Cultural Heritage

A UKOLN Blog for the Cultural Heritage sector (now archived)

Reading Sight web site launched

Posted by Brian Kelly on 28th September 2009

Over the last few years there has been an emphasis on inclusion within public services for people with physical and/or sensory impairments. The Disability Discrimination Act (DDA) was brought in to support this, but public services such as archives, libraries and museums also need information and advice on how to achieve inclusion effectively. Sometimes funding is needed (for modifying buildings, say) but sometimes it’s more about staff training, different furniture layouts, more readable signage, accessible Web sites and creative thinking on activities.

Having done some work in this area in the past, I was pleased to come across the recently-launched Reading Sight Web site, which aims to help library staff support blind and partially sighted readers. It’s aimed at a range of people – not only frontline library staff, but also teachers and voluntary workers. This is a joint initiative led by the Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB) and the Society of Chief Librarians, and is supported by Share the Vision and the Ulverscroft Foundation.

I think this site is well worth a look, and although aimed at libraries, some of the information could apply just as much to museums and archives. For a start, there’s information on Web site accessibility, creating an accessible print document, and adapting the library building for accessibility – this is all useful information and clearly laid out.

So what else is there? Well, looking around the site, I found not only guidance for libraries on setting up reading groups to include people with sight loss, but also information on the RNIB’s own Telephone Book Clubs – which I didn’t know about. And there are a couple of 30 minute briefings (based on Word document downloads) you can use to run training sessions for your staff. Under Helping the Reader there is a case study section, and the site also includes a forum where people can add their own ideas, ask questions and start discussions.

Some areas don’t have a lot of content at the moment – there is only one case study – but the idea is that it will build up over time using input from the forum.  So if you are doing something interesting, then join the forum and let other people know what you are up to. In that way they’ll be able to build up the site into a really useful resource.

Posted in Accessibility, Libraries | Comments Off