Innovative Practice 2018 on Accessibility

International online audio-book library in Arabic language

AlManarah (meaning lighthouse in Arabic, reflecting the organization’s commitment to disability rights) is a non-profit association for persons with disabilities in Israel’s Arab-speaking population. The organization has developed the International Accessible Library, a free online resource containing a wide range of literature and educational materials in audio format. The library contains over 4,500 professionally recorded audio books in Arabic that can be accessed by persons with visual and print disabilities worldwide, and it receives over 200,000 visits per month.

“AlManarah`s International Accessible Library is my ultimate solution for enjoying reading accessible books through a treasure of more than 4,500 Audio books”

Abbass AbbassAlManarah Director
About the practice at a glance
Name of Innovative Practice:International online audio-book library in Arabic language
Organisation:AlManarah
Country
of Implementation
Israel, Middle East and North Africa

FACTS & FIGURES

  • Some 2 million web visits since the establishment of the website in 2014.
  • Approximately 200,000 visits per month.
  • Over 4,500 books (50,000 hours) currently available in audio format.

PROBLEMS TARGETED

Persons with print impairments in the Arabic-speaking population are often unable to gain access to literature and educational materials due to the very significant lack of accessible audio books in the Arabic language.

SOLUTION, INNOVATION, AND IMPACT

A person in the studio creating audio recordings of children books.The AlManarah International Accessible Library is a free online library providing audio books in the Arabic language, covering over 30 topics, including Arabic literature, world literature, self-development, children’s books, and educational materials. It is the first accessible virtual library in the Arabic world.
The audio books are professionally recorded at AlManarah’s studio and uploaded to the organization’s website, where they can then be accessed via a mobile phone application or directly from the website itself. Over 4,500 books have been professionally recorded to date, providing access to over 50,000 hours of audio for persons with visual impairments or print disabilities. The books are made available through Israeli law based on the Marrakesh Treaty, an international agreement that allows accessible versions of books to be produced and distributed exempt of copyright laws for the use of persons with disabilities (the Marrakesh Treaty is a 2018 Innovative Policy).
As of mid-2017 the Library has over 60,000 users and receives over 200,000 visits every month.

OUTLOOK, TRANSFERABILITY AND FUNDING

AlManarah plans to recruit volunteers to record audio books to increase the speed of production of new material, Audio books being distributed to children with visual impairments.with an overall aim of increasing the number of unique users accessing the resource by 50 per cent each year. In 2016 the Ministry of Education began to include the audio books in Arabic-speaking schools, and it has shown interest in including the mobile application as part of the educational curriculum for persons with print disabilities in schools across Israel.
The project is funded through donations from non-profit organizations working in Israel, along with grants from the Israeli National Insurance Institute and the Ministry of Culture and Sports, as well as from advertising on the website through Google AdWords. AlManarah plans to transform the library from a non-profit project into a social business by moving to a small subscription-fee service to ensure long-term sustainability.
FACTSHEET

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