Library for the blind in ZJL, since its birth in May 2003, has won praises from all sectors of society for its commitment to the public, equality, and services for the visual impaired.
To effectively use the resources of public libraries in the province and better serve the visually impaired readers, Zhejiang Library established "Zhejiang Information Accessibility Service Center" (hereinafter referred to as "Service Center for the Visual Impaired") in October 2011. It is located on the first floor of Zhejiang Library (directly accessed through a blind track from the entrance), covering an area of about 350 square meters. There are seven function areas, including reading area, multi-functional area, Braille book production area, and audio book production area, coupled with advanced equipment and quiet environment for readers’ convenience.
By far, the Service Center for the Visual Impaired has more than 1,000 readers with library cards, serving more than 60,000 readers. In 2012, Zhejiang Library, Disabled Persons' Federation, Association for the Blind, the Special Education School, and other public libraries in the province jointly developed the Zhejiang Information Accessibility Service Alliance for the Visual Impaired. In 2014, the alliance platform was launched, making Zhejiang Library’s blind resources accessible to the visually impaired across the province, and promoting the information accessibility service of Zhejiang Province.
1. Abundant Braille resources. The Service Center for the Visual Impaired currently has more than 5,400 Braille books, including more than 1,300 self-made Braille documents, over 10,000 audio books, 11 types of journals, and nearly 1T of electronic resources for the blind, covering medicine, culture, art, science, education, and other disciplines.
2. Advanced equipment. The Service Center for the Visual Impaired of Zhejiang Library is equipped with special computers, voice software, magnifier software, displayers, printers, scanners and duplicators for the blind, one-key smart readers, visual aids, and book-listening machines, making it far easier for people with different vision conditions and learning demands to enjoy the library services.
3. Personalized services. To meet the needs of blind readers, Zhejiang Library has provided various personalized services, such as free application, free consultation, telephone appointment, visiting service, delivery to home, inter-library loan across the province, face-to-face reading, and customized braille books.
4. Diverse reader activities. According to the interests and expertise of blind readers, and focusing on social frontiers and cultural hotspots, Zhejiang Library has launched various trainings for blind readers on computer, smartphone, book-listening machine, Mandarin, English and the like, coupled with promotion activities such as the reading club, essay-soliciting for reading, recitation, vocal lecture, and the celebrity forum. Besides, the advanced multimedia devices of the Service Center for the Visual Impaired have greatly facilitated the monthly activities such as volunteers’ on-site oral movie for the blind, accessible movie broadcasting, and other large-scale celebration activities at major festivals.
5. A strong volunteer team for the blind. Zhejiang Library has launched "Touching Paradise - Zhejiang Library Reading Aid Project", a project specially for the blind, established a volunteer team, and engage people from all sectors in various cultural activities to help the visual impaired. Currently, there are more than 500 registered volunteers and 20 teams. This project has won many awards for its remarkable social effects.