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Pioneering facilities for the visually challenged

M. Lavanya

Photo: M. Vedhan

LANDMARK:The Braille section of the library. —

The Braille section of the Anna Centenary Library to be opened soon will help people with visual impairment access books.

“This is one of the first public libraries in India to have these facilities introduced for the visually challenged, particularly with reference to books in Tamil,” said G. Arivoli, Director of Public Libraries.

“We have secured five Braille Displays, that will cover around 1,000 books in both Tamil and English initially,” he added. Using the equipment, the reader can go through the text, line by line, once the soft copy in the required format has been loaded to the instrument.

“The introduction of the Braille Display in Tamil is of great value. It will help save space, paper and energy,” said R. Jayachandran, associate professor in Tamil, Presidency College, and a person with visual impairment.

“The equipment in the Braille section cost a total of Rs. 15 lakh. We also have plans to procure the OpenBook software that converts printed pages into an electronic text format for the visually challenged.” said Mr. Arivoli.

The computer-supported audio facilities give audio lessons for students from class I to Bachelors level. Close to 370 such CDs have been secured. The library will also be equipped with two new Braille embossers that render text as Braille. The library also has a collection of Braille books in Tamil and English and there are plans to provide better access to journals and newspapersOfficials also said ramps would be provided to enable easy wheelchair access to persons with disability.

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