South African Library for the Blind launches mobile studio in Mdantsane

The department of Sport, Recreation, Arts and Culture in the Eastern Cape in partnership with the South African Library for the Blind (SALB) launched audio book studios in the Mdantsane Public Library on the 19th of March 2021. SALB has agreements with most publishers for the reproduction of their materials to braille and audio formats consistent with the current copyright legislation.

The studio/recording booth will allow narrators to record books for the visually impaired using high technology equipment that will enable the beneficiaries to borrow and listen to the narration

A lot of blind people do not read, not because they don’t want to but because they do not know how to use braille and there’s not a single library that has taken up the challenge of producing audio books to mitigate the effects of lack of access to these resources. The province will be the first to offer this service with a special focus on vernacular and will be offering the much-needed alternative in the country.

This speaks to efforts that are being made to make sure the blind community is an integral part of this democracy. The recording studio will be launched during the South African Library Week (SALW) which is meant to put a spotlight on the importance of Libraries. The theme for the 2021 SALW is “Libraries matter”. This recording studio also addresses the issues of access as articulated in the Libraries transformation charter where access is not only defined in terms of physical access to library buildings but goes further to talk to access to information

The timing of the launch during the Human Rights Month to bring the attention of society to the basic human rights of disabled people who should at all times be kept in mind as part of the mainstream of society.