Books for Braille Readers

For those who are blind or vision impaired, being able to read braille is a vital skill for staying connected with the world and for literacy overall. In keeping with the library's mission to foster lifelong learning and encourage everyone to read, Central Rappahannock Regional Library (CRRL) is happy to offer some materials in braille.

For those who wish to read braille in print, CRRL offers a limited sample of braille in both Unified English Braille (UEB) and English Braille American Edition (EBAE) available for adults and juvenile/teen readers to check out from its Access Services department, as well as materials for non-braille readers about braille in its regular collection. For those who want a larger collection, CRRL's Talking Books library allows braille readers to have materials sent to them from the library at the Department for the Blind and Vision Impaired (DBVI) in Richmond.

However, there are also braille eBooks. "Ebraille" is accessed by connecting an electronic braille display or notetaker device to a computer, tablet, or smartphone. These devices have small pins that electronically move up and down through six holes representing a braille cell, with users moving their fingers across the cells as if they were reading braille on paper. The pins move up and down, reflecting the words on the computer screen, "refreshing" every so often to reflect the next set of words. Braille notetakers also often have other software applications that allow users to perform school, office, or personal tasks away from home. DBVI has the most up-to-date resources on braille classes in the area, but one additional popular option is to take a series of free courses through Hadley, a company founded in 1920 by an educator who lost his sight later in life. 

CRRL’s Talking Books library offers eBraille materials through its BARD program. Those who have a compatible braille display or notebook can access eBraille materials now by signing up for BARD. Those without a compatible device will be able to sign up when the new NLS eBraille reading players arrive at CRRL. These players are being slowly rolled out to Talking Book libraries nationwide as supplies allow, and we hope that CRRL will have them by the end of 2022. Those interested in braille who are unwilling to wait may want to consider buying a compatible device, though these can be expensive. A list of compatible devices can be found at the National Library Service.

For more information about these services, including how to enroll in Talking Books and BARD, check out the library's Access Services page, or contact Access Services librarian Babak Zarin at (540) 372-1144, ext. 7054 or at babak.zarin@crrl.org