“Taking Six Steps” to reading Improving public library services for people with sight loss in the UK through staff development and reader engagement

FREEMAN, Mark (2015) “Taking Six Steps” to reading Improving public library services for people with sight loss in the UK through staff development and reader engagement. Paper presented at: IFLA WLIC 2015 - Cape Town, South Africa in Session 92 - Continuing Professional Development and Workplace Learning with Public Libraries.

Bookmark or cite this item: http://library.ifla.org/id/eprint/1293
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Language: English (Original)
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Abstract

“Taking Six Steps” to reading Improving public library services for people with sight loss in the UK through staff development and reader engagement

For five years, the "Six Steps" promise has offered people with sight loss a simple standard of service from their public library that is common in over 200 authorities across the UK. Working in partnership with the Society of Chief Librarians and a number of independent charities, Share the Vision (a partnership of public, academic and third sector library organisations) has developed training, web-based tools and raised awareness of the needs of print disabled people as well as providing library staff with a place to seek advice and guidance. In the absence of a government funded national library service for print disabled people, we have taken the initiative in bringing together expertise from a wide range of organisations to provide a support network which offers resources and expertise to our public libraries. This paper seeks to examine how staff meet the challenges of dealing with a community group which may be small but which has very specific needs. It also looks at how a community whose lives can be dramatically enhanced by access to reading, information and learning can be more successfully served by better understanding of their needs through increased staff awareness. Throughout 2013-14, we have offered, in partnership with The Network, workshops designed to help frontline staff deal with the challenges of delivering public library services to blind or partially sighted people. In the coming year, Share the Vision will be working with the Royal National Institute of Blind People to commission externally led research which will help us to craft our services for the future. With this research in hand, we will develop new training resources focusing in on the use of new technologies and make these freely available to our public library service colleagues across the UK and beyond. We will build on tools we and RNIB have already developed and provide training which is specifically aimed at libraries and library staff and which will enable us to improve access to libraries for print disabled people.

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