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Libraries launch audio explainer during Hi Vis fortnight

SOMERSET Library Service has developed an audio explainer which allows visually impaired people to hear about the inclusive services that are available to them.

The audio is being launched on their website during Hi Vis fortnight (7-20 June), an awareness campaign that seeks to highlight the wonderful world of accessible reading – this year’s theme is diversity of reading.

Somerset Libraries have many initiatives to make libraries as accessible to as many people as possible – whatever their needs.

For the visually impaired, they have a large collection of audio books that can be borrowed or downloaded digitally to a phone, computer or tablet for free. They have a selection of large print copies of books and there is even a selection of children’s books in braille available at Taunton, Yeovil and Frome or by special order at other branches.

The library settings have been made autism friendly by supplying things like sensory kits, ear defenders and fidget spinners.

Anyone who is anxious about using the service can visit the Somerset Library Service website and take a virtual tour or ask a member of staff for one of their social stories, which explain all aspects of the process of going to the library – from walking through the front door to how to borrow or return a book or how to use the self-service machine.

They also have many specialist book collections to support the needs of different people including an Autism collection, a Dementia Collection and one to support those with long-term conditions and their carers.

They are part of a national scheme called ‘Reading Well’ that helps people manage their own health and wellbeing through recommended self-help books that are selected by health professionals.

If you can’t go to them, they can bring the library to you, with their home library service which is especially helpful for people who are housebound or living in long term care and their wheelchair accessible mobile library which takes the service out to the rural areas of Somerset.

Cllr David Hall, Somerset County Council member responsible for libraries, said:” Our library service really is open for everyone with a wide range of accessible services. The new audio explainer will make it even easier for people in our community to find out what is available.

“The availability of alternative formats is crucial for people who are visually impaired or cannot read standard print for any reason so that they can share a diverse range of reading and experiences.”

You can find out more at somerset.gov.uk/libraries

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