Mudgee’s VIP Friendship Group toured the renovated Mudgee library for the first time last week, and members were impressed with the facilities, both for people with disabilities and for the whole community.
The VIP (vision impaired people) group, which meets on the second Wednesday morning of every month, includes members who are legally blind or vision impaired, as well as supporters with healthy vision.
While some members access the library exclusively for the collection of audiobooks, all agreed that the extensive new facilities catered amply to all parts of the community, including vision impaired people, blind people, children, students and more.
“Really, we’re so fortunate,” said member Mary Lovett.
The library floor is equipped with tactile tiles to warn blind or vision impaired users as they approach a change in the conditions in their path, as well as coloured floor tiles that direct sighted users to their desired library section - which Marjorie Curran said reminded her of the colour-coded maps of the London Underground.
The lowered counter is also more accessible for children and people in wheelchairs, and the group said the toilets for people with disabilities were accessible and comfortable.
The group was impressed with the lift, which opens on both sides to access the theatre or library, and which has a recorded voice making it more user-friendly for people with impaired vision.
The lift is also easily accessible via a path down the side of the building for theatregoers, removing the obstacle of stairs for frail or vision impaired people.
“It’s been done with a lot of thought for people with disability,” Mrs Lovett said.
The group approved of the many relaxing rooms where library users could sit, and the spacious character of the new layout, which has room to move and lower shelves that make the books easier to reach.
“It’s so big compared to what they had,” said Gwen Davis.
“It was very open and airy,” said Joan Hardie.
“It’s a credit to council,” said Graham Hedrick.
The group also tested the theatre, where they found the seats more comfortable and thought the bright gold columns were “a nice touch”.
Dorothy said one of the most impressive aspects of the renovation was that the heritage facade had been preserved and gave no hint of the marvellous modern facility inside.
The group congratulated council’s manager of information services, Simon Jones, and his team for developing such a useable and pleasant space.
“We were all so impressed with every bit of it,” Mrs Lovett said.