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Opening up a new chapter for talking books

in Latest News, Our Team's Vision

Did you know that we currently have 14,000 talking books in our VisAbility Library with 200 new titles added every year?

Our library catalogue is growing and we’re always happy to record new books for our clients who have a wish list they’d like to enjoy. Whether that’s a novel or biography or another genre, we can turn your request into reality.

How does our talking books service work?

People can listen to our talking books, also known as audio books, on a special piece of equipment known as a Daisy player. Daisy is an acronym for Digital Accessible Information System. We provide these to our clients for free.

A client listening to a talking book on his iPad

The titles are placed on a USB cartridge which can accommodate up to five books. Each client can have up to three USB’s and they’re packed in a solid container and posted across WA to places as far afield as Tom Price, Kalgoorlie and Esperance.

There’s also the option to download them on a tablet, iPad or other device. We know how much our clients appreciate our Talking Book Library.

“What sets this service apart is its simplicity to use” says one older female client. “Audio books have made my life more enjoyable, they’re the greatest things since sliced bread,” explains another.

State Library Agreement

We recently signed an agreement with the State Library WA (SLWA) so libraries can share our catalogue. We receive funding from SLWA so we can provide this service for people with sight loss or have a print disability.

Four executives sit around a table for the formal signing.
Kary MacLiver, VisAbility Executive Services Manager and Elizabeth Barnes, VisAbility CEO sit alongside Chairman of the State Library Board, the Hon. John Day, CEO and State Librarian Margaret Allen PSM for the official signing of the agreement

We’ve had a mutually beneficial collaboration since 1988. Our online library catalogue is the largest digital library in the Southern Hemisphere.

Dinesh Burah, Manager Specialist Services says the partnership is far-reaching.

Our Talking Book Library makes a real difference to people who have limited sight or a disability. State Library WA is proactive in promoting this service. Through our connection we have also run pop-up events at libraries to highlight our collection.

Dinesh Burah
Manager Specialist Services

”WA is a large state and the downloadable service means we can reach people in remote regions. In the past year nearly 64,000 titles have been borrowed and that figure speaks for itself .”

Any library across WA has the facility to download a title for an individual. There’s no cost, so they can listen to it on their iPad or computer.

Gifting of historic letter

As part of the formal agreement ceremony with State Library WA, VisAbility shared an historic letter dating back to 1954. It was from the Governor of Western Australia Sir Charles Gairdner to Betty Bridge, one of the first Guide Dog trainer’s in Australia.

Black and white picture of the early Guide Dog Training Centre in Belmont.
The Guide Dog Training Centre in Belmont was originally in makeshift accommodation.

They struck up a friendship after Ms Bridge invited Lady Gairdner to the official opening of the Belmont Guide Dog Training Centre in 1954. Sir Charles and his wife played host to a Guide Dog and the letter outlines what the dog got up to during its time with them.

Black and white portrait of Betty Bridge
Betty Bridge

The letter will now go on display at the State Library WA for all to enjoy.

If you’re interested in accessing this library visit our Talking Books Service to find out more.