Opening up a new chapter for talking books

A client listening to a talking book on his iPad
Trevor Dawson

Did you know that we currently have 70,000 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.

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 (link opens in new window) (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.

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

”In the past year nearly 64,000 titles have been borrowed and that figure speaks for itself .”

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.