Guest Post: News from CELA about their upcoming new web site.

Guest post

Dear Patron,
We have exciting news! In early March 2019 we will be launching a new website platform designed to make it easier and faster for you to access our entire collection. We are combining the CELA and Bookshare collections into a single, mobile responsive, streamlined website so patrons can easily access more than 650,000 titles in a variety of formats.
Our new platform offers:
• A clean, simplified website that is easy to navigate
• A mobile-responsive interface to make downloading books directly to accessible reading apps faster and easier
• Consolidated search records to simplify finding the books you want in the formats you need
• A single, streamlined registration process for both CELA and Bookshare
• Enhanced privacy and improved protection for copyright laws
While our website is changing, our commitment to provide our patrons with a comprehensive collection of accessible reading materials and excellent customer service remains unchanged. Services you count on, such as home delivery, single use braille, auto selection of titles, and direct downloads will continue. Our growing collection, plus the Bookshare collection, will be available in the formats of your choice, just as they always have. And we are committed to ensuring your privacy, while also enhancing protections for the materials we produce thanks to the provisions in Canadian Copyright Act.
New site launch
As we prepare for the launch of our new website, celalibrary.ca will be unavailable from Monday February 25, to Tuesday March 5 to allow us to migrate our collection and your account information.  Borrowing materials and access to newspapers and magazines will be suspended during this time. We are encouraging all patrons who access materials digitally to ensure they have enough reading materials to sustain them during this service interruption.
We understand how important your library service is to you and we apologize for this interruption in our service. We will do our best to minimize its effects on patrons. We do encourage you to reach out to your local library to see what materials they may have for you. In addition, if you currently have a Bookshare account you will be able to access reading materials via the Bookshare.org website.
Things to know about our new website
• Our address is not changing. You will still find us at celalibrary.ca
• Your login and passwords remain the same for our new website. If you are currently a Bookshare patron, your CELA account will now give you access to all of the CELA and Bookshare materials in one single search through the celalibrary.ca website. You will no longer need to log in to Bookshare and CELA separately to find your books.
• CELA patrons can continue to register for free for the optional Bookshare account to access an additional 550,000 accessible titles.
• We are migrating all of your account information, including your CELA bookshelf to our new system. Holds placed on materials currently in our collection will also be transferred. Holds on materials that are specified as “on order” in the CELA collection will not transfer to the new system. Please make note of these titles for your records and request them when they become available.
• All the reading materials and support services you’ve enjoyed through CELA will continue to be available to you.
• We are here to help. Our new website will include information to help you navigate. As always, if you have any questions about your CELA account please contact us by email at help@celalibrary.ca  or by calling our Contact Centre at 1-855-655-2273
Over the coming weeks we will be sharing more information about our new website via our newsletters, and social media. OCELAnce the new website is launched, we encourage you to explore it and provide us with your feedback.  Our decision to develop this new website was driven by our commitment to provide the best possible experience to public library patrons using CELA services.
We look forward to introducing you to your new website and we thank you for your ongoing support.
Sincerely,

Michael Ciccone, Executive Director
Centre for Equitable Library Access
1-855-655-2273
celalibrary.ca
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GTT Edmonton Summary Notes, AIRA and Library Services, January 14, 2019

            Summary Notes

GTT Edmonton Meeting January 14, 2019

 

The most recent meeting of the Get Together with Technology (GTT) Edmonton Chapter was held January 14, at 7pm at Ascension Lutheran Church 8405 83 Street in Edmonton.

28 people attended.

Reading Tip: These summary notes apply HTML headings to help navigate the document. With screen readers, you may press the H key to jump forward or Shift H to jump backward from heading to heading.

 

January Topics – AIRA and Library Services

 

AIRA

Carrie introduced Ashley, a  CNIB staff member and independent blind person, who lives in Saskatchewan. Ashley joined us remotely and presented her experience

With AIRA, a paid subscription service where blind or vision impaired people make an audio and video connection through a smartphone to trained sighted agents who can help them with virtually any task.

  • The AIRA user, referred to as an Explorer, uses their smartphone with an AIRA app or an optional set of smart eyeglasses called Horizon. The Horizon kit provides eyeglasses with built-in camera and audio connected to a dedicated Samsung smartphone that enables contact with the AIRA agents. The Samsung phone cannot be used for any other purpose other than to connect to the AIRA agent. The agent can see whatever the explorer points their phone camera at or, in the case of wearing the optional Horizon eyeglasses there is a camera that transmits video of whatever the explorer is looking at.
  • The agent becomes a sighted assistant talking to the explorer in real time and helping them navigate or perform other tasks at home or away.
  • Ashley emphasized that AIRA does not replace your mobility device. The agents will not assist you outside your home if you are not using a white cane or guide dog.
  • The agents will also not talk to you while you cross the street.
  • The AIRA subscription fee ranges from $29 USD per month for 30 minutes assistance up to $199 per month for 300 minutes of assistance.
  • The optional Horizon kit is $600 USD or can be purchased over time at $25 per month.
  • With Horizon your network data is covered in the AIRA fee. If you use your own smartphone then you must pay the cost of data through your own phone plan. It’s estimated that 1 hour of AIRA costs about 1GB of data.
  • There are now many sponsors of AIRA such as airports, retail stores, college campuses where your time on AIRA is free. However, Ashley was not aware of any sponsors in Canada yet.
  • Complete information about AIRA is available at http://www.aira.io/ or you can call them at 1-800-835-1934.

If you want to know more about Ashley, visit her blog at http://www.blindmovingon.com/

 

Edmonton Public Library and CELA and NNELS

  • We were treated to a presentation on Edmonton Public Library services by Cassidy Munro, the community librarian at the Strathcona library branch.
  • Cassidy can be reached at 780.975.8102- or by email at: Cassidy.Munro@epl.ca
  • Cassidy described the CELA accessible library service for print disabled Canadians which provides many services including: downloadable recorded DAISY books, downloadable DAISY eBooks, downloadable Bookshare DAISY eBooks, DAISY books on CD mailed to your home, braille books mailed to your home, print-brailled books for kids, over 150 downloadable DAISY e-text magazines, recorded DAISY magazines by download or mail, and over 40 daily newspapers that can be read online.
  • Many will recognize these CELA services to be the same as those previously provided by the CNIB Library. CELA took over the CNIB Library
    • In 2014 and now serves all print-disabled Canadians not just those who are blind or vision impaired.
    • Edmonton Public Library (EPL) also has 100 or so DAISY CD books that can be borrowed for those who want to experience a DAISY book prior to registering for CELA service.
    • EPL also has a few Victor Reader Stratus DAISY CD players that can be borrowed to test the service. Customers must purchase their own book player or CNIB clients can approach
  • CNIB who may be able to subsidize 75% of the cost of a player.
  • In addition to playing CD books the Victor Reader Stratus can also receive direct to player DAISY books over the Internet. The user chooses their book by logging into CELA online and once a book is chosen it is sent directly to the player. For non-computer users, CELA customer service
  • or Cassidy can set up a reader profile for you and then the CELA computer will choose your books and send them directly to the player or on CD mailed to your home.
  • Cassidy also suggested some may prefer the pocket sized Victor Reader Stream which can accept the direct to player books and perform other online functions Such as getting Bookshare books and listening to podcasts and radio stations.
    • CELA books can also be played on your iPhone or Android phone using the free Dolphin EasyReader app.
  • Visit the CELA web site for information on all their services or call their customer service at 1-855-655-2273.
  • Cassidy can register you for CELA service.
  • Cassidy can also register you for NNELS another library service for print-disabled Canadians that offers downloadable DAISY or e-text books. Cassidy highlighted that NNELS is a good source for local content and First Nations content.
  • EPL also has non CELA materials you may be interested in such as CD books, Overdrive downloadable recorded books, Music recordings, large print books and more.
  • Cassidy was asked about fees. There is no fee for an EPL card, CELA service, Bookshare service or NNELS service.

Next Meeting (Monday February 11, 2019 at 7pm)

  • Cassidy from Edmonton Public Library plans to come to the February meeting. She can answer your library questions and register clients for CELA and NNELS that were unable to come in January.
  • As always, for help with technology bring your devices and/or questions to the meeting.

 

Meeting Location and Logistics

  • Ascension Lutheran Church 8405 – 83 Street NW, Edmonton.
  • We meet in the basement hall. There is elevator access.
  • Enter the church from the back door. There is parking at the back.
  • Meetings are every second Monday of the month at 7pm.
  • If you have someone helping you your assistant is welcome to remain for the meeting.

 

GTT Edmonton Overview

  • GTT Edmonton is a chapter of the Canadian Council of the Blind (CCB).
  • GTT Edmonton promotes a self-help learning experience by holding monthly meetings to assist participants with assistive technology.
  • Each meeting consists of a feature technology topic, questions and answers about technology, and one-on-one training where possible.
  • Participants are encouraged to come to each meeting even if they are not interested in the feature topic because questions on any technology are welcome. The more participants the more talent and experience we will have to help each other.
  • There are GTT groups across Canada as well as a national GTT monthly toll free teleconference. You may subscribe to the National GTT blog to get email notices of teleconferences and notes from other GTT chapters. Visit:

http://www.gttprogram.wordpress.com/

To subscribe, activate the “Follow “link at the bottom of that web page to enter your email.

 

National GTT Email Support List

CCB sponsors a GTT email support list to provide help and support with technology for blind and low vision Canadians.  To subscribe to the email list, send an empty email to:

GTTsupport+subscribe@groups.io

[End of Document]

 

 

Guest Post: Braille Literacy Canada Newsletter, November 30, 2018

November 2018 Newsletter

In This Issue

  1. Message from the President (Natalie Martiniello, BLC President)
  2. Braille is …
  3. Helping Santa Deliver Braille Letters: A T-Base Tradition (Cassandra Peterson)
  4. Report on the 2018 CNIB Braille Conference (Kim Kilpatrick, BLC Secretary)
  5. CELA Braille Services Update (Lindsay Tyler, Senior Manager, CELA)
  6. Titres en impression relief et en braille français (Rebecca Blaevoet (BLC Director) and Emmanuel Blaevoet)
  7. Braille Transcription Free of Charge!(CNIB Brailleroom)
  8. UEB Christmas Trees? (Jen Goulden, Past President)
  9. Braille and Technology Together: Braille Screen Input in iOS (Ashley Eve Shaw Galbraith)
  10. Social Media News Links

Message from the President

By Natalie Martiniello, BLC President

Dear BLC friends,

“How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world.”

This is a quote by Anne Frank that often comes to mind when I observe a gesture – even a small one – that has an impact on someone else. When a hundred small gestures take place at once, then each one contributes to the end result – which is positive change of some kind. And surprisingly, sometimes there are trickle down effects that end up having positive impacts in ways one could not have imagined.

I am a firm believer that few things are “impossible” if you dream big enough, remain committed, and collaborate with the talented and equally passionate people around you.

Just over four months ago, BLC embarked upon a quite ambitious goal for a small volunteer-run organization – Raise $6,500 by November 30th, and a private donor would match every dollar. With this amount in hand, we would have enough to establish a permanent endowment to offer the Edie Mourre scholarship on an annual basis to those pursuing careers as braille transcribers and educators.

Today, as that campaign draws to a close, we have not only met that goal, but have surpassed it. This is a reflection of what is possible when we come together. With $14,000, the Edie Mourre fund will be self-sustaining for the years to come. What a wonderful legacy to Edie Mourre who committed so much of her time to the braille community, and what a wonderful example of how many small gestures could lead to a lasting wave!

The BLC board would like to thank every individual, both within and outside the organization, who supported this initiative in different ways. We would also like to thank two of our corporate members – T-Base Communications for donating $300 and Crawford Technologies for donating $2,500, ensuring that we’d speed through that finish line with a great big triple dot six!

I mentioned trickle down effects. In addition to raising funds, the campaign served as a powerful public education tool. The events held as a consequence educated members of the general public who, beforehand, new little or absolutely nothing at all about blindness and braille. After our storytelling fundraiser in Montreal (performed by our fabulous board Secretary, Kim Kilpatrick) we received a letter from someone who had attended our show and said that they had learned so much about braille, equal access and literacy for people who are blind. These moments are great triumphs – because every time we tackle misconceptions, we are chipping away at the inaccuracies that may exist about blindness, and which sometimes lead to questions like “is braille really important, anyway?” A few more people out there can now answer – Yes, of course it is! Right alongside us.

So, as we approach the holidays, the BLC board would like to thank all of you for your commitment and dedication – and may this serve as a reminder of what is possible when we come together!

You will find many treasures in the coming pages. Among them, T-Base tells us about their partnership with Santa himself and how blind children can receive a letter in braille from Santa this holiday season. Tactile Vision Graphics shares with us their French braille resources for children. Jen Goulden, Past President, tackles another transcription conundrum. Kim Kilpatrick, Secretary, gives us a recap of the 2018 CNIB Braille Conference. Over the past month, we’ve asked members to tell us what words and thoughts come to mind when they hear the word “braille”. The collection of responses is found in this issue, and the power of literacy rings true in every word!

Finally, remember that BLC runs on a calendar year from January 1st to December 31st, which means it is soon time to renew your membership. To learn more about membership options (annual, lifetime and corporate) and member benefits, visit our website at www.brailleliteracycanada.ca or write to us at info@blc-lbc.ca. Members who are due for renewal can expect to receive an invoice from PayPal in the coming days to make the process easy and painless.

From the entire BLC board to you, happy holidays! Here’s to another year of endless possibilities.

Yours truly,
Natalie Martiniello
President, Braille Literacy Canada

Braille is …

We’ve asked BLC members and friends to complete the sentence “braille is…”. Here is what they had to say!

Braille is…

…Independence (Tammy, braille reader)

…An excellent tool (Walter, Low Vision Therapist/Researcher)

…Fun to read in the dark under the covers so I don’t get cold! (Steph, adult braille learner)

…A necessity (Chantal, braille reader)

…rough! (Albert, blind technology trainer)

…magical (Kim, braille reader)

…A true “feeling” of beauty (Veena, Low Vision Therapist)

…Literacy (Elizabeth, braille reader)

…fun! I like playing braille bingo and braille memory games! (Ainsley, Grade 3)

…The best way to teach and learn!

…Memorizing

…The best way to help me learn

…Useful on elevators, money and medication (Ahmad, ESL student)

…Reading, writing and math

…Information

…Entertainment

…Helping (Santiago, ESL Student)

…The best way for blind people to study

…An international language for blind people

…Like a secret code! (I think you’re smarter if you can read braille, because not everyone on the street can read Braille!) (Fatlum, ESL student)

…the gateway to Middle Earth, Narnia, Hogwarts, Regency England, Green Gables … and so much more! (Jen, lifelong braille reader: so many books, so little time!)

…a lifetime of memories of storybooks, campfires, bedtimes, make-believing and library adventures (Natalie, lifelong braille reader)

…what print is to you: a door and a window to everything!

…B – Believing
R – Reaching
A – Achieving
I – Imagining
L – Limitless
L – Learning
E – Empowering

Helping Santa Deliver Braille Letters: A T-Base Tradition

By Cassandra Peterson

Editor’s Note: T-Base is a corporate member of BLC and Jessica Blouin sits on the BLC board as our T-Base representative. This article is reprinted with permission and can be found on the T-Base website at https://www.tbase.com/helping-santa-deliver-braille-letters-a-t-base-tradition/?fbclid=IwAR3KkhcZpniRS_3fqjkYemW5Th_av0GfFEi5oqr5LTKjvxAQe30UvpJFpo4.

Cassie Peterson, Marketing Coordinator at T-Base Communications, sat down with Jessica Blouin, Manager of Transcription Services, to talk about an initiative near and dear to our hearts here at T-Base: the Santa Letter Program. Every year we help Santa deliver braille letters to children who are blind or have low vision.

C: How long has T-Base been participating in the Santa Letter Program?

J: T-Base has been participating in the Santa Letter Program for over a decade.

C: Please tell us about the process.

J: Every year in the fall we receive a call from Kris Kringle himself. He tells us how many children he needs to respond to in braille, plus how many of those need a response in English and how many need a response in French. Santa provides us with his print response to each child’s letter, and then our Transcription team gets to work! As is the case with all documents we transcribe into braille (or other alternate formats), Santa’s letters go through rigorous quality assurance checks to ensure nothing is amiss and that the transcribed documents meet Santa’s high expectations. Finally, we help pack up the letters for Santa to deliver.

C: By which date should children send their letter to Santa?

J: Children should send their letters to Santa by the 10th of December. (If you send one after, he might not have enough time to respond before the big day!)

C: What address should children send their letters to?

J: Children should send their letters to Santa Claus at his North Pole address:

Santa Claus
North Pole HOH OHO
CANADA

C: Why is it important that T-Base participates in this program every year?

J: For children, receiving a letter from Santa Claus is a great joy during the holiday season, and it is one all children should have the opportunity to experience. I do remember how happy I was as a child receiving a letter back from Santa. Collaborating with Santa on this project is important to T-Base because we get to help ensure children who are blind or have low vision experience the same joy their sighted family members and friends experience. This is such a wonderful program.

C: What feedback have you received on this program?

J: T-Base has always received positive feedback on the Santa Letter Program. We have heard from both parents and teachers that children are always so happy and thankful to receive a braille letter from Santa in the mail.

C: In what other ways is T-Base committed to ensuring that people who are blind or low vision have access to information?

J: At T-Base, we believe that equal access to information is key to literacy and independent living, regardless of whether that information is in a simple letter from Santa Claus or a complex math textbook. Everyone has the same rights, and we are committed to ensuring that organizations have the resources they need to provide their customers who are blind or low vision with equal access to information. We produce statements, documents and textbooks in a wide range of alternate formats: accessible PDF, e-Text, audio, braille and reflowed large print. We also give $2,000 every year to one or two post-secondary students who are blind or low vision through the T-Base-AEBC Scholarship Program (in support of an accessible education).

C: What are some other holiday traditions at T-Base?

J: Typically, we host a potluck lunch at the office and Secret Santa gift exchange. This year we will have an ugly holiday sweater fashion show.

C: Wonderful! Thanks for letting our readers know about the program and T-Base’s involvement in it. Something else our readers might be interested in hearing about is your favourite memory from a T-Base holiday gathering.

J: My favourite memory from a T-Base holiday gathering is when Scott Bagshaw, Production Manager, dressed up as Santa Claus, sang karaoke and handed out candy canes to the team.

C: Before we wrap up, what is on your wish list this holiday season?

J: A puppy! Besides that, I know everyone here at T-Base wishes our readers a safe and happy holiday.

Report on the 2018 CNIB Braille Conference

By Kim Kilpatrick, BLC Secretary

The 2018 Braille conference took place for the first time at the Ontario Science Centre on October 18 and 19, 2018.

This was a wonderful venue and it was nice to have the braille conference in a public place where the many visitors saw people moving around with canes, guide dogs, and lots of braille in hand.

As usual, there were many workshops on a multitude of topics and several BLC board members presented on research, braille and technology, and more. Among these talks Past-President Jen Goulden and I (BLC Secretary) presented on the use of refreshable braille with iOS, President Natalie Martiniello presented the preliminary results from her qualitative study on the experiences of older adults who have learned braille, and director Rebecca Blaevoet presented on Tactile Vision Graphics. BLC board members also had the opportunity to circulate our new print-braille BLC bookmarks – available upon request!

The AMI Audio show Kelly and Companybroadcasted live from the conference on both days and several BLC members were featured on this show.

As usual, one highlight for me was hearing the winners of the braille creative writing contest for students in elementary and high schools from across Canada.

I was excited to touch for the first time, the first ever multi-line braille display (The Canute) which may be on the market within the next year or so.

As usual, it was wonderful and heart warming to be in a room filled with others who love braille as much as we all do.

CELA Braille Services Update

By Lindsay Tyler, Senior Manager, CELA

Braille readers who receive books from the Centre for Equitable Library Access (CELA) are receiving books in a new way. Since April 2018, we emboss a fresh copy of each braille book we send. This procedure allows us to offer as many copies of each book as needed, so readers do not need to wait for others to return a book before they can receive it. Each copy we send is fresh and crisp.

Instead of sending braille books in a cloth bag, we send them in a cardboard box which can be recycled along with the book. Readers may choose to keep books, if they prefer.

Printbraille books (children’s picture books with braille added) are the exception to this new system; readers must continue to return them.

The formatting of the books is different, too. Newly transcribed books are formatted as a single volume with continuous page numbers. The title will appear in the header as well as at the beginning of the book. Previously transcribed books are split into parts of about 80 pages each.

Looking forward, CELA staff are planning a new website that will bring even more books to Canadian braille readers. The new website will bring together Bookshare’s braille offerings with CELA’s in a single, accessible site.

The new year will also bring the opportunity to exchange books with libraries for people with print disabilities in the United States and Europe, thanks to their recent ratifications of the Marrakesh Treaty. The goal of the Marrakesh Treaty is to remove barriers so that organizations like CELA can share accessible reading materials with other similar organizations in countries who have signed the Treaty.

As we work to improve our services and offer you greater access to books and information, we hope you will let us know how we are doing. Visit our website at http://www.celalibrary.ca, email us at help@celalibrary.ca or call 1-855-655-2273.

Those who are interested can also contact CELA to subscribe to the hard copy braille version of the BLC newsletter.

Titres en impression relief et en braille français

By Rebecca Blaevoet (BLC Director) and Emmanuel Blaevoet

Note: We’ve received several requests lately for information on where to purchase french print-braille books. In this article, Rebecca and Emmanuel from Tactile Vision Graphics describe their French collection. We will include an English translation of this article in the January issue.

Tactile Vision Graphics Inc. a toujours eu le but de produire toutes nos ressources et en Anglais et en Français. Notre entreprise est de très petite taille, donc nous n’avons pas encore été capables de produire en Français la totalité des titres qui existent en Anglais. Il nous a fallu faire des choix au départ. Il reste encore du travail.

Pour commencer, il nous a semblé que le domaine le plus important et celui par où il fallait commencer était les ressources pour le développement des concepts: la littératie et la numératie.

Chaque livre contient un peu de texte, en braille intégral, évidemment, et une image correspondante que les enfants peuvent toucher, (et même colorier) et discuter.

Les images tactiles enseignent des concepts importants:

  • Les formes de bases;
  • Accorder une image avec un mot qui le décrit;
  • L’orientation spatiale;
  • La directionalité;
  • La taille relative;
  • Le commencement de l’abstraction, qui est une connaissance critique pour le développement de l’enfant et la préparation à sa vie d’adulte;
  • Une représentation des choses qui sont plus difficiles à toucher en réalité (une maison par exemple)

Ainsi nous avons en catalogue un série de livres tactiles pour enfants, parmi eux « Mon Abécédaire », « Mon Livre des Chiffres » et « Discret Comme Une Souris: un Petit Livre des Similarités »

Au delà notre collection de livres pour enfants, nous avons aussi plusieurs cartes de vœux pour toutes les occasions et des livres à colorier avec les titres en impression relief et en braille français.

Nous vous invitons à visiter notre site web, chercher le “shop” et découvrir l’étendue de nos publications.

Vous pouvez aussi bien sûr nous appeler pour poser des questions ou pour placer une commande au (226) 221-8849

http://www.tactilevisiongraphics.com

Braille Transcription Free of Charge!

By CNIB Brailleroom

We’re all familiar with the adage “Nothing in life is free”; but the CNIB Brailleroom can braille just about anything, free of charge, for CNIB clients and their families.

  • Letters and greeting cards
  • Household labels
  • Music scores
  • Course materials
  • Prescription/medical information

Note that this is not an exhaustive list.

Email your text in a Word document to: brailleroom@cnib.ca

Mail or drop off your printed materials:

CNIB Brailleroom (Room 104)
1929 Bayview Avenue, Toronto, ON M4G 3E8

UEB Christmas Trees?

By Jen Goulden, Past President

It is that time of year again, and it really is beginning to look a lot like Christmas where I live. You might be wondering how I could possibly make a connection between Christmas trees and UEB, but whether you prefer to decorate a pine, spruce or Douglas fir, they are all conifers … or coniferous.

So here’s the question for transcribers: Are they con-i-fer-ous or co-ni-fer-ous trees?

Section 10.6.1 of the UEB rule book states the following: Use the lower groupsign for “be”, “con” or “dis” when the letters it represents form the first syllable of a word (such as concept or control … or contraction). According to the Merriam-Webster online dictionary the first syllable of both conifer and coniferous is “co”. This means that the “con” contraction cannot be used.

I think the main cause of the confusion is that DBT does use “con” in these words. Ironically, there was no “con” in conifer or coniferous before UEB either. This is just another example showing that not much has changed in literary braille with the update to UEB.

Of course, we could just avoid the co-nun-drum altogether by simply calling them evergreens!

Braille and Technology Together: Braille Screen Input in iOS

By Ashley Eve Shaw Galbraith

People often ask me if braille skills are still useful, given the recent development of technologically advanced accessibility solutions. There are many reasons why braille is still necessary, but some of my favorite examples are the ways in which braille and technology intersect. Braille screen input, for instance, provides touch screen users with a typing method that is both fast and efficient.

For users of Apple’s iOS, Braille Screen Input has been a standard feature of the screen reader VoiceOver for several years now. The option allows users to enter text by touching the screen with the combination of fingers associated with each Braille character, in either contracted or uncontracted Braille. Accessed through the Voiceover Rotor in any text field, this option allows Braille users to type much faster than with the touch screen’s qwerty keyboard. It also allows for a greater degree of discretion than the use of text dictation, and makes it possible to enter long passwords with ease and privacy. Since Unified English Braille is an available translation table, I’ve also been able to get a lot of practice with UEB whenever I use my iPhone.

Learning to use touch screen Braille takes a bit of initial effort. The user holds the device in landscape mode, either on a flat surface or with the screen facing outward. Touching and holding fingers on the screen will activate Explore Mode, and the device will report the corresponding combination of dots from the Braille cell. A single finger swipe to the right enters a space, a single swipe to the left erases the previous character, a two finger swipe to the left erases the previous word, and a two finger swipe to the right starts a new line. Swiping up and down after completing a word provides any alternative suggestions. After a bit of practice, the user will be able to type quickly and smoothly.

Before Braille screen input was available, I was stuck either carrying around a Bluetooth keyboard, or typing relatively slowly on the touch screen qwerty keyboard. Now I use Braille to type text messages, emails, web addresses and phone numbers. This is just one example of Braille’s versatility and efficiency when combined with technology.

Social Media News Links

Social Media Links

Here are just some of the gems posted on BLC social media platforms since the last issue: Follow us on twitter or like us on Facebook for more!

Time to celebrate – the United States ratifies the Marrakesh Treaty! https://benetech.org/united-states-ratifies-marrakesh-treaty/

Brick-A-Braille teaching system – available for testing: https://robotics.benedettelli.com/braille/?fbclid=IwAR3V7N-aUd-rKLS9NOBqO5vfW8NjDMM_vsPSg8c4pE9BX6WutB1Z9BHXQYA#download

A story about introducing braille to sighted children: https://www.wvnews.com/prestoncountynews/news/read-aloud-program-incorporates-fun-into-reading/article_d9588de6-f61d-5cdd-9bb3-5438a6cb1501.html?fbclid=IwAR0syl8PYUrtygJxvm-a4R3eZtbWbRuY1VNDREVLy2YgrOqucP2ghxCkvWI

Custom-made braille cards with your personalized messages – great for the holidays! https://www.sensorysun.org/blog/send-braille-cards/?fbclid=IwAR1j9358r3brESYoBBIjO7bbGF522Zb6ozirQDSqSpFeAi07y5Zmz6vxExI

Is braille still relevant in the 21st century workplace? spoiler alert Like print, the answer is… YES!! https://www.afb.org/blog/careerconnect-blog/is-braille-useful-on-the-job/12?fbclid=IwAR3uFG1xExtQzLj4nCUZjN0PBlxGZe01G-AMRbQzB7YI4fNvhF0wmtlsgbQ

Tips for teaching braille to students with decreased tactile sensitivity: http://www.pathstoliteracy.org/blog/12-more-ideas-teaching-braille-students-decreased-tactile-sensitivity?fbclid=IwAR0XO6_SSqFDL9510HlCjG5UMStxwLA9AvM9GUaeXQp3HC1P3x33vmCOg4s

French alphabet print-braille book available through Tactile Vision Graphics: http://tactilevisiongraphics.com/product/livre-en-braille-mon-abcdaire/?fbclid=IwAR2RMKDsHCjPoQhS1a5mhph3U-bzkVWBJhcAbOWiU3jzMSc23AGblC6rpU0

The SENSEsational Alphabet Book is back in stock at Seedlings! This popular book for ages 0-5 features the English alphabet in print, braille and sign language. Kids can press the buttons to hear each letter, as well as feel and smell pictures of items starting with each letter: http://www.seedlings.org/details.php?id=1353&cat=0&search=SENSEsational&fbclid=IwAR0c0uwhFaej9mUPV0ShdVyWb9T_yqa6NNivyhnhD5Or4L5UWtOEAOIUdd8

The Bank of Canada has announced that it will begin to phase out the bank note reader program. It has been determined “that there are more modern devices that can be used to denominate bank notes”. For example, did you know that all paper money in Canada has tactile markings to help blind and LowVision people identify each bill? For more information, visit: https://cnib.ca/en/news/bank-note-reader-program-and-recall?region=qc&fbclid=IwAR3B5sHXRMs28PioUSfxZ8YR1feDLF3p_tldayH_yqyHh0UlC15VhMxZ-8A

A collection of high-interest short stories from National Braille Press for adults who are learning uncontracted braille! Visit: http://www.pathstoliteracy.org/resources/short-stories-adults-learning-uncontracted-ueb?fbclid=IwAR2-MbIffsCryGdmfve9WQ-SAD1Tq1MUEC1UfnHw5Z7pl27V79MDjm81xT0


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CELA looking for users to be on their advisory committee.

See below for a post from CELA about becoming involved in a user advisory group.  In order to do this, you must fill in a survey or contact them directly.

See below.

Are you interested in sharing your experiences and providing input to improve services for the print disabled community? CELA is now accepting applications for its new User Advisory Group! The group will meet 6-12 times a year with the goal of informing technology decisions and overall strategy of the organization and strengthening CELA services for all.  CELA is looking for input from a variety of users with a wide range of experiences and abilities. Appointments to the Advisory Group is for a two-year term and CELA asks that those applying meet the following criteria:

 

  • Willingness and ability to commit to the necessary time and effort required to contribute meaningfully to the group;
  • Commitment and interest in the future of CELA services, with that interest informed by personal or professional experience and an ability to balance local and regional perspectives;
  • Skills and experience related to previous work with community-based and/or cultural or library projects

 

CELA welcomes and encourages interested GTT members to apply for the group by completing theapplication form (SurveyMonkey) by Friday, December 2, 2016. For additional information, please read the Terms of Reference (Word) or email Michael Ciccone, Executive Director.

Reminder next Pembroke GTT meeting on Thursday March 3 from 10 AM to noon.

This message comes from Leona Emberson who coordinates the Pembroke Get Together with Technology (GTT) group.

Hello All, A reminder that we will be having our Monthly Pembroke GTT meeting at the Pembroke Public library on Thursday march 3 from 10-12 237 Victoria Street 613-732-8844. The Topic will be Books, Reading, and Library Services. A Librarian from the Pembroke Library will be joining us to  talk about local accessible library services and CELA, and Sally and I will talk about accessible book players.You will all share your tricks and tips for listening to and reading books. The love of reading does not have to stop when you lose vision, and for some the loss of sight becomes the kick off into a whole  new journey into the world of literature and books! So let’s talk books!

 


Reminder and Agenda for GTT Northern Ontario Teleconference January 21 7 PM Eastern. Agenda for the Northern Ontario GTT Conference call about CELA Library service and downloading direct to player books. Date: January 21 2015Time: 7 PM Eastern time. Call in info: 1-866-740-1260Passcode:5670311Guest Presenters Lindsay Tyler from CELAGerry Chevalier (GTT Edmonton)Hosted by Kim Kilpatrick (GTT Coordinator)Agenda:IntroductionsGuest speaker – Lindsay Tyler,From the Centre for Equitable Library Services (CELA) General information about CELA  How do people with vision loss sign up for CELA services?  Bookshare  Direct to Player option Questions and AnswersGerry Chevalier – guest speaker – Edmonton GTT group  Digital audio players   Demonstrate finding and downloading a Direct to Player book  Question and AnswersWe have the option of holding two sessions on this topic if there are a lot of questions about CELA.

Reminder of the national teleconference call for GTT on Wednesday March 11 at 7 PM Eastern. 

This is just a reminder of our national teleconference call on Wednesday March 11 at 7 PM eastern.  4 Pacific.  The topic will be a continuation of various services to help us read and access books.  In February, we discussed  CELA and this month we will talk about NELS. 

For notes on CELA, see earlier blog posts. 

If you want to be part of this call, we still have spaces. 

Call or email Kim at 

1-877-304-0968 

gttprogram@gmail.com 

Kim will be sending out call in info to those registered on the day of the call. 

NOtes on CELA from our national teleconference on February 11, 2015.

More than 20 people attended this conference call.

We welcomed Margaret and Lindsay to tell us about the CELA service.

Margaret told us about the history of cela.

CNIB had been lobbying for many years to have accessible library service delivered through public libraries.

Other organizations of canadians who are blind or have low vision have also wanted this to happen.

It is a right for all Canadians to access library services in their communities..

Coming to a charity to obtain library services was inappropriate.  

Many studies were conducted.

 

In the end, the federal government asked CNIB to organize this service.

A report was produced called Reading Reimagined.

The report said that this service that should come through local public libraries.

In April of 2014, CELA (Centre for equitable library access) was launched.

As of February 2015, this service is available through over 600 public libraries in 1600 service points.

Most of these libraries are in Ontario, Alberta, and PEI.

There are also libraries in Saskatchewan and Manitoba and some in BC.

Libraries contribute funding to help the CELA service.

The list of participating libraries has been growing.

There were 25 thousand CNIB library clients prior to April 2014.  they are still able to use the service through 

http://www.cniblibrary.ca

They are encouraged to join CELA if they wish to do so.

They would then benefit also from services from their local public libraries.

The aim of CELA is to meet the needs of users across the spectrum of technical abilities and interests.  They can get Cd’s in the mail, download their own books, choose their own books, or get help choosing and selecting books.

There are currently 300 thousand titles in the collection.

90 thousand are from CELA.

200 thousand are through bookshare.

When you join CELA, you get an automatic membership to bookshare.

To find out more about bookshare itself, go to 

http://www.bookshare.org

 

5000 titles were added to CELA in the last fiscal year.

The formats offered through CELA and bookshare include:

human narrated audio

 

hard copy braille

electronic braille

print/braille

described video

electronic text

bookshare offers books in:

synthetic speech

electronic braille

and text 

Delivery options available

direct to player (this will allow books to go directly from the library to supported players.

At the time of this blog entry, (February 2015) the players include:

plextalk players

sold in CAnada by aroga technologies

http://www.aroga.ca

 

Victor stratus and victor stream second generation (sold by Humanware)

http://www.humanware.ca

Braille electronic (you must download these to a device or computer with braille display or talking book player that can support the brf format

hard copy braille

books on CD delivered through the mail

Download from a web site.

How to sign up for CELA

CELA is available to Canadians with a broad range of disabilities.

Any disability (learning, or physical) that makes it difficult for someone to read print can be eligible.

You would sign up through your local public library.

The books you access through CNIB and CELA are the same collections.

Local library staff have had some training about CELA.

If the library has questions or does not know about CELA, they should visit the CELA web site at 

http://www.celalibrary.ca

To register for CELA, you need a public library card, proof of your address, fill out a registration form, and declare that you have trouble accessing or reading regular print.  You do not need a doctor’s form.  

CNIB staff can also assist you with finding out about CELA.

CAnnot search books from public library, CELA, or bookshare all in one place.

You must go to each site for their collections.

Some libraries are starting to enter CELA records into their catalogs.

In future, they might integrate all services into one place.

Every existing CNIB library client before april 2014 is also now a CELA client.

How can people advocate for their libraries to come to CELA?

Someone mentioned there is a good presentation about CELA on youtube.

In Ontario and Alberta, CELA funding is provided provincially for all of its municipal libraries.

CNIB will still be creating books in braille and audio formats.  CELA will not do that.

Here are some apps for I devices and android that work well with bookshare and CNIB library books.

For Iphone, the app voicedream reader which costs about $10 CAnadian is excellent and allows you to search and download bookshare books directly into the app.

It also works well with CNIB library books.

If people want, Kim could do a conference call on how to download these books to your iphone.

There is also an app called read2go which is about $20 and works with bookshare books.

On androi there is a free app called goread which allows you to download bookshare books directly onto  your device..

Posted by Kim Kilpatrick

GTT Coordinator

Reminder of teleconference tonight all about CELA and library services.

Reminder of our conference call tonight about CELA and the changes in library service.

Posted by Kim Kilpatrick

It is the second Wednesday of the month.

In future, we hope to hold a national conference call on this date every month.

If you have topic suggestions or guest speaker suggestions send them along.

For tonight, we will be having guest speakers from CNIB library and CELA.

I am re-posting the original announcement below.

For those who have already registered, thank you.

I will be sending you the call in info very soon.

There are still a few spaces left so contact me if you want to call in.

Please don’t call in without checking.

I am out teaching braille today so the best way to contact me is by e-mail at

gttprogram@gmail.com

 

Thank you..

Text from original post:

We will have a national conference call on Wednesday February 11 2015.

It will start at 7 Eastern time.

Here is some information about it.

Many GTT members have asked us about the CNIB library service and the new CELA service.

How does it work?

How are they different?

Are they different?

How can people access them?

So, we are  delighted to have Margaret McGrory, Vice President, Executive Director, CNIB Library and Lindsay Tyler, Manager, Centre for Equitable Library Access, joining us to answer your questions about the changes in library service..

Space will be limited so RSVP to Kim Kilpatrick to get the call in info.

If this is very popular, we will invite them to join us on another conference call.


Thanks.
Kim Kilpatrick