Talking Newspaper Assists With Library Project

A Norfolk library has launched a new hi-tech device allowing blind and partially sighted people to quickly and easily browse audio books on library shelves.

The pen friend device has been launched by Wymondham library enabling visitors to browse details of about 400 audio books recorded by volunteers of the Wymondham and Attleborough Talking Newspaper (WATN), so the information can be scanned by a hand held gadget called a Pen Friend, which then reads back the title, author and story synopsis to people with poor sight.

Cath Clarke, a WATN committee member, listener and regular library user, has been using the device. She said:

"It’s lovely to come into the library to make my audio book selections without troubling the staff, who are all very helpful but it enables me to maintain my independence.”

Mark Goldspink, the library’s manager, said he was pleased to be able to collaborate with the Talking Newspaper to produce the recordings and for promoting the facility via their weekly audio news and information service. He added, the device was a library scheme.

Rachel Harriss, a community librarian, said: “The device will enable people to enjoy books even if their vision was impaired.”

The Pen Friend device is kept at the library so it can be used by anyone who needs it to read aloud the information they need to make a choice on which audio books to borrow. It is simply run along the spine of the book to voice details of its contents.

For more information about the facility call in to Wymondham library or phone them on 01953 603319.