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Northern Isles Libraries funding boost for vision project

Date: 29 May 2024

Time: 14:00

Library vision project

Orkney and Shetland Libraries are putting aside their friendly rivalry with a joint project to boost services for the visually impaired. 

Make a Noise in the North highlights what libraries and their partners can offer people with sight problems. This project is supported by the Public Library Improvement Fund via the Scottish Library and Information Council. 

The libraries have already developed a good range of services such as large print, audiobooks and support with technology. This project will provide extra equipment including lighted magnifiers and text-to-voice pens, and popular materials such as board games and jigsaws. 

It will also allow some staff to visit each other’s libraries later this year to gain experience of another service, something isles staff rarely do because of travel costs. The Libraries will promote services and events through their busy social media channels. 

To launch the project during ‘Hi Vis’ fortnight in June, Orkney Library staff will experience visual impairment by being blind-folded and challenging any friendly on-comers to a tactile game of Connect 4, using an RNIB approved version of the game. Sessions take place in Orkney Library & Archive on Monday 3 June, Thursday 6 June and Friday 7 June and Stromness Warehouse Buildings on Friday 14 June. There will also be a display of accessible equipment and electronic services, as well as information from Orkney Talking Newspaper, Access Orkney, and the RNIB. 

Vikki Kerr, Orkney’s Team Manager (Libraries & Archives) said: This joint project is a fantastic opportunity for both library services to further improve access to the world of books and reading opportunities for our visually impaired and dyslexic communities. 

By highlighting the brilliant services and resources available, our libraries can be seen as places where all are welcome, and able to enjoy the social aspects of visiting the library too. 

Karen Fraser, Executive Manager of Shetland Library said: We are already very proud of all the vision services our staff provide, particularly our well-loved talking newspaper, but this project lets us do things the budget does not usually stretch to. 

The new equipment includes low-tech things that can be enjoyed together by everyone, such as large-piece Scrabble and jigsaws. It also gives our staff a chance to work together with Orkney Library, sharing good practice and learning from each other. Both our library services are much appreciated by our customers, and working together we can command even more attention.’ 

Dates and locations: 


Monday 3 June, 2-4pm – Connect 4 and display at Orkney Library 

Thursday 6 June, 4-6pm – Connect 4 and display at Orkney Library 

Friday 7 June 10am – 12 noon - Connect 4 and display at Orkney Library 

Friday 14 June 10 – 12:30pm – Connect 4 and display at Stromness Warehouse Buildings. 




  • Summary:

    Orkney and Shetland Libraries are putting aside their friendly rivalry with a joint project to boost services for the visually impaired. 

  • Category:
    • Arts, Museums and Heritage
    • Community
    • Events
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