Thousands of books online for print disabled

Choice of reading material has just been enhanced for Australians with vision impairment or a print disability following the launch of an online catalogue of 26,000 audio books and hundreds of newspapers and magazines.

Above: Vision Australia National Library Manager Tony Iezzi introducing the service’s new online catalogue with Vision Australia Community Engagement Librarian Joshua Stavert demonstrating use on an Apple iPad.

By Natasha Egan

Australians with vision impairment or other print disability now have free access to tens of thousands of audio books and hundreds of newspapers and magazines following the launch of a new online service from Vision Australia.

The Vision Australia Information Library Service (VAILS) online catalogue, which was launched by Victoria’s Minister for Disability Services and Reform Mary Wooldridge at Doncaster Library on Tuesday, contains approximately 26,000 audio books and 300 newspapers and magazines.

VAILS National Manager Tony Iezzi said library members can now access specially prepared reading material that can be read by any print disabled person using suitable software and technology. 

“Our titles use the latest technologies to enable people with a print disability to browse through a book, magazine or newspaper and easily use a table of contents, in much the same way as a sighted reader,” Mr Iezzi said.

VAILS is a free national library service for people with a print disability, which includes vision impairment, perceptual disability, amputees and people with chronic arthritis or quadriplegia.

It currently has over 19,000 members nation-wide, 68 per cent of whom are aged over 70. 

The membership also allows for carers or family members to access services on the member’s behalf.

Vision Australia also supports streamlining membership for groups by partnering with organisations, such as aged care facilities, and includes training, DAISY players and centralised communication.

Anyone can browse the catalogue via any internet connected device but only members can download the content, which is done simply by clicking download now.

If members don’t have the appropriate software or technology to enjoy the material, such as a DAISY player or mobile device with a suitable app, they can hire the equipment from Vision Australia, Mr Iezzi said.

Many of the titles in the online catalogue can also be accessed at local public libraries around Australia.

Due to requests from clients Mr Iezzi said they have been working on an app for the Apple iPad. 

They had a breakthrough in development two weeks ago and VAILS expects to release its own purpose built app in three or four months, he said.

The most popular apps for mobile devices for people with a print disability to access reading matieral are Read2Go for Apple devices and Darwin Reader for Android devices, Mr Iezzi said.

Above: (L to R) Vision Australia General Manager Accessible Information Solutions Michael Simpson, Victoria’s Minister for Disability Services and Reform Mary Wooldridge and City of Manningham Mayor Jennifer Yang, at Tuesday’s launch of the online catalogue

Speaking at the launch, Ms Wooldridge (pictured) thanked Vision Australia for its commitment and dedication to supporting and empowering people who are blind, have low vision or a print disability.

“The work they do makes a real difference to the lives of people who are blind or have low vision, because they build people’s capacity to have choice and control over their lives and live independently in the community,” Ms Wooldridge said.

Click the following to access the catalogue: Vision Australia’s Online Catalogue

For informaiton on joining the library click here: Vision Australia Information Library Service

Tags: print-disability, vision-australia, vision-australia-information-library-service, vision-impairment,

1 thought on “Thousands of books online for print disabled

  1. This is great! We are always looking for new apps or things we can use to help those that are disabled. One of the best things we have found is the outandabout app — it basically lets you search areas and locations to see if they are accessible-friendly.

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