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Library in China improves services for people with vision disabilities

blind person reading the braille book

The Shanxi Library in Taiyuan, Shanxi province, China, is improving services people who are blind or have low vision by providing audiobooks and playing movies accompanied by real-time narration.

Ren Xiangshu, a librarian in the reading room for blind people, regularly serves as a movie narrator while “showing” films. Ren said the audiences enjoy the process very much because her vivid narration triggers their imagination.

Improvements in its facilities and its capacity to provide more tailor-made services mean the library can do more to help blind people enjoy reading, said Wang Jianjun, curator of the library.

“I started borrowing books from the library in 2009. Now, the library is already an inalienable part of my life,” said Zhao Tongjin, a patron who has congenital cataracts and low vision in his right eye.

“The library purchased a set of Encyclopedia on Chinese History. I spent two years reading it. I wanted to buy a set of General History of China, but it was expensive, so the library helped me realize my dream.”

Since it is not convenient for visually impaired people to go out, the library started book delivery services in 2005. It takes one call to have Braille or audiobooks delivered to their doorsteps, said Ren.

Wu Dongbing, 53, is another regular library of the library who gradually lost his vision due to an eye disease when he was 40.

Currently, the library has nearly 5,000 Braille books and periodicals, over 600 audiobooks, and about 800 movies for people who are blind or have low vision and 700 audio players.

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