As braille readers ourselves, we recognise braille is a vital literacy medium for tens of thousands of readers across the UK. However, the Braille Library in its current form is increasingly unfit for purpose for its library members. Large parts of our current collection are in old braille codes and most of the collection has not left the warehouse in years. Despite our best efforts, many books are sadly in a poor state of disrepair and over time have become unreadable.
Some Braille Library books are large, heavy, and difficult to return to the library. These books exclude some readers, especially those with physical difficulties. Braille books occupy miles of shelving that is complex and expensive to maintain. Popular books can involve waiting times, despite our best efforts, many readers will have to wait months for newly published book to become available in braille.
After careful research and evaluation of braille library services around the world, braille on demand offers the best opportunity for sustaining access to hardcopy braille for as long as is needed. Braille on Demand means that multiple people can read the same book at the same time and – for most publishers – RNIB can release braille books on the same week that print editions are published.