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

January Makerspace Monday Recap and What’s Next in February

Imagine this, a room saturated with the smells of lavender, lemon, peppermint, and the sweet zest of orange. Roller-tubes were filled with grapeseed oil and essential oil to create a stress-free meditation tool. We discovered mediative techniques such as the Bear, Whale, Birthday Cake and Box Breathing. Our night ended, with a little science. Mixing and stirring cocoa powder, bees wax and coconut oil together to make lotion bars!

Coming up in February

Date: February 13th
Time: 6 – 7:30pm
Activity: “Chocolate & Art!”
Where: 524 4th Street, Des Moines, IA 50309
Online Registration

Are you curious about how to mix a little braille and chocolate together? Or do you want to learn about copper wrapped into a sculpture? Then you better sign up quick! In February, you will turn chocolate into a chocolate bar, however, this chocolate bar will be in braille! Topping off the night with Copper Art Designs.

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!

2022 IDB Virtual Book Festival on September 24th

Image of a colorful shelf of books with text below, 2022 IDB Virtual Book FestivalJoin library staff and special guests for a morning all about books and reading at the 2022 IDB Virtual Book Festival!

Saturday, September 24th from 10:00am – 12:30pm

10:00am – 11:00am:  Author Visit with Reid Forgrave, Love, Zac: Small-Town Football and the Life and Death of an American Boy

11:00am – 12:00pm:  Pick from 4 sessions all about books and reading

  • The Art of Creating an Iowa Audiobook
  • Your Reading Toolbox
  • Braille Books:  From Print to Shelf
  • Ready, Set, Adventure!  Books that Spark Storytelling

12:00pm – 12:30pm:  Be our guests as we record the Library Chat Podcast live

Join us for one or all of the sessions planned throughout the morning.

For more information and to register go to the 2022 IDB Virtual Book Festival Event Page

Questions contact the Library at 515-281-1323 or library@blind.state.ia.us

Crafting Your Story Afterschool Program

Image of a stack of booksTime to put magic into your Tuesday afternoons with friends and a story time, all with a brand-new twist. Coming this fall we will roll out our much-anticipated afterschool program.  Kicking off our first monthly theme in September, let’s celebrate “Autumn.”

Date: September 13, 2022 – May 2, 2023 [Every Tuesday of the month.]
Time: 4:15 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Where: Zoom – Virtual
Ages: All ages!
Registration Link

 A monthly theme, with 4 weekly events!

  • Week One: Crafting Corner!
  • Week two: One Week Challenge Mission!
  • Week three: Featured Guest of the Week!
  • Week four: Stirring up “Edible and Tasty Recipes” that are mixed with science!

When you sign up, once a month, your family will receive for FREE:

  • Program Supply Kit
  • Family Fun Activity Check List
  • Read a Book Challenge
  • Access to our READsquared Online Reading Program

Please reach out if you have any question!
Denise Bean, Youth Services Librarian
denise.bean@blind.state.ia.us or 515-452-1338

Recap: Summer Reading Program Week 1

Ready, Set, Adventure!
Our first week of our Summer Reading Program is off to a fantastic start!

Image of a blue dragon sniffing a flower.On Monday, we discovered that fish, snakes, and squirrels can fly… did you know that? We put our builders’ hats on and constructed birdhouses to hang in our trees.  We also made a 5-minute feather out of ribbon. We flew on the back of Hercules, an eagle, as he soared into the sky, with the help of cameras but of course.

On Wednesday, we were joined by Terry Jones, a Wildlife Rehabilitator, who took us on a tour of her back yard to visit her baby raccoon nursery and took a quick peek at her baby bunnies. Terry even introduced us to her 20-year-old horse. We ended our time together creating a very special Heart Raccoon Craft.

On Friday, Allison the 2022 Iowa Honeybee Queen stopped by for a visit. We discovered that a honeybee has 3 million hairs, the same as a squirrel. We finished up by making our very special Jiffy-Pots Bumblebee Mini Garden and enjoyed delicious pancakes in the shape of monkeys and bumblebees. Without a doubt, this week was full of making new discoveries and meeting new friends!

Coming up next week:

Around the World in a Week!

June 13th Cool Artist from Around the World

  • Claude Monet’s Water Lily Water Art
  • Kandinsky Concentric Circle Art
  • Pablo Picasso Giraffe Ruler Art
  • Cherry blossom Tree of Art

June 15th ALOHA Hawaii Awaits!

  • Hawaiian Lei

June 17th Trip to Africa!

  • African Spin Drum
  • Edible Crayons

May Makerspace Monday Recap and What’s Next = Summer Reading Program

Makerspace Monday @ The PlaygroundWe did it! The May’s Makerspace Bowl Stamping Workshop was a success! We rolled nearly 1 pound of airdry clay into what appeared to be a delicious, tasty pie crust. We smooshed and squished until finishing up with the perfect thickness and began to add our mark! This was the best part of the night; we pressed each stamp and danced each style all over the top! With the help of our cereal bowl transformed flatten clay into a bowl of its own.

This time together has come to a quiet halt but will start back up on September 12th. We will have fresh new ideas, and maybe a few of our favorites from the past.

In the meantime, our Summer Reading Program sign up is open!

Ready, Set, Adventure!Image of a blue dragon sniffing a flower.

June 6th – July 29th 
Virtually Monday, Wednesday, Friday from 1:00pm – 1:45pm

For youth (0 – 18 years old)

Online Registration

This Summer Reading Program will have 24 sensational programs full of crafts, food, science, adventure!

  • Mondays – Double Craft Mondays
  • Wednesdays – Story Prompt Wednesday
  • Fridays – Food Frenzy Fridays

Upon sign up participants will receive:

  • a TEAM Summer t-shirt personalized with your name in Braille or Large Print
  • Passes to the Blank Park Zoo
  • a 9-piece puzzle set [which by the way, if all the pieces are earned you win a grand prize]
  • Braille Uno Game cards
  • Mystery prizes you will have to wait and see

Interested in learning more don’t hesitate to ask!

Contact Denise Bean at denise.bean@blind.state.ia.us or 515-452-1338