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Reading a braille script text

Latvian municipalities will integrate libraries for the blind

Latvian municipalities will integrate libraries for the blind

These facilities will become part of the regular municipal library networks

The Latvian Cabinet of Ministers approved a reorganization of the Latvian Library for the Blind (LNerB) yesterday, 3 May. This will integrate the institution into the common library network of the country without reducing the quality and quantity of services provided to its users. The reform will mean that the municipal governments will take over the management of the regional branches of the LNerB.

Levelling the field of accessibility

The Latvian Library for the Blind was established in 1962 when the Baltic country was still part of the Soviet Union. For the first twenty years of its existence, it was called Central Republican Braille Library.

Its collection consists of printed works and reproduced publications in the following accessible formats: audiobooks, braille books, tactile books, large print books and mixed media books. In addition, it also offers a collection of CDs and films on DVD.

The library’s collection of accessible literature is always growing as new books become available from its Braille production department and sound recording studio. In addition to literature in Latvian, it has a substantial amount of works in Russian as well as a small number of works in German and English. Furthermore, it produces two audio magazines for visually impaired literature and culture enthusiasts.

In those municipalities where the Latvian Library for the Blind doesn’t have branches, there will also be an improvement in the availability and quality of library services for visitors with visual impairments and functional illiteracy. The proposed reform envisages a training program for library specialists and the creation of a customized collection of works in all methodological formats.

The supported solution envisages that local governments will take over the branch libraries of the Library for the Blind in Balvi, Cēsis, Daugavpils, Jelgava, Liepāja, Rēzekne and Ventspils. As a result of the reorganization, these municipalities will be provided with financing for the takeover of existing premises, employment contracts and utility and communication service contracts. Likewise, they will receive funding for administrative expenses and the acquisition of goods.

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