Cozy Mystery and a Scone

Detective magnifying class with finger printsOne of the IDB Read groups has been reading cozy mysteries by H.Y. Hanna. What is a cozy mystery you ask? According to Wikipedia, “cozy mysteries, also referred to as ‘cozies’, are a subgenre of crime fiction in which sex and violence occur off stage, the detective is an amateur sleuth, and the crime and detection take place in a small, socially intimate community.”

The Oxford Tearoom Mysteries by H.Y. Hanna center around Gemma Rose and her tearoom near Oxford in England. Gemma is trying to get her newly established tearoom off the ground, but trouble and dead bodies keep getting in her way. This series comes with a fun, interesting set of characters, a pesky, entertaining cat and of course, a love interest or two. Your mouth will water as the author describes delectable scones, muffins and delicious dinners. You’ll soon want to start baking your own pastries. Well, we’ve got you covered. Below is a recipe for a classic English scone from Plated Cravings (www.platedcravings.com).

The IDB Read Cozy Mystery group meets every Monday and Wednesday from 4:00 pm – 5:00 pm via a conference call to listen to one of our volunteer narrators, Christine Mach, read live. If you would like to be a part of the group, please call the library 515.281.1323 and we will give you the conference call number.

ENGLISH SCONES RECIPE

Ingredients
• 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
• 1/4 tsp salt
• 3 1/2 tsp baking powder
• 3/4 stick cold butter
• 3 tbsp granulated sugar
• 3/4 cup milk
• 1 tsp lemon juice
• 1 tsp vanilla extract
• 1 egg beaten
Instructions

1. Preheat the oven to 400°F (200°C).
2. In a large bowl mix flour with the salt, baking powder, and sugar. Add the butter, then rub it in with your fingers until the mixture looks like fine crumbs.
3. Heat up the milk on the stove until warm, but not hot. Add the vanilla and lemon juice, then set aside for a moment. Line a baking sheet with a silicone baking mat and put it in the oven.
4. Add the milk mixture to the dry mixture and combine them quickly with a fork.
5. Scatter some flour on the work surface and tip the dough out. Dredge the dough and your hands with a little more flour, then fold the dough over 2-3 times until it’s a little smoother. Don’t overwork the dough. Pat into a round about 1.5-inch (4cm) high.
6. Use a 2 1/2 inch round cookie cutter and plunge into the dough, repeat until all the dough is used. You should get 8 scones.
7. Brush the tops with egg wash, then carefully place onto the hot baking tray.
8. Bake for 10-15 mins until risen and golden on the top. Eat just warm or cold on the day of baking generously topped with jam and clotted cream.
Notes
If freezing, freeze once cool. Defrost, then put in a low oven for a few minutes until warm.
Nutrition
Calories: 259kcal

National Volunteer Month – Every Moment Makes a Difference

April is National Volunteer Month.  Every moment our volunteers give to the Iowa Department for the Blind (IDB) and the Library makes a huge difference in so many ways.  Their willingness to share both their time and talents by volunteering with the Library says a lot.  Their willingness to give selflessly to help others speaks to both their strength and the quality of their character.

For example, in 2019, volunteers gave over 7,220 hours to IDB and the Library.  Volunteers assisted with audio production, braille production, youth programs, library circulation and more. 

Our volunteers helped us do more in 2019 than we ever could have done to ensure we positively impacted Iowans lives.  We thank our volunteers!  This statistics illustrates how much their gift of time makes such an impact in achieving our mission and goals.

Moving into 2020, our volunteers are helping us through these uncertain times through their work at home. 

Two of our volunteer narrators helped us launch a new program for the library called, IDB Read.  Patrons 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.  Mondays and Wednesdays from 4:00pm-5:00pm, you call in and listen to our narrator, Christine, 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, read a western, titled To the Far Blue Mountains by Louis L’Amour.  Please call the library at 515.281.1323 to get the conference call number for IDB Read.

Our volunteer Braillists and narrators continue to work on projects from home for both the students and patrons ensuring our patrons have the information and materials that they need.  Our Friends of the Library continue to work tirelessly on supporting the library through fundraising and support.  And the Library Consumer Advisory Committee continues their work as advocates for our library.

Thank you again to all of our volunteers who continue to help us in so many ways!

For information about how you can help check out these pages:

National Library Week: Find Your Place at the Library

National Library Week logo: Find your place at the libaryApril 19-25, 2020 is National Library Week, an annual celebration highlighting the valuable role libraries, librarians and library workers play in transforming communities and improving lives.  Our library invites all community members to find their place at the library by exploring their passions and discovering new interests through free technology, programs and services.  Even though we are can’t come together in-person, we are here to bring programs and services to you.

The library is a place where all people are welcome regardless of age, interests or background. From audiobooks and job-seeking resources to programs and technology assistance, the library has something for everyone.  Especially during these difficult times, libraries our here for everyone.

Today’s libraries strive to develop and maintain technology, programs and collections that are as diverse as the populations they serve. “Libraries have long served as trusted and treasured institutions where we can all come together, connect and learn alongside one another,” said Sarah Willeford, Library Director. “National Library Week is a perfect time for community members to check out what’s new at the library and pursue their interests and aspirations.”

First sponsored in 1958, National Library Week is a national observance sponsored by the American Library Association (ALA) and libraries of all types across the country each April.

For more information, call 515-281-1323 or visit us online at https://iowalibrary.blog/.  Listen to our April Library News Podcast and check out our YouTube Channel.

Check out these programs happening now at the library:

New D-List (Digital List Including Special Titles): Staff Picks

Are you curious about what the staff at the Iowa Library for the Blind likes to read?  Well our new D-List will give you an inside look at the library staffs’ favorites.  D-List stands for “Digital List Including Special Titles.”

This D-List is comprised of 60 books, all filled with our staffs’ all-time favorite books.  As with our staff, there is a wide variety of books included, from true crime stories to romance to mystery to historical fiction.  With a little horror and fantasy thrown in there! 

If you are interested in receiving these books, please call the library at 515.281.1323 and ask to be signed up for the Staff Picks D-List.  We will then send you a special cartridge (in addition to your circulation cartridges) loaded with our favorite books.  Once you have listened to an installment, mail it back and we’ll reload it until you have read all 60 titles!

Past D-Lists are also still available to receive on cartridge.  Just let us know which ones you would like.

  • The Great American Reads – features 100 books from the Great American Read list featured on PBS.
  • VOICE (Voices of Iowa Connecting Everyone) – features the library’s volunteer narrators and the books they have recorded for our collection.
  • Bookmark Series – if you are a fan of Hallmark movies this list is for you.

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:

Fiction

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

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.

Featuring:

  • 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

Upcoming Holiday Reminder

The weather is changing and the holidays are approaching! This is a quick reminder of holiday closings for the library and the Iowa Department for the Blind.  Watch our blog for some great book lists to help plan for your holiday reading.

Holiday Closings

  • Friday, November 11th in observance of Veterans Day
  • Thursday and Friday, November 24th and 25th
  • Monday, December 26th
  • Monday, January 2nd

IDB Introduces New Building Access Design

info-deskIf you have walked into the Iowa Department for the Blind (IDB) building recently you may have noticed that some changes are afoot. An inviting corner for Library users and visitors has been created in a re-purposed portion of the first floor employee break room/cafeteria, just inside the north door/accessible entrance. A comfortable sofa, book shelves that beckon to be explored, and some unique children’s activities are available to enjoy. Two helpful staff from the library are stationed nearby at the newly created information desk area, ready to greet visitors and assist Iowa Library for the Blind and Physically Handicapped patrons with information and circulation needs. Library patrons are now able to refill cartridges, drop off books, and use other library services more quickly. A convenient accessible iPad mounted on a stand replaces the loose leaf binder sign-in book. The west side of the cafeteria has been rearranged in proximity to the vending machines with enough space for the usual number of people using it during breaks and lunch. It’s all part of a “one point of service” concept and design that Library and other IDB staff are presenting on a trial basis.

Born of a desire to bring the Library front desk closer to patrons, the need for more efficient use of staff, and improve building security, this new public interface is being tried out in a no-cost pilot effort.

A significant change to entering the IDB building began its trial on Tuesday, November 1, 2016 when the 4th Street doors will no longer be used as a visitor entrance and will remain locked during the day. Though the door will remain available to staff and Orientation Center students using their key card, visitors will be redirected to enter the building through the north door on Watson Powell, Jr. Way. This newly designated main entrance is served by the wheelchair accessible ramp and has proven to be the entrance most visitors currently use. It will be unlocked at 8:00 a.m. as always for public access. Print and braille signage at the east door to redirect visitors to the north door and a temporary doorbell that will ring at the switchboard are designed to help with this transition.

The switchboard desk will remain where it is in the main lobby by the elevators and will allow the person staffing that desk to focus on answering and directing phone inquiries.

“The library and maintenance staff have worked hard to create a welcoming space that will help our entire agency to build community and provide better service to clients and patrons,” Department director Emily Wharton commented. “We are hopeful that this will be a stepping stone that will allow us to provide more services in a more cost effective manner. We have already been getting great ideas and suggestions.”

For more information https://blind.iowa.gov/