Newtongrange library’s visually impaired group

Newtongrange Library
Newtongrange Library

NEWTONGRANGE Library will take part in a nationwide drive to improve access to books for blind and partially sighted readers on Thursday June 13.

‘Make a Noise in Libraries’ is a campaign, now in its twelfth year, to encourage more libraries to provide accessible books and reading materials for the growing number of people with sight loss, and to celebrate those that go that extra mile.

Newtongrange Library will this month launch its first visually impaired reading group. As part of its inaugural meeting, the group will hear from a representative of the Royal National Institute of Blind People Scotland’s transcription centre.

Kris Wallace will explain the process by which the charity produces books in formats such as audio and braille. Currently only around seven per cent of books published in the UK ever make it into any accessible formats.

Kris said: “We will describe how we choose a book to transcribe, what the copyright position is with regard to the author and publisher, how we select the most appropriate professional actor to narrate the audio version, and what the actual transcription process, itself, entails.

“We hope the reading group will be interested in hearing how we’ve made a range of Scottish authors - from James Kelman to Janice Galloway and Al Kennedy - accessible to people with sight loss, to ensure they aren’t

deprived of the same reading pleasure as their sighted peers.”

A spokesperson for Midlothian Council said: “This is an exciting opportunity for Midlothian Libraries to work alongside RNIB Scotland to highlight and improve library services available for visually impaired people in our communities.

“Midlothian recently joined the VIRGIL project (Visually Impaired Reading Groups in Libraries) which enables us to share resources with some other Scottish library authorities, giving visually impaired people here access to a wider variety of reading material.”