Caribbean Libraries Serving Patrons with Vision Loss Get Audio Boost from Canada

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Caribbean Council for the Blind and CNIB partner with Simply Audiobooks and Scotiabank to benefit thousands, by sending audiobook and Braille materials to public libraries.

More than 25,000 people with vision loss in the six Caribbean countries participating in the recently launched “Caribbean Talking Book Program” literally have nothing to read. This is about to change, thanks to an initiative led by Caribbean Council for the Blind (CCB), CNIB and the generous contributions of Canadian companies such as Simply Audiobooks and Scotiabank.

“A public library service needs to support the reading needs of all patrons, but in the Caribbean, this is a real financial challenge in terms of providing books in other formats such as audio or braille,” states Arvel Grant, Executive Director, CCB. “Canada has been a true friend to Caribbean countries and we are thrilled about receiving these desperately-needed reading materials.”

The CCB and its member organizations are working in tandem with CNIB. They will coordinate the training of public library staff, promote the talking book program to their members and assist with training persons with vision loss     on the use of the equipment. Ultimately, when a digital library service is introduced into the Caribbean, the network of audiobook lending will have been established thanks to the support of audiobook producers and distributors.

Simply Audiobooks was the first commercial audio distributor to step up to the plate with a donation of 1,364 audiobooks. “While many people enjoy the convenience and listening experience of an audiobook at home or commuting to work, for someone with vision loss this can be the only way to access books and information,” commented Sean Neville, CEO of Simply Audiobooks. “When we learned of this project, and that thousands of people had nothing to read, we knew we could help.”

Scotiabank is generously funding the shipping costs for sending donated books and playback equipment to the Caribbean.

CNIB is a nationwide, community-based, registered charity committed to public education, research and the vision health of all Canadians. CNIB provides the services and support necessary to enjoy a good quality of life while living with vision loss. Visit http://www.cnib.ca.

Simply Audiobooks is North America's top audiobook source, offering the most comprehensive range of online services with unlimited rentals, sales and direct downloads. Launched in 2003, the company was the first to provide an unlimited rental model for audio books on CD, with free direct-to-door delivery and no due dates or late fees. Simply Audiobooks now offers audio books on tape or CD for purchase, as well as direct downloads in open-standard encrypted WMA files. The company has offices in Toronto, Buffalo, Las Vegas and Manchester. For more information, visit http://www.simplyaudiobooks.com.

The ultimate goal is 5,000 audiobooks.

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Shelagh Paterson
CNIB
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