Wednesday, 30 January 2008

BOBCATSSS continued...

While Mark was busy at a session on Open access vs copyright, I attended one on Special Needs in Libraries. The first speaker was Toni Kennedy from Australia, and talked about how she had worked to improved prison libraries in New South Wales. She mentioned a number of strategies, including training inmates as assistant librarians had helped to counter a culture of second hand books, and no trained librarians at all.

Although the content was quite far removed from my main areas of interest, it was very interesting to see the parallels with library life in Higher Education, including the novel uses for book stock (cigarette papers made from Bible pages is one example where this has happened in both locations!). The impact they have made is astonishing, and even more impressive given the lack of money and resources.

The other speaker talked about Information Access for disabled students in Lithuania, where disabled students have traditionlly been ignored. Again, a number of
innovations to improve information access for disabled students in the country. In doing so, they have utilsed a number of web 2 technologies, so again it was good to see parallels with what we are doing in Higher Education.

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