Blind researchers no longer have to be accompanied when looking through references and books to complete their scientific papers or just when reading. Within weeks, they’ll be able to do all that on their own as a large number of books and references in Braille become available at the Egyptian National Library. Even more significant is the fact that they can request specific references to be translated to Braille using a printer at the Library.
Dr. Ahmad Shawky, head of the library, said to Al-Hayat, “The Library is following a methodical plan to make its resources available to all groups, including the visually impaired. Their section is being developed to include a library of the most well-known books and references, whether written in Braille or audio materials, as part of a greater plan to digitize the different contents of the library, including books, references, scripts, documents, regular publications, as well as music and audio materials.”
The Hall of the Visually Impaired is one of the halls within the Special Groups Department of the Library (established in 1870). There is also a section for art and another for music but they weren’t very active. The Library is working to change that by not just limiting the services to reading and instead, extending them to include courses and workshops for the visually impaired. This direction is reminiscent of another undertaken by the national media organization Akhbar El Yom when it released the first general publication in Braille directed toward the visually impaired. It is also worth noting that the content writers of Akhbar Braille are visually impaired. The first issue was released last March.
This is a translation of an Arabic article by Rihab ‘Ulaiwah and was published on Al-Hayat Newspaper on 8 July, 2017.