COMMUNICATIONS NEWS: RNIB starts drive for improved access to books and libraries

The Royal National Institute of the Blind (RNIB) has begun a five-year campaign to end discrimination in buying and borrowing books for people with sight problems.

The RNIB launched the campaign with Right to Read Week, which featured two new reports aimed at getting the issue on the political agenda.

One report gives an overview of the discrimination confronting blind and partially sighted people in getting access to books and the other reveals how poorly they are treated by libraries, only 5 per cent of which have adopted anti-discrimination policies.

The RNIB also plans to launch talking books on CD. So far the organisation has raised about half of the £3.3 million it needs to digitise its 12,000 titles.

"The campaign is not just about awareness, it is about persuading the Government to provide money for alternative format books,

said RNIB spokeswoman Ciara Smyth.

The cost of recording books is met almost entirely by the voluntary sector and the RNIB wants the state to contribute £20 million.

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