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61st IFLA General Conference - Conference Proceedings - August 20-25, 1995

Section of Libraries for the Blind

Annual Report 1994

Hiroshi Kawamura
new address unknown
is Chair of the Section of Libraries for the Blind.

Beth Hovius

Hamilton Public Library
55 York Boulevard
Box 2700 Station A
Hamilton, Ontario L8N 4E4
Fax (1-905) 5463282
is Secretary.

Standing Committee and Membership

The Section's Standing Committee totals 14, from nine countries, with two corresponding members and an honorary advisor. Sixty-four members are registered for the Section. The Standing Committee held a mid-winter meeting in Caen, France, 10-12 February 1994, hosted by Marie-Jose Poitevin (Bibliothèque municipale de Caen).


The Section continued to operate with sub-committees set up for the many projects on which it is working, in order to work together more effectively and share responsibilities. Current sub-committees , Chairs and projects are the following:

Copyright (Chair, Allan Leach, UK)

On the national level, there are continuing developments, but it is difficult to determine relevancy to the international scene, as no one has determined how to deal with electronic materials.

Adaptive Technology (Chair, Matthijs Balfoort, Netherlands)

Two key areas which will receive ongoing attention were the monitoring of new developments and responding to queries about technology. Because these responsibilities are more appropriately carried ou t by an individual, the committee was disbanded and full responsibility assigned to Mr Balfoort.

Section Restructuring (Chair, Winnie Vitzansky, Norway)

The Section had been asked to consider a merging with the Section of Libraries Serving Disadvantaged Persons, and forming a sub-committee that focused on print disabilities. SC members agreed that th is merging would not meet the need of SLB member organizations, since they are unique in that they not only provide library service, but are also producers of material. However, the overlap of the tw o groups was recognized, especially since members of the SLB also served disadvantaged clienteles. The SLB is interested in cooperative programming and projects. As a specialist group, it must work c ooperatively with other types of libraries such as universities. This was the rationale behind the original proposal of establishing two separate Divisions: Public Libraries (to include school librar ies, children's libraries and mobile libraries) and Special Needs Populations (to include disadvantaged, multicultural libraries, library services for the blind, and library services for the deaf).

African Training Seminar

The Section is planning a training seminar for librarians for the visually handicapped, to be held in either South Africa or Kenya in 1997

Commercial Audio Book Proposal

The Section was contacted by William C. Byrne of the Royal Blind Society, UK about addressing members in diffent counties to approach their local book publishers associations and individual book publ ishers with a standard request for audio books to be correctly labelled so that persons who are blind or have print disabilities can access them easily.


Textbook Editorial (Bruce Massis, USA)

The textbook project is well underway and it will be published in spring 1995. It will consist of a compilation of major papers written by experts in the field and delivered at Section meetings in th e past 10 years. A tentative title has been assigned: Serving Disabled Library Patrons: A Text for Facilitators of Library Service to People with Print Impairments. Bruce Massis is editor.

Proceedings of Dehradun Seminar '92 (Stephen King, UK)

Work on the IFLA-SLB Seminar, Dehradun, August 1992 has been completed and the publication issued by RNIB (Royal National Institute for the Blind), UK

Proceedings of Havana Seminar '93 (Beatrice Skold)

The Spanish edition of the proceedings (title???) was edited by Beatrice Sköld and published by XXX in 300 copies. Copies were mailed free of charge to all participants in the Seminar and are av ailable free of charge from ???? ONCE (Unión Mundial de Ciegos), Spain assisted with the distribution. An English version is being prepared by Bruce Massis, and braille Spanish and English ver sions are planned.

International Directory of Libraries for the Blind (Chair, Hiroshi Kawamura, Japan)

The 4th edition will be published by IFLA in the series, IFLA Publications in 1995. The material has been held in a database by Mr Kawamura and updated on a regular basis for the past two years. Disc copies were sent to SC members for editing entries for their countries. An ASCII text format will be placed in anonymous ftp sites so that it can be made available in developing countries.

Section Brochure (Chair, Rainer Witte, Germany)

The English version was completed and 500 copies would be distributed with the November 1994 issue of the Newsletter. For the Istanbul Expert Meeting, 1,5000 additional copies will be available. A Fr ench edition will be prepared by Marie-Jose Poitevin (France) and issued in 1000 copies. A Spanish version will be prepared by Fernando Garrido and produced in 1000 copies. Rainer Witte will produce German and Russian translations.

Newsletter (Frederic Plain-Japy, France), Bruce Massis, and Fernando Martinz Garrido (Spain)

The fall issue 1994 will be edited by Karen Marie Ellefsen (Norway). Costs are shared by all members, with the mailing and associated costs (to 300+ interested parties) borne by Ms Skold (Sweden).

Joint Activities with the World Blind Union

The WBU is one of IFLA's Bodies with Consultative Status, representing the needs of people with visual handicaps. The Chair of the Literacy Committee of the World Blind Union was invited to attend SC meetings to discuss joint projects. The Section will jointly hold an international seminar on "Literacy of the Visually Handicapped" in October 1995, and has been invited to hold its mid-conference meeting in Monza, Italy in February 1995, in conjunction with a meeting of the World Blind Union.

Future Conferences

Istanbul 1995

Bruce Massis is responsible for overall planning for the Istanbul meetings. The Section plans to hold an expert meeting 17-19 August in Istanbul prior to the annual conference. The topics will be 1) The training seminar for Turkey and the Middle East; Standards for electronic and digital audio materials; and 3) Country reports and study tour. The Section will contribute one speaker to the worksh op organized by the Section on Information Technology.

Beijing 1996

The Section has proposed the theme, "Universal Access to Library Information". Content could include: the changing role of the librarian, copyright, information literacy, telephone access, etc. The S ection also plans a half-day workshop on the theme, "Development of National Strategies for Library Services for the Blind and Visually Impaired".

Havana Meetings

Open Session

Beatrice Sköld was responsible for ensuring speakers for the programme. The theme for the open session was "Supporting Blind People in Education and Employment". The following papers were presen ted:

Supporting Blind People in Education and Employment

La formación del ciego como bibliotecario

Servicios bibliotecarios para ninos impedidos en Uruguay


The Section also held a workshop with the theme, "Assessment of Needs of Library Service to the Visually Handicapped in Latin America and the Caribbean". A total of 13 papers were presented, of which eight were from Latin America and the Caribbean. The strong showing from this area were an indication of the results of the SLB training seminar which was held in February 1993 in cooperation with I FLA's ALP (Advancement of Librarianship in the Third World) Core Programme, the Section for Latin America and the Caribbean, hosted by the National Library of Cuba. The seminar showed what valuable work is being done in Latin America and the Caribbean to improve library services to the blind and visually impaired. To share resources, cooperation and interlending between several libraries and co untries in the region has already been established.

Papers presented

Seminars on Library Services to the Blind and other Print-handicapped People in Developing Countries: What Has been Done by the Section of Libraries for the Blind

Helpful Services to Community Carriers of Visual Handicaps

Situación actual de la persona discapacitada visual y los servicos bibliotecarios para ciegos en Chile

Library Services to the Blind in Jamaica

Informe sobre los servicios bibliotecarios para discapacitados visuales en Mexico

La cooperación como llave para la creación y el apoyo de servicios bibliográficos

Paper-making for All?

La Biblioteca Nacional José Martí y los servicios para discapacitados visuales