Digital libraries facilitate reading for the visually impaired
Shandong province has set up China's first public electronic reading libraries for the visually impaired, according to chinadaily.com.cn on May 11.
The library, supported by the public welfare lottery, will appear in 59 public service centers across the whole province, including 17 special educational schools to enable more people to receive education from books.
The program, entitled "Home of Light", has each service center equipped with more than 30 advanced accessible electronic devices including computers for visually impaired people, intelligent reading machines and audiobooks in addition to traditional books.
Previously used online readers were largely inefficient and difficult to navigate, however the new system uses voice recognition software, vastly increasing the ease of use, allowing the visually impaired to access online book catalogues more easily.
"These high-tech reading machines will help visually impaired children like me get closer to this colorful world," said Yu Yongyi, an eighth grade student from Jinan Special Education Center.
Han Zhongyi, the curator of the China Braille Library pointed out that the average reading rate for the visual impaired is far less than that for the rest of society.
"The innovation of this barrier-free electronic reading system will set a good example for other cities and should be popularized across the country," said Han.
The special reading device designed for the visually impaired in the newly-built electronic libraries in Shandong province. [Photo/sdwht.gov.cn]
A visually impaired student from Jinan Special Education Center reads a book using advanced audio equipment in a newly-built electronic library in Shandong province. [Photo/sdwht.gov.cn]