CILIPS Chartered Institute of Library and Information Professionals in Scotland
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Seeing libraries differently with the RNIB

Category: Blog, News, Professional Development

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Recently CILIP Scotland, CILIP Ireland and CILIP Cymru Wales met with Lara Marshall, Libraries Engagement Manager at the Royal National Institute for Blind People (RNIB). We discussed ways in which all Four Nations of CILIP can complement the activities of Lara and her team whilst widening awareness of the work that the RNIB already does to increase accessibility within libraries for blind and partially sighted people. Please read below to hear from Lara and discover the ways in which the RNIB can support your library in enhancing accessibility. Keep your eyes peeled for an extra exciting online learning partnership with the RNIB, centred on libraries, AI and accessible technology, coming in 2024!

‘My job is to empower library services to provide the best service they can for BPS (blind and partially sighted) users,’ says Lara. ‘I visit libraries all over the UK – public, academic, research and more – and I am developing a comprehensive offer from the RNIB to all libraries. The starting point is to enrich and support things already in place. It makes sense to partner up with the work that’s already been done and build on successes. Libraries already provide accessible stock in the form of e-audio, e-books, physical talking books and large print or are able to signpost to places where it’s available. Visit the RNIB Library Services website by clicking here.

RNIB can also offer support in terms of training, up-to-date information and advice, access audits, partnership working, advice around accessible technology (including AI!) and peer-to-peer support groups.

Within public libraries there is the Vision & Print Impaired People’s Promise, so this often forms the basis of where I start with support, but it’s not exhaustive and I’m always open to new and exciting ways to improve accessibility.

I also work very closely with Share The Vision, who have been doing amazing work and supply lots of resources to libraries to ensure accessibility for blind and partially sighted people. We can build on this by visiting and advising your library on accessibility for general use, event use, signage, lighting, etc. RNIB will produce an official list of recommendations, and there is potential to offer accreditation as a ‘Visibly Better Building’.

Any questions – please contact me at Thank you!’

For more information on how CILIPS supports accessibility for both library professionals and our users, please visit our evolving resource hub.

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