Libraries' visual impairment initiative wins major award

A pioneering service for visually impaired library users in Edinburgh has been recognised nationally for its work to tackle inequalities.

Edinburgh Libraries’ VIP (Visually Impaired People) Service won in the ‘Tackling Inequality and Improving Health’ category at the COSLA Excellence Awards on Thursday.

Launched in 2013, the partnership project supports the information, learning and employment needs of blind and partially sighted people through the use of digital technology.

The service, co-designed by visually impaired people, targets people who face challenges using libraries and local services, employing technology such as iPads, specially trained staff and volunteers to support independent living.

The project has also been praised for establishing dedicated reading groups, helping to combat social isolation amongst service users.

Councillor Richard Lewis, Culture and Sport Convener and libraries champion, said: “This is a fantastic achievement for a truly worthwhile initiative, which has not only encouraged more visually impaired people to visit the library but has also resulted in the formation of new groups and connections.

“It is clear the impact this service has had upon its users, and I hope that this model will prove beneficial for fellow councils and partners.”

The COSLA Excellence Awards, run by Scottish local government body COSLA, recognises innovative and community-driven projects from councils across Scotland. 

The VIP project was developed by Edinburgh Libraries in part to meet the ambition of the Scottish Government’s Success In Sight strategy while also working towards implementation of  a UK-wide initiative to improve access to library services. Partners include RNIB Scotland, Edinburgh Macular Degeneration Society and Guide Dogs for the Blind.

Last year, the VIP service was awarded for its dedication and proactive approach at the annual Jodi Awards, which highlight the use of technology to widen access to information, learning and creativity for disabled people. In addition, it was given Highly Commended status in the MJ Awards’ Disability Confident category.

Find out more about the service online.


The City of Edinburgh Council news blog - letters, opinion, news snippets, video, photos and more.....

Recent posts