SAKSHAM has been converting regular books into audiobooks for decades. It’s been a long winding road from that moment to the present time, but presently, the Sugamaya Pustakalaya digital library that is supported by the Indian government more than 500,000 titles available for the blind and print disabled persons. This adds up to the books available in other libraries like Bookshare in the country and makes the Indian system one of the largest complete in the world for people with visual imparity.
Read on to find out about SAKSHAM’s efforts to reach out to readers with visual imparity.
SAKSHAM started the NLS (National Library Service) in collaboration with the government of India i.e. The Sugamya Pustakalaya initiative and took it one step further allowing the distribution of audio-described CDs, DVDs, audiobooks and braille material to all those who are inscribed and have proved to have some kind of visual imparity and print disability. The efforts from the (Talking Books and Braille Library) are aimed to reach out to as many people with visual imparities as they can. The Talking Books and Braille were created with the aim to foster reading and has since transcended that word into other territories like touch, feel and hear. Actually, since the year 2003, the audiobooks were stored into cassette tapes and CDs. By that year, all of them were replaced by digital players and exclusive design USB flash-drive cartridges. The digital players are also designed especially for reading with bookmarking options, navigation buttons, sleep timer and also battery operation for portability. As a part of this initiative, Braille and Audio Reading Download was created to give even more flexibility to the end-users. By the year 2013, an app was created to allow users to use Braille and Audio Reading Book Download in their mobile devices. These measures drastically improved the number of users and the reach that books have over the visually impaired population in SAKSHAM and in the various states across India in general.
All people who live in India can be benefited from these innovative policies are those who are blind and visually challenged and print disabled and do not have access to accessible books for their education and employability.
The Sugamya Pustakalaya library not only provides the books, but it also provides the materials to listen to them. Just like the innovation of the INDO-NVDA which is a screen reading software being open source to generate equity in terms of access. This effort by SAKSHAM makes sure all the persons with blindness and print disability in our country can access this material with no distinction of the economic situation. SAKSHAM is an example for the rest of the country to follow and grant access to a vast number of books that include high school and college books that have been in an alternative format. Hopefully, in the near future, the whole country will offer the same facilities for free to this underprivileged section of this society.