Freedom of Access to Libraries and Information

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2002 National Disabled Members' Conference
4 July 2002

This Conference notes that despite the fact that visually impaired and deaf people pay for library services through their council taxes many are unable to access the services provided. In order to resolve this problem we call for:

1)Local authorities to maintain expanding collections of audio, large print titles and subtitled videos;

2)Operation of a reservations and inter-lending service for titles in alternative formats, including those available to the voluntary sector;

3)Local authorities to subscribe readily on behalf of blind users to national agencies such as the National Library for the Blind, the Royal National Institute for the Blind Talking Books Service and the Talking Newspaper Association of the United Kingdom;

4)Encouragement of the use by libraries of the Reveal Database, of materials in alternative formats as soon as it goes live in 2003;

5)Libraries to make sure that their computers include access technology of visually impaired users;

6)Support for the Copyright (Visually Impaired) Bill so that libraries can take full advantage of the Joint Industry Guidelines drawn up by the Publishers’ Licensing Society and other licensing holders on the translation of materials into alternative formats.

We call on the National Disabled Members’ Group to work with the Local Government Service Group and appropriate voluntary organisations to make sure that libraries fully meet the needs of visually impaired people.