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Mini libraries for the visually impaired

Written by Kgaogelo Letsebe

The Western Cape government has established 27 mini libraries, inside existing public libraries in rural areas, to ensure that visually impaired community members have access to the resources they need.

Western Cape MEC for Cultural Affairs and Sport, Anroux Marais, during the opening of the 27 mini libraries.The programme is being run by Western Cape MEC  for Cultural Affairs and Sport Anroux Marais, Executive Mayor Grant Riddles and the South African Library for the Blind (SANCB), which provides the database for the programme.

The SANCB, an agency of the Department of Sport, Arts and Culture, renders a library and information service to visually impaired and print-handicapped readers.

At the recent opening of the mini library at Riversdale Public Library, MEC Marais said the facility will be equipped with screen reading software that provides text and images as speech (voice) or Braille output, and reading-assistive technology, which enables the user to see text and hear it read aloud at the same time.

“This is part of our cultural affairs and sports efforts to ensure inclusivity across the province. The mini library also enables those who have dyslexia, other disabilities or limited literacy skills to access resources in formats that make it easier for them to benefit and enjoy literature content,” she said.

According to SANCB, there are over 724 000 people in South Africa who have a vision impairment.