Important Library announcements

Let’s talk books

Talking books will always have a place at Blind Low Vision NZ, but the way we are delivering them is changing.
We are retiring our book delivery on CD by 30 June 2021. While we are aware that many of you love receiving your talking books on disc, this is unfortunately now an obsolete technology, which is becoming increasingly difficult to maintain.
Blind Low Vision NZ has been preparing for this moment by developing a library service for the Alexa smart speaker. We have a skill available on Alexa (similar to an app) for clients to access more than 35,000 books and magazines through the smart speaker, over the Internet.
Once set up, you can activate your Alexa by voice, making the reading experience easier, and letting you choose which books you want to read and when.

If you don’t have an Internet connection, you can still receive talking books by post. We can offer you a new USB alternative to discs, which we are calling BookDrive. You can play books and magazines from this smart card on your DAISY player, or other compatible devices.
We know there will be a period of adjustment as people adapt to the new systems, and we are here to support you.
If you have any questions, please get in touch with our Library team by calling 0800 24 33 33 or emailing library@blindlowvision.org.nz.

Rolling out the Alexa Smart Speaker

Thanks to a significant investment by the Ministry of Social Development in our services this year, we have purchased 3,500 additional Alexa smart speakers to provide to our members free of charge.
Not only can you access our audio library on Alexa to read books and magazines, but there are many handy features Alexa can offer you out of the box. You can check the time or weather, get public transport information, play radio stations, receive news bulletins, hear the latest Covid-19 updates, and much more.
This puts you, the user, in control, and using only your voice, you will be able to access more information independently. Promoting independence is one of the four key priorities in our Strategic Plan 2020-2024, and Alexa is a widely-accessible way of bridging the information gap for people who are blind or have low vision.
You can read more about Alexa and our Library skill in our Alexa resources.
If you are currently a Blind Low Vision NZ client or supporting one of our clients, please call us on 0800 24 33 33 or email info@blindlowvision.org.nz to request your Alexa.

How to set up your Alexa

We have prepared accessible guides to help you connect your Alexa device using a range of other smart devices. These are available for download in Word format: