If you ever wondered about Learning Ally, this post is for you!

Learning Ally is a non-profit organization that is dedicated to helping students with print disabilities get the books they need to learn.   Learning Ally provides audio books, including textbooks, to those students are eligible.  Patrons of the Iowa Library for the Blind and Physically Handicapped who are in kindergarten through high school are eligible for Learning Ally services through the Library. 

In order to receive free Learning Ally services through the Iowa Library for the Blind and Physically Handicapped, an individual must be an active patron of our library.  Meaning they are actively checking out books in any format (braille, large print or audio) throughout the year.  Library Services Application

The individual must also complete a Learning Ally application.  This is a four page application that is divided into six sections. 

Sections One and Two must be completed in their entirety.  These sections include basic applicant and parental information. 

Section Three is the payer information.  This section is completed by the Iowa Library for the Blind and can be left blank by the applicant. 

Section Four is the Disability Type and Certification.  This section is important.  It determines how the applicant is eligible for services.  There are three options of certification.  Option One is a Certifier Statement from a qualified professional in the field of disability services, special education, medicine or psychology.  Option Two involves Bookshare.  If the applicant is a member of Bookshare, Learning Ally will confirm their membership and use that as the certification.  If this option is checked, the applicant must be a member of Bookshare, not the teacher or institution.  Option Three is verification of readership of a regional library of the National Library Service.  This would be the Iowa Library for the Blind and Physically Handicapped.  If Option Three is chosen, please circle it and a staff member from the Library will complete it.

Section Five is the Membership Agreement and Copyright Acknowledgement page.  This section must be signed by the applicant or a parent/guardian if the applicant is under 18 years old.

Section Six is the Billing Information and can be left blank by the applicant.

Once all sections are appropriately completed, you may email the application to library@blind.state.ia.us or mail to: Iowa Library for the Blind and Physically Handicapped, 524 4th St Des Moines, IA 50309

If the application is not completed correctly or more information is needed, the library will contact you and may delay the processing of the application. 

After the Library has received and processed the completed application, it is forwarded on to Learning Ally.  Learning Ally will then contact the applicant via email (to the email addresses provided on the application) with a welcome message, user name, password and other information necessary for the applicant to access Learning Ally books.

If you have further questions about Learning Ally and the process, please contact Leslie Heinzler at 515-452-1329 or leslie.heinzler@blind.state.ia.us.