January is National Braille Literature Month

Braille is a system of raised dots that can be read with the fingers by people who can not see. Some people may think that braille is another language, but it is not. The American Foundation for the Blind, state that braille is a universal code that is written for many languages. Letters, numbers, and even punctuation marks are represented by raised dots that are arranged in a cell or rectangular block with only 6 dots allowed in each cell. Sixty-four combinations of dots are possible.

Since its development in France by Louis Braille in the nineteenth century, braille has become an essential part of communication for those who are blind. And, thanks to technology its development in literacy has opened up many avenues for braille users. There is the slate and stylus, which is the equivalent to paper and pencil; the braillewriter; and portable electronic braille devices that have braille embossers for hard copy prints.

The library offers 15 different braille printed children’s books as well as nonfiction books on Louis Braille, Helen Keller, and How to Read braille (for the sighted). The Blindness Resource Center for the New York Institute for Special Education contains various resources for braille literacy and the blind, if you are interested in learning more about braille, or if you have a friend or family member that is blind and wish to know more on how you can further assist them. The New York Public Library houses a number of books in braille, as well as various resources that will enrich, assist in learning, and empower the blind of all ages. Another great resource for blind children is Braille Bug. Braille Bug is a website developed by the American Federation for the Blind for children learning to read Braille. The website has information about the Braille language for children, parents and teachers. It provides information about Louis Braille and Helen Keller. And it has free games and puzzles to help children learn to read Braille.

If you’d like to learn more about Braille, visit us at the Library or start a chat on our website. We’ll be more than happy to provide you with online resources and books.