Using CELA Library from the Keyboard Part 1 of 2, Overview and Book Search, August 12, 2020 with a link to the CCB podcast

Get Together with Technology (GTT)

Sponsored by the Canadian Council of the Blind (CCB), the voice of the blind in Canada.

Summary Notes:

August 12, 2020

Theme:  CELA Library Overview and Book Search

Use the above link to play and/or download the CCB podcast.

Presenter: Gerry Chevalier


In this 27 minute first of two presentations, Gerry presents an overview of how to use the CELA Library service from a keyboard user’s perspective. CELA is Canada’s largest nationwide library service for persons unable to read print. It offers materials in alternate print formats such as recorded DAISY audio , digital text, and braille. Gerry explains these formats and service options. Gerry demonstrates how to login to the service and reviews the main page. He shows how to set search preferences, search for a book in Direct to Player format, apply search filters, and browse for books. His explanations describe keyboard navigation  and shortcuts for blind users who cannot use a mouse.

For more information about the GTT Program including one on one tech training contact:

Phone: (613)567-0311 or 1-877-304-0968




GTT Edmonton Meeting Notes, Edmonton Publick Library Accessible Services, March 9, 2020

Summary Notes

GTT Edmonton Meeting March 9, 2020


The most recent meeting of the Get Together with Technology (GTT) Edmonton Chapter was held March 9 at 7pm at Ascension Lutheran Church 8405 83 Street in Edmonton.

15 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. Read the Additional Resources section following the meeting notes to learn about our one on one telephone support, the National monthly teleconference, and the support email list.


March Topic –EPL Accessibility

Our guest was Vicky Varga, manager of the Castle Downs Branch of the Edmonton Public Library (EPL). Vicky presented on the topic of Edmonton Public Library accessible services and kindly provided the following extensive notes on these services. If you have any questions not answered in her notes, she is more than willing to get back to you. You can email her at:


Accessible materials at EPL

Large Print Books, including hardcover and lightweight softcover books. These are available at all Library locations.

DAISY Books are digital talking books used by blind and visually impaired customers and played on a special player. They are different from audiobooks in that the discs are large format and contain an entire book on one disc versus multiple discs as well as a hierarchical structure with marked up text to make navigation easier. Anyone with a library card can request DAISY books online or via a library staff member at any branch.

Descriptive Videos/DVDs (DVS) are movies which describe the visual elements for people who are blind or have low vision. They can be played on any DVD or Blu-ray player. Nowadays, most (if not all) DVDs released in Canada provide this as part of their options. Because of this, we don’t catalogue items separately anymore. The best way to confirm if an item has described video is to go to epl2you and scroll down to where there’s a catalogue link to described video OR search our catalogue for the following: “audio description available”

Assistive technology at EPL

Victor Stratus devices read DAISY disks. The device can also be used to play regular audio books and CDS. Large buttons with high contrast colours.

Victor Stream can have materials (audiobooks, audio magazines, etc.) loaded on to it OR, if connected to the internet, have items pushed directly to it by CELA. The Streams also have internet radio and can have any audio file loaded to them.

EPL has a few of each that can be loaned to customers to provide an opportunity to test the devices to determine if they would be a good fit and to fill the gap while customers acquire their own. If they qualify, CNIB can provide support and grants for purchasing VICTOR devices that will subsidize almost the entire cost.

Home Service:

EPL has provided home delivery since the 1970s!

If you’re unable to come to us at the library for three months or longer, we’ll come to you. We can deliver to your home, extended care facility or seniors’ lodge.

Staff will work with you to select the types of books, movies and/or CDSs you like so we can meet your needs OR you can select what you would like yourself on our website.

You can have a friend or family member pick up materials for you at the library OR we will match you with a carefully screened and trained volunteer who will deliver your items directly to you.




Extended Loans

For customers who can come in, but not too often (i.e. Depend on rides/DATS/weather and/or health often keeps them home)

Loan period is extended to 6 weeks for print items (DVDs remain at 3 weeks).

Talk to a library staff member if you’re interested in extended loans or home service


The Centre for Equitable Library Access (CELA) is a national organization that supports public libraries in delivering equitable library service for their patrons with print disabilities.

CELA provides local library access to Canada’s largest collection of alternative format books and online resources for people who have difficulty reading print due to a visual, physical or learning disability.

CELA offers a collection of more than 500,000 books and more for people who have trouble reading print due to a learning, physical or visual disability. The collection includes:

  • Accessible books, magazines, and newspapers
  • Choose preferred format: audio, accessible e-text or braille
  • Full range of subjects, genres, best sellers and award winners for all ages

Access to the CELA collection is restricted to people with print disabilities living in Canada.

A print disability is a learning, physical or visual disability that prevents a person from reading conventional print.

More specifically, a print disability can be a:

  • Learning disability: An impairment relating to comprehension
  • Physical disability: The inability to hold or manipulate a book
  • Visual disability: Severe or total impairment of sight or the inability to focus or move one’s eyes

This definition of print disability is from the Canadian Copyright Act because it is this Act that lets CELA reproduce published materials in alternative formats for its collection. The term used in the Act is “perceptual disability”.

How to read CELA material

Download books to your mobile device and read with an accessible reading app like Dolphin EasyReader. Dolphin EasyReader is a FREE accessible reading app designed for readers with dyslexia, low vision or blindness. It’s what is recommended by CELA, but there are other apps that can be used including some paid apps.

Download or have books downloaded direct to a DAISY player over a wireless connection. Books can be chosen on the CELA website and downloaded to DAISY players, but CELA can  also push books directly to DAISY or Victor Stream devices if they’re connected to the internet.


Receive audio (DAISY) or braille by mail. DAISY disks and braille books can also be mailed via Canada Post directly to customers. Braille books and DAISY magazines and newspapers are theirs to keep, but books have a return mail label included and must be shipped back.

Bookshare via CELA

Bookshare is a US-based accessible online library for people with print disabilities. Bookshare offers more than 500,000 titles, including books for all ages, best sellers, and more. The books are available in e-text and e-braille. Audio versions are in synthetic speech.

Bookshare creates its accessible books by automatically converting book files provided by publishers. This automatic process makes large numbers of books available quickly and in a wide variety of accessible formats. However, because humans do not check the books, you may find errors in the synthetic audio or computer-generated braille. In addition, books which rely heavily on illustrations, charts, and graphs may not be usable because this material is generally presented by the publishers as images which cannot be converted automatically.

Proof of Disability: If you wish to access the Bookshare collection, you must provide a proof of disability, as required by Bookshare’s agreements with publishers. CELA manages the proof of disability process and ensures the privacy of your personal information. If you prefer not to submit a proof of disability, you will still have access to the CELA collection.

Signing up for CELA

Visit CELA Registration Page or contact the library for assistance.

What students/individuals need to register:

  • EPL library card
  • You must have a print disability to use CELA services, but proof of disability is not required

CELA Educator Access

If you’re an educator supporting a student with a print disability, receive free access to CELA’s entire collection including Bookshare!

How do you register? Get a free library card from Edmonton Public Library then complete the online Educator Access Program Registration Form:

CELA’s Client Access Support 

CELA’s Client Access Support program is designed for professionals who require access to CELA’s collection in order to assist individuals with print disabilities.

For example, if you work with students (being privately tutored), CNIB clients, residents of seniors’ residences or long-term care facilities, or those whose physical disabilities prevent them from manipulating a traditional book you could be eligible to access CELA’s alternate format collection on behalf of those you support.


What does CELA Client Access Support include?

The Client Access Support program provides access to CELA’s physical format collection including books on CD, braille books, descriptive video; our online formats such as downloadable DAISY audio or text; and electronic braille files available at

Bookshare? No… Access to Bookshare is limited to educational institutions and to individuals with print disabilities who are registered for CELA. If you are working with individuals with print disabilities who want access to Bookshare’s online resources, you can assist them in adding the Bookshare membership to their CELA account.

Client Access Support accounts are valid until October 1 of the next year. Accounts approved on or after October 1 will expire on Oct 15 of the following year. CELA will send you a renewal notice.

National Network for Equitable Library Access (NNELS)

NNELS is funded by 8 separate provincial governments and is sustained and run by public libraries. Their goals are:

  1. accessible public library service for everyone;
  2. accessible publishing and distribution so that separate collections like ours are no longer required for access to books and reading.

NNELS is an online public library of 10,000+ titles in accessible formats. The most common formats are DAISY, PDF and e-text.

NNELS not only provides access to existing accessible books, but it also supports the creation of accessible versions of titles.

NNELS is unique in that it works closely with publishers and distributors to promote accessible formats, but it also supports the creation of accessible versions of titles as needed. Sometimes this means supporting local libraries in creating their own accessible versions – Lac La Biche just finished recording an audio version of a local collection of stories. Many Indigenous and locally-written material is not available in an accessible format and NNELS is working to combat this issue

Signing up for NNELS

To register for NNELS, individuals only need to contact the library. Library staff will change their membership to include NNELS.

Your library card number and PIN can then be used to access the NNELS catalogue on their website:


Next Meeting (Monday April 13 at 7pm)

  • Topic TBA.
  • As always, for help with technology bring your devices and/or questions to the meeting.


Additional Resources

Telephone Support

Contact our GTT coordinators, Kim Kilpatrick in the East or Albert Ruel in the West to book one on one telephone support.

Kim: 877-304-0968 Ext. 513


Albert: 877-304-0968 Ext. 550



GTT Blog and Monthly Teleconference

CCB sponsors a national GTT monthly teleconference. You may subscribe to the GTT blog to get email notices of teleconferences, meeting notes from GTT chapters, and other information. To subscribe, activate the Follow link at the bottom of the blog web page to enter your email.

GTT Email Support List

CCB also 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:


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 2 hour meeting consists of a feature technology topic in the first hour and a general tech discussion in the second hour.


Re-post: Orbit Reader 20 Removed from APH Catalog

Orbit Reader 20 Removed from APH Catalog
Author: APH Blogger
Date Written: Apr 3, 2019 at 5:00 PM
Date Saved: 4/5/19, 12:44 PM

Photo of the Orbit Reader 20 on a white background.
After months of ongoing negotiations between the Transforming Braille Group (of which APH is a member) and Orbit Research (the manufacturer of the Orbit Reader 20), American Printing House has removed the Orbit Reader 20 from its catalog and shopping site. This comes after discussions have stalled regarding the terms of distribution to TBG partners. The global nonprofits that make up the TBG collaborate as a group to purchase Orbit Reader 20s as part of an effort to keep costs low.
“Working with the TBG, APH has negotiated in good faith for many months, balancing the needs of our customers and organization, our interest in driving a low-cost braille market, and our valuable partnerships with TBG members,” says APH President Craig Meador. “Despite our best efforts, we have not found alignment on the issues at hand. APH must now move forward, and focus our energies on our mission to support students with braille literacy and adults in their independence.”
The Orbit Reader 20 started with a question: “how do we make refreshable braille more affordable?” To that end leaders in the field of blindness from around the world, including APH, gathered to create the Transforming Braille Group. Creating low cost refreshable braille is a difficult task, and there were a lot of setbacks throughout the process. Thankfully the effort had an impact.
“APH was proud to be the company that stood up to be the first to bring this ground-breaking technology to market,” says Meador, “It was all worth it to be an innovator, and show that we could bring prices down. That part worked. We now have competition in the low-cost braille market that wasn’t happening five years ago. Sometimes you have to take a risk – that’s what we did.”
The drop in prices created more access by showing what can be possible. For example, the National Library Service has announced they plan to offer free refreshable braille devices to their readers in the coming years.
APH will continue its efforts to support low cost braille. “Braille cells cost a lot of money to manufacture, and the demand isn’t high enough to drive that price down – we’ll keep trying. Although it’s not an easy journey, we believe everyone who needs braille should have access to it.”
APH and the TBG are continuing to negotiate with Orbit Research in hopes that a resolution can be found. In the meantime, APH is looking at other possible low-cost refreshable braille options to include in its catalog. They will complement new premium refreshable braille devices built for students and educational use now and soon available from APH through a partnership with HumanWare.
Orbit Research is expected to honor the warranty and continue repairs for already purchased Orbit Readers. Any requests for repairs should continue to come through APH. Supporting documentation, like the Orbit User Guide and user videos, will remain available to customers who have purchased an Orbit Reader from APH.

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 or write to us at 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!


…The best way to help me learn

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

…Reading, writing and math



…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

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

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, email us at 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

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:

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!

Brick-A-Braille teaching system – available for testing:

A story about introducing braille to sighted children:

Custom-made braille cards with your personalized messages – great for the holidays!

Is braille still relevant in the 21st century workplace? spoiler alert Like print, the answer is… YES!!

Tips for teaching braille to students with decreased tactile sensitivity:

French alphabet print-braille book available through Tactile Vision Graphics:

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:

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:

A collection of high-interest short stories from National Braille Press for adults who are learning uncontracted braille! Visit:

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Notes for the GTT National Conference Call on NNELS March 11 2015.

Notes from our national conference call on the NNELS service for libraries.

March 11, 2015.

Posted by Kim Kilpatrick

GTT Coordinator.

More than 15 people were joined on the call by Sabina from NNELS.

NNELS stands for National Network for equitable library service.

Sabina works on the support side of NNELS.  She assists people who have difficulties with the web site.  She also provides training for public libraries about what NNELS is and what it does.  

NNELS is for anyone who cannot read a physical book.

You can access their services yourself from their web site or ask your local library staff to assist you in getting materials.

The web site for NNELS is

NNELS is currently available in the following provinces.

British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Nova Scotia. and 3 territories.

If you live in Ontario, New Brunswick, PEI or Newfoundland you cannot access NNELS.  

if y ou do want to get in touch with Sabina, you can always reach her by e-mailing

You can e-mail her and tell her that you wish to get into NNELS.  She can keep these e-mails when they pitch the service to other provinces or groups..

To be eligible for NNELS, you have to have some disability which prevents you from reading regular text.

When you go to the NNELS site for the first time, you can type in home library and your home community name.  

People in the provinces that are not covered yet, you can access the service but only public domain books.

You can ask your provincial libraries to open up to NNELS. 

NNELS is just a year old.

They currently have around 10 thousand books.  They ask publishers if they can share books.  These books are usually shared in pub or rich text formats.  NNELS does pay some narrators to read some books.  These are mostly Canadian fiction.

The Crane library from UBC will also record books for NNELS and has given NNELS access to many of the books they have recorded.

Some people have volunteered to read books for NNELS.  

Sabina told us about the librevox collection of recorded audio books.  This started in Montreal  The books are recorded by volunteers.  There is also an app for the iPhone for Librevox.  These books are mostly in the public domain as are books from project gutenberg.

You can belong to both CELA and NNELS.  You can request books you cannot find from NNELS.  They try to get the books for you as quickly as they can but they are a very small staff..

Someone pointed out that NNELS has excellent video tutorials on youtube.

You can open books in the iPhone app voice dream reader.

NNELS also has tutorials on their web site.

If your library staff do not know about NNELS and want to know more about the services, tell them to contact Sabina.

If you aren’t sure what formats the books come in and how to play them on your computer or device, contact Sabina.

There are only four staff working for NNELS. 

NNELS does not have a relationship with BOOKSHARE.

They do not produce BRF files.

Would they scan a print book for you?  Possibly.

Is NNELS a charity?  No publicly funded.

They do not at the present time accept donations.

If you have a rush request for a NNELS book, let Sabina know.

They have very few books in French.

We discussed the Merikesh treaty.  This would enable people who are blind or have low vision all over the world, all be able to access materials from all libraries and publishers.  This treaty is through the World Intellectual, property organization.

Here are some links to  youtube videos about this.

Our next conference call will be held on Wednesday April 8 and the topic will be BOOKSHARE.

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 


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

GTT conference call open to everyone nationally about CELA library services.

National conference call about library services CELA and more.

Posted by Kim Kilpatrick

GTT Coordinator

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.


To book a space, call Kim at (613) 567-0311


Or e-mail