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Braille Summit Coming in June

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A three-day meeting organized by the National Library Service for the Blind and Physically Handicapped, or NLS, will bring together students, librarians, educators, and other specialists in the field of Braille literacy. The Braille Summit (June 19-21) will address five primary topics—Braille Readers, Braille Selection (or collection development), Braille Production, Braille Technology, and Braille Literacy & Promotion—with panels and breakout sessions focusing on each. Representatives of the Department of Education, the Rehabilitation Services Administration, and the Council of Schools and Services for the Blind will also participate in a conversation about higher-level Braille policy. Exhibits associated with the summit will showcase new Braille technology in interactive ways.

The meeting takes place at the the Perkins School for the Blind in Watertown, Mass. A complete event schedule is posted online.

According to the Library of Congress, the summit is the first Braille-centered event of its size and scope. However, advocates for improved access to reading regularly participate in major literacy-focused meetings. Karen Keninger of NLS gave a presentation at last December's International Summit of the Book in which she discussed services for blind readers in the context of large-scale book digitization projects and other emerging reading technology, pushing for the development of more and better reading options for the blind. The upcoming summit may help accelerate such developments with Braille—which Keninger calls "the only true form of literacy" for the blind—as a vehicle.

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