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10,000 and counting; VisLibrary celebrates audiobook milestone

in Latest News, Stories of Independence

It happened to be a cool winter’s afternoon, but nothing could dampen the exciting celebrations of VisAbility Library’s remarkable milestone. For over 40 years, VisAbility has been dedicated to serving the West Australian literary community, a testament to this state’s avid readers and talented wordsmiths. This month VisAbility published its 10,000th audiobook, The Apple Core Wars by Linda J Bettenay. On Friday 28 July, staff, volunteers, representatives from the State Library of Western Australia and the Department of Social Services, and members of the literary community gathered at The Perron Centre to celebrate the fantastic achievement.

Image of VisAbilitys Chair of the Board Debbie Schaffer OAM, Linda J Bettenay holding her plaque, and VIsAbility CEO Dr Clare Allen

Formal proceedings began as VisAbility’s Chair of the Board Debbie Schaffer OAM took the stage. In the Opening Address she spoke about VisAbility Library’s great legacy, its successful developments in times of rapid change and the aims to continue empowering individuals far into the future.

The library has played an integral part in our mission to shape a world where people with disability are given the same range of options, same level of freedom and same control over their day to day life and decisions as any other person. This is our vision for independence.

Image of a caterer, and two volunteers enjoy the refreshments

Following the Opening Address, Director of Collection Services Barbara Patison from the State Library of Western Australia was invited forward. She spoke about the years of partnership between VisAbility and the State Library, and the further steps the Library will take to consider those with a print disability, vision impairment or blindness in regards to their collection and services. Since 1999 the State Library of Western Australia has been supporting VisAbility’s library services, and have played a vital role in ensuring the maintenance of our collection.

Suzanne O’Mahony, one of VisAbility Library’s invaluable volunteers addressed the crowd and spoke fondly of her experiences at the library over the last 24 years. Suzanne is one of the 70 volunteers who generously support the library services, and of which last year collectively gifted 6,900 hours of their time to VisAbility. Linda J Bettenay, the Author of the Apple Core Wars rounded out the speeches and spoke of the excitement she felt having been chosen as VisAbility’s 10,000th audiobook. Chair of the Board Debbie Schaffer OAM and Dr Clare Allen were invited to present commemorative plaques to Linda to mark the special occasion, and to Susie Punch, a long-time employee of VisAbility for her ongoing and valued commitment to the library services. She is the coordinator of VisAbility’s recording studios and related volunteer positions.

Image of the celebratory 10,000th audiobook cake

MC Dinesh Burah, VisAbility’s Manager of Information and Education Services and Caris Parry, Coordinator of Accessible Information Services called an end to the afternoon’s formalities and welcomed the large group gathered to enjoy refreshments in the foyer. A wonderful end to the celebrations of a remarkable milestone, delicious cake and canapés were enjoyed by all. On behalf of VisAbility, we would like to kindly thank our partners, The Australian Government Department of Social Services, the State Library of Western Australia, Fremantle Press, and UWA Publishing for their continued support.

The VisAbility Library team would like to extend their wholehearted thanks to Chair of the Board Debbie Schaffer OAM, VisAbility CEO Dr Clare Allen, Barbara Patison from the State Library of Western Australia, Tanya George the Disability Services State Manager, Leonie Heydon Agreements Manager from Department of Social Services, Author Linda J Bettenay and Mike Moore, our volunteers, and guests for attending. Thanks also to Caris Parry, Coordinator of Accessible Information Services for her dedication to making the 10,000th book celebration a great success. We look forward to celebrating the next 10,000 audiobooks! To view the photo album, visit the VisAbility Facebook page here.