The AlManarah International Library for the Print-Disabled is the the only free, totally accessible audio library in the world available to Arabic speakers. It is perhaps AlManarah’s most unique contribution toward the empowerment of persons with disabilities, starting with the Arab society in Israel and with the potential to help tens of millions of Arabic-speakers with print disabilities worldwide. The virtual library exists online at www.arabcast.org and on applications for iOS and Android, where members can access—for free—over 2,000 Arabic audiobooks professionally recorded in AlManarah’s studio.
A print-disabled person is anyone who cannot effectively read print because of a visual, physical, perceptual, developmental, cognitive, or learning disability. Currently there is a significant lack of accessible versions of text, such as braille and audiobooks, and the situation is even more severe when it comes to Arabic texts. That is why AlManarah took the initiative in 2008 to create the first accessible audio library in the Arab world: the AlManarah International Library. From its humble beginnings, the library has grown to astronomical heights, particularly thanks to the support of the Welfare Association.
One of AlManarah’s chief objectives is to ensure the fulfillment of the terms of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRPD), in Israel and throughout the region. The AlManarah International Library is a major contribution toward the realization of Article 9, which stresses the importance of accessibility of information in addition to the physical accessibility of public places and facilities.
In March 2014, Israel passed a law (based on the Marrakesh VIP Treaty of 2007) that makes an exception to the copyright law for producing and distributing acccessible book formats for people with disabilities. This will allow still greater freedom for the AlManarah International Library to make accessible versions of books under copyright for the free use of registered members with disabilities.
Via the AlManarah International Library, Arab persons with print disabilities have access for the first time to an enormous range of educational materials, Arabic literature and world literature in translation, self-development books, children’s books, and many other genres. No matter where in the world our members are located, the AlManarah International Library empowers them to attain new vistas of knowledge and personal discovery, realize their full intellectual potential, and contribute as leaders within a strengthened and more diverse public sphere.
A substantial portion of the library’s contents are open (“Freemium”) to any visitor: visit www.arabcast.org or download the “Al Manarah Library” smartphone application to browse the titles. And if you have a qualifying disability, sign up as a Premium member!