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Accessible Formats from Your Local Library

by Paul Nisbet

on Fri Jul 16, 2010

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Forbes Smith, who is coordinating a working group looking at provision of accessible formats in East Dunbartonshire, emailed recently to say that East Dunbartonshire Library Service now has a service for providing downloadable audiobooks. So far they have over 560 titles available for immediate download onto PC, iPod or mp3 player and Forbes says they are adding 30 titles a week. Forbes says he signed up and then within half an hour of returning to his base, he had downloaded an audio book novel. There are an extensive range of materials available including lecture materials for university students.

To find out more, go to the East Dunbartonshire online library site, click on My Account, then on Audiobook Downloads.

Forbes' email prompted me to ask if other library services are doing the same thing, so I've just spent a few happy hours googling and exploring the online library catalogues in all 32 local authorities. I couldn't find many that have downloadable audio books, but almost all of them have audio books on cassette and CD, and also Large Print books.

South Ayrshire has downloadable 'eReads' (eBooks) as well as audio and Large Print, although they are Adobe ePUB format which is OK for readers with a physical impairment who need the book on screen, but not so good for people with visual impairment or dyslexia because the maximum font size is quite small and you can't read the book with text-to-speech software.

I've made up a table with the contact details and we'll add it to the Finding Books page on the Books for All web site.

So, when looking for books in accessible formats, don't forget your local library service!

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