Slovak Blind Print, 1946

Slovak Library for the Blind of Matej Hrebenda in Levoča (hereinafter as “SLB”) as the national special library under the Ministry of Culture of the Slovak Republic (since 1993) provides library and information services for blind, partially sighted or otherwise disabled people in order to ensure their cultural, information, scientific and educational needs. In parallel, it is also the publisher of periodical and non-periodical publications and documents in Braille, audio tracks, in a larger type of font, in relief print and in electronic form. SLB’s peculiarity is that all documents in the alternative, special forms must make on their own and only then these documents are added to the library collection.

The Braille printed publications are from the field of fine and professional literature, periodicals, music, pamphlets, calendars, textbooks for primary schools, language textbooks and so on. Annual production of books in Braille is about 150 publications.
Sound processed are book publications from current production publishing, magazines and literature. Narration of the sound documents is provided by narrators from the ranks of actors, newscasters or amateurs. For audio books, the annual output is about 170 publications.

Embossed Graphics is focused on illustrations of books and textbooks, as well as on producing individual picture publications, wall calendars and postcards.
The library also publishes 17 kinds of magazines that are content profiled and are published in different periodicity (from biweekly to quarterly published).

A range of basic services is stable and focuses on providing presence, absentee and mail-order lending services. Lending of the documents is free of charge. The library collection includes 6,500 titles of audio books and 3,100 titles of books in Braille. Around 2,000 readers from Slovakia and abroad can borrow documents at the library in person, through mail order or online through a digital library. There is a digital library available since 2006 for the readers which allows direct listening to audio books and magazines from the library’s website.

Circulation loan services of audiobook files in Slovakia the library also provides through a network of 29 offices in public libraries.

The positive publicity of the library is also supported by the organization of various cultural and educational events, professional conferences, exhibitions, national competitions, information education classes. In the library there is actively working a literary club which focuses on the target group of lovers of literature, literary journalism and criticism from among visually impaired people from all over Slovakia. In the SLB on the Majster Pavol Square 32 there is opened a permanent exhibition of the Matej Hrebenda’s room. This exhibition is dedicated to the blind propagator of book culture in Slovakia. It documents the journey of a librarian, bibliophile and collector of old prints. The SLB also methodically directs the customers – the creators of information, in particular the organizations of the state and public sector in the preparation of materials which will correspond to the rules of accessibility for persons with visual impairment (e.g. access to tactile exhibitions with braille captions and audio commentary, manufacturing of roadmaps, floor plans of public buildings, marking of the historic sites or means of public transport).