Alternative and Accessible Formats

Conarls supports interlending in all formats for VIPs (Visually Impaired / Print disabled readers).

Alternative format material is usually a book or print item that has been produced in another format such as Braille, Moon, Large Print, Giant Print, audio CD or cassette, in order to make it accessible to people with a visual impairment.

The Bee Aware Scheme

The Bee Aware Scheme is a national initiative to promote the inter library loan of alternative format material on behalf of visually impaired and print disabled people.  More details are available on our Bee Aware page.

Articles for the Blind postage

Alternative format material may be sent via the Post Office Service free of charge to and from a VIP, using the Articles for the Blind (AFB) service, even if obtained through a library. Further information regarding Articles for the Blind (AFB) can be found on the RNIB website and the Post Office website.


Calibre Audio library
This is a free postal service. Books are mainly available on cassette but have introduced MP3 format recently. The catalogue is available to search online and includes material for adults and children. It is a leisure reading library so doesn’t have any text books.  It is possible to use the Bee Aware scheme to obtain books for library users.

RNIB National Library Service

The RNIB maintains a searchable database of accessible alternative format resources, formerly known as Revealweb. This database is now part of UnityUK and may be accessed through FABLibraries

It is possible to search the RNIB Library catalogue to borrow braille, audio, maps, music, large or giant print and Moon from the RNIB Library, Calibre Audio Library, National Blind Children’s Society and Torch Trust

‘Six Steps to library services for blind and partially sighted people’
A joint initiative by the Society of Chief Librarians, Scottish Library & Information Council and Share the Vision.

In a UK-wide effort to improve access for blind and partially sighted people, public libraries are adopting six important simple steps that will ensure that everyone can use their library.

Included in the six steps initiative are collections of large print and audio books, having a library champion for the reading needs of blind and partially sighted people, and making sure that technology in libraries is accessible to all.

Download / read the report here: