Thursday, 11 August 2016

BOOKS IN BRAILLE!

A while ago, reader Claire blogged here about reading CC books in braille and how she had persuaded the Royal National Institute of the Blind to turn more CC books into braille books. Now Mark from the RNIB tells us how it all happens...


Mark says:
The Royal National Institute for the Blind Library has the aim of getting as many titles into accessible formats as possible and making them available, free to borrow, to people who are blind, partially sighted or print impaired. Braille is a form of written language for the blind and partially sighted, where characters and letters are represented by patterns made of raised dots which the reader feels with their fingertips. Only around 7% of published material makes it into braille, giant print or audio, so we have our work cut out!

We have a long list of criteria that we use to help us choose which books to add to the library, and customer requests feature somewhere near the top of that list! For example, we recently added some new Cathy Cassidy titles to our braille collection because a reader had requested it.

Our customers range from the very young to the very old... we have more than twenty customers who are over a hundred years old! When we choose a book for braille or giant print (24 point, bold) we actually buy the physical book and chop it up before scanning the pages onto a computer to transcribe the text into an electronic file. This can then be used to produce a braille or giant print version.

A 'normal' book can often end up as more than six volumes - a volume is roughly the size of an A4 ring binder packed full of pages. We send them out to RNIB Library customers in big canvas bags... two volumes per bag. The Post office very kindly deliver the books for free to people's homes and once they have been read, and hopefully enjoyed, they come back to us in just the same way!

Cathy says:
It's great to know just how braille books are made... hats off to the fab team at RNIB Library! Which books would YOU suggest the RNIB add to their lists? COMMENT BELOW to have your say!

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