“I was an avid reader as a child, reading books under the bedsheets after lights out. I could never get enough of them. The books have been replaced by audiobooks, since my macular degeneration diagnosis.”
84-year-old Hilary from Henley Brook receives her audio books from the VisAbility Library. They arrive through the postal service, in the form of cartridges for her DAISY player. DAISY is an acronym standing for Digital Accessible Information System.
Hilary is just one of many people benefitting from our Talking Book Library. VisAbility has just renewed its partnership agreement with the State Library WA (link opens in new window). People with low vision or a print disability can access talking books for free. The collaboration started twenty-three years ago, and the agreement extends it for a further five years.
We have a collection of 70,000 titles. More than 17,000 audiobooks are immediately available free of charge to people living in Australia with a print disability. We have titles available in other languages and are in the process of adding more including Polish, Greek, and Gujarati.
Our passionate audio book readers
Perhaps you are like Hilary and listen to audiobooks every day. Hilary discovered our services and Talking Book Library after a macular degeneration diagnosis at the Lions Eye Institute (link opens in new window).
“I have my own talking book library now – you could say I’m hooked! I request some through VisAbility, but I also buy them at places like Dymocks.”
Hilary receives new talking books every month. She has two cartridges sent to her, with each one containing five books.
“I never request any particular types of books and genres. I prefer it that way. You never know what you are going to receive. The last one I read was the Dr. Harry biography ‘Anecdotes and Antidotes’. It was terrific,” she explains.
Hilary is so enthused about our collection, she sneaks notes into the returning cartridge parcel, giving reviews and verdicts on the book.
Mervyn lost his sight nine years ago when he had a stroke. At 98 years old, he lives in an independent living complex in Menora.
“I set aside time early afternoon, every day to sit around my table and read my books,” he explains.
“It’s my link to a human voice. I lead quite a solitary lifestyle. I don’t have many visitors, and I’d be lost without them.”
Mervyn enjoys books by Wilbur Smith because they are set in Africa and are full of adventure and suspense.
“I am not a very fast reader because I like to digest and take the content in slowly. The VisAbility talking books system is excellent – I can’t fault it. I even sent a letter of appreciation and a donation earlier this year.”
State Library partnership
Our State Library Agreement is making a selection of reading materials available to a greater audience. We recently renewed our partnership with our new CEO signing the agreement.
“The State Library is a library for all Western Australians. We take our responsibility to make our collections available to all. This is why the agreement with VisAbility is important,” explains Chief Executive Officer and State Librarian Margaret Allen.
“We look forward to working with the VisAbility team and our public library partners so that people who are blind, have a vision impairment or a perceptual or reading disability, can enjoy books in different formats.”
Any library across WA has the facility to download a title for an individual for people who have a print disability for free.
Dinesh Burah, Manager Specialist Services at VisAbility, says the State Library partnership is invaluable.
“We know these books make a difference and can brighten up someone’s day. We are so grateful for the State Library of WA’s support and the events we’re able to host at libraries informing people about this service.”
Audio Book Library
Would you like to find out more about our audio book service and join the likes of Hilary and Mervyn enjoying our talking books?
You can sign up to download books from our web portal and download audio books onto a tablet, iPad, or other devices. In addition, you can have up to three cartridges posted to you. Each one contains five books and we can post as far afield as Tom Price, Kalgoorlie and Esperance.
How to get support
Please complete the form below to make an initial enquiry about the VisAbility Library, or the low vision services and support we can provide. Our Client Experience Team will contact you to discuss your individual needs both now and into the future.
There are also a number of low vision support groups within Perth and across the state, which can connect you with like-minded people to build friendships and offer support.