Important Library announcements
Allied Press Newspapers Now Available on Alexa
For all our clients in Otago and Southland (and anyone else who is interested), we have great news! Allied Press have agreed to give us a daily feed of their Newspapers. This includes the Otago Daily Times. A full list of available titles is below.
- Ashburton Courier
- Central Rural Life
- Hokitika Guardian
- Hurunui News
- The News Alexandra
- Oamaru Mail Weekly
- Otago Daily Times
- The Clutha Leader
- The Gore Ensign
- The Southland Express
- Timaru Courier
- Mountain Scene
- Southern Rural life
- The Star Dunedin
- The News Wanaka
- The News Alexandra
This brings the total number of Newspapers available to 121 and we now have all the major newspapers in NZ available. Many thanks to Yen Tran at BLVNZ and Allied Press for making this happen. At the moment, these newspapers are only available on Alexa, however we expect that they will be available on TIS and other services in the near future, and we will let you know in the next edition of Bookmarks.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
Updates to Blind Low Vision NZ’s library service
Read your newspapers with Alexa
Thousands of our Blind Low Vision NZ clients are already enjoying their audio books and magazines on the Alexa smart speakers with our Library skill. The latest update to our service provides daily newspaper articles from 52 local newspapers, by kind permission of their publishers. These are the same newspaper feeds available from our Telephone Information Service or BookLink services, now accessible entirely by voice.
Search for a newspaper title, or browse through the full list of newspapers, and keep your favourite papers easy to find with the
Blind Low Vision NZ skill for Alexa.
Please note: content is updated automatically each day and is based on printed newspapers only. The exact time of content updates may vary depending on the publisher, if your requested newspaper is not current, please check back later. Also, please be aware that some News sections may not be available in the NZ Herald. We are working with our content providers to improve this service. For more information say ‘help’ from the newspaper menu.
Magazines and improved search now in EasyReader app
EasyReader is a free, accessible reading app for people with print disabilities such as blindness, low vision, or dyslexia.
The Blind Low Vision NZ Library in EasyReader gives you direct access to our collection of over 35,000 audiobooks.
We have continued to work with the Dolphin Company to improve our library service in the EasyReader app, and have just released some new features in the November update.
The main improvement has been adding our magazine collection to the app. The Magazines menu in our library page gives you an alphabetical list of all our current magazines.
The library team would love your feedback on both of these improvements. Give them a call on 0800 24 33 33.
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 email@example.com 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: