National Library of France
Visitors with disabilities
Under the authority of the BnF’s general management, the officer in charge works in collaboration with ten counterparts in the various departments or delegations of the library. Information is collected and relayed by the different members of the staff who are in charge of finding ways to resolve difficulties encountered by visitors with disabilities and problems in building access policies.
The « Mission handicap » was created in 2003, during the European year of disability. It observes the law of February the 11th, 2005, for the equality of rights and chances, the participation and citizenship of disabled persons. This law refers to the following disabilities: motor disability, sensorial disability, mental and psychic disability, invisible or temporary disability.
This law also concerns accessibility to cultural places and services.
The BnF establishes close relations with various networks specialized in the field of disability: representative institutions, assistance services for acquiring autonomy and getting into the school system, specialized institutions, « Mission handicap » in universities, departmental homes for disabled persons.
In the framework of the « Mission handicap », the BnF has also settled an agreement with the Cité des Sciences et de l’Industrie, to improve accessibility for disabled persons. On the initiative of the Ministry of Culture and Communication, working parties from various cultural institutions meet on a regular basis to focus on the following issues:
One of the results of groups brainstorming is the publication of the first practical guide devoted to accessibility for disabled persons. Available at: http://www.culturecommunication.gouv.fr/Ressources/Publications/Guide-Accessibilite-et-spectacle-vivant
Other documents are being produced and will be published soon by the Ministry of Culture and Communication.
The “Handi-livres” prize was created in 2005. Since 2011, it is co-organized by the “Fonds Handicap et Société par intégrance” and the BnF. It aims to encourage authors and focus on disabled persons or works dealing with disability.
Under the patronage of Robert Hossein, it also contributes to making disability better known and to better integrating disabled persons in the city.
There are six categories awarded:
This year, the winners of this literary prize will be awarded on November the 24th, during the ceremony that will take place at François-Mitterand Library in the Globes' hall.
This assessment – that also concerns accessibility to the developed building site and the cultural offer – allows to prioritize and plan the work to be achieved in the various areas of the library.
This assessment was made in the legal framework for accessibility of cultural institutions.
Taking into account the development of Gallica website, an « accessibility » page provides information to visually-impaired users about Gallica browsing. The listen mode also allows to listen to documents available in text mode. Other improvements are planned for 2011 to make easier access to documents for visually-impaired users.
Of course, specific standards optimizing visits of motor-disabled persons are observed. Moreover, various devices have been set up to improve the visit of visually-impaired people:
Exhibition tours in French sign language are also proposed from time to time to hearing-impaired persons.
Demonstration sessions are regularly organised to explain how reading assistance devices work. These sessions are intended to the staff working in the reading rooms housing soundproof booths.
The “Mission Handicap” staff has also produced a practical guide for accompanying officers. This document provides information about the missions of the accompanying person, the services and equipments available, paths to follow with a disabled reader or visitor. It is available online.
Tuesday, October 21, 2014