2021 Library of Congress National Book Festival – Create Your Own Festival

Open a book, open the world logoFrom The Library of Congress: 

The 2021 Library of Congress National Book Festival will invite audiences to create their own festival experiences from programs in a range of formats and an expanded schedule over 10 days from Sept. 17 through Sept. 26. The spectacular lineup includes authors, poets, and illustrators from America and around the world. 

“This year, we are inviting Americans to create their own National Book Festival experiences by offering free, high quality programs in a variety of formats that they can mix and match according to their interests and schedules,” said Librarian of Congress Carla Hayden. “Our stellar cast of authors, conversations on timely topics, and new ways to engage will allow everyone to enjoy a personalized National Book Festival how, when and where they want to experience it.” 

The theme of this year’s festival, “Open a Book, Open the World,” will be the starting point for many conversations with authors, often discussing how their own books open up new worlds for their readers. 

“Open a Book, Open the World: The Library of Congress National Book Festival,” hosted by LeVar Burton, will premiere Sunday, Sept. 12, at 6 p.m. ET (check local listings) on PBS, PBS.org, and the PBS Video app. The program will offer a timely celebration of the power of books and discussions on some of the big topics of the day. 

For the first time this year, NPR will be producing and distributing a series of podcast interviews with festival authors. The Library is also collaborating with PBS Books, a national programming initiative produced by Detroit Public Television, to create a national public television special during the festival. More details about the podcast and broadcast lineups and dates will be announced soon. 

There is so much happening this year!  Check out the National Book Festival Page 

Coming Soon: September’s Makerspace Monday

Get your creative juices flowing and join your friends at the Library for an incredible night of relaxing pottery mastery. You will learn how to sculpt your very own clay pottery into works of art. Discover how to make designer mini pots, plant vases, owls, snake pots, and whatever else you can dream up in just one night!

Time: 6:00pm – 7:30pm
Date: September 13, 2021
Iowa Library for the Blind and Print Disabled, 524 Fourth Street, Des Moines, IA 50309
All Ages!
Online Registration

If you are not able to make it to our Pottery Workshop in person, no problem, we can mail an activity kit and email a video link for you to do at home.  Just complete the online registration form and choose “mail activity kit and video link”.

A special thanks to Pam Hide from “The Block” who has generously agreed to give our pottery treasures a firing glaze!

Please contact Denise Bean if you have any questions, denise.bean@blind.state.ia.us or 515.452.1338

*This event is free and limited spots are available

Library News Podcast: September 2021

Join library staff for September’s Library News podcast which features information about the library’s upcoming youth library programs, the ten most challenged books of 2020 for this month’s Banned Books Week, information about Library Card Sign Up Month, news about STEM activity kits, and information about ongoing library events and programs.

Did you know? Celebrating Libraries!

Library Card Sign-Up Month with picture of Marley DiasSince 1987, Library Card Sign-up Month has been held each September to mark the beginning of the school year. During the month, the American Library Association (ALA) and libraries unite together in a national effort to ensure every child signs up for their own library card. 

Did you know? 

  • The Library of Congress is the largest library in the world, with more than 167 million items on approximately 838 miles of bookshelves, which would span roughly the distance from The Library of Congress in Washington, D.C., to Cape Canaveral, Florida.
  • A growing body of evidence suggests that students’ academic success is linked to library usage, including improved student retention and an enhanced academic experience.  
  • Libraries play a critical role in the happiness of Americans. Communities that spend more on libraries, parks and highways are shown to support the well-being of community members.
    • Patrick Flavin. State government public goods spending and citizens’ quality of life.  Social Science Research, 2018; DOI: 10.1016/j.ssresearch.2018.11.004  
  • Americans go to public libraries more often than they go to the movies.  
  • There are more public libraries than Starbucks in the U.S. – a total of 16,568, including branches. Nearly 100% of public libraries provide Wi-Fi and have no-fee access to computers. There are 16,568 total libraries including branches in the U.S. per 2016 PLS survey 

Celebrate Library Card Sign Up Month!  Check out our Library Blog “Turning the Pages” to learn more about what our library has to offer. 

It’s Library Card Sign Up Month!

September is library card sign-up month with picture of Marley DiasFrom the American Library Association

Since 1987, Library Card Sign-up Month has been held each September to mark the beginning of the school year. During the month, the American Library Association (ALA) and libraries unite together in a national effort to ensure every child signs up for their own library card. 

Marley Dias, author, executive producer and founder of #1000BlackGirlBooks, is taking on a new role as honorary chair of Library Card Sign-Up Month. This September, Dias will join the ALA and libraries nationwide in promoting the power of a library card. 

As honorary chair, Dias will remind the public that signing up for a library card provides access to technology, multimedia content and educational programming that transforms lives and strengthens communities. “A library card is the ticket you need to travel across the globe. It allows you to experience stories that can connect you to diverse and empowering experiences,” said Dias. 

“We are thrilled Marley Dias has agreed to serve as Library Card Sign-Up Month honorary chair,” said ALA President Julius C. Jefferson, Jr. “Marley’s ongoing work as an advocate for literacy and diversity mirror the efforts of libraries to ensure their communities have access to inclusive books and collections that inspire cultural understanding.” 

Whether you use a library card online or in person, it gives students the tools to succeed in school and provides people of all ages and backgrounds the opportunities to pursue their dreams and be their best selves. From family storytimes to homework help, libraries play an essential role in supporting the value of lifelong learning through education. 

Dias is the witty and purpose-driven 16-year-old founder of #1000BlackGirlBooks and author of “Marley Dias Gets It Done: And So Can You!“ (DB90058) #1000BlackGirlBooks is an international movement to collect and donate children’s books that feature Black girls as the lead character. Dias launched the #1000BlackGirlBooks drive in November 2015 with the help of GrassROOTS Community Foundation. The goal was to collect 1,000 books by February 2016, and Dias has collected more than 13,000 books to-date. 

In 2018, Dias was recognized by TIME as one of the 25 most influential teens and was also identified as the youngest member of the Forbes 30 under 30 list to date. Dias is also the executive producer of Netflix’s “Bookmarks: Celebrating Black Voices,” which is currently nominated for an NAACP Image Award in the Outstanding Children’s Programs category. Dias’ #1000BlackGirlBooks resources guide can found here

For more information, please visit ala.org/librarycardsignup

For more information on how to get your library card for the Iowa Library for the Blind and Print Disabled visit our “Get a Library Card ” page


A Poem: Reading…

Library staff member, Jodi, wrote a great poem about reading that we wanted to share.  Jodi has written some fabulous poems honoring our volunteers, staff and library.  Thank you, Jodi, for sharing your talents with us!


When you’re feeling tired and stressed,
at the end of a long hard day.
Grab a romance or a biography,
And take some time away.

Lose yourself inside of a book,
and forget about all your worries.
So many titles to choose from,
Lots of wonderful stories.

Wander back in time,
With historical fiction.
They are so intriguing,
It may be your new addiction.

Take a trip to the wild wild west,
You are sure to enjoy.
Isn’t it every little boy’s dream,
to become a cowboy.

Or how about a mystery,
of conspiracy and crime.
You won’t want to stop reading,
It will occupy your time.

Maybe a light-hearted fairy tale,
With a princess and a unicorn
A little girl to imagine
Of the crown she’d adorn.

No matter what the story is,
or where the plotline leads.
You’ll open the door to so many things,
When you pick up a book and read.

— Jodi Aldini-Zepeda