In honor of the birth month of Louis Jean-Phillipe Braille, the French educator and inventor of the reading and writing system utilized by those who are blind or have visual impairments, January is also known as National Braille Literacy Month.
What is Braille?
Braille is a tactile (connected with the sense of touch) system that utilizes a series of 6 dots or cells, used in various combinations, to symbolize letters of the alphabet as well as numbers, punctuation, and capitalization.
Is Braille even relevant in our high-tech world?
Of course it is! Would you ask a sighted person to never read printed words again but only listen to audiobooks? Or would you tell them to never use a pen or pencil again but to do all of their writing via the computer or other electronic devices? No. Braille is a fundamental avenue of literacy and learning for those that need it. Braille literacy influences academic success and employment, as well as the person’s independence and level of confidence.
According to a 2009 report, only ten percent of people who are legally blind actually learn braille according to the National Federation of the Blind. This is due to a number of factors including the lack of teachers who are qualified to teach Braille, misconceptions of the Braille system, and those with low vision are not taught Braille prior to any additional loss of vision.
The Alachua County Library District’s Braille Collection:
The majority of ACLD’s Braille collection is housed at the Headquarters Library but you can always browse our Braille collection online and place them on hold to be picked up at your local branch. Our collection includes a Braille primer as well as children's and adult books in Braille.
Interested in learning how to read Braille? Order a free 3D Printed Braille Learning Board made with our 3D printer in our MakerSpace department. Just fill out our request form and give us a minimum of 2 weeks to make you one.
For more information about Braille:
Content Provided by: Janna Heckathorn