Summer Reading program Report of the Week!

Cat carriying books with text Imagine Your StoryHere at our Youth Library with all of our library friends has been a blast of electric fun!

In the first week of our Summer Reading Program we explored the weather and met with a real storm spotter Scott who taught us a few tricks in predicting the weather! We also made pinwheels, and learned all about what happens when you put soap in the microwave and so much more!

In the second week, our library friends Raced into Space with Dan Chibnall! Dan made space come alive with excitement! To top it all off in a twinkling star fashion we explored the sun, which by the way is a star, and discovered how craters form on the moon!

We also had a great time on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 1:00pm listening to Bob White, a volunteer narrator, read from the book Bunnicula by James Howe.  Feel free to join us and listen to the story during IDB Read Kids.  The sky is the limit on all the fun this Summer Reading Program has in store for everyone!

Join us next week for our Animal Virtual Events.  We are going to have a roaring good time!

  • June 29th:  Pet Rock Activity and Recipe Fun “Dog Chow”
  • July 1st:  Pine Cone Bird Feeder and Feather Bead Necklace Frenzy
  • July 6th:  Jellyfish, Sharks and Amazon Rain Stick Activity

To see the full Summer schedule checkout the Summer Reading Program Blog Page.

You still have time to be a part of this summer sensation!  Register Today

Hope to see you soon!

Denise Bean, Youth Services Librarian

April 25th S.O.A.R. Saturday Cancelled: Check out Books for Kids

Due to health concerns and our desire to make sure we keep everyone healthy and safe, we will be cancelling our S.O.A.R. Saturday on April 25, 2020.  The library will also cancel its extended hours on Saturday, April 25th form 10:00am – 2:0pm. Please continue to watch our blog and the Iowa Department for the Blind website, for updates.

Books for Kids Program

During this time the Books for Kids program is a great way to keep kids reading!  It is designed to provide kids daily access to books throughout the year.  We want to motivate kids to help develop a love of reading, spark the imagination and provide tools for future success in school and beyond.

The program provides at least five Braille, print/Braille, large print and/or audio books each month to participants.  It allows for the child to choose the books they want in as many formats as they would like to receive.  The books can be sent to the child’s home, school and/or other addresses.  Check out the Books for Kids Page for more information and the registration form.

Join Us Next Week for IDB Read

Join us next week as we begin IDB Read.  Call in and listen to one of our wonderful volunteer narrators read live on the phone, followed by a short chat about the book.

  • Mondays and Wednesdays from 4:00pm-5:00pm, you call in and listen to our narrator, Christine Mach, read a cozy mystery. The first one is titled A Scone to Die For by H.Y. Hanna.
  • Tuesdays and Thursdays from 10:00am – 11:00 am, you can call in and listen to our narrator, Bob White, read a western, titled Sackett’s Land by Louis L’Amour.

Please call the library at 515.281.1323 to get the conference call number for IDB Read.

We look forward to reading with you!

Special Edition of Library News March 2020

Greeting Readers!   We hope this finds everyone safe and healthy. The Library is dedicated to your safety and well-being, as well as to the safety and well-being of our employees who are serving you!  Although we are asking the public not to come to the Iowa Department for the Blind building, library staff are continuing to work (some in the building, some at home) and will be providing services through all avenues as best we can such as mail, email, BARD and phone calls.

We are also offering some alternative programs that you can participate in from your own home.

IDB Read.

With IDB Read you can call in and listen to one of our wonderful volunteer narrators read live on the phone, followed by a short chat about the book. IDB Read will start the week of March 30th.

  • Mondays and Wednesdays from 4:00pm-5:00pm, you call in and listen to our narrator, Christine Mach, read a cozy mystery. The first one is titled A Scone to Die For by H.Y. Hanna.
  • Tuesdays and Thursdays from 10:00am – 11:00 am, you can call in and listen to our narrator, Bob White, read a western, titled Sackett’s Land by Louis L’Amour.

Please call the library at 515.281.1323 to get the conference call number for IDB Read. We look forward to reading with you!

Tech Time with Tyler

Wednesdays from 8:00am-11:00am you can call Tyler Swett, Accessible Media Specialist, and get your tech questions answered.  The phone number to call is 515.452.1343.

Braille Bits Online.

Monday and Wednesday at 2:00 pm. starting March 30th. It will be conducted over Zoom, an online meeting platform that is very easy to use. Join us twice a week for 45 minutes as we listen to a Braille Bits podcast and have a fun and lively conversations surrounding all things Braille. Please contact Denise Bean at 515.452.1338 for more information or to register. You can also register by completing this registration form

While our building is closed to visitors, we hope that you will stay connected with the library through these additional programs. We hope that we can bring a little distraction and some happiness during this uncertain time. If you have any questions, please call the library at 515.281.1323. Stay safe, stay connected and happy reading!


2019 Iowa Regional Braille Challenge

BC 2019_Iowa_Dot T-shirtOur Regional Braille Challenge is held the last Saturday in January each year—January 26th for 2019. It will take place at the Iowa Department for the Blind. More information and registration forms will be available soon!  Watch our Braille Challenge page and postings on this blog for up-to-date information.

See our Instructional Materials Blog for more information

What Is the Braille Challenge?

The Braille Challenge is the only academic competition of its kind in North America for students who are blind or visually impaired. Braille Institute developed the Braille Challenge to motivate students to practice and hone their braille literacy skills, which are essential to academic and employment success.

Any blind or visually impaired student in grades 1 – 12 who can read and write braille is eligible to participate in the Braille Challenge. All Contestants are divided into five categories and tested on fundamental braille skills such as reading comprehension, spelling, speed and accuracy, proofreading, and charts and graphs. Contests are proctored by volunteer Teachers of the Visually Impaired and scored locally by volunteer transcribers, based on national guidelines.

All students can compete in the preliminary Braille Challenge events, which are held from January through the end of March throughout the United States and Canada, but only the top 50 students (10 in each category) with the highest scores are invited to Los Angeles for the final round – two days of competition, camaraderie and fun!

For more information, please visit

Contest Age Groups

  • Apprentice—1st and 2nd grades
  • Freshman—3rd and 4th grades
  • Sophomore—5th and 6th grades
  • Junior Varsity—7th, 8th and 9th grades
  • Varsity—10th, 11th and 12th grades

Taking A Contest That Is Below A Student’s Grade Level

Only students who take the preliminary contest in contracted braille that corresponds to their age-appropriate academic grade level will be eligible to be invited to the Finals. However, to encourage full inclusion and maximum participation in the preliminary round, a student may take any level of contest. Also, the Apprentice preliminary contest is offered in uncontracted braille and also can be taken by students of any age.

Link for sample tests:

iBraille App

The iBraille App is a free app created to bring braille and digital literacy together. Through the app, using an iPad and a refreshable braille display, students can practice and hone their braille literacy skills anywhere, anytime! Visit

Please encourage your students to join in the Braille Challenge on January 26th!!

LEAP Transition Resource Fair

The Iowa Department for the Blind (IDB) and the Iowa City Community School District present a resource fair for students K-12, parents, teachers, and service providers featuring exhibitors, informative sessions, and family activities. The fair offers information about services and resources available to assist low vision and blind students navigate their school careers and prepare for post-secondary education and/or employment.


  • Information sessions:
    • Session 1 — 10:00-11:00 am
      “Introduction to IDB Services – Vocational Rehabilitation, the Orientation Center, the Iowa Library for the Blind and Physically Handicapped, the Library’s Instructional Materials Center, and the Aids & Devices Store” –  Learn what services are offered by the Iowa Department for the Blind and how they can help low vision and blind transition-age students during their school years.
      “Converting Text to Audio —  How to Scan Books”  with Enrique Mejia, Rehabilitation Technology Specialist
      Blind and low vision students starting college may suddenly realize they no longer have a TVI to take care of ordering their accessible study materials for them. The responsibility of being prepared for classes falls primarily on students themselves. They need to have the skills to find and get access to information. One important skill is the ability to scan materials. This session will cover just a few of the tools, inexpensive and sometimes free, that are available to students.
    • 11:00 am – Exhibits open until 3:00 pm
    • Session 2 — 11:10 am – 12:00 pm
      “Early Intervention in Low Vision and Blind Students Lives” with Julie Aufdenkamp, Transition Specialist
      This session will address the crucial question of:  “What should the expectations be for children who are blind or low vision?”
    • 12:00-1:15 pm  Lunch (you may bring your own or find options nearby in the area),  exhibits remain open
    • Session 3 — 1:15 pm – 2:00 pm
      Vocational Rehabilitation – “Today’s Learners Become Tomorrow’s Earners” with Julie Aufdenkamp,  Transition Specialist
      “Vocational Rehabilitation from the Iowa Department for the Blind doesn’t start until my child/student graduates from high school… right?” Wrong! Session participants will learn what VR is and why early connections are important.
    • Session 4 — 2:15- 3:00 pm
      The Orientation Center – “Nonvisual Skills and Independence” with Nami Wallace, Orientation Center Instructor
      An in-depth look at the Orientation Center, it’s philosophy of learning, what classes are offered, the use of learning shades, and how attending the Center fits into a student’s overall development.
  • Exhibitors and resource tables focusing on transition services, tech vendors, advocacy groups

Where:  The Commons and Room 118, The Kirkwood Regional Center at the University of Iowa, 2301 Oakdale Blvd, Coralville, IA  Link to Google maps and directions

Free and open to the public, students of all ages welcome

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)

White Cane Safety Day 2016

White Cane Safety Day, also known as Blind Americans Equality Day, is an annual, national observance that recognizes the achievements of blind Americans and the importance of the white cane as the basic tool of mobility and symbol of independence for the blind. It is also a day to remind all citizens of the laws granting the right of way to blind cane travelers. In 1964, the United States Congress authorized the President of the United States to proclaim October 15 of each year as “White Cane Safety Day”. In fact, White Cane Safety Day is now celebrated around the world in many countries on the same date.

White Cane Safety Day 2016 falls on a Saturday this year. The Iowa Department for the Blind (IDB) encourages all blind and low vision Iowans and their supporters to join in this fun and meaningful celebration of White Cane Safety Day 2016 by holding local events and by seeking proclamations of the date, October 15, 2016, from local governments.Links to template files for requesting proclamations from municipal and county governments and links that provide background information about this significant observance may be found here.

Teen Read Week – “Read for the fun of it!”

trw16logoHelp us celebrate Teen Read Week and “Read for the fun of it!”  Teen Read Week runs October 9 – 15, 2016.  It is a literacy initiative held annually in October to encourage teens to be regular readers and library users.  It was created by the Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA) and this year’s theme is “Read for the fun of it!”  The Iowa Library for the Blind and Physically Handicapped has a wide selection of young adult titles in multiple formats and we want our teens to “Read for the fun of it!”

Teens, what have been your favorite titles this year? Please share with us!

We would love to hear from everybody, even if you are not a teen.  What book did you like when you were a teen?

You can also join the conversation on Twitter with #TRW16.

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.