Thursday, January 15, 2009

If You Can See What I Am Saying...

I spent today on an training course at RNIB Cymru - Breaking the Barriers through Accessible Information - Funded by the Equalities and Human Rights Division, Welsh Assembly Government.

The trainer, Tony Jefford, was really excellent - delivering his material in a mixture of ways that kept us all interested, motivated, entertained and learning.

I won't elaborate on the detail right now, as I am digesting it, but it directly related to my role at Cardiff Central Library - not only as I might become called on to assist the public, or to train staff, but in terms of trying to ensure that the services we do offer are well advertised and fully used.   It is obvious that many people remain unaware of the nature of modern libraries, and the resources available - but equally it became clear to me that we probably do not raise awareness adequately ourselves.

Shortcut Keys

The thing that I most enjoyed was to realise that the Windows Shortcut Keys (a few of which I use and teach as convenient tricks) are actually a very powerful tool - built into Windows and requiring no further investment in software.

I will be exploring and expanding my own use of these, and encouraging staff to use more, as well. 


One of the great things about Shortcuts is that they do not involve learning something specifically designed for people with disabilities - they would actually prove very useful to all computer users. It just so happens that becoming proficient in their use would also increase staff's ability to effectively assist people who are blind or partially sighted in the use of computers.

And one final joke (Tony is a great trainer, and told several stories against himself!).  When we were blindfolded and taken outside to experience the disorientation of being blind, and fumbled along the edge of a busy road in a bedraggled 'conga-line' of scared and helpless folk (safely supervised, I hasten to add), we were noticed by a passing driver who apparently rang Kiss FM to describe this strange sighting, and ask for the significance of it.

I don't know if Tony got through to them to explain. We all suggested he claim it was a demonstration in favour of putting a Pelican Crossing across that busy road, given that the RNIB offices are there...

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