Contact: Donna Urschel (202) 707-1639

May 22, 2013

First-Ever Braille Summit to Solicit Ideas on Promoting and Supporting Braille Literacy

More than 50 braille readers, braille literacy professionals, librarians and others with a stake in the future of braille will gather at Perkins School for the Blind in Watertown, Mass., Wednesday, June 19, through Friday, June 21, for a Braille Summit. The National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped (NLS) at the Library of Congress has organized the event—the first of its kind—in concert with Perkins to solicit ideas on ways libraries can promote and support braille literacy.

"For people who are blind, braille is the only true form of literacy—but many cannot read braille and have no opportunity to learn it," says NLS Director Karen Keninger. "NLS hopes that bringing together experts from across America and around the world will help us pinpoint the issues affecting braille literacy and develop fresh solutions for addressing them."

For further conference information—an agenda of events and conference coordinators—visit www.loc.gov/nls/conferences/braillesummit/agenda.html.

The conference will be organized around five topics: Braille Readers, Library Selection and Collection Development, Braille Production, Braille Technology, and Promoting Braille Literacy and Awareness. The keynote speaker will be Peter Osborne, chief braille officer of the Royal National Institute of Blind People in the United Kingdom.

Participants will have the opportunity to listen to experts in each subject area and engage in facilitated discussions with their peers. Also, time will be set aside for attendees to explore exhibits featuring new technological developments and best practices in braille.

"Recommendations generated at the summit will help shape braille programs and priorities for the future of the NLS library network," says Keninger. NLS plans to publicly release a summary of recommendations once the event is complete.

NLS administers the free program that loans materials to residents of the United States and U.S. citizens living abroad who are unable to read or use standard print materials because of visual or physical handicaps. These materials include braille and recorded books and magazines, music scores in braille and large print and specifically designed playback equipment. For more information about NLS at the Library of Congress, visit www.loc.gov/nls.

The Library of Congress, the nation’s oldest federal cultural institution and the largest library in the world, holds more than 155 million items in various languages, disciplines and formats. The Library serves the U.S. Congress and the nation both on-site in its reading rooms on Capitol Hill and through its award-winning website at www.loc.gov.

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PR 13-105
05/22/13
ISSN 0731-3527

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