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Breaking Barriers: International Experts Gather to Discuss Inclusive Libraries for Persons with Print Disabilities

The Seminar has garnered a lot of interest, with a total of 260 registrations received for online and offline participation.

New Delhi. : The Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts (IGNCA), International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (Library for Persons with Disabilities) (IFLA-LPD) and Saksham jointly organized a one-day International Seminar   to explore ways and means of creating an inclusive library that also addresses the needs of persons who cannot read normal print.
International experts from Europe, North & South America, Africa, and Asia involved in the preparation of this guide joined the seminar in India to share their knowledge and expertise on the subject. The Seminar has garnered a lot of interest, with a total of 260 registrations received for online and offline participation. The attendees include librarians, persons with print disabilities, libraries for persons with print disabilities, rehab professionals, and special educators. The participation of such a diverse group of individuals highlights the importance and urgency of creating inclusive library services that cater to the needs of everyone in the community, especially those who face difficulties in accessing printed materials.
The seminar was divided into five sessions, including presentations of international best practices, presentations from India covering challenges and inclusive library initiatives, and open house discussions to determine the way forward, especially in middle-income countries such as India.
The seminar Chair Prof. (Dr.) Ramesh C. Gaur, Director NSD & HoD Kalanidhi, IGNCA, welcomed the guests and audience highlighted the importance and objectives of the seminar. Mr. Dipendra Manocha, Founder Trustee – Saksham, introduced the seminar topics. The keynote speech was delivered by Yasmine Youssef, Chair – Section on Libraries for Persons with Print Disabilities (IFLA). Guest of honour included Dr. Arvind Kumar and the vote of thanks was delivered by Dr. O. N. Chaubey, IGNCA.
The seminar's first session featured a panel discussion on networking of special libraries for persons with print disabilities and mainstream public libraries, followed by sessions on the IFLA Guidelines for Library Services to Persons with Print Disabilities - Part 1 and Part 2.
The fourth session highlighted accessible and inclusive library services' examples from India, including the Saksham Library for persons with print disabilities and the network of Daisy Forum of India, and solutions for inclusion of persons with print disabilities in India. The fifth session focused on online and physical libraries for young children with print disabilities and inclusive community library projects.
The seminar aimed to cover all aspects of inclusion of persons with print disabilities by sharing challenges and best practices of an inclusive library from different parts of the world. The open house discussions further provided an opportunity for participants to discuss and determine the way forward.
Among the esteemed guests and experts who joined the seminar include: Irmgard Reijntjes, the Director at Bibliotheekservice, Passend Lezen; Christiane Felsmann, the Head of Library Services and Customer Relationship at the German Centre for Accessible Reading; and Kirsi Ylanne, an Accessibility Specialist at the Accessibility Library Celia. Also in attendance will be Danielle Miller, the Director and Regional Librarian at the Washington Talking Book and Braille Library; Saskia Boets, the Co-Director of the Luisterpunt bibliotheek; Jelena Lešaja from the Croatian Library for the Blind; Piyush Chanana, Senior Research Scientist at the AssisTech Lab, IIT; Teresa from Chetana Trust; and Kamna Singh, a Consultant Specialised Librarian at The Community Library Project.
This international seminar provided an excellent opportunity for experts and practitioners to share their knowledge and experiences in creating an inclusive library for persons with print disabilities. Speaking on the seminar, Mr Dipendra Manocha said, “We hope that the seminar would help create awareness of the challenges faced by persons with print disabilities and find solutions to provide equal access to information and knowledge for all”.

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