Visitors to City Library who are blind or partially sighted will soon be able to enjoy all aspects of our award winning venue with the start of a brand new service.
Reading Buddies will be launched on Wednesday 8 June at 11am on level 3 of City Library and has been designed in partnership with NEALIS (North East Accessible Library and Information Services), the RNIB, the Guide Dog Association and The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award.
At Wednesday’s launch the library’s first Reading Buddies will be unveiled as students Aiden Woof, 22, Katharine Holden, 18, and Alex Davies who is 16 years old.
Each of the volunteers has received training and a recognised qualification from the Guide Dog Association and will be using their new skills to help visitors who have visual impairments use facilities at the library including screen readers. They can also provide assistance choosing materials from a range of formats available such as MP3’s, CDs and e-books.
They have also received training in assisting customers with Your Reading Choices, an online questionnaire which points visually impaired people to the best reading format for their current needs. Aiden, Katherine and Alex will be using their new skills and experiences to count towards the Volunteering section of their Silver and Gold Duke of Edinburgh’s Awards.
Taking part in the scheme and becoming a Reading Buddy has given the new volunteers a chance to understand more about those who are visually impaired and learn new communications skills.
Tony Durcan, Newcastle City Council’s Director of Culture, Libraries & Lifelong Learning said: “It is really important that all people have equal access to reading opportunities. We are very excited about this new Reading Buddies scheme, and think it will make a real difference to blind and partially sighted readers. And we really hope that as well as helping existing readers, it will encourage new people to use our services”
The idea behind Reading Buddies came from the NEALIS project which aims at improving library, information and reading services to blind and partially sighted people throughout North East England. It is a wide ranging partnership project across a variety of organisations including 12 public library authorities.
Reading Buddies will be launched as part of the RNIB ‘Make a Noise in Libraries Fortnight’ which is a national campaign to encourage visually impaired people to continue reading.
For more information about Reading Buddies please phone City Library on 0191 2774100.
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