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

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.

The Peek-a-Box Program is Starting Soon!

Peek-A-Box Logo, blue polka dot with a stack of books.Peek-a-Box is a new program presented to you by the Iowa Library for the Blind and Print Disabled.  Beginning in January, Peek-a-Box will offer patrons, ages 18 years and older, a program to receive a monthly box of books and goodies just for them.  Each month patrons in the program will receive a special box filled with books – audio or braille or large print – and goodies centered around a theme. 

Patrons who opt for audiobooks will receive a cartridge with 10-20 books dedicated to the theme of the month.  Patrons who choose to get braille or large print will receive 1-3 books.  Braille and large print books will be mailed separately, apart from the Peek-a-Box.  Patrons should return the cartridges and books when finished with them and keep the goodies for themselves.  Books to borrow and goodies to keep!

To kick things off in January, we are starting with the theme All Iowa Reads! 

If you are interested in subscribing to Peek-a-Boxplease complete this registration form or contact the library at 515.281.1323 and we can help get you subscribed.  By subscribing to Peek-a-Box, you are subscribing to 12 months of Peek-a-Boxes, but you can cancel your subscription at any time by contacting the library.

Sign up today!

December Makerspace Monday Recap and What’s Next in January

If you enjoy sugar and sprinkles, well this night was made for you! In celebration of this wonderful time of year it only seemed like the natural fit to pull out our favorite holiday library traditions! While the music filled the air, we were busy as elves mixing scents of cookies while making Cinnamon Salt Dough Ornaments, Sleigh Bells Wreaths, and finally Twirled Wrapped Snowballs. For the families unable to attend you received a package delivered right to your doorstep! Thank you to all that signed up in this past year!

January's Makerspace Monday

Time to get cozy in January! Feeling stressed? Short fused, or just need a boost. If you can say yes to even one of these descriptions on this list, you may want to sign up for the January Makerspace Cozy Workshop. To start off the year 2023 in calm fashion, you will learn techniques that will immediately turn stress and distress into resilience and refresh! Promise.

Date: January 9th, 2023!
Time: 6 – 7:30pm
Activity: “Cozy Workshop Includes – Lotion Bars and Sugar Scrubs!”
Where: 524 4th 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 denise.bean@blind.state.ia.us or 515-452-1338 

Check out the Makerspace Mondays page!