The Audio Book Project which is conducted by the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences (FHSS) aims to provide equal educational access to all the visually impaired personnel to gain knowledge in any selected area of their choice in spite of their visual impairedness. Currently this service provides access to the entire visually impaired community in Sri Lanka.
The Audio Book Project commenced at the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences on 03rd October 2016, named as ‘Vinivida’ under the guidance and financial support extended by Rev. Prof. Medagoda Abhayathissa. From 2020, this project has been conducted with the University funds, and about 500 books have been recorded so far using the Digital Accessible Information System (DAISY). The University signed an MOU with DAISY Lanka Foundation to get approximately 2000 audio books to enhance the collection to make an online library system for the visually impaired community as a CSR project.
The online library system was inaugurated by the Vice Chancellor, Prof. Sudantha Liyanage, Dean/ FHSS, Prof. Shirantha Heenkenda, representative from the DAISY Lanka Foundation and members of the faculty Equal Opportunity Cell (EOC) on 29th September 2022 commemorating the Faculty Publication Day, and re-named as ABLE (Audio Book Library E-service) Audio Library.
The method previously used was to issue audio books mainly to the visually impaired undergraduate students in universities for their academic purposes. They had to contact the coordinator of the project personally to check on the available books. This method did not provide a user-friendly service to the reader. Moreover, the number of available books were not sufficient for the visually-impaired to gain knowledge in the many areas of their choice.
ABLE Audio Library aims to make an online library system in a user-friendly manner for the visually impaired community with more than 2500 books covering different fields for them to access knowledge in any selected area of their choice.
The University gives the storage facility by providing a separate server for the audio books. The Faculty acknowledges the support given in this regard by Snr. Prof. R.G.N Meegama, Director, Center for IT Services, USJ in the establishment of the new ABLE Audio Library.
Technical support for the online library was given by the EchonLabs (Pvt) Ltd as a CSR project of their company. They have developed an automated system to upload the audio files to the server quickly.
The Faculty appreciates the valuable support given by Mr. Dulan Dias, Mr. Sivantha Paranavithana, Mr. Sampath Sandaruwan, Mr. Vishwajith Weerasinghe and the team for the audio book online library.
Overall IT administration support to develop the ‘ABLE’ Audio Book Online Library system was given by Mr. Samitha Nanayakkara, Department of Information Technology, Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences.
Mr. Kasun Nayanajith and Mrs. Sathya Nirmani uploaded audio books to the online library and checked the website accessibility in a user-friendly way for the visually impaired persons.
Previously the audio books were available only for a limited number of readers. The current system has accelerated the readership of the visually impaired personnel in the country. Daisy Lanka foundation would certify the suitability of applicants to grant them access to the library. They can search books online to have access for listening. This service is open for all visually impaired personnel.
‘ABLE’ online library aims to increase the number of books for catering to the diverse visually impaired age groups covering children’s story books, text books for school children, academic books for undergraduates from different disciplines, novels, short stories, etc.
We would like to invite authors to give their consent to make your book in audio format for the betterment of the visually impaired community, too. We assure that access will be given only to the visually impaired persons after certifying their impairedness for reading.
If anyone would like to make an audio format of a book, we can provide the technical support to make an audio book with your voice for the visually impaired community.