On June 19-21st, the National Library Service and Perkins School for the Blind held the first-ever braille summit. They have posted videos of the summit on a special page which includes other information about what went on. I saw this being live-tweeted as it happened, with the hashtag #NLSBraille, but wasn’t able to watch until later. I’m very grateful they put it up.

Helpfully for me, the videos don’t require any visual interaction (no slides, etc.), which meant I could simply listen to them as I worked on other things. I learned a lot of things about current technology and people’s hopes for the future, about what might make books better candidates for audio or braille formats, and about how upset some people get about braille (one educator said a parent referred to it as “the b-word”).

Most excitingly, I learned that there are volunteer opportunities with BookShare, both scanning and proofreading. Bookshare’s goal is to make as many print materials available as fast as possible to people with print disabilities. As a volunteer, I can earn credits which I can then pass on to people who may not be able to afford the annual subscription ($75 the first year & $50/year after that for non-students, students are free).

I’ve started with a kids’ textbook/workbook on experiencing heritage. It’s going smoothly so far. I know that I won’t be able to participate all the time, but I’m very excited about being able to do something.

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