LONDON — Libraries have a big role to play in helping children with learning disorders access their favorite books and songs online, according to a report released Wednesday.
The report, Free to Read: Learning with disabilities: What it means for books and learning, says that libraries play a vital role in providing access to the most widely used books for children.
It was launched by the British Library Association in cooperation with Carnegie Library and Carnegie Digital.
The BLA says its research has identified many of the best libraries across the country, and it has partnered with companies that provide digital access to millions of children, such as Spotify, Netflix, Amazon and Google Play.
In the UK, libraries are one of the key ways children with disabilities can access free online content.
Bollywood, the Hindi-language version of Bollywood, is one of many cultural and educational experiences that have been widely available online through the Free to Reading program.
As a result, the BLA found that about 2 million children have access to Bollywood films online, compared with the 4 million who do not.
“We know that children with special needs and learning disabilities benefit from learning, learning in diverse ways, and we know that they have a greater ability to understand the content they are reading and to engage in the way they would with a book or a video game,” said Julie Condon, director of research for the BLS.
Access to books is a core function for BLS and other organizations that provide online learning.
While it’s unclear how many children with specific disabilities, disabilities and developmental delays have access, Condon said that in the UK “the number is probably somewhere between one in three and one in five, depending on the number of resources available and the size of the child’s network of peers.”
“The BLS does know that kids with special learning needs are at a higher risk for developing reading and learning problems,” she added.
“The research we’re looking at is how to make that access accessible to more people, including more children and older adults.”
Librarians, meanwhile, say that while the Free To Read program has been successful, it is not without its challenges.
One problem is that the BLCA has had to partner with other organizations to share the results of the program, and that has required them to create a new set of metrics.
Another challenge has been the high costs of providing books and movies through the BLI’s online services, which can take more than a month to load on computers, said Condon.
However, it appears that some libraries have begun to address the problems, as they recently started offering the program through their own digital platforms.
There is still much work to be done, Cork said.
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