Hi I’m Tony Iezzi, I’m the manager at VAILS. Before I speak about the project I’d just like to say how happy I am to be here today. I last came to NZ in 2007 to present a paper at the LIANZA Conference (Library and Information Association of New Zealand Aotearoa) and I had such a pleasant experience. Not only were my NZ colleagues warm and welcoming, but the food and wine was sensational! – and I hope to get some more of it on this visit. Focus sentence: This project is about how we can share the joy of reading and ideas with the print disability community to share the pleasure, the same literature, the same life long learning possibilities and enjoyment as the sighted majority that public libraries serve so well. Does anyone not know what print disability is? We’re going to cover this vibrant and exciting area in this session.
For the sighted community we have a whole range of activities & programs. I have run activities on bookmobiles in Broadmeadows and Kilmore - Romsey, run internet training sessions libraries, developed adult activities programs and even been Spot the dog – That’s had it’s challenges!! Kids scared & disappointed @ loss of innocence, and others cuddle and kick. But for the print disabled we do very little. But we could do a lot more by working together.
Why are we are collaborating together. To increase access To help people who can’t have the joy of reading, the pleasure of discovery, the chance to be exposed to ideas that challenge us, that encourage us to think, that helps with literacy levels in the community. Why? Because reading opens up our minds to all these things and more. The possibility of fuller participation in life.
Keep referring back to the positive things we can all do. Emphasis the BIG point
Joseph Cullen, Eastern Regional Libraries Project Steering Committee Lorraine Seeger, Eastern Regional Libraries Project Steering Committee Carolyn Macvean, Goldfields Library Corporation Project Steering Committee Anita Catoggio, Yarra Plenty Regional Library Service Project Steering Committee Georgina Earl Whitehorse Manningham Regional Library Corporation Project Steering Committee & Project Team Tony Iezzi, VAILS Acting National Library Manager Project Owner Lucy Irons, VAILS DAISY Training Coordinator Project Manager Mary Gregor, Yarra Plenty Regional Library Service Project Team Janet Nolan, Eastern Regional Libraries Project Team Pam Howard, Goldfields Library Corporation Project Team Chris Bolland, VAILS Information Access Librarian Project Team Noriko Kuchi, VAILS Reader Services Project Team Gael Vincent, VAILS Collection Services Project Team Heather Kjoller, Vision Australia Marketing Project Team Denise Pellow, Vision Australia Marketing Project Team Kate Gniel, Vision Australia Marketing Project Team
Our most enduring legacy from the partnership is the Ringwood Audio Book Club. It is continuing and has added another member, with another one pending. There are 5 people altogether, and it has made a real difference to their lives. Dorothy whose vision impairment came about through acquired brain injury has gained a new confidence to move around in the community. Brendan, blind since his teens and always very independent, has shared his confidence with Dorothy and has gained new friends from his relationship with Dorothy&apos;s family. Therese, our very first Daisy recipient has found a release for her enormous intellect. Amazing since she was raised in an institution, deprived of schooling due to being labelled &apos;a moron&apos; (which was the actual word used on her papers). She has accquired the confidence to move on to other projects and a recent contact with her friend indicates that her world is opening up in leaps and bounds. Gillian, coping with macular degeneration and chronic deafness has bonded with Dorothy and Brendan and they are a great trio. I have not met the fifth member but I am sure he too will benefit from the bonds they are building. The Croydon Bookchat group tried to include them in their monthly meetings, but because of the group&apos;s life experiences they were happier to meet separately at Ringwood. They do come to library events especially author talks which they thoroughly enjoy. More feedback: All the patrons who have been issued with Daisy players have been very happy with them, never a complaint about &quot;too hard to use&quot;. Some who were a little dubious and kept their tape players as a fallback now use the daisy exclusively and have abandoned their old players completely.
Up to 4 million Australians are affected by a print disability or condition that inhibits their ability to read standard print. 63% of people who are blind or have low vision and want work, are unemployed. The number of people who are blind or have low vision will double over the next decade. Unemployment rates for people who are blind or have low vision are four times the national average. We know that continued population growth and ageing will bring a sharp increase in the incidence of blindness and vision impairment. Access to information assists people with print disabilities to obtain and education and employment. However the timely delivery of information is still a major issue for people studying or access relevant information to assist with employment.  This estimate combines blindness and low vision projections from Census population figures (as at 2006) and figures drawn from Market Equity (2002) Secondary Research to Determine the Size of the National Print Disabled Audience.  ‘Results and Observations from Research into Employment Levels in Australia’ Robert Spriggs, Market Research & Development, Vision Australia (April 2007).
In conclusion, this project is one very small example of we how we can share the joy of reading, the ability to participate, with a community severely in need of our help. It is this very profession, we here today that can make a difference. Thankyou for your time.
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