Primary Tasks

    Secondary Tasks

      For information regarding visting Iowa Department for the Blind visit our In Person Guidelines. 

      Click here to view our in person services rules and guidelines.

      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 515-281-1333.

      New Stories

      Construction on Building Ramp starting October 11th

      The work on our accessible ramp on the Watson Powell side of the building will begin on Monday, October 11th. Starting on Monday, October 11th this will no longer be a functioning entrance or exit for our building. The door that leads into the mailroom on the west side of the building will act as our temporary entrance while the ramp work is being completed. Members of the Library Team will staff a desk in the mailroom area between 9:00am – 2:00pm, Monday – Friday, just as they do now, to assist patrons and clients and accept deliveries.

      Street parking will not be available in front of our building on the Watson Powell and the ADA parking meter will be moved toward the west away from the construction.

      We apologize for the inconvenience, but we are happy that we will soon have a new ramp that will serve us well for many years to come. We anticipate the project will be complete by the end of November and will provide updates as they become available.

      IDB Thanks Legislature and Governor for SFY22 Appropriation

      The Iowa Department for the Blind wishes to express our deep gratitude to Governor Reynolds and the General assembly for providing a SFY22 Appropriation of $2,780,724. This will enable us to put a seventh Independent Living Teacher into service; reducing wait times for clients and windshield time for current teachers. It will also allow us to continue our Young Adult Transition Program into the 2021-22 school year. This program assists high school students who have completed their academic goals but need additional training to complete their IEP goals and move on to post-secondary education or or employment.

      Director Emily Wharton stated: "We just can't thank the Governor and Legislators enough for their willingness to invest in blind Iowans. They understand the financial and human benefits of getting blind people off the couch and into careers where they can contribute to Iowa's economy. This appropriation respects the dignity of older Iowans who have lost their vision by providing the tools they need to remain in their homes and enjoy their retirement in their communities."

      IDB would also like to extend our thanks to stakeholders who shared their support of IDB's programs and services throughout this process including the Governor's Olmstead Taskforce, the State Independent Living Council, the IDB Independent Living Advisory Council,, members of the National Federation of the Blind of Iowa, members of the Iowa Council of the United Blind, and other groups and individuals.

      Iowa Library for the Blind and Print Disabled was the Library of Congress' Library of the Year

      IDB Library Named NLS Regional Library of the Year

      The Iowa Department for the Blind is incredibly pleased to share that the Iowa Library for the Blind and Print Disabled, a division of the Iowa Department for the Blind, has been named 2020-2021 Regional Library of the Year by the National Library Service for the Blind and Print Disabled at the Library of Congress. Our library provides reading materials in braille, audio, large print, and other alternative formats to Iowans of all ages who cannot read standard print. We also provide instructional materials in all alternative formats to pre-K12 students in Iowa schools through a grant from the Iowa Department of Education. 

      Once again, during a time of great challenge and uncertainty, our library embraced the challenges, kept services going, and even created new programs. Our library did not miss a day of sending out books, even during the early days of the pandemic. Our Instructional Materials Center ensured that all orders from schools for materials were filled in as timely a manner as possible to make sure that students struggling with online learning were not further set back by lack of textbooks and worksheets. We held online trainings for para-educators on braille, access technology, and library ordering that served over 30 para educators and provided a stipend to defer the cost of participation.  We created a new program called IDB Reads where narrators read and discussed books with patrons over the phone to help reduce isolation and create community. We took Maker Space Mondays and STEM and Stories Saturdays online. We have sent out materials and presented the programs live and via YouTube to the youth and families monthly. 

      As IDB Director, Emily Wharton, stated: “I’ve been telling our Legislature, the Governor, and everyone who would listen how fantastic our library is and about all the wonderful things they are doing to empower blind Iowans of all ages, especially the youth. It is truly gratifying to see their hard work and dedication recognized by NLS.” Library Director, Sarah Willeford, shared: “I want to thank our entire team for their creativity and teamwork. Your passion for braille literacy, providing timely and abundant reading material for all patrons, willingness to fight to make sure students get high-quality educational materials, and ability to adapt to change continue to give me joy and energy.”  The letter from NLS is below. To learn more about library services, visit


      Staff at the Iowa library for the Blind honored for their creative efforts to expand services amid pandemic for expanding services during the pandemic, the Iowa Library for the Blind and Print Disabled won the 2020–2021 Regional Library of the Year Award.

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