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Braille Transcription

The IPI Braille Division in Anamosa transcribes educational materials into braille for blind and visually impaired students. We also produce embossed braille materials in a wide range of formats. Several transcription services are available, and we have experienced certified transcribers in almost every braille code.

Use the following links to order or request a quote for braille transcription services:

  • Braille on Demand: Provides quick turnaround for small transcription projects (typically under 10 pages), exclusively for Iowa's PK-12 schools. 
  • Express Braille: Provides quick turnaround for small transcription projects (typically under 10 pages), for qualified organizations nationwide. 
  • Worksheet / Textbook Transcription: Request a quote for transcription of worksheets or textbooks, for qualified organizations nationwide.
  • Large Print Textbook Conversion: Request a quote for conversion of textbooks to large print format, for qualified organizations nationwide.


The Anamosa Braille Center was opened in 1992 with the goal of providing meaningful work opportunities for incarcerated individuals and to provide quality braille materials for blind and visually impaired students. This was achieved thanks to the dedication of several key individuals and cooperation from both the Iowa Department for the Blind and the Iowa Department of Corrections. A grant from the Library Services Advisory Council, financial assistance from the Lions Club, and resources from many other organizations provided the support needed to get the program started.

Our primary location is the Anamosa State Penitentiary, but we also have locations in other correctional facilities throughout the state. Our transcribers have the ability to keep working in the braille program if they transfer to other facilities in the Department of Corrections.

Program Structure

Incarcerated associates interested in the braille program begin with the National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped (NLS) Literary Braille Certification Course. When a trainee completes the course and becomes Literary Certified, they begin in-house braille formats training and work with the production team. Trainees also learn how to use advanced computer translation software and learn basic tactile design. Eventually, they begin assisting experienced transcribers with braille projects. We have experienced transcribers who are certified in many different braille codes, including Literary, Formatting, Proofreading, Nemeth, Music, and others.

Projects are completed by a team of people, which always includes a Lead Transcriber and a Proofreader. One or more trainees contribute as assigned by the Lead Transcriber. Working together this way creates an environment of collaboration with newer transcribers learning in a hands-on manner. Consistency, correct interpretation of guidelines, and meeting deadlines are all treated with equal importance. Dozens of experienced transcribers who are all working together is one of the biggest benefits of our program, and we are constantly looking for new ways to improve and expand our capabilities.


IPI offers several transcription services for a wide range of print materials, including large textbooks and consumables. During transcription, large projects may be sent in partial shipments so the student has access to braille immediately. Reproductions are available at any time, and many of our titles are listed in the Louis Database. We also produce Large Print Textbooks and Braille Business Cards.

In 2015, we launched our Braille on Demand service, which is a 24-hour-turn-around transcription service for K-12 educators within the State of Iowa. Qualified individuals are allowed to submit up to ten print pages for transcription per day for each student through the Braille on Demand website. Orders are processed, transcribed, and shipped to the student via UPS ground. This gives educators tremendous flexibility and helps ensure that students have the braille material they need when they need it. For more information, visit the Braille on Demand website at bod.iaprisonind.com.

A similar service called Express Braille is available to eligible educators nationwide. For more information, visit the dedicated Express Braille website at  expressbraille.iaprisonind.com.


In 2008, the Braille staff and incarcerated associates were recognized by the Iowa Corrections Association (ICA) for Outstanding Correctional Program. The criteria for this award is “a group of correctional workers or a program which has shown outstanding achievement, perseverance, dedication, and/or vision in an area of endeavor." Deputy Director Larry Brimeyer nominated the Anamosa Braille Center for this award, saying “no program better exemplifies the meaning of giving back to society than this year’s winning program.”


For more information about our Braille services, please contact Customer Service at 800-332-7922 or email ipibraille@iowa.gov.

Photo of offender transcribing materails into braille

Photo of embossed braille

Photo of offender performing braille transcription