Adriana is an exceptional, yet very modest person. Born without sight, she managed with huge strength and determination to live a fulfilling life. She graduated from two universities and holds a PhD degree. Currently she is living her dream of helping other visual impaired people to get access to information. Here is her story in short.
Adriana was born in Constanta, a lively city bordering the Black sea. She grew up in a charming neighborhood, surrounded by family and friends that involved her in all their activities and treated her as a full member of their small community. Her family taught her about strength, about how every person with disabilities has abilities, and about how you can achieve anything if you truly want to.
She went to mass school and she was fortunate to have teachers and colleagues that integrated her naturally in the educational system. However, Adriana did not have accessible manuals in Braille, therefore her parents used to read the courses to her, which took a lot of time and effort. Later, in high school things got a bit easier, since she discovered access technologies that provided her better access to information. She could scan books and listen to recordings at any time.
Since 2008 Adriana works at the National Library of Romania, currently in the Research & Development Department. Her main tasks are the development of studies regarding the access to information and access technologies, development of methodological norms, creation of documentary files and subject bibliographies, site editing. During the past 5 years she participated in scientific meetings, attended various conferences related to information accessibility, aspects of the digital library, intellectual property rights - at national and international levels.
But having a nice job is not enough for Adriana. One of her biggest wishes is to share the gift of information with other sight challenged people. That is why she is happy that from her current position she can help other visual impaired people get access to valuable documents from the Library’s collection.
Two projects with Orange Romania Foundation
She found out about the grants offered by Orange Romania Foundation for projects in the benefit of sensory impaired people. She applied two times for these grants and she won both times, with projects dedicated to visual impaired people.
Through the first project the National Library got the latest assistive technologies which facilitate access of the visual impaired people to the library’s collections and enriched its offer with a significant collection of electronic and audio books (approx. 4000 titles of e-books and 42 titles of electronic encyclopaedias available at www.bibnat.ro) and books in DAISY format. Due to the equipment installed, hundreds of people with sight deficiency have now access to information and a better chance to integrate in society.
And because for many visual impaired people (especially for the ones living in other cities) it was difficult to come in person to the library, she wrote a second project that won financing from the Orange Romania Foundation. This new project creates the largest digital library in the country accessible to the visually impaired people, that collects all scanned documents from the public libraries, in an accessible format for the blind or visually impaired people. This way the visual impaired users can have access to the digital library offline – in the library building, and online – accessing from anywhere the catalogue available on the library web site.
Next to these projects, Adriana is regularly organizing cultural events, or computer and writing-reading Braille trainings in the library for the users with disabilities. She is a key integrator of the blind community in Bucharest, contributing largely to enlarging their universe.