IRIS LENDING LIBRARY FOR THE BLIND, INC. is a lending library run solely by volunteers who lend out books for free to legally visually-impaired and blind handicapped individuals. The books are mailed free of charge to and from individuals living throughout the United States and Canada. When a patron has completed reading and returned the book to The Library the next book on the patron’s “Want List” is sent in like manner.
The purpose and mission of IRIS LENDING LIBRARY FOR THE BLIND, INC. is to minister to people who are visually-impaired and blind by providing Biblically-based Christian books in Braille, Large Print, Audio, and other specialized formats that reflect The Good News revealed through Christ Jesus, our Savior, for the equipping of all The Saints in response to The Great commission and Commandment for all Christians found in The Bible’s Book of Mark chapter 16 verse 15 and chapter 12, verses 30 and 31. These verses in The Bible compel us to share The Good News about the Love of God revealed through His promised Son, Jesus Christ our Messiah, by loving The Lord our God with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength AND to love our neighbor as our self. In Matthew 25:40 Jewsus shared how one can show their love for God by loving, or serving, others.
IRIS LENDING LIBRARY FOR THE BLIND, INC. has been established in response to the ceasing of operations of two, nonprofit organizations that operated and served the Visually Impaired and Blind for the past 75 and 80 years respectively: The Gospel Association for The Blind’s Library and The Lutheran Library for The Blind at Holy Cross Lutheran Church, Jacksonville, Florida. Dedicated volunteers have established the joint operations into a new, independent, not for profit organization—IRIS LENDING LIBRARY FOR THE BLIND, INC.
The name, “IRIS” was derived from the words “I Read I See”. The motto, “I Read I See,” came to mind as a volunteer was praying one night. Then, the iris of the eye immediately came to mind followed by a flashback of the rich, rainbow of color, large and beautiful, Iris bed that graced her family’s long, farmyard fence adjacent to a green pasture lined with shadows from the woods in the background--a beautiful sight to behold with the sun’s serene rays highlighting God’s picturesque creation. It appeared a befitting name for the new beginning of the conjoined Christian libraries as both were quite different in various aspects and yet shared a rich, common identity, as well. Then, the words from the song, “Amazing Grace,” “…was blind but now I see” inspired the thought “I Read I See…Jesus”—that’s the beauty our patrons see when they read books from IRIS LENDING LIBRARY FOR THE BLIND, INC.
Immediately after, an idea for a logo came to mind. Some changes were made along the way but the basic concepts remained intact. The logo is of an iris of the eye that is highlighted by use of a rich blue hue containing a white cross in the 1:00 position. The cross is illuminated with a white starburst at the cross’s intersection to reflect both the sparkle in one’s eye as well as the light of the cross. Inside is a black pupil with the image of a white, open book. At the base of the left page of the open book are the Braille letters “i” and “r” printed in black. At the base of the right page are the Braille letters “i” and “s” printed in black. Springing up from the center, inner spine of the book between the two, open pages is the stem and two symmetrical leaves of a single, purple Iris rising up out of the book reaching towards the cross to represent the more one reads The Library’s books the more they see, or are drawn to, Christ Jesus. Above and below the iris of the eye are two thin, black, arched lines forming the outer shape of an eye. Above the top, arched line are the words, “IRIS LENDING LIBRARY.” Below the bottom, arched line are the words, “FOR THE BLIND, INC.”
In the year 2016 two monumental things happened concerning literature formats for the visually impaired and blind community: 1) a new English Braille code was enacted worldwide and 2) library Cassette Tape audio formatted books were replaced by National Library Services (NLS) Digital Cartridge audio formatted books. Many libraries serving the visually-impaired and blind community were not able to afford, nor manage, the necessary changes and opted to cease operations. With much determination and a lot of prayer, together with the help of God, IRIS LENDING LIBRARY FOR THE BLIND, INC. plans to hedge forward in fulfilling The Great Commission by serving and equipping the visually impaired and blind community with Bible-based, Christian themed books in formats they can read that nurtures their faith and brings joy and purpose to their lives.
If you would like to be a part of our team of volunteers we encourage you to contact us for ways you can participate. The library is very diverse in operations and requires a wide variety of skills and knowledge from very basic to technical. We look forward to your contacting us and sharing your God-given talent to assist us in fulfilling this purpose in serving the visually impaired and blind with Christian books.