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Information Center for people with visual disabilities opens at Kirovograd Library!

26/07/2011

Access to information for everyone is an essential part of a democratic society.

Those were the opening words of Peace Corps Volunteer Karin Jones’ comments on the new Information Center for people with visual disabilities, which opened at the Kirovograd Oblast Library this afternoon.

The center, which features two computer workstations with adaptive technology programs specifically for people with visual disabilities, is intended to empower people who may otherwise find it difficult to use the modern-day technology that connects the world. The center also has sixty new audio books and a set of occupational therapy equipment for the development of psychomotor skills of people with visual impairments.

In addition to creating the center, the library also partnered with local non-governmental organizations to conduct training for librarians on protocol for working with visually impaired library patrons and how to use the adaptive technology on the computers in the center.

All of these activities are part of a project called “At the library you can touch the world”, which hopes to not only provide methods of accessing information for people with visual disabilities, but to increase the comfort level of both librarians and patrons and the number of visually impaired patrons who use the library’s services. Another project goal is to increase awareness of, and acceptance of, people with disabilities in Kirovograd.

The library partnered with the Ukrainian Society of the Blind (UTOS) of Kirovograd. UTOS provides employment, medical and social protection for disabled people who live in the Kirovograd region. The project also had the support of The Kirovograd Regional Assembly of Disabled Persons, The Kirovograd Regional Union of People With Disabilities, The Association of Organizations of Disabled of Ukraine, and The Kirovohrad Regional Public Organization of Mothers of disabled children – “Mother’s Heart”.

However, the opening of the center is not the end of the project – it is just the beginning! The librarians at the main/largest libraries in Kirovograd, as well as participating NGOs and their members,  are being trained on how to assist and communicate with adults and children with visual disabilities. The access center will provide ongoing access to the library and the library’s materials for all visually impaired patrons who visit. In addition, parents/guardians of visually impaired children will also receive training in how to further their child’s education and life-skill training at home through ongoing consultations with librarians and UTOS.

We are so glad to have this center and look forward to welcoming a more diverse group of patrons to the library because of it!

 

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