The School for Blind Children will be temporarily housed at the National Library of Trinidad and Tobago, Hart and Abercromby Streets, Port of Spain from April 24 to July 7, 2017. The Ministry of Education is currently making the necessary arrangements to have the children housed at a different location come September.
This temporary arrangement is in response to the Ministry’s request to accommodate the students who, regrettably and through no fault of theirs, were unable to attend school for about a term.
The students, who are between ages five to 14, and their teachers will utilise well equipped Visually Impaired Rooms (VIP) at the Children’s Library on the Ground Floor and the Adult Library on the First Floor. Classes will be held, Monday to Friday from 9:00 am to 2:00 pm.
As an organisation that facilitates learning and development, the National Library and Information System Authority (Nalis) feels obliged to assist in the children’s educational growth and academic success. Some of the pupils are carded to write the upcoming SEA and School Leaving Examinations.
Nalis believes that the children will benefit greatly from this arrangement, though temporary, as they will be able to sit in on some of the storytelling and reading sessions conducted by library staff, and their teachers will have easy access to a number of learning resources available at the library.
Members of the public who are visually impaired can continue to access Nalis’ VIP services - assistive technology at the Heritage Library, Second Floor, National Library. VIP services are also available at Nalis’ Carnegie Free Library, San Fernando; Arima; Maloney; Couva; Point Fortin; Rio Claro; Princes Town and San Juan Public Libraries.
The assistive technology employed by Nalis includes the JAWS (Job Access with Speech) voice synthesizer, Magic Professional Screen Magnifier for those with low vision, the Braille Embosser, which translates text to Braille and printed material, and the Poet OCR reading machine for reading documents to the visually challenged. Braille and large print materials are also available at libraries.