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READERS WITHOUT WALLS WINS AGAIN

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An Essex libraries project, Readers Without Walls, has scooped second prize in national ICT awards sponsored by the...
An Essex libraries project, Readers Without Walls, has scooped second prize in national ICT awards sponsored by the department for culture, media and sport.

The project gives improved choice to housebound readers and has won£5,000 for its ingenious and creative use of technology. Readers Without Walls has also been shortlisted for the Local Government Chronicle awards for excellence (to be announced on March 14).

The groundbreaking project, initially funded by an award from the national year of reading, is being piloted in Billericay and Saffron Walden. Laptop computers allow housebound people with the help of trained volunteers to look at the library catalogue for the first time in their own homes.

They can choose for themselves from over three million books, videos, CDs and audio tapes available as well as accessing community information and more reading ideas on the web. As one of the regular users of the laptop in Billericay has said: 'I think it's absolutely wonderful. It has opened the world for me.'

Stephen Robinson, chairman of the libraries and information services committee, congratulated libraries on the project and said: 'We are determined to broaden the range of Essex people who have direct access to our services. This service is an asset for housebound readers, taking the public library into people's homes. I am delighted that this project now has national recognition.'
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