24th Oct, 2020

Online library lets sight loss sufferers curl up with a good book

Ross Crawford 24th May, 2020

THE Royal National Institute of Blind People (RNIB) has launched a new online library offering people with sight loss in West Midlands instant access to thousands of free books in formats they can read.

RNIB’s new platform already has more than 26,000 titles making it the UK’s largest online library of Talking Books – the world’s first audiobooks, which were originally created by the charity for soldiers blinded in the First World War.

Funded by voluntary donations, RNIB’s Library service sends out up to 10,000 books per day and lent more than 1.5 million titles last year on CD, USB and digital downloads.

This number continues to grow constantly, with the latest new titles including The Mirror and the Light by Hilary Mantel, Queenie by Kimberley Chambers and Westwind by Ian Rankin.

It is hoped this new platform, which aims to improve the current service will provide even more blind and partially sighted people with access to reading at a time when lockdown measures due to the coronavirus have restricted outdoor activity.

RNIB director of services, David Clarke said: “Reading has become increasingly important to many blind and partially sighted people as a way of dealing with social distancing measures or self-isolation.

“By getting stuck into a good book, we are transported to another world – away from the stresses and strains of the current situation.”

As well as Talking Books, RNIB’s Online Library offers a growing number of books in eBraille which means people are able to download titles and read them on an electronic braille display, such as the Orbit Reader 20.

To sign up to the online library visit or call 0303 123 9999.

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