Braille Usage Review

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tim.p...@btinternet.com

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Jul 5, 2021, 6:01:05 AMJul 5
to brail...@googlegroups.com

Hi All,

 

I’ve tried on a couple of occasions to send the following to In Touch following their discussion of braille and it’s continued relevance.  I haven’t had confirmation that this message has been received on either occasion, so thought I’d post it here so as not to waste it.

 

Regards,

 

Tim

 

*** Message to In Touch starts ***

 

Hi Peter and Team,

This is an edited version of a message I attempted to send to you a couple of weeks ago, but which it appears did not get through.  Following your piece on braille and technology, can I suggest a review of developments in what used to be called the RNIB Braille Library, which is now no longer a library, as it doesn’t accept the return of books.  These are instead supposed to be re-cycled.  I find it difficult not to get uncomfortably hot under the collar about this, as on the face of it, it appears to be a shocking waste of paper.  Re-use of resources should in my view always come before re-cycling, and the precedent set by this idea flies in the face of efforts to bring an end to the ‘throw-away society’.

 

There are a number of less obvious knock-on effects of this strategy, e.g. the psychological implications of knowing that you can’t request a book merely to see whether you like it, with the option of sending it straight back if you don’t.  Once requested, the book is embossed, and if you don’t like it, the basic principle of the approach is that it goes straight in the bin (hopefully the re-cycling bin, but that is still a waste of high-quality paper and the resources involved in embossing and recycling it).

 

Another effect of the RNIB’s strategy, is that many of the books formerly in the library are now no longer available for loan.  There were many books which were very seldom borrowed, e.g. the autobiography of Arthur Ransome which I borrowed on a number of occasions, but I’d guess was otherwise not very popular.  Books of this type, as well as many by more modern authors such as Terry Pratchett are no longer in the catalogue, the only option for a person wishing to read them in hard-copy braille being to request that they are placed on a queue for future embossing.

 

The effect of this in my case, is to make me look more favourably on the use of braille display technology for recreational reading.  However, there are several major drawbacks to digital braille, not least of these is that the reader will become reliant on a single device for their reading requirements.  These are still costly compared to the costless option of hard-copy braille, are relatively noisy, are not always easy for those of a non-technical disposition to navigate.  If the device fails, then the whole world of digital braille is at least temporarily barred to the reader.

 

Another aspect of the RNIB’s new service is that it can no longer respond directly to the requirements of its users.  The way the old system worked was that when the user returned a book, this was usually assign that they required another book to be sent to them.  A basic issue of the new system is that there is no such cue to trigger the sending of a new book.  Instead, the RNIB has implemented an algorithm which estimates the likely period after which a particular user is likely to require a new book.  In my case, this meant that books piled up remorselessly until I phoned the RNIB to suspend my membership of the library.  Because books take several days to progress from request to being fully embossed, requesting a book from the catalogue can no longer be met as quickly as was the case when it could simply be taken off the shelves.

 

One obvious approach which can be taken by readers who wish to reduce the waste of paper, but still wish to use hard-copy braille, is to attempt to identify another reader to whom they can pass the book once they have finished with it, and in an attempt to facilitate this process, I have set up a mailing list, which is an entirely free service hosted by ‘groups.io’.  To join this list, people can send a blank email message to brailleebooks...@groups.io.  Once subscribed, they will receive messages from other members who have books they wish to pass on.

 

This approach is itself not perfect, as the re-packaging, labelling and posting of books by a totally blind person is a non-trivial task, but it might go some way to reducing the waste of paper.

 

In closing, I recognise that there are arguments in favour of the new strategy, which will increase as more books become available in the catalogue.  The RNIB no longer needs the space to hold the old books which were rarely read, or the staff to manage them, but I will leave this side of the argument to someone else, as for my part, as a member of the braille library, and its predecessor the National Library for the Blind for nearly 60 years, I feel too strongly attached to the old system to make a decent job of defending the new one.

 

Regards,

 

Tim Pennick

Jackie Brown

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Jul 5, 2021, 6:32:02 AMJul 5
to brail...@googlegroups.com

Hi Tim

 

A good post and one that deserves Peter’s attention, I agree with you.

 

Kind regards,

 

Jackie Brown

Email: jackiean...@gmail.com

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Chris McMillan

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Jul 5, 2021, 6:43:28 AMJul 5
to brail...@googlegroups.com
A sentiment held by many: indeed some authorities don’t allocate the whole bin to paper: it’s relegated to a pouch in the lid. Friends on the IOW have appraised me of this and they are both Braille users completely in hard copy!  We have a green hessian bag emptied weekly for everything recyclable- an avid Braillists will be increasing their bags from the two we received in Apr this year I have no doubt. 

I’ve spent a number of years recycling Braille overseas. It took most of my free time pre PO closures. I couldn’t attempt it now on PO queue times !

Chris

--

Linda Deacon

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Jul 5, 2021, 7:12:53 AMJul 5
to Jackie Brown
This is a good read,if a little depressing. I don't think the new system makes much sense at all, I'm still convinced it is a deliberate attempt to push us all over to using digital braille, which, in my view, has its place but doesn't give the same pleasure as sitting with a book in your hand. I have a braille display now, thanks to orbit being more affordable, but I agree with Tim's summary of the advantages and disadvantages. I have, so far, only had one braille library book. I gave them over two months to get the new system running and eventually contacted RNIB to enquire as to why I hadn't yet received anything. I was assured that adjustments had been made to my account, and that books would arrive, but they didn't, so I tried again and eventually received one. And that's it, so I am about to have another go and see what happens. I felt the disposal of the old books was a truly terrible waste of resources, and feel the same about being encouraged to throw new books into the recycling bin. I'm grateful to Tim for setting up the book swap list and hope it will become busier so we can all do our bit to share and exchange our books instead. But as far as RNIB goes, no it isn't a library, not any more, not in the true sense of the word. Personally I think that is a shame, for all the reasons Tim has outlined here.

Regards
Linda

-----Original Message-----
From: Jackie Brown - Email Address: jackiean...@gmail.com
Sent On: 05/07/2021 11:31
Sent To: brail...@googlegroups.com - Email Address: brail...@googlegroups.com
subject: RE: Braillists Forum: Braille Usage Review

Hi Tim



A good post and one that deserves Peter's attention, I agree with you.



Kind regards,



Jackie Brown

Email: jackiean...@gmail.com



From: tim.pennick via Braillists <brail...@googlegroups.com>
Sent: 05 July 2021 11:01
To: brail...@googlegroups.com
Subject: Braillists Forum: Braille Usage Review



Hi All,



I've tried on a couple of occasions to send the following to In Touch following their discussion of braille and it's continued relevance. I haven't had confirmation that this message has been received on either occasion, so thought I'd post it here so as not to waste it.



Regards,



Tim



*** Message to In Touch starts ***



Hi Peter and Team,

This is an edited version of a message I attempted to send to you a couple of weeks ago, but which it appears did not get through. Following your piece on braille and technology, can I suggest a review of developments in what used to be called the RNIB Braille Library, which is now no longer a library, as it doesn't accept the return of books. These are instead supposed to be re-cycled. I find it difficult not to get uncomfortably hot under the collar about this, as on the face of it, it appears to be a shocking waste of paper. Re-use of resources should in my view always come before re-cycling, and the precedent set by this idea flies in the face of efforts to bring an end to the 'throw-away society'.



There are a number of less obvious knock-on effects of this strategy, e.g. the psychological implications of knowing that you can't request a book merely to see whether you like it, with the option of sending it straight back if you don't. Once requested, the book is embossed, and if you don't like it, the basic principle of the approach is that it goes straight in the bin (hopefully the re-cycling bin, but that is still a waste of high-quality paper and the resources involved in embossing and recycling it).



Another effect of the RNIB's strategy, is that many of the books formerly in the library are now no longer available for loan. There were many books which were very seldom borrowed, e.g. the autobiography of Arthur Ransome which I borrowed on a number of occasions, but I'd guess was otherwise not very popular. Books of this type, as well as many by more modern authors such as Terry Pratchett are no longer in the catalogue, the only option for a person wishing to read them in hard-copy braille being to request that they are placed on a queue for future embossing.



The effect of this in my case, is to make me look more favourably on the use of braille display technology for recreational reading. However, there are several major drawbacks to digital braille, not least of these is that the reader will become reliant on a single device for their reading requirements. These are still costly compared to the costless option of hard-copy braille, are relatively noisy, are not always easy for those of a non-technical disposition to navigate. If the device fails, then the whole world of digital braille is at least temporarily barred to the reader.



Another aspect of the RNIB's new service is that it can no longer respond directly to the requirements of its users. The way the old system worked was that when the user returned a book, this was usually assign that they required another book to be sent to them. A basic issue of the new system is that there is no such cue to trigger the sending of a new book. Instead, the RNIB has implemented an algorithm which estimates the likely period after which a particular user is likely to require a new book. In my case, this meant that books piled up remorselessly until I phoned the RNIB to suspend my membership of the library. Because books take several days to progress from request to being fully embossed, requesting a book from the catalogue can no longer be met as quickly as was the case when it could simply be taken off the shelves.



One obvious approach which can be taken by readers who wish to reduce the waste of paper, but still wish to use hard-copy braille, is to attempt to identify another reader to whom they can pass the book once they have finished with it, and in an attempt to facilitate this process, I have set up a mailing list, which is an entirely free service hosted by 'groups.io'. To join this list, people can send a blank email message to brailleebooks...@groups.io <mailto:brailleebooks...@groups.io> . Once subscribed, they will receive messages from other members who have books they wish to pass on.



This approach is itself not perfect, as the re-packaging, labelling and posting of books by a totally blind person is a non-trivial task, but it might go some way to reducing the waste of paper.



In closing, I recognise that there are arguments in favour of the new strategy, which will increase as more books become available in the catalogue. The RNIB no longer needs the space to hold the old books which were rarely read, or the staff to manage them, but I will leave this side of the argument to someone else, as for my part, as a member of the braille library, and its predecessor the National Library for the Blind for nearly 60 years, I feel too strongly attached to the old system to make a decent job of defending the new one.



Regards,



Tim Pennick

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Richard Firth

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Jul 5, 2021, 8:26:19 AMJul 5
to tim.pennick via Braillists

Hi all,

I completely agree with Tim's sentiments.

Standalone refreshable braille displays are still a relatively new technology; few devices are available on the market and they aren't cheap. The technology may yet mature to the point where it is more widely available and at a cheaper price point for the average consumer, however I think that will not be for a while.

Contrast with hard-copy braille which is low cost or free for the consumer depending on where they source it from.

Disposing of embossed braille books after a single use, even if 100% recycled, seems highly wasteful especially for a service which markets itself as a library.

Regarding Tim's second point, the availability of reading material in Braille appears to be an area where the UK is lagging behind.

The US Bookshare service has tens of thousands of titles available across multiple accessible formats. Those lucky enough to be eligible for access to the RNIB Bookshare service have access to only a fraction of the titles available on the US service. For everyone else who has only the RNIB Library Service to rely on, it becomes a fraction of a fraction.

I did reach out last year to the RNIB to offer my services so that they could get more content into the Library. My offer was declined.

How are we expected to reverse the decline in braille literacy when the RNIB refuses to accept the very valid criticisms of their current service offering?

Stay safe,

Mr Richard Firth (he/him)
Managing Director

DaisyTouch Limited is a limited company registered in England and Wales.
Registered number: 12847290

Phone: (+44) 0113 2577893
Email: ric...@daisytouch.com
Website: daisytouch.com
Address: DaisyTouch Limited, Office 1, Richardshaw Business Centre,
Richardshaw Road, Pudsey LS28 6RW
     
This email and any attachments to it may be confidential and are intended solely for the use of the individual to whom it is addressed. Any views or opinions expressed are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of DaisyTouch Limited. If you are not the intended recipient of this email, you must neither take any action based upon its contents, nor copy or show it to anyone. Please contact the sender if you believe you have received this email in error.
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Jason White

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Jul 5, 2021, 10:28:06 AMJul 5
to brail...@googlegroups.com

On 5/7/21 8:26 am, Richard Firth wrote:
> Standalone refreshable braille displays are still a relatively new
> technology; few devices are available on the market and they aren't
> cheap. The technology may yet mature to the point where it is more
> widely available and at a cheaper price point for the average
> consumer, however I think that will not be for a while.
Reportedly, the Library of Congress in the U.S. is planning to supply
braille displays to borrowers as an alternative to embossed braille.
Obviously, this solves the access to hardware problem.
> The US Bookshare service has tens of thousands of titles available
> across multiple accessible formats. Those lucky enough to be eligible
> for access to the RNIB Bookshare service have access to only a
> fraction of the titles available on the US service. For everyone else
> who has only the RNIB Library Service to rely on, it becomes a
> fraction of a fraction.
Is the U.K. not a party to the Marrakesh Treaty? If it is, then my
understanding is that this should authorize access to the entire
Bookshare collection, which now includes more than a million books,
according to their home page.

I've been using braille displays since circa 1996. I can't remember when
I last borrowed a braille book from a library. It wasn't recently. My
reading needs are better met by the vast online resources available. I
suspect the proportion of braille readers who use refreshable displays
primarily or exclusively to satisfy their reading needs is only going to
increase.

Thus, the service providers offering embossed braille are doing so to
what is probably a diminishing readership in the face of a shift toward
electronic books. One could argue that libraries ought especially to
serve the needs of those who have been left behind by the technological
revolution. On the other side, they have resource constraints to
consider as well. I don't want to enter that discussion here, other than
to predict that traditional services will change or disappear over time
- everywhere.


María García

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Jul 5, 2021, 12:01:10 PMJul 5
to brail...@googlegroups.com
Hello friends,
very interesting subject, I come here to give my opinion but, unfortunatelly, I don’t agree with you.
I use Braille since that I was a little child and I cannot live without Braille for reading and for writing notes, and although I use the computer as well, of course, i think that both are compelmentary.
However I ledt the paper Braille a lot of youeras ago, I passt, so, to the digital Braille (I mean, Braille read through a Braille display) and I think that it was (at least it was for me) a very important step ahead:
ON the one had because of space and weight. Do you remember those books which are composed by a huge number of volums?, where could you take it at home, and what did happen if youy wanted to take some books for reading on holidays, for example?, now, everytying is much more easy: you carry your 20 cells Braille Dispaly wherever and in it you have a lot of books, and if you have a computer as well, you can change them, trnasferring them from the computer to the display, etc, so, ih my case, digital Braille allows me to don’t waste a bit amount of papers, I don’t have to have a Braille printer like I had before, and so, I have a lot of place for me.
ON the other hand I think that digital Braille helps a lot if we think about the interaction with sighted people, for example when we take courses with sighted people, etc. I just need only a word document and everything is ok, and so, we don’t must wait for the Braille transcriptions, etc, and it’s easier when you have to look for a sentence, a word, etc.
At last thing, I find very good the US idea that Jason toak about, regarding the possibility to lend books in a Braille display, good ide,a I think.
So, is only my opinion, of course, but please, love digital braille dont’ mean, don’t like Braille, not at all, I love Braille, I couldn’t live without Braille but I prefer digital Braille for all those reasons that I mentioned before.
All the best:
María
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Paul Sullivan

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Jul 6, 2021, 9:23:05 AMJul 6
to brail...@googlegroups.com
Hi all,
I don't think we should be saying that one type of Braille is more important than the other. I think there is a place for paper-based Braille and electronic Braille. I use both of them all the time for different purposes. Reading my Spanish dictionary on my phone is really convenient, but I also love my Collins Braille Spanish dictionary which is in 43 volumes and takes up a whole shelf in my study. I use paper for making notes I carry round, such as shopping lists and other to do lists and I like paper for labelling et cetera. But I also love to read Facebook posts and emails on my Braille display as well as with the voice on my computer. So let's keep advocating for Braille in all its different forms and not put one kind against the other.

Sent from my iPhone

> On 5 Jul 2021, at 17:01, María García <mariagarci...@gmail.com> wrote:
>
> Hello friends,
> To view this discussion on the web, visit https://groups.google.com/d/msgid/braillists/0123D18F-B703-4C6E-BB16-E7AACDC505F1%40gmail.com.

tim.p...@btinternet.com

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Jul 6, 2021, 10:00:59 AMJul 6
to brail...@googlegroups.com
Hi Paul,

Absolutely agree. I've used braille displays since 1979. I'm just hoping that people making the decisions about the services provided, will bear in mind that there are some things for which paper braille is very difficult to match with a display, e.g. for reading aloud, for maths, and for the technically challenged.

It may well be that given time, all the above criteria can be addressed by technology, but we're not there yet.

Regards,

Tim
To view this discussion on the web, visit https://groups.google.com/d/msgid/braillists/A6C29DB4-42D9-4AAB-893D-571D303AA0FC%40blueyonder.co.uk.

Emma S

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Jul 7, 2021, 3:16:57 PMJul 7
to Braillists
Thanks Tim!

I have joined your BrailleBookSwap group just now. Am putting a link here to the email address to join, as the web interface in Google Groups obscures the email address using dots ... It's BrailleBookSwap at groups.io

If you click on my link here (and Google Groups doesn't mangle it!) it should open a new blank email in your default email program addressed to the BrailleBookSwap group. Then press Send on that email.


Cheers,
Emma

Emma Sajic

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Jul 7, 2021, 3:19:12 PMJul 7
to brail...@googlegroups.com
Looks like Google Groups is still mangling my link if you read your
messages using the Google Groups web interface.

Alternative way of joining is to visit this web page
https://groups.io/g/BrailleBookSwap

Cheers!
Emma

On 07/07/2021 20:16, Emma S wrote:
> Thanks Tim!
>
> I have joined your BrailleBookSwap group just now. Am putting a link
> here to the email address to join, as the web interface in Google Groups
> obscures the email address using dots ... It's BrailleBookSwap at groups.io
>
> If you click on my link here (and Google Groups doesn't mangle it!) it
> should open a new blank email in your default email program addressed to
> the BrailleBookSwap group. Then press Send on that email.
>
> Braille...@groups.io <mailto:Braille...@groups.io>
>
> Cheers,
> Emma
> On Monday, 5 July 2021 at 11:01:05 UTC+1 tim.p...@btinternet.com wrote:
>
> Hi All,____
>
> __ __
>
> I’ve tried on a couple of occasions to send the following to In
> Touch following their discussion of braille and it’s continued
> relevance.  I haven’t had confirmation that this message has been
> received on either occasion, so thought I’d post it here so as not
> to waste it.____
>
> __ __
>
> Regards,____
>
> __ __
>
> Tim____
>
> __ __
>
> *** Message to In Touch starts ***____
>
> __ __
>
> Hi Peter and Team,____
>
> This is an edited version of a message I attempted to send to you a
> couple of weeks ago, but which it appears did not get through.
> Following your piece on braille and technology, can I suggest a
> review of developments in what used to be called the RNIB Braille
> Library, which is now no longer a library, as it doesn’t accept the
> return of books.  These are instead supposed to be re-cycled.  I
> find it difficult not to get uncomfortably hot under the collar
> about this, as on the face of it, it appears to be a shocking waste
> of paper.  Re-use of resources should in my view always come before
> re-cycling, and the precedent set by this idea flies in the face of
> efforts to bring an end to the ‘throw-away society’.____
>
> __ __
>
> There are a number of less obvious knock-on effects of this
> strategy, e.g. the psychological implications of knowing that you
> can’t request a book merely to see whether you like it, with the
> option of sending it straight back if you don’t.  Once requested,
> the book is embossed, and if you don’t like it, the basic principle
> of the approach is that it goes straight in the bin (hopefully the
> re-cycling bin, but that is still a waste of high-quality paper and
> the resources involved in embossing and recycling it).____
>
> __ __
>
> Another effect of the RNIB’s strategy, is that many of the books
> formerly in the library are now no longer available for loan.  There
> were many books which were very seldom borrowed, e.g. the
> autobiography of Arthur Ransome which I borrowed on a number of
> occasions, but I’d guess was otherwise not very popular.  Books of
> this type, as well as many by more modern authors such as Terry
> Pratchett are no longer in the catalogue, the only option for a
> person wishing to read them in hard-copy braille being to request
> that they are placed on a queue for future embossing.____
>
> __ __
>
> The effect of this in my case, is to make me look more favourably on
> the use of braille display technology for recreational reading.
> However, there are several major drawbacks to digital braille, not
> least of these is that the reader will become reliant on a single
> device for their reading requirements.  These are still costly
> compared to the costless option of hard-copy braille, are relatively
> noisy, are not always easy for those of a non-technical disposition
> to navigate.  If the device fails, then the whole world of digital
> braille is at least temporarily barred to the reader.____
>
> __ __
>
> Another aspect of the RNIB’s new service is that it can no longer
> respond directly to the requirements of its users.  The way the old
> system worked was that when the user returned a book, this was
> usually assign that they required another book to be sent to them.
> A basic issue of the new system is that there is no such cue to
> trigger the sending of a new book.  Instead, the RNIB has
> implemented an algorithm which estimates the likely period after
> which a particular user is likely to require a new book.  In my
> case, this meant that books piled up remorselessly until I phoned
> the RNIB to suspend my membership of the library.  Because books
> take several days to progress from request to being fully embossed,
> requesting a book from the catalogue can no longer be met as quickly
> as was the case when it could simply be taken off the shelves.____
>
> __ __
>
> One obvious approach which can be taken by readers who wish to
> reduce the waste of paper, but still wish to use hard-copy braille,
> is to attempt to identify another reader to whom they can pass the
> book once they have finished with it, and in an attempt to
> facilitate this process, I have set up a mailing list, which is an
> entirely free service hosted by ‘groups.io <http://groups.io>’.  To
> join this list, people can send a blank email message to
> brailleebooks...@groups.io.  Once subscribed, they will receive
> messages from other members who have books they wish to pass on.____
>
> __ __
>
> This approach is itself not perfect, as the re-packaging, labelling
> and posting of books by a totally blind person is a non-trivial
> task, but it might go some way to reducing the waste of paper.____
>
> __ __
>
> In closing, I recognise that there are arguments in favour of the
> new strategy, which will increase as more books become available in
> the catalogue.  The RNIB no longer needs the space to hold the old
> books which were rarely read, or the staff to manage them, but I
> will leave this side of the argument to someone else, as for my
> part, as a member of the braille library, and its predecessor the
> National Library for the Blind for nearly 60 years, I feel too
> strongly attached to the old system to make a decent job of
> defending the new one.____
>
> __ __
>
> Regards,____
>
> __ __
>
> Tim Pennick____
>
> --
> If you have any problems posting/replying to the Braillists Forum please
> email he...@braillists.org with a clear description of the issue and
> forward on any error messages you may have received.
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Paula Waby

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Jul 15, 2021, 10:01:44 PMJul 15
to brail...@googlegroups.com
Speaking of the braille swap group, is it just for people in the UK? I had a friend who used to send me her purchased library books once she had finished them so then I could share them with more people in New Zealand. We are not using a recyclable system like the UK yet but it could possibly come. So I am wondering if it is worth my joining the list or not as I would have nothing to offer in exchange and I'm not sure how much of a drama it is to send books abroad free matter these days.
Cheers
Paula.

Paula Waby
ACATS Trainer
Blind Low Vision NZ
Kapo, Matarehu Aotearoa

P: 03 466 4244 ext: 4244 | E: pw...@blindlowvision.org.nz

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Chris McMillan

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Jul 16, 2021, 2:21:50 AMJul 16
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It’s more a case of time and having a post office that knows the ropes than drama from your end and where in the world the books are travelling is where the drama is. The new Braille scheme can post in lightweight envelopes perhaps rather than the padded envelopes that cost a lot these days. 

tim.p...@btinternet.com

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Jul 17, 2021, 7:33:53 AMJul 17
to PW...@blindlowvision.org.nz, brail...@googlegroups.com
Hi Paula,

I set up the BrailleBookSwap list mainly for UK people in response to the RNIB's re-launch of the RNIB Braille Library. However, I don't see why you and other non-UK residents shouldn't request people on the list to send you books as my understanding of the UK scheme is that international post under the scheme is free. If you aren't able to reciprocate by sending books to the UK, maybe you could agree to pass on any books you receive as a result of membership of the BrailleBookSwap list to other readers in New Zealand once you've finished with them.

Regards,

Tim Pennick
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Chris McMillan

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Jul 17, 2021, 11:16:19 AMJul 17
to brail...@googlegroups.com, PW...@blindlowvision.org.nz
articles for the blind label ensures it’s free and write Braille’s material on the declaration label. I wouldn’t expect any of our newly produced books to reach the cut off weight - can’t remember what it is but will look it up. Articles for the blind goes airmail always worldwide too


Chris McMillan

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Jul 17, 2021, 11:19:46 AMJul 17
to brail...@googlegroups.com, PW...@blindlowvision.org.nz
This is slightly different to
The last tome I looked it up and used it. No weight limits. I never had to Leave it open either. 

Our scheme to help blind and visually impaired customers

At Royal Mail, we’re committed to our customers – and to offering services that bring people and communities closer together. 

Articles for the Blind is a scheme for blind and visually impaired customers who are registered as blind under the provisions of the National Assistance Act 1948. We also include people whose standard of close-up vision, with spectacles of N12 or less as certified by an ophthalmologist, doctor or ophthalmic optician.

The scheme is a free, 1st Class or International Standard service designed to support blind and visually impaired people as well as the charities that work hard to improve their lives. It works by waiving postage (first class only) for sending:

  • books, printed materials, letters, relief maps
  • audio and electronic media
  • equipment such as magnifiers and mobility aids

These items can be sent as:

  • 1st Class letter, large letter or parcel

  • International Standard letters

To send items under the scheme, simply write 'ARTICLES FOR THE BLIND' on the front of the envelope and the sender's name and address clearly on the reverse of the envelope. Leave your mail open or make sure it's easy to open for inspection. If the contents are fragile, you can get permission from us to seal your package, please call us on 0345 607 6140 to confirm. Alternatively, you can take your item to your local Post Office where it can be checked and sealed by the counter staff. You can also obtain a proof of posting this way. 

Mail must be addressed to the blind or visually impaired person at that address. Items that are addressed to “The Occupier” or “Dear Customer” etc. and not a named recipient cannot be sent under this scheme. It should be sent as normal, paid-for mail.

Paula Waby

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Jul 19, 2021, 5:02:58 PMJul 19
to brail...@googlegroups.com
Thanks Tim. I would definitely pass on the books to other readers. I teach braille so have enthusiastic readers wanting to get their hands on things to read. In fact it would be great to have a little library at the office to hand out books for enthusiastic clients to read. I'll join the list and see how I go.
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