Service Learning at the Iowa Department for the Blind
Briah reading
How do I get started?

Step 1:  Find out what you will be reading. Attached to your email acceptance to the program was a list of books to choose from. As soon as you have made a decision about which book to pursue you can contact Karen Schweitzer  the Librarian of Audio Production for the Iowa Department for the Blind to let her know what book you have chosen.  Her email is or you may call the toll-free (800)362-2587 number or her direct line at: 515-281-1241.

Step 2: 
The IDB will mail a copy of the book to you, but you may want to get your hands on the book even earlier so you can put in some good rehearsal time before that first visit.  Check out the holdings at the Iowa State Library and the Ames Public Library.

Step 3:
Once you have the book you can contact  Tim West, Digital Recording Specialist to arrange your first appointment.  Tim responds to email [], but if you are trying to set up a time to record, it may be easier to do complete that task by phone to avoid the back and forth that can happen when trying to make an appointment.  You can call the Iowa Department for the Blind at their toll free number: 1-800-362-2587 and ask that your call be directed to Tim West or you can call directly to his line:  1-515-281-1360.  Tim prefers that people call to schedule a week or two in advance, though it is okay to call to ask if there is time sooner if you happen to have an opening in your schedule.  Remember, their regular operating hours are 8-5 M-F; if you need to schedule outside those times, you'll need to plan ahead with Tim West and appreciate any flexibility he can offer.

Step 4: Be sure to keep that first appointment.  If your plans go awry do be in contact with Tim beforehand to let him know.

Step 5: While you are in Des Moines you may want to set up the rest of your appointments; take your planner with you.

At any point in the process, feel free to contact Dr. Slagell for advice or assistance.

How do I get to the facility?

The Iowa Dept for the Blind is located in Downtown Des Moines, at 524 4th Street.  It is just a couple blocks south of the Wells-Fargo Arena and Convention Center so you can follow signs off of I-235 as though you were heading there.  If you have trouble give Tim a call at: 1-515-281-1360 or speak to the receptionist at 1-800-362-2587.

1: Take the 3RD ST exit toward 5TH AVE. 0.1 miles

2: Turn SLIGHT LEFT onto 3RD ST. 0.5 miles

3: Turn RIGHT onto GRAND AVE. <0.1 miles

4: Turn RIGHT onto 4TH ST. <0.1 miles

5: End at Iowa Department for the Blind:  524 4th St, Des Moines, IA 50309

Map Quest says that the Total Est. Time is 41 minutes and the Total Est. Distance from ISU campus is 37.18 miles
You can do your own MapQuest request from your departure address to the Iowa Department for the Blind at the above address.

There are parking garages at 4th and Grand and also at 5th and Watson-Powell where you can park (see map below).  You can have your parking ticket validated at the Iowa Department for the Blind so be sure to take it in with you.  When you enter the building there is a receptionist who can direct you to the Digital Recording Studio.  Let them know you have an appointment with Tim West.

Iowa Department of the Blind Entrance Info

What will I find once I am there?

Friendly people to help you get started.  A state of the art recording studio. Satisfaction of a job well done.

engineer studio

To find out more about the Iowa Department for the Blind and other ways to become involved, visit their website []