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Speak up for accessible libraries

Wednesday, June 17, 2015


Stockton-on-Tees Borough Council is asking residents affected by sight loss and their families and friends to take part in a nationwide survey about library services.

The Speak Up survey follows national ‘Make a Noise in Libraries’ fortnight (1 – 14 June), an annual event organised by The Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB), charity Share the Vision, and supported by the Society of Chief Librarians and the Scottish Library and Information Council.

During the fortnight, libraries across the United Kingdom focussed on accessible reading through audio books, large print and activities to help people with sight loss to continue to read.

The survey asks people with sight loss and their families and friends say what they value about libraries and reading and how library services can be improved. It helps public libraries and their charity partners to provide the best services for the future.

The Speak Up survey will be available during the whole of June and will be used to help update the Six Steps Promise, a pledge to provide accessible library services for blind and partially sighted people.

More than 250 library services, including Stockton-on-Tees Borough Council, are signed up to the Six Steps Promise through the Society of Chief Librarians and the Scottish Library and Information Council.

Councillor Jim Beall, Stockton Council’s Cabinet Member for Health and Adult Services, said: “Libraries offer much more than just books and we want to make sure that ours are an accessible and useful resource for all residents in the Borough. The results of the Speak Up survey will help to shape the future of library services for people affected by sight loss and their families and friends. I would encourage people to take the opportunity to complete it and share their views.”

Councillor Norma Wilburn, Cabinet Member for Arts, Leisure and Culture, said: “This is an excellent example of our commitment to provide maximum opportunities so everyone, especially vulnerable adults, has a better future, and to continually develop our services to meet the needs of our all of our residents.”

Chair of Share the Vision, Mark Freeman, added: “Public libraries are a really important source of reading, information and activities for people with sight loss. Every library signed up to the Six Steps Promise has collections of large print books, audio materials and access to online information. With our partners we are committed to improving services even more and we need help from blind or partially sighted people or their families to help us provide what’s needed for the future.”

To complete the Speak Up survey, visit https://www.surveymonkey.com/s/manil

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