Assistance for visitors with low vision or blindness 

The National Library has launched a new indoor navigation system optimised to assist visitors with low vision or blindness with directions to safely and independently navigate to different areas of the building. 

BindiMaps is a mobile-phone app that acts as a personal navigation system with an audio guide-track directing users to their indoor destination.  200 Bluetooth beacons have been installed throughout the public areas in the National Library and using the BindiMaps app visitors will be directed to their desired location.   

“The main purpose of the app is to increase accessibility to the Library for all of our visitors while increasing independence, empowering and increasing safety of our visitors with low vision or blindness,” said Warwick Bartlett, the National Library’s Director of Facilities and Security. 

Founder and CEO of BindiMaps, Dr Anna Wright, said, “The National Library is Canberra’s first cultural institution to launch the service and we are delighted that BindiMaps is able to ensure that this important national space is more accessible for people with a vision impairment and for anyone who wants to explore the Library. We’re looking forward to ‘BindiMapping’ many more buildings and areas in Canberra.” 

Scott Grimley walking with his guide dog through Main Reading Room

Scott Grimley and dog, Dudley walking through the Main Reading Room testing the app.

Orientation and Mobility Specialists from Guide Dogs along with Guide Dogs Client, Scott Grimley - who was declared legally blind in 1998 due to the hereditary eye disease Retinitis Pigmentosa - worked with the National Library and BindiMaps to test the app, prior to launch.   

Scott is a long-term board member of the Canberra Blind Society and has worked for the past 10 years at the National Museum of Australia as Access and Inclusion Officer. 

“I found it very easy to find my way around the National Library of Australia using BindiMaps. The directions are clear and easy to follow, especially as it uses the clock face orientation people with low vision or blindness are used to. BindiMaps can also assist those with cognitive impairments as well. It is always good to calibrate your phone’s compass before you arrive,” Scott said. 

While the application will track user activity, the information is anonymised and no private data is collected, ensuring the privacy and safety of our visitors. 
More information on BindiMaps can be found here

Scott Tony Karen testing the app

Scott Grimley, Dudley, Tony Burrett from BindiMaps and Karen Drew from Guide Dogs NSW/ACT testing the BindiMaps app.

International Day of People with Disability - 3 December 

The theme for International Day of People with Disability 2020 is “Building Back Better: toward a disability-inclusive, accessible and sustainable post COVID-19 World”

Each year the UN announces a theme to observe for International Day of People with Disability. The annual theme provides an overarching focus on how society can strive for inclusivity through the removal of physical, technological and attitudinal barriers for people with disability. This has been occurring since 1992 when the General Assembly announced 3 December as the International Day of Disabled Persons. 

The National Library of Australia is a proud member of the Australian Network on Disability (AND). 

Accessibility at the Library.