THE Isle of Wight Library Service is boosting its range of resources for visually impaired and blind people.
PenFriend devices, have been introduced at Ryde and Freshwater libraries as part of the annual Make a Noise in Libraries campaign, organised by the Royal National Institute for the Blind to improve access to library services.
The devices allow talking books to have audio labels attached to them, which can be used by visually impaired people to help them select the talking books they want to borrow.
When the PenFriend device is run across the spine of a talking book, it reads out details of the book’s title, author and content, just like reading the cover of a book. Volunteers are helping the library service by recording details on the PenFriends.
They are being specially programmed for use with council talking library books, so people with their own devices will need to use the ones provided at Ryde and Freshwater, rather than their own.
A special event took place at Ryde Library for demonstrations of the devices and for people to try them out.
There are plans to extend the PenFriend service to Newport, Cowes, Sandown and Ventnor libraries.
The library service already provides services for partially sighted and blind customers in the form of large-print books and spoken word CDs, as well as talking books that are free to download from the library service website on www.iwight.com/thelibrary
A reading group for blind and visually impaired residents is already running at Freshwater Library and new members are always welcome.