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Digital library empowers students with vision disabilities in Ireland

Blind person using audio book player listening to audio book on his computer.

For the first time ever, students with vision disabilities will now be able to access more than 500,000 academic books and resources in their preferred formats, reports Irish Examiner.

The National Council for the Blind Ireland (NCBI) launched Bookshare Ireland, the country’s largest accessible digital library, providing access to resources in digital braille, PDF, Word, and DAISY audio and images. This new library means that students with vision disabilities, including dyslexia, or any physical limitation in holding a printed book or text, will no longer be disadvantaged, said Chris White, chief executive of NCBI.

“We are acutely aware that studying in third level with sight loss is a huge challenge; obtaining books and information in accessible formats should not be an additional barrier to achievement for students with a visual impairment in higher and further education,” said Mr White.

Available on Bookshare.ie, the accessible library will allow students to fully embrace third level and further education, he added. Dyslexia Association of Ireland chief executive Rosie Bissett said: “Given one in 10 people have some form of dyslexia, we are delighted to be part of the Bookshare.ie initiative. Bookshare is available to all blind or vision-impaired individuals living in Ireland, as well as to students with dyslexia enrolled in higher or further education.

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