Recently, I and my counterpart, Nadjie Yagya, finished writing a draft proposal for a Peace Corps sponsored grant that would open up the Gasprinsky Library to visually impaired people. It has long been a dream of the Library to increase its accessibility to disabled and visually impaired people. Though changing the physical structure of the library entrances to make them wheelchair accessible is beyond the scope of this grant, we were able to write a project that would add resources to the library for visually impaired people and also to work with librarians across Crimea to increase access in their libraries for visually impaired people.
In developing this grant, we partnered with two local NGO’s (non-governmental organizations): UTOS, who provides vocational rehabilitation for visually impaired people; and KrimTIZ, who functions as an advocate for the rights of visually impaired and disabled people. We are especially excited about the partnership with KrimTIZ, as they are located nearby which more easily gives us the potential for future collaborations.
The Gasprinsky Library and the NGO’s will conduct a one-day training in Simferopol for representatives from the twenty-five central rayon libraries in Crimea and UTOS branches located in seven Crimean cities. In the training, we will present seminars on working with visually impaired people, the resources that are available for making libraries accessible, and also training in the adaptive technology that is now available to enable visually impaired people to access the internet and “read” computer screens.
Also, as part of the project, we will help KrimTIZ set up an internet information center in their organization building which will have adaptive software. We will also add a work station with adaptive software to the Internet Center at our library. This will allow visually impaired patrons of the Gasprinsky Library to not only access the internet, but also to access the information on the library websites.
This grant won’t be funded until early summer, so it will be some time before these new resources become available in our library and at KrimTIZ. I will be sure to post the information about our grand openings.
Nadjie and I working on writing a grant.