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Culture Minister praises Lambeth libraries

A Government minister has been ‘inspired’ by Lambeth’s innovative technology which helps visually impaired people read and use computers.

Culture Minister Ed Vaizey MP joined Cllr Sally Prentice, Lambeth’s Cabinet Member for Culture and Leisure, at South Lambeth Library on Tuesday morning which is the first library in the country to introduce the technology.

They were both impressed by the range of services on offer to the borough’s partially sighted and blind citizens including software that reads webpages aloud, equipment that photographs and reads hard copy texts and a magnifying mouse that makes it easier to read newspapers and books on a screen.

The equipment was introduced to South Lambeth Library by Christina Burnett, the director of Vauxhall CIC social enterprise, through her Digital Tuesdays programme.

Cllr Prentice said: “Lambeth is leading the way in getting this kind of technology into public libraries where everyone can use it.

“Christina has done an amazing job in introducing this technology which has incredible impact on the quality of life for blind and partially sighted people”

“It increases the information available to visually impaired people and gives them more independence.”

While some of the software is free, much of the equipment would be too expensive to provide on an individual basis so providing it in public libraries allows more people to benefit from it and reflects Lambeth’s innovative Cooperative Council.

Mr Vaizey said: “It was inspiring to see and I’ll certainly be an advocate for this technology to be more widely available.”

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