22nd May 2012
Reading Without Seeing
A library for people with visual disabilities is rewriting the book on providing services for the blind. Wang Kaihao reports in Beijing.
Wang Xinmin rides the bus for more than an hour and a half to visit the only library he can use in Beijing - the China Braille Library, near the Temple of Heaven. The 50-year-old social worker with the Disabled Person's Federation of Chaoyang District visits at least once a week, despite the long commute. Wang lost his vision after a childhood eye injury. "It's hard for us to go anywhere far from home, but it's worth it, especially when I find some old people in the library, even though I can't see their faces. I don't have a clear impression of this colorful world.”
The library used to be located in a half-century-old building without modern facilities in Beijing's western outskirts, near the Marco Polo Bridge, which was too far for Wang.
Librarian Wang Ying says things got better when the new library opened in 2011. It carries 60,000 books, most of which are published by China Braille Press, which is in the same building. It's the country's only publishing house serving the blind.