In 2004, NALIS was the winner of the Prime Minister’s Innovating for Service Excellence Award 2004 – Making a Difference to People – The Social Inclusion Award for services to the blind and visually impaired persons in the society.
Since 2001, NALIS has facilitated training programmes to the visually impaired that give independence through technology. At the National Library of Trinidad and Tobago, rooms in the Children’s Library and Adult Library are furnished with equipment for the blind and visually impaired. Recently the Heritage Library was the beneficiary of similar equipment through the sponsorship of Republic Bank.
The Public Affairs Unit of the United States Embassy also created a visually impaired persons unit at the Scarborough Regional Library, Signal Hill Senior Comprehensive School, Tobago as part of its American Corner. Twenty-three (23) persons recently graduated in the use of assistive technology at the National Library, in partnership with the Torres Foundation.
The technology employed includes the use of JAWS for Windows software which uses synthetic speech to verbalise screen output for computer users. This programme is multilingual and allows for information to be read in character, word, line and full screen formats.
The Magic Professional Screen Magnifier for those with low vision, the Braille Embosser, which produces hard copy Braille, and the Poet OCR reading machine which reads full text to the visually challenged, are just some of the tools which aid in giving independence to the differently abled in the society.
This facility is like no other in the Caribbean and is ranked among the best internationally. NALIS has been in the forefront offering consultative services to a number of libraries throughout the Caribbean, and was chosen by Microsoft Corporation to represent the region at the Forum for Libraries for the Blind and Print Disabled in Redmond, Washington, USA.
For many in our society, this service provided by NALIS means independence, progress, development and empowerment.