The South African Library for the Blind Launches national footprint of Mini-Libraries

The South African Library for the Blind have now extended their services with a mini library programme, launched at selected public libraries across South Africa. Thereby extending their resources and making walk-in reading materials available to the blind and visually impaired.

The South African Library for the Blind is a Non-Profit organisation based in Grahamstown and provides free services to the Blind and Visually impaired nationwide via their websitehttp://salb.org.za/. One of their exceptional service offerings is the free delivery of audio and Braille reading materials directly to member’s homes.

Now, in addition to the main library in Grahamstown and online at http://salb.org.za/, mini-libraries are accessible at 120 local municipality libraries nationwide. The SALB currently has 120 mini-libraries located in regions such as the Eastern Cape (29), KwaZulu Natal (17), Western Cape (14), Gauteng (33), Free State (8), Northern Cape (9), North West (4), and Mpumalanga (6) and expands as far as Limpopo (2) and Zimbabwe (1). A full list of their mini-library service is available on their website.

According to the National Council of the Blind, Blindness and visual impairment makes up the largest percentage (32 %) of disabled persons in South Africa, with up to 1 million people being affected. Reading plays a fundamental role in the lives of the blind and the visually impaired, helping them to overcome daily challenges, boosting mental-wellbeing, confidence, imagination, and providing a source of delight and entertainment. Assisting with the development of social skills; the development of learning skills and providing opportunities for social contact through reading groups.

Membership of the SALB is free and the organisation is committed to making it possible for readers with visual impairment or blindness to read independently in a format most comfortable to them. The advantages of joining the SALB Mini-Libraries incorporate social interaction with other sight impaired members, participation in book discussions, book clubs, reading competitions and access to information and technology. The librarians are trained in the use of the equipment and how to assist the visually impaired. They are also able to contact the SALB on the members’ behalf for any special requests. The libraries include a text reader, a computer for access to online resources, and materials including Braille books supplied by the SA Library for the Blind (SALB).

There are two different types of Mini-Libraries;

  1. Agent Mini-library which does not have a dedicated space and advanced assistive devices but the basic equipment that contains a victor reader, Braille audio and tactile books. They serve as an intermediary between the SALB and the member; members can enrol directly with their Public libraries.
  2. Comprehensive Mini-library requires a dedicated space and contains advanced assistive devices like a computer, hardware and computer based software designed for print handicapped users. Additional devices include a document reader, victor reader for audio books, tactile, Braille and audio book formats and members can enrol directly with their Public libraries.

To learn more about the SALB Mini-Libraries please click here and to find a Mini-Library located near you, please visit their webpage here. Follow their Facebook page “SA Library for the Blind” to stay updated with new developments and news.

South African Library for the Blind – Opening the world of Literature to the Blind and visually impaired.

Please click here to download the location map of all the mini-libraries nationwide.

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