Have You Visited Our Website Recently?

The sustained downtime over Christmas allowed us to update several pages on our website and I thought I would take this opportunity to itemise the changes and, in so doing, draw some pages to your attention that you might not already know about:

We hope you enjoy browsing our website and very much look forward to welcoming you to a Braillists event soon.

Tuesday January 26th at 19:30 GMT: Using Braille on Windows

Our series of Tuesday master classes continues with an overview of using braille on Windows. Find out how to pair a windows PC with a braille display, which screen readers support braille output, and tips and tricks for using braille in conjunction with a screen-reader.

If you are already registered for our Tuesday series, you need not register again. However, if you are unsure, or would like to register for the first time, please visit: https://us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZwoceivqz8rGtbEERfYGlXFSR2eIqx-oc9o

Praise gratefully received for World Braille Day panel

Massive thanks to everyone who joined the Braillists Foundation to celebrate World Braille Day held on Monday 4th of January. Further thanks to all of you who took the time and effort to complete our feedback survey. You’re comments help us plan future braille events.

We were delighted that our exploration of braille by a recent graduate, successful journalist and retired professor was so well received. If you missed our panel featuring 3 generations of braillists, you can listen again here: www.braillists.org/media

A Statement from the UK Association for Accessible Formats

The UK Association for Accessible Formats (UKAAF) is saddened to learn of the recent death of one of its honorary members, Bill Poole.

Known to many of us, Bill served as Chair of the Braille Authority of the United Kingdom (BAUK) for many years prior to that organisation – with others – helping to form UKAAF. His commitment to the rightful place of blind and partially sighted people in society was tireless, along with his enormous contribution to BAUK, realising only too well the need to integrate braille and technology if braille was to have a secure future.

He was also active in his work on RNIB committees over five decades helping to influence its decision-making. In particular he was part of the National Federation team in the 1970s which fought successfully to increase the proportion of representative blind people on RNIB’s Executive Council.

There will be other ways in which UKAAF will remember Bill as a person and his work in due course.

Roger Firman, 18 January 2021

Subscribers are making the most of their free Braille kit

We have been hearing of the many and varied ways in which the free equipment is being used. One lady is teaching her husband Braille so that he can communicate with her in this medium.

Another knitter is using the Abacus to keep track of the number of rows in a pattern. One learner is storing a phone number on her Abacus until it can be written down. The Abacus we are told, provides just the right toy during lock down.

Many are using the Dymo slots on the hand frame to do Braille labelling. This transforms the ability to find things around the house, and ensure that garlic is used for instance rather than ginger!

Rubik’s cube enthusiasts and young children are having fun with the word forming block.

To join in, or ask any question about using equipment on the Braille for Beginners course, read the item below and email [email protected] or telephone +4420 3893 3392.

Saturday 30 January: Join Braille Literacy Canada (the Canadian Braille Authority) for its Virtual 30th Anniversary Presidential Panel

In 1990, an idea was born and the Canadian Braille Authority, now Braille Literacy Canada (BLC) was established. Over the past 30 years, BLC has represented the strong voice of the Canadian braille community – braille readers, transcribers, educators, parents of blind children, proofreaders, and all those who share our passion for literacy. BLC has played an integral role in vital research, code development and public education initiatives both within Canada and on the international stage. We have much to celebrate as we reflect on this rich history and look to a vibrant future ahead!

On Saturday 30 January at 8pm in the UK (1pm Eastern, 10am Pacific, 11am Mountain, 12pm Saskatchewan/Manitoba, 2pm Atlantic), Braille Literacy Canada will host a special Presidential Panel in honour of BLC’s 30th anniversary. During this virtual event, we will be joined by a majority of our Past Presidents in a lively open conversation on where braille and Braille Literacy Canada (the Canadian Braille Authority) has been, and our hopes for the 30 years ahead.

This special event is free of charge and open to both BLC members and non-members.

To participate, you should register by writing to [email protected] by 25 January 2021.

Please share this announcement widely!

19th of January at 19:30: Braille for Academic and Career Development, An Introduction to Unified English Braille

Each week experts in their field introduce a range of ideas to make effective use of Braille and Braille technology in education and the workplace.

Coming up next: How does UEB differ from Standard English Braille? Where can you learn about the changes? What tips and tricks are there for switching to UEB?

Registration link Braille for Academic and Career Development:


Meeting ID 885 6175 4102

Join the Braillists on social media

Over recent months, The Braillists Foundation has increased activity on social media.  You might have seen some of our posts.  We have also significantly increased the number of people engaging with us. 

If you are amongst our new likers and followers, thank you and welcome.  If you are still thinking about it, why not make that click?

Why should you follow our social media if you are already receiving our newsletter?

We keep looking for Braille news from other organisations that won’t make it to the regular email and share this through our social media.  We also use these outlets to contact those who are not yet part of our community.  By liking our channels and by liking and sharing our posts, the word about Braille reaches a larger audience, increasing awareness that Braille is still important in our world and encouraging more people to use more Braille in more ways.

We will continue to publish Braillists news on the newsletter, so you aren’t going to miss anything important.  But it would be great to have you along to tell the wider world that Braille matters.

To find us, search for The Braillists Foundation on your chosen Facebook application.  On Twitter, we are @braillists.  We look forward to seeing you on either or both platforms.

World Braille Day Success

Hello and happy new year!

It was wonderful to see so many attendees at our first event of the year, a celebration of World Braille Day. I would like to extend my thanks to our excellent panelists, Saima Akhtar, Fred Reid and Gary O’Donoghue for giving up their time to speak with us. If you weren’t able to attend the event, a recording of it can be found on our media page, which you can access at the following link: https://braillists.org/media

We also put together a small audio presentation, sharing the voices and perspectives of braille users from around the world. It was played during the event, however you can also listen to it at this link: https://www.braillists.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/World-Braille-Day.mp3

The Braillists Foundation will continue to keep the community connected during the year, and I hope that together we can all have a wonderful 2021.

Monday January 11th at 7:00PM: Braille for Beginners

Regular readers will be aware that, after a very successful first intake over the past few months, we will be restarting our Braille For Beginners programme on Monday 11 January 2021.

In a change to our usual procedures, if you would like to join us for this new course, you will be required to register. This is to enable us to more accurately anticipate participant numbers and more easily communicate with participants if we need to. The course is completely free and the only personal information requested on the registration form is a name and email address.
All course sessions will use the same meeting information, so you only need to register once, and late registrations are permitted. You should receive a confirmation email upon registering – please retain this for your records as it contains the link to join each session.

We are setting up a discussion group for course participants. Membership of this group is completely optional and you can choose whether you would like to be part of it when you register. However, we highly recommend that you opt in if you can, as it will enable you to share resources and information with other participants and communicate with the course leader outside Zoom sessions.

If you would prefer to participate in the course by telephone, you should still register if you can. The meeting ID and Zoom telephone number will be emailed to you upon registration and you can then join by phone in the usual way. However, if registration is particularly challenging, please email [email protected] and we will provide further assistance.

Like last time, our curriculum will follow the Fingerprint course. This is a well-established programme designed specifically for adults who are learning to read and write braille by touch for the first time. For the best experience, we highly recommend that you purchase a set of the course books from RNIB. They cost £39.00 exclusive of VAT and can be purchased by calling the RNIB Helpline on 0303 123 9999 and quoting product code TC21439. Alternatively, if you are comfortable with online shopping, they can be purchased here: https://shop.rnib.org.uk/fingerprint-contracted-braille-course-volumes-1-to-11?TC21439

If you live outside the UK and wish to purchase Fingerprint, please email [email protected] to discuss international orders. Please note that Fingerprint is only available in hard copy; RNIB does not currently make versions available in electronic formats such as BRF, Microsoft Word or PDF.

If you are unable to purchase Fingerprint, you are still very welcome to join us. We may be able to make alternative resources available in the new year which, although not as comprehensive as Fingerprint, will still be sufficient for course participation. Please email [email protected] if you would be interested in these.

Finally, a reminder that sessions will be every Monday from 7:00 PM in the UK (2:00 PM US Eastern time), starting on 11 January 2021. They will last for an hour and there will be twelve sessions in total, so the final session will be on 29 March. It is anticipated that this will give sufficient time for participants to learn the alphabet, common punctuation signs and some contractions. Self-study resources are available from RNIB to facilitate completion of Fingerprint, and further information will be provided at the end of the course.

We hope you will be able to join us.

To register for Braille For Beginners, please fill out the form at this URL: https://us02web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZAsfu-ppjwvGteUgYHNMNSvhxseX3y8DOjh