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Braille publisher launches blog to promote literacy

Posted by Johanna Kaiser  January 31, 2013 02:50 PM

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A non-profit Braille publisher located in the Fenway neighborhood has launched a blog to help promote Braille literacy and raise awareness about the importance of braille literacy.

National Braille Press, which publishes original Braille works written by blind authors expressly for blind people, launched its blog Inside NBP this month to provide readers with insight into issues within the blind and visually impaired community, as well as serve as a source of information for those hoping to learn more about Braille literacy.

“We are thrilled to be launching Inside NBP during what is a very exciting time of year for the blind and visually impaired community,” Brian MacDonald, president of National Braille Press, said in a statement. “This blog will serve as a resource for those who love Braille and also those hoping to learn more about braille and the day to day activities of our organization.”

The blog’s launch coincides with the celebration of National Braille Literacy Month in January, which seeks to raise awareness around the Braille literacy crisis.

According to the publisher, various studies show fewer than 10 percent of the 1.3 million people who are legally blind in the US are braille readers and only one in seven blind children in America are being taught braille in school.

Currently, 74 percent of blind individuals are unemployed and it is estimated that lost productivity due to blindness and eye disease is $8 billion per year in the United States. Of the 26 percent of blind people who are employed, a large majority are Braille readers.

“These appallingly low literacy rates indicate a growing national crisis,” said MacDonald. “What America needs to understand is that for blind individuals Braille means literacy and without the ability to read and write, the chances for a successful future become more challenging. At NBP we work day in and day out to ensure that every person has the same opportunities to receive a good education.”

In addition to serving as a Braille publisher, National Braille Press also works to raise awareness around issues relative to literacy rates among blind and visually impaired people and to create affordable and accessible braille-based technology.

Diane Croft, NBP’s publisher, wrote Inside NBP’s first post, highlighting her visit to Louis Braille’s home in Paris. Croft will be the blog’s primary contributor and will share her experiences as an advocate for Braille literacy and efforts to bring affordable Braille books and resources to blind people of all ages.

"The back lot at National Braille Press is where the action really takes place when you're performing a braille production," Croft said in a statement. "With our customers playing the most interesting parts!”

E-mail Kaiser at Johanna.yourtown@gmail.com. For more news about your city, town, neighborhood, or campus, visit boston.com’s Your Town homepage.

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