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									                     STV NEWS BULLETIN 4
                          August 2007
                    Compiled by David Owen

It was anticipated that August would be a quiet month, for obvious
reasons, so it was agreed that I would compile a single Bulletin for
the month. In the event, there was more potential content than was
anticipated and the following items are worth reporting:

Funding and Governance of Library and Information Services
for Visually Impaired People: International Case Studies.

The long awaited Rightscom report which was commissioned and
funded by the British Library, MLA and IFLA was posted on the IFLA
website on 14.08.07 to coincide with the IFLA Libraries for the Blind
Section's conference in South Africa. The report is based on desk
research and responses to a questionnaire and is published in three
sections: Part 1Summary Report; Part 2 Country Studies; Part 3

Unusually, I think it might be helpful to set out details of the 3 parts in
reverse order.

Part 3 sets out the study brief in detail and reproduces the
questionnaire that was sent to potential respondents. It is in 4 parts
and is designed to cover the country situations as a whole; public
libraries; education libraries and special libraries for VIP's.
Respondents were requested to answer as many general and
specific questions as possible in the section which was most
appropriate to their knowledge and experience so STV submitted a
response on the UK situation overall. It was the most comprehensive
and time consuming questionnaire I can recall completing but now I
have studied the report I can see that the time was well spent.

Part 2 provides details of the situation in the following 11 countries:
Australia; Canada; Croatia; Denmark; Japan; South Korea; The
Netherlands; South Africa; Sweden; UK and USA.

There is a mass of interesting and useful detail which should assist
practitioners to learn from experiences and developments elsewhere
in the world. I have to confess that at this stage I have not studied all
of the country reports and naturally checked the UK report. This is
based on responses from NLB, Calibre, DCMS, SCONUL, Public
Libraries and STV and it appears to be an accurate summation of
where we are in the UK. I was pleased to see that DCMS had
submitted a response and the report sets out their views on various
topics. It confirms that there is no intention to take a lead and that
local authorities are expected to address these issues. DCMS does
not see any evidence that it is necessary to use its intervention

Part 1 attempts to synthesise all of the country findings and produce
an international summary. The main conclusions would appear to be
that it is difficult to generalise because of the lack of comparable
quantitative data. However, there is a remarkable degree of
international consensus on the preferred model of service delivery.
The crucial elements are:

- clearly defined and coordinated roles and responsibilities, whether
  fulfilled by private, voluntary or public bodies
- funding of services by regular government expenditure
- delivery of services via mainstream physical and digital channels

The report is especially useful in setting out the problems of
copyright restrictions and the opportunities and potential pitfalls of IT.
"There is no single best practice model because of the variations
from country to country" but the report makes 14 detailed
recommendations to improve matters. These are addressed singly or
severally to National and Local Governments; Service Providers;
Funders other than National and Local Governments; the EC and
WIPO; Publishers; IFLA and User Organisations.

This is a substantial, major report [the web version is not paginated]
which merits detailed study. The main conclusions are not surprising
but that only validates the quality and value of the report.

The report is available from the Libraries for the Blind Section's part
of the IFLA website at:[2+3].htm

CILIP Library and Information Gazette, 24.08.07- 06.09.07

Colleagues who are not members of CILIP will not have seen the
latest issue of Gazette which has a highly relevant and interesting
special focus on accessibity. Articles included are:
- Pat Beech "Information is power, so don't leave anyone out". An
explanation of how RNIB NLS can help libraries to empower visually
impaired people.
- "Keys to the world of books". An outline of the services available
  from RNIB NLS.
- Claire Pillar "Intranets: the good, the bad and the ugly" How to test
  the usability of your intranet.
- Nicholas Joint "UK copyright law: a curse not a blessing". An
  outline of the problems caused by copyright laws to librarians
  attempting to meet the needs of disabled users from the
  perspective of an academic librarian.
- Andrew Lewis "Getting to grips with real needs". An account of his
  research activities and findings into what users really think about
  access technology.
- Alistair McNaught. "Quick wins in supporting users" Practical advice
  from a Senior Adviser at the JISC TechDis Service on how to make
  a library more accessible to disabled people.
- An extended interview with Sarah Playforth about her new CILIP
  course on the Disability Equality Duty.
- Roger Wilson-Hinds. "Lend an ear to this vision" He sets out his
  vision of providing free talking software for all blind people at home
  and in libraries via his Screenreader Project [see]

There are various smaller news items including the press release
about changes at STV. Unfortunately for non-members the
Gazette's contents are not available on the CILIP website so I would
advise that you try to borrow a copy if you are interested in reading
any of these articles or the whole issue.

Access For Library Users With Disabilities

I have to admit that I did not pick up on this SCONUL report when it
was published in June and I am happy to report on it now as it is a
very important contribution to the literature. It was produced by the
SCONUL Access Steering Group and updates the 2002 version, the
draft of which STV commented upon. However, this 94 page
document does not merely update that report but takes a much
broader anticipatory approach because of the Disability Equality Duty
and the increasing number of disabled students.

The report adopts the social model of disability and addresses the
barriers faced by people with different disabilities. Chapter 1
emphasises the importance of support services beyond the individual
HE institution and I was pleased to note that 2 of the 9 examples
cited are Revealweb and the RNIB/NLB library services
merger. Pages 4 to 9 provide a succinct, up to date and useful
summary of the relevant legislation, including the Copyright [VIP]
Act, 2002.

Chapter 2 covers the different needs and expectations of staff,
undergraduates, international students, postgraduates, part time
students, distance learners, mature students and support workers.

Chapter 3 addresses the needs, the specific library
considerations and the barriers faced by people with different
disabilities covering dyslexia, autism, mental health, medical
conditions, visual impairment, hearing impairment and physical

Chapter 4 addresses a range of service delivery considerations
setting out basic points, examples of good practice, case studies and
posing debating points.

Chapter 5 is devoted to training and staff development and
emphasises the importance of regional cooperative developments
such as CLAUD, the Open Rose Group, NOWAL etc. Amongst the
national resources cited are RNIB's advisory services.

Chapter 6 is a series of appendices. I was particularly interested to
study 6.3 which is a table of registered disabled students at 12 HE
institutions broken down into the different disabilities. Consider this
data from 4 of the institutions;

Total disabled students
                                Dyslexia            VIP    Total no
                                                           of disabled

Southampton University           1058                37    1890

Birmingham University             641                50     1336

Sheffield University              861                35     1627

Sheffield Hallam                  514                29     1445

Clearly, dyslexia is the most prevalent disability amongst students
which emphasises the importance of assistive reading technology
and the need to extend the exemptions under the Copyright [VIP] Act
to people with other disabilities. The higher number of VIP students
at Birmingham probably reflects the range of academic research
within the university and related facilities elsewhere in the city.

Appendix 6.4 provides a list of useful resources which includes
VISUGATE, Revealweb, the NOVA project, NLB and RNIB

Appendix 6.5 is an extensive bibliography with 15 citations for VIP
Overall, this is a very useful, up to date document. Whilst it is aimed
at the HE sector there is much which is of value and interest across
the sectors.

The report is available from the SCONUL website

Public Library Politics

On 03.08.07 the Bookseller website posted an interview with the new
Culture Minister, Margaret Hodge." Local Hero?" informed readers
that she does not intend to use her powers under the 1964 Public
Libraries and Museums Act to take over library authorities which are
failing to perform their duties adequately. She refers to her own time
as Leader of Islington Council and believes that local authorities
should determine local policy. "What I can do is just act as an

In response, CILIP issued a press release on 07.08.07 entitled, "Is
your local library up to standard? Probably not says CILIP". This
refers to a letter which the Chief Executive, Bob Mckee, had sent to
the Secretary of State, James Purnell, warning of the hidden cuts
which PLA's were planning to make to public library services. These
include reduced staffing and handing over libraries to community
groups to run them. CILIP is maintaining a watch and reminded
Purnell of DCMS's duty to exercise supervisory powers. CILIP
blames both national and local politicians for forcing through these
hidden cuts and has threatened to press the Audit Commission to
review the availability of professional library staff as part of these
PLA's Comprehensive Performance Assessment See:
The trend of handing individual libraries over to local community
groups has the potential to reduce the quality of services to
disadvantaged people, including visually impaired people, if equality
duties are not transferred at the same time. Whereas a whole service
transfer to a specially created trust, as has happened in Hounslow
and Wigan, presumably included a contractual requirement to
address equality matters under the PLA's legal duties would the
same apply to the handing over of individual local libraries to
separate local groups? We need to monitor these developments.

Balancing the Scorecard

On 08.08.07 DCMS published this review of its Performance
Indicator Framework. I thought it might be of relevance to our work
but it is concerned with the 24 current indicators which apply to
DCMS funded museums and galleries and there is no relevance to
libraries. However, I was surprised to note that there are no
indicators which refer to disabled people! Whereas these institutions
have to measure visits by black and ethnic minority people they do
not have to do so for disabled visitors. The consultants note that at
their workshops the institutions themselves identified the need for
new indicators on disability issues and that the National Audit Office
had recommended this to DCMS. It is to be hoped that DCMs will
make good this obvious error in implementing its own DED plan.
The full report is available at: _
library/Publications/archive _ 2007 _piframework.htm

Comprehensive Performance Assessment-The Harder Test
2007: Guide to Service Assessments

The Audit Commission published this updated guide which sets out
the final methodology for assessing the performance of local
authorities on 03.08.07. It proposes to include performance
indicators for 2006/7and any relevant service inspections over the
last three years for cultural services, including libraries. There are 3
proposed changes from the 2006 PI's for libraries. The following
indicators have been" deleted due to difficulty with interpretation and
national consistency":
- stock level and stock turn
- stock turn-book issues/books available for loan
- stock level-books available for issue per 1000 population.
As we have reported previously, the whole thing will have to change
again for 2008.

Market for Disabled Childrens' Services - A Review

The Department for Children, Schools and Families published this
139 page report on 30.08.07. Following the publication of "Aiming
High for Disabled Children" by the former DfES and Treasury in May
2007, Price Waterhouse Cooper were commissioned to research the
market for providing services for disabled children via individual
budgets which the Government wishes to pilot to see if the needs of
disabled children and their families can be better met by this

The report is interesting and useful in that it brings together a
considerable amount of data on these services, their supply and
funding in one source. The report acknowledges that the funding mix
is complicated and provides up to date data for expenditure from
different Government Departments, local authorities and voluntary
sector income from service provision. For example, DfES spent £600
million in 2006 on c34000 children with SEN but funding to schools
for SEN is not ring-fenced. Statistical data for individual disabilities
show that 3.3% of children are deaf but visually impaired children are
not separately listed as a % but included under other disabilities. The
report addresses the market for leisure services but there is no
mention of reading needs or libraries, which will seem familiar to the
Right to Read Alliance members. Nevertheless, the report provides
data which might be of use to the Children's Response Group.

National Year of Reading, 2008

Although I could not find any details on the Department for Children,
Schools and Families website, I was interested to note that the
Bookseller's website announced on 23.08.07 that the National
Literacy Trust and The Reading Agency have been appointed
managing partners for this year long event. The budget is still to be
confirmed by DCSF but the main events will begin in April 2008.The
programme will not be focused on schools, as last time in 1998/9,
but will offer something for everybody. This obviously provides an
opportunity to propose programme contributions addressing the
needs of visually impaired people so we need to ensure this
major project is monitored.
In The Picture

In The Picture is a Scope campaign to encourage publishers,
illustrators and writers to embrace diversity and represent disabled
children in their picture books. I was interested to see that a new
addition to their website was an information sheet "ideas for making
stories more accessible" which covers the important role of
accessible formats. There are extensive references to the work of
RNIB and ClearVision and this is a useful summary.

Access to Learning Award, 2007

On 20.08.07 the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation issued a press
release to announce that the Northern Territory Library, Australia had
won the $1 million award. I am sure that their project to bring
computers and the Internet to remote indigenous communities is
entirely laudable but, of course, this means that our own STV bid for
this award which was submitted in December 2006 did not succeed.


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