Media Release by Senator the Hon Jan McLucas

Making Canada Bay’s libraries more accessible for people with print disability

Joint Media Release with:

  • John Murphy MP, Member for Reid

Blind and vision impaired residents of Canada Bay can now fully participate in the library experience as a result of a Gillard Government initiative that is providing digital devices to public libraries across Australia.

The Parliamentary Secretary for Disabilities and Carers, Senator Jan McLucas, and Member for Reid, John Murphy, today visited Concord Library to test drive the new technology that is giving people with print disability in the Canada Bay community greater access to library materials.

The City of Canada Bay Library Services has received five digital playback devices under the Australian Government’s $1 million Increasing Accessibility Library Initiative – with another five to be delivered in August 2011.

“Ten new playback devices is a great addition to our local library network and I’m sure local residents with a vision impairment or disability will take full advantage of the improved access to the library’s content,” Mr Murphy said.

“It’s great to have our local library staff receive training from Vision Australia to ensure they can help locals to use the new equipment and access the available resources.”

“Congratulations to The City of Canada Bay Library Services for their success under the government’s Library Initiative.”

The digital playback devices called Daisy Players, which are available for loan through Concord and Five Dock Library, work by ‘reading’ digital materials such as books and newspapers, giving people with print disability increased access to the vast range of digital material available through public libraries.

Senator McLucas said the public libraries play a central and valued role in providing opportunities for all Australians to access resources, services and information.

“Having access to material in a range of alternative formats plays a vital role in increasing the independence of people with print disability and enhancing their engagement and participation with the broader community.”

“The playback devices mean people with print disability will be able to benefit from more of the material held in public libraries across the nation.”

Almost 20 per cent of the Australian population are unable to read standard print information, this includes people who are blind, have low vision or people with a physical or learning disability.

“Many people who have done with out reading for years are suddenly being reintroduced to the joy of books,” Senator McLucas said.

The Increasing Accessibility Library Initiative delivers on yet another Gillard Labor Government election commitment and is part of an $11 million accessibility package to support the National Disability Strategy.