Reading club caters to visually impaired
The Out of Sight Reading Club plans to hold its first meeting for people with visual impairments, at the Merritt library on Feb. 5.
The monthly meeting is a new program offered at the library through a partnership with CNIB.
CNIB Kamloops office manager Les Nolin said the meet-up is the first of its kind in the area.
“We feel that it’s time to start something in Merritt and get visually impaired people together to have some activities,” Nolin said.
The reading club provides people with information about resources that can help people with vision loss read, from powerful magnifiers to audio books to book readers. Nolin said he also hopes to secure a permanent projector for the library that can magnify items up to 80 times. He said partnering with the library to develop a program was a natural choice.
“The thing that people miss the most when they lose vision is the ability to read,” said Nolin, who is legally blind. “People don’t realize how important reading is until they lose the ability.”
The reading club will be supportive as well as informational, where people can share the challenges they’ve faced living with vision loss. He said there are about 33 visually impaired people in Merritt who have registered with CNIB, but there are likely more who haven’t registered or who might not realize the extent of their vision loss, as it can happen gradually.
“A lot of people who live in smaller communities might not even be aware of the other people who exist there with vision loss,” Nolin said. “It will be an opportunity for low-vision people to get together.”
The first meeting also falls during White Cane Week, an awareness campaign that CNIB offices across the country participate in to raise awareness about Canadians living with vision loss that the organization has run in the first week of February since 1947.
Although the first meeting hasn’t happened yet, Nolin hopes to bring the reading club to other branches of the Thompson-Nicola Regional District Library system in the future. He said he hopes someone will take on the role of leading the local reading club so he can hit the road and bring the program to other cities.
The reading club is scheduled to meet on Feb. 5 from 1 to 3 p.m. at the library.