Braille past, present and future

A young boy called Louis invented braille over 200 years ago in France.

When Louis Braille died in 1852 he must have wondered whether his reading and writing system would die with him. It certainly didn't!

About braille today

Louis Braille's system of embossed type is now used by blind and partially sighted people for reading and writing all over the world. It has been adapted to almost every known language, from Albanian to Zulu. Over the years RNIB has continued to fight for braille and the rights of blind and partially sighted people to have access to information and the opportunity to express themselves in written word. Since our first braille book was published in 1871 our library now shares over 25,000 braille books and music scores with our members every year. We are the largest publisher of braille in Europe.

Keeping braille alive

Today RNIB strives to keep braille alive in a number of ways:

  • we put millions of pounds into subsidising the production of braille books every year
  • we offer hundreds of different books and products for sale to help people read and write braille using new technologies, see our Products and publications in braille page
  • our training courses help people to learn braille
  • our transcription service helps people and companies turn information into braille
  • we campaign for better access to information in different formats including braille
  • we work with organisations all over the world to ensure people are trained in braille and technology continues to develop and become more accessible to people.

Two centuries after braille was invented, it's still going strong. But the world changes and new technology develops. It will be interesting to see, and even to shape, what happens to braille in the future...

Donate now

Right now we can only reach one in three of the people who need our help most. Please make a donation and help us support more blind and partially sighted people.

Donate now