April 19, 2010
FREDERICTON (CNB) - Persons with print disabilities will have improved access to library services through a $187,000 pilot project launched today by the New Brunswick Public Library Service (NBPLS).
Library Services for All: a Pilot Service Model for People with Print Disabilities, was announced by Donald Arseneault, minister of post-secondary education, training and labour.
"Seven public libraries in the province will take part in this exciting pilot project aimed at improving access to public library services and information for persons with print disabilities," said Arseneault. "Everyone, regardless of their ability to read standard print, should be able to enjoy the vast resources available at their public library. This initiative helps increase access to knowledge and learning and is a vital part of achieving our goal of self-sufficiency by 2026."
The six-month pilot project aims to remove barriers between library resources and people who are unable to read standard print due to a variety of factors including vision loss, an inability to hold or manipulate a book, or a condition which impedes comprehension. The goal is to expand the service model to all 63 public libraries in the province following a successful pilot project.
Each participating library will offer commercial audio books, large print books and electronic resources. These resources are available to everyone, but are of particular benefit to persons with print disabilities. Each participating library will also have a new adaptive workstation equipped with various hardware and software which offers services such as the ability to magnify print text and even read text aloud.
For those who are comfortable disclosing their print disability, additional resources such as restricted audio books, descriptive videos and a variety of materials in braille and print-braille formats are available. These are provided through partnerships with the Canadian National Institute for the Blind library (CNIB) and Bibliothèque et Archives nationales du Québec.
The department recently provided a grant of $130,459 to CNIB to help maintain its specialized library services for people who are blind or partially sighted and to work with NBPLS on the new service model.
The seven public libraries piloting the new service model are:
Two additional public libraries, Le Cormoran in Saint John and La Moisson in Saint-Quentin, will offer the service in the coming months.
MEDIA CONTACTS: Thomas Lizotte, communications, Department of Post-Secondary Education, Training and Labour, 506-453-8617; Sylvie Nadeau, executive director, NBPLS 506-453-7141; Elvira Embser-Herbert, NBPLS project coordinator, Library Service for All 506-444-3693.