Tapes for blind service switch will triple titles

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A SERVICE providing audio books for blind and visually impaired people is being handed over to a charity by Herts County Council in a move which will triple the number of titles on offer.

It was agreed by cabinet on Monday that County Hall’s Cassettes for Blind People service will be taken up by the Royal National Institute for the Blind (RNIB).

As part of the move, which will create access to more than 19,000 titles compared to 6,500, the 378 existing users of the service will have their subscriptions shifted to the RNIB service and paid for by the county.

Cabinet member for libraries Chris Hayward said: “Changes in the technology for producing audio books and the increasing difficulty in obtaining suitable cassette players have prompted us to review our current library services for blind and visually impaired people in Hertfordshire.

“In order to ensure that they continue to enjoy access to audio books in a convenient format we have decided to transfer all existing customers to the service provided by the Royal National Institute for the Blind (RNIB).

“The RNIB-run service offers a much wider choice of reading material in modern formats and the RNIB will provide audio players and those who are used to cassettes will be helped by specialist RNIB volunteers to use the new technology.”

The new service, like the council’s existing service, will be postal.

There will also still be titles available for blind and visually impaired people in local libraries as part of their content.