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Trichy Central Library brings written word alive for new audiences with a section for deaf readers

The Trichy Central Library recently opened a section for deaf people with exclusive facilities. This includes a tablet where visitors can learn English through sign language.

Libraries in Kerala are opening their doors to newer and newer audiences. After the Kerala State Central Library in Thiruvananthapuram opened a new wing with books in Braille and audio books, now it is Trichy's turn.

The Trichy Central library has opened a wing for deaf readers. This is great news as this is the biggest library in the city with hundreds of visitors every day.

Reports are that the state government has spent almost ₹1.5 lakh on the new wing. The Trichy Central library is renowned for its vast collection and is used extensively by students who want to prepare for the competitive exams. The library has a section in Braille books from before and this new wing for deaf readers will make it even more popular.

Shankar Subbaiah, an Accessibility Consultant Expert who works with the Tamil Nadu government says libraries like the Anna Centenary Library in Chennai and District Central Library in Coimbatore are already accessible to a large extent. He is happy that other states are following the lead as well.

Most of these libraries already had a section for visually impaired people. We have been working on making these spaces accessible for deaf people as well. We are planning to make Trichy a model library so that other libraries across the state can follow its functioning. Tablets that help deaf students to learn English through sign language videos will be introduced in these libraries so that they can prepare for competitive exams as well. The government has been extremely cooperative and that is why we could implement this. - Shankar Subbaiah, Accessibility Consultant Expert

Right now, only a few libraries in Kerala are accessible to blind and deaf people. With this new wing being introduced at Trichy Central Library, deaf people in this city will not have to face too many challenges when it comes to accessing exclusive books. This will also provide them a better platform to prepare for competitive exams and find employment opportunities.

Disability rights activists say its high time all libraries began work on accessibility. "I feel all libraries must be made inclusive. The Tanjore library is not inclusive at all. Why is there a delay in making all these libraries accessible for disabled community?", asks Kamaraj, an activist in Trichy.

Under the RPWD Act 2016 accessibility to all government facilities/structures is mandated and it is high time this is followed in letter and spirit.

ALSO READ: Kerala's state capital library has a new Braille wing

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