Kingston, Ont. book club creates community for the visually impaired – Kingston


For book enthusiasts like Anne Jewell, finding accessible reading materials is a must.

This need is made easier by his membership in the Canadian National Institute for the Blind (CNIB) Book Club, something unique in Kingston.

“It’s an opportunity to connect with people who have the same barriers, and also to connect with people who have such diverse and interesting perspectives on the books being read,” says Anne Jewell.

“I learn something every month.”

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As the INCA Book Club celebrates its 10th anniversary, Jewell marks eight years of reading with the group.

“Whatever vision loss people have, whether they are blind, visually impaired or deafblind, we welcome everyone to this community,” says CNIB’s Caitlin Bruce.

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“It’s just to connect with others who share this love of reading and who really appreciate it and who want to connect with others on a monthly basis.”

Book club members are connected to CELA, the Center for Equitable Access to Libraries, which offers print disabled people a wide range of books in different formats, from Braille and large print to audiobooks.

“It’s definitely different. And I still miss holding this book and turning the page, ”says Jewell. “I think I will always miss it. But I’m, you know, used to listening to books now.

According to CELA, it is estimated that only five to seven percent of published works are available in formats accessible to people unable to read print.

“If you haven’t been through this, you don’t know where to go, what resources there are,” says Bruce. “So we can absolutely point people in the right direction on how to get started.”

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Jewell says the group helped her navigate her journey with loss of sight and encourages others to follow suit.

“This will help you fight off the first few shots of vision loss,” she says. “And you’ll get a lot of great ideas from people and meet some really interesting people.”

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The tight-knit little group meets on the third Wednesday of each month, from September to June, sharing the love of reading, learning and the determination to overcome obstacles.

© 2021 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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