Primary Tasks

    Secondary Tasks

      IDB is offering some in person services in a responsible and cautious manner. We continue to encourage clients and patrons to reach out via phone and internet rather than coming to the building whenever possible. In order to maintain optimal staffing in all areas, our main door is unlocked and front desk is staffed Monday through Friday from 9:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m. If you are needing assistance with entry to the building between 8:00 a.m. - 9:00 p.m. or 2:00 p.m. - 4:30 p.m., please call 515-452-1335. We know that some clients are wanting to resume training and meet counselors in person while others are not ready to do so. We respect this and will work to provide the best services possible in the given circumstances. Click here to view our in person services rules and guidelines. We are still taking referrals via the phone or through our website. To make a referral, you may call 800–362–2587 or complete the referral form to contact the library, call 515-281-1323.

      New Stories

      2021 Iowa Regional 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.

      We are offering Regional Braille Challenge testing for students during a remote testing window of February 1, 2021 – February 28, 2021. Contest proctoring can be done individually or as a group in school, home, or other agreed upon setting with a proctor. Online training is available for anyone who will be proctoring.

      Any blind or low vision 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.

      Let’s make 2021 a record year for students participating in the Iowa Regional Braille Challenge!

      Registration is open until January 15, 2021. More information about the Braille Challenge and registration can be found on the Library’s Instructional Materials Center Blog


      Braille Challenge T-Shirts

      To help us celebrate the Braille Challenge and Braille literacy, we are pleased to work with Raygun this year for the Braille Challenge t-shirt. All proceeds will benefit the Friends of the Iowa Library for the Blind and Physically Handicapped and future Braille Challenges.

      All shirts are crew neck and short sleeved. Shirts are heather red with white lettering. The front of the t-shirt says in print: #brailleiowa. The back of the t-shirt says the same thing in Braille. All adult sizing is unisex and all shirts are $15.00. T-shirts will be mailed to the address you provide on the order form. Participants of the Braille Challenge will be provided with a t-shirt. Order form can be found on the IMC Blog

      Orders can be placed until February 10, 2021

      On Twitter?  Use #brailleiowa

      Zoom-Kaboom! New Program for Transition Age Youth

      Starting December 6th, the Iowa Department for the Blind is launching a new program for our transition-aged VR clients! This program, called Zoom-Kaboom, will be hosted on Zoom Sundays from 6:00 pm to 7:30 pm featuring various guest hosts who will drop some knowledge and introduce you to new activities, gadgets, fun facts, and so much more! As an added bonus, you’ll be able to spend some time hanging out with friends from all across the state! For more information, contact your VR counselor, your VR teacher, or Activities Coordinator Matt Nemmers at

      Vocational Rehabilitation Stats & Success Story

      This past quarter, our Vocational Rehabilitation Program partnered with 10 clients to successfully achieve their career goals. These 10 clients are working an average of 39 hours per week and earning an average of $22.19 per hour. While having only ten clients exit our employment program in a quarter is less than what we would expect in a typical quarter, these are not typical times. Most importantly, these statistics show our dedication to not only assist individuals in obtaining employment that aligns with their skills and interests, but also our focus on the importance of sustainable employment and financial security, which is always essential, but is crucial now more than ever. Our Business Engagement Specialist, Ashely West, has worked with our VR Counselors to gather success stories that highlight what we do as an agency and the services we provide that assist individuals to reach their career goals. Here is one of those stories:

      Vocational Rehabilitation Counselor, Rachel Miller, partnered with her client M.S. to successfully achieve her career goal. The client worked with her counselor to develop her plan and made her plan work for her. M.S. began by taking a position as a Board secretary while working to complete her degree in Public Administration. IDB provided tuition assistance. IDB also provided the client with technology services; Rachel, M.S., and the Rehabilitation Technology Specialist, Joe Goode, worked together to determine what technology would work best for her in employment, as the client gained additional hours and responsibilities within her organization. IDB provided M.S. with a Focus 40 Braille Display. She uses a braille display to take notes during meetings and advocates to her employer and coworkers to ensure things are in electronic format. M.S. obtained cane travel training to navigate independently and arranges her own transportation. These are all skills that M.S. gained through working with IDB.

      While M.S. started as the Board secretary, assisting with coordination of Board meetings. As a merger of boards became imminent, M.S. took initiative and figured out how to facilitate this merger. M.S. went from putting in 10 hours per week as a secretary to applying for and getting hired as the Executive Director within 4 years. She now earns $90,000 annually, in addition to working part-time as an Adjunct Professor for a university, earning an additional $12,600 a year. Rachel stated, "M.S. was always the one to drive her plan and never relied on me to tell her how or what to do. M.S. is driven and ambitious and asks for what she needs and wants." IDB was there to provide the training and support and M.S. provided the direction and drive to make her dreams reality.