13 June 2022
The South African Library for the Blind (SALB) is committed to creating access for the blind and visually impaired members and wishes to stand in solidarity with Blind SA and Section 27 as they work to End the Book famine for those living with blindness and visual impairment. In this landmark case, it is our hope that the Constitutional Court will confirm that the copyright law as it stands is unconstitutional and in so doing allow reforms that will end the book famine for those living with blindness and print disabilities. [#EndTheBookFamine].
After 9 years of negotiations with The Department of Sport, Arts and Culture (DSAC) and the National Public Works Department (NDPW) the plans for the upgrade of the existing SALB building and the addition of a new double story building began when the site was handed over on the 30th of April 2021 to Siviwe Jayiya Construction (SVJ). Good progress has been made thus far and the anticipation is to have work completed by April 2023.
The SALB website is still up and running and boasts the following features namely, Online member registration, user friendly functionality for the blind people, SALB OPAC and VIOPAC (with features of streaming and book downloading), and Overdrive. All audio books can be downloaded or streamed from the SALB website (www.salb.org.za) and the application promptly updates the Aurora Library Management System to make changes on the member profile.
As of February 2022, SALB members have access to PressReader, which is now available on the SALB website! PressReader is a digital newspaper boasting digital versions of over 7 000 newspapers and magazines in more than 60 languages. This is done through its applications for iOS, Android, Windows, Mac and various e-readers as well as its website, and operates digital editions of newspapers and magazines for publishers. All of this at no cost to the member.
New audio and braille titles have been added to the catalogue recently, new members joined the library, and roll out of new mini libraries is continuing across South Africa.
SALB would also like to announce the rollout of the Megavoice Envoy Connect device, which is currently being distributed to all new members joining the library. After extensive testing was done over the past years with pilot member feedback and modification to the playback device. This is in attempt at combating the negative impact of the South African Post Office (SAPO) challenges on our book distribution/circulation to our members.
The SALB is embarking on a rollout of mobile/developed recording studio/booths with key strategic partners to gain access to indigenous language narration. So far two recording studios are up and running; Eastern Cape and Northern Cape with Mpumalanga being launched soon. More of these recording studios will be implemented in other provinces.
Library Management remains committed to doing everything within its control to limit the impacts on service delivery. More than ever, the challenge before us is for all librarians to be in the forefront of information dissemination to ensure that the damage done by the COVID-19 pandemic and other challenges are overcome, one community at a time until we cover the entire continent.
Source: SA Library For The Blind