living in modern times.

Thanksgiving poems by Myra Cohn Livingston   DB26292

A rich collection of poems of Thanksgiving by authors such as Valerie Worth and David McCord, as well as selections from Native Americans and the Bible. For grades 4-7 and older readers.

Thanksgiving prayer by Debbie Macomber and Jillian Hart   DB75671

Two romance novels. In the title story Seattle medical student Claudia meets Seth, an Alaskan businessman, but is torn between marriage in an unfamiliar environment and her potential career. In A Handful of Heaven waitress Paige and a divorced customer are in love–but both are afraid of commitment.

Wall-to-wall Thanksgiving by Kenneth Jernigan   DB44870

Ten short stories by National Federation of the Blind members focusing on how they have overcome difficulties they faced growing up and how their views on these problems changed as they grew older. The title story tells how Barbara Pierce handled a Thanksgiving celebration in England.
BARD is a web-based service that provides access to thousands of special-format books, magazines, and music scores provided by the National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped (NLS). If you need to set up a BARD account, please contact the library.

Popular Books on BARD

BARDBARD is a web-based service that provides access to thousands of special-format books, magazines, and music scores provided by the National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped (NLS). If you need to set up a BARD account, please contact the library.

Here are some of the most popular digital audio books on BARD in the last 30 days:


The Couple Next Door: a novel by Shari Lapena  DB85538

Tom Clancy Duty and Honor by Grant Blackwood and Tom Clancy DB84914

Escape Clause by John Sandford DB85774

Sting by Sandra Brown DB85376

Troublemaker by Linda Howard DB84875

Non Fiction

Harry Potter and the Cursed Child Part I & II by Jack Thorne DB85528

In Such Good Company: Eleven Years of Laughter, Mayhem, and Fun in the Sandbox by Carol Burnett  DB85597

Killing the Rising Sun: How America Vanquished World War II Japan  by Bill O’Reilly  DB85755

Good Vibrations: My Life As a Beach Boy by Mike Love  DB85547

The Perfect Horse: The Daring U.S. Mission to Rescue the Priceless Stallions Kidnapped By the Nazis  by Elizabeth Letts  DB85593

Happy Halloween!

pumpkinHappy Halloween!  We couldn’t help but look for a list of the best horror books this time of year.  Here are the top 10 best horror books of the 21st century from Goodreads.  The books had to be originally published on or after January 1, 2000 and have a rating of 75 or more by readers.  Each book is scary for different reasons.  If you like a good scare – enjoy!

NOS4A2 by Joe Hill  DB76605

World War Z:  An Oral History of the Zombie War by Max Brooks   BR21136, DB65111

House of Leaves by Mark Z. Danielewski

Horns by Joe Hill  DB70788

Heart-Shaped Box by Joe Hill  BR17064, DB64088

Let the Right One In or Let Me In by John Ajvide Lindqvist  DB71940

Doctor Sleep by Stephen King  LT10987, DB77471, BR20278

The Passage by Justin Cronin  DB71422

Bird Box by Josh Malerman  DB79311

Under the Dome by Stephen King  LT8786, BR18678, DB69804

Link to the full list:

Reading for the fun of it! Teen Read Week

Teen Read Week is under way!  The Library hopes that everyone is “reading for the fun of it!”  Below is a list of popular teen titles.  Some are recently published titles, while others are teen classics.

The Fault in our Stars by John Green (DB74112)

City of Bones by Cassandra Clare (DB67159)

The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky (DB75897, BR12551)

Eleanor and Park by Rainbow Rowell (DB76406)

The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton (BR11484, DB22433, LT11371)

Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo (DB82683)

The Darkest Part of the Forest by Holly Black (DB80479)

We Were Liars by E. Lockhart (BR20594, DB79109)

The Game of Love and Death by Martha Brockenbrough (DB83417)

The Giver by Lois Lowry (BR9626, DB37689, LT9517)

The Witch Hunter by Virginia Boecker (BR20909, DB81823)

Illuminae by Amie Kaufman (DB83004)

I am Princess X by Cherie Priest (DB82008)

Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon (DB82468)

The Ghosts of Heaven by Marcus Sedgwick (DB80603)

100 Books Everyone Should Read at Least Once

According to the users of GoodReads, there are some books that everyone should read at least once in their lifetime. You can find the list here.  It is a list of 100 books that were voted on by the users of GoodReads. The Iowa Library for the Blind has every book on that list in at least one format (digital, Braille or large print).  Most of the books the library has in multiple formats.  There are books for all kinds of readers.  Check out the list and see how many you have read and request the ones you haven’t!

Banned Books Week

bbw16-question-bubbleWhich banned book character would you want to have lunch with?

Banned Books Week, September 25th – October 1st, brings together the entire book community—libraries, 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 controversial and unpopular.  First observed in 1982, Banned Books Week reminds Americans not to take the freedom to read for granted.


Banned Books Week – September 25 – October 1st

bbw16-bubble-2If you could go back in time, which book would you give your younger self?

Banned Books Week brings together the entire book community—libraries, booksellers, publishers, journalists, teachers, and readers of all types —in shared support of the freedom to seek and to express ideas.  First observed in 1982, Banned Books Week reminds Americans not to take the freedom to read for granted.


Celebrate your  freedom to read during Banned Books Week, September 25 –  October 1

bbw16-largeThis very month, U.S. libraries of all types and sizes, in cities and towns, will acknowledge Banned Books Week September 25—October 1.  Sponsored by the American Library Association (ALA), Banned Books Week is an annual event celebrating the freedom to read and highlighting the value of open access to information. Banned Books Week brings together the entire book community—libraries, 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 controversial and unpopular.  First observed in 1982, Banned Books Week reminds Americans not to take the freedom to read for granted.  This year’s Banned Books Week slogan is “Stand Up For Your Right To Read.”

The ALA Office for Intellectual Freedom (OIF) compiles lists of challenged books as reported in the media and submitted by librarians and teachers across the country.

The top ten most challenged books of 2015 include:

  1. Looking for Alaska, by John Green
  2. Fifty Shades of Grey, by E. L. James
  3. I Am Jazz, by Jessica Herthel and Jazz Jennings
  4. Beyond Magenta: Transgender Teens Speak Out, by Susan Kuklin
  5. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time, by Mark Haddon
  6. The Holy Bible
  7. Fun Home, by Alison Bechdel
  8. Habibi, by Craig Thompson
  9. Nasreen’s Secret School: A True Story from Afghanistan, by Jeanette Winter
  10. Two Boys Kissing, by David Levithan

Below is a list of banned and/or challenged Books from the Radcliffe Publishing Course Top 100 Novels of the 20th Century.  Here are the top the top 15 classics from the list, more can be found here

Challenged Classics

  • The Great Gatsby, by F. Scott Fitzgerald
  • The Catcher in the Rye, by JD Salinger
  • The Grapes of Wrath, by John Steinbeck
  • To Kill a Mockingbird, by Harper Lee
  • The Color Purple, by Alice Walker
  • Ulysses, by James Joyce
  • Beloved, by Toni Morrison
  • 1984, by George Orwell
  • Lolita, by Vladimir Nabokov
  • Of Mice and Men, by John Steinbeck
  • Catch-22, by Joseph Heller
  • Brave New World, by Aldous Huxley
  • Animal Farm, by George Orwell
  • The Sun Also Rises, by Ernest Hemingway
  • As I Lay Dying, by William Faulkner

What Should I Read Next?

booksAre you wondering what books you should read or request next? The staff at the Iowa Library for the Blind and Physically Handicapped want to make sure you are reading the books YOU want to be reading.  Reading a book that is of actual interest to you will make the reading experience that much more enjoyable. And it is good to play a role in the books you are receiving and reading. Your request list with the library can be as long as you want it to be.  When the library staff download books to your cartridge or send you Braille or large print, they are taking books from your request list, so it is good when that list is long and provided by you.  There are different resources to help you choose what you want to read next.

You can always use the Talking Book Topics to choose what you want to read. Talking Book Topics does a good job of grouping the books into different genres and also offering a nice summary of the book to help you decide. You can send us your request list through the mail, give us call or send us an email with your picks.

The library’s online catalog ( can also help you choose what book(s) you may want to read.  Simply do a keyword or subject search for your favorite authors or subject and discover titles you may not have already read.  Or check out the “Lists” section of the catalog and see what titles in the collection the library staff have highlighted.  For example, under “Special Titles” there is a list of titles by Iowa authors, a list of Mystery Picks, etc.

There are also a few websites that could be helpful in choosing your next book:

Amazon (

GoodReads (

All Readers (

These websites do a good job of providing different lists from which to choose books or offering title suggestions that are based on a title you have entered. If you see a book on one of these sites, give us a call with the title and author and we’ll check to see if we have it and put it on your request list.  Or go to our catalog and you can search for yourself!

Remember, we want to send you the books YOU want to read!