Pilot project increases accessibility of public library collections for persons with print disabilities12 December 2012
BATHURST (GNB) – New Brunswickers with print disabilities may now borrow alternative format collections such as specialized audio books and Braille books from the Smurfit-Stone Public Library in Bathurst. The pilot project was launched by Post-Secondary Education, Training and Labour Minister Danny Soucy.
"Through this project, the Smurfit-Stone Public Library will pilot a model for all public libraries in the province to improve services for people with print disabilities," said Soucy. "This service and the partnership with CNIB provides a one-stop access point to an expansive collection, which is enhancing the life of New Brunswickers."
CNIB is the current name for what had been known as the Canadian National Institute for the Blind.
The new service is made possible through a partnership between the provincial government and the CNIB Library Partners Program. The Department of Post-Secondary Education, Training and Labour provided CNIB with a $75,000 grant in 2012 to give New Brunswickers with print disabilities direct access to its specialized collections.
The Smurfit-Stone Public Library is also providing access to an adaptive workstation equipped with assistive technologies such as screen reading software and text magnification tools to help make its print and electronic resources accessible to persons with a vision impairment, physical disability or learning disability.
"This partnership is a significant step toward reducing barriers, increasing opportunities and ensuring an estimated 75,000 New Brunswickers with print disabilities have equitable access to information just like any other citizen," said Lui Greco, director of government relations with the CNIB. "Individuals who are living with a print disability will have access to more than 80,000 alternative format books, magazines and newspapers from the CNIB library collection in a range of formats, including digital audio, Braille and e-text."
This project builds on a pilot project from 2010 that gave nine public libraries access to CNIB's collection through a mail service. In this phase, resources are available directly through the library.
The provincial government also established a partnership with Bibliothèque et Archives nationales du Québec (Service québécois du livre adapté) in Montreal where New Brunswickers with print disabilities have access to their alternative format collections through a mail service.
Bibliothèque et Archives nationales du Québec (Service québécois du livre adapté) means, library and national Archives of Quebec (Quebec adapted book service).
● New Brunswick Public Library Service