Be Among Friends

This week we are celebrating National Friends of Libraries Week.  Our Friends group supports our library in so many ways.  In 2016, the Friends of the Iowa Library for the Blind and Physically Handicapped, provided $11,000 to assist our library.  The funds allowed the library to purchase early literacy materials for the collection; including early reader braille and audio books, activity kits, games and more.  These funds will also be used to develop early literacy programs.  Funds were also used to purchase digital cartridges, large print titles for the collection and to fund various programs throughout the year.

In 2015, the Friends provided the funding to purchase a 3D printer for the library.  The space-3d-tactilesprinter has been used to create 3D tactiles to be used by students and patrons.  This summer, 3D tactiles were printed for an astronomy program for teens.  These included 3D models of comets, space craft, space shuttle, Mars terrain and more.  These 3D tactiles will soon be added to the library’s collection and be made available for checkout. Watch for more information soon.

For more information about the Friends of the Iowa
Library for the Blind and Physically Handicapped visit their website,


Celebrate National Friends of Libraries Week!

FriendsofBlind-Logo-BlueReversedOutThe Iowa Library for the Blind and Physically Handicapped will spend this week, October 16 – 22, celebrating its Friends of the Library group as part of the 11th annual celebration of National Friends of Libraries Week.

Our Friends of the library, The Friends of the Iowa Library for the Blind and Physically Handicapped, raises money that enables our library to move from good to great by providing funding for resources, equipment and programming throughout the year.  The Friends understand the critical importance of our library and advocates to ensure that our library gets the resources it needs to provide a wide variety of services to all ages.  The gift or their time and commitment to our library is so appreciated and it makes our library and community better.

Come and BE AMONG FRIENDS!  Join the Friends of the Iowa Library for the Blind and Physically Handicapped today.  More information can be found on their website:

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed people can change the world.  Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.” –Margaret Mead


Aids & Devices Store @ the Iowa Department for the Blind

There are a wide array of tools and devices available to help make common, everyday tasks easier for someone adjusting to vision loss.The Iowa Department for the Blind sells many of these useful assistive devices at cost to Iowans in our Aids & Devices Store. It is conveniently located off the main reception area on the first floor of our building in Des Moines. Customers can make purchases in person, by telephone, email, or through the mail.

In order to have the Aids & Devices Store open when demand is higher and provide better service to customers, store hours will be shifting slightly. Starting Monday, October 3, the store will be open from 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 noon and 12:30 pm to 3:30 pm., Monday through Friday. The store is closed on official state holidays.

Visit the Departments Aids & Devices Store page for more information:


October is National Disability Employment Awareness Month

nat-disability-employment-awareness-monthReflecting the important role disability plays in workforce diversity, this year’s National Disability Employment Awareness Month (NDEAM) theme is “#InclusionWorks.” Observed each October, NDEAM celebrates the contributions of workers with disabilities and educates about the value of a diverse workforce inclusive of their skills and talents. Visit the U.S. Department of Labor’s web site for more information and resources.

Picks from TBT July/August 2016

Here is a link to some picks from the July/Augst 2016 Talking Book Topics (TBT).

Talking Book Topics is published bimonthly in audio, large-print, and online formats by the National Library Service.  It is distributed at no cost to participants in the Library of Congress reading program for people who are blind or have a physical disability. An abridged version is distributed in braille. The annotated list is limited to titles recently added to the national collection, which contains thousands of fiction and nonfiction titles, including bestsellers, classics, biographies, romance novels, mysteries, and how-to guides.

Let the library know if you would like to receive Talking Book Topics.

Using the Library’s OPAC (Online Public Access Catalog)

The library launched a new online catalog in March of this year. It offers expanded ways to search for the books you are interested in and also offers the library staff ways to highlight different areas of the collection. Patrons can also view their own account information.  For example, what they currently have checked out or on hold.

To get to the library’s online catalog you can follow this link, or go to the Iowa Department for the Blind website ( and choose the “Library Catalog” under “Quick Links.”  Once you are at the library’s online catalog site, on the left side you will find some links to the library email, information about the library and links to the this blog, BARD and the NLS online catalog.  You will also find links to special title lists.  For example, one list is called “Adult Beach Reads.”  These lists are selections of books on a particular theme or subject the library staff has put together that can help you find new and/or different books to read.

Along the top of the page under the headline, “Iowa Library for the Blind and Physically Handicapped” are a few different options to get you started with the catalog. Signing in will allow you to view your account information, place holds, see what you have checked out and more.  To sign in you must know your User ID and your password.  If you are not sure of this information, please contact the library and we can help you!  “Start” will take you to the Simple Search screen and let you do a keyword search for a book or subject you are interested in.  You can type in an author name, part of a title or a subject and click search and a list of results will be retrieved based on your search words.  From this screen you can also select the media type (large print, Braille, or digital books) to help guide your search in the right direction.  “Search” will also let you do a Simple Search, but it also offers an Advanced Search.  An Advanced Search gives you more ways to limit your search.  For example you could search for both the title and author of a book.  You can also limit by media type with the Advanced Search.  “Lists” is a place where you can view title lists that you have created for yourself or another place to view the Special Title lists.  “My Account” is where you can see what you currently have checked out, what you have checked out in the past and what you have on your request list or on hold.  You must be signed in to view your account information.

Placing a hold on a book is probably what patrons use the online catalog for the most. Placing a book on hold is the same as requesting a book.  When you put a book on hold through the online catalog, that book will go on your request list and will be downloaded to the next cartridge you send back, or if it is a Braille or large print book, it will be sent out to you when it is available.  To place a hold on a book, search for the book you are interested in.  Once you have found what you are looking for, there will be an icon that is labeled “Hold.”  The icon looks like a piece of paper with a green arrow circling around it.  Click that icon to place the hold.  If you are not signed in, it will prompt you to sign in.  Once you are signed in, just click the “hold” button one more time.  The book is now on hold for you!  The library wants you to take an active role in choosing the books you want to read. By placing a hold through our online catalog or giving us call with some titles you want, will ensure you are reading what YOU want to!

Please don’t hesitate to call the library with any questions!