The school library has a critical need to acquire examples of outstanding children’s literature, both classics and new books published each year, and to make those books available to all students at TSBVI by transcribing them into Braille. Reading is fundamental to literacy, and Braille is the written language medium for blind children.
Junior League volunteers contribute to the literacy of Braille readers by transcribing books into Braille that the School currently has only in print. The transcribing process begins by using a scanner to scan an entire book into a standard word processing program such as Microsoft Word. The word processing document is “cleaned up” to correct spacing and spelling errors and to eliminate any pictures or illustrations. Once the file is edited, we use a Braille translation software program called MegaDots to format the text into proper Braille format. Then the book can be produced in computer-generated Braille on a special Braille printer called an embosser. Once a book has been put into an electronic file, that file can be printed out in Braille numerous times, loaned to other schools and posted on the TSBVI website to benefit even more students throughout the United States. The 2004-05 Braille Book Transcription Project has 8 volunteers working on their home computers to transcribe some of the $600 worth of new books purchased by the League for the library.
Audio CD-ROM Recording Project
TSBVI has begun to record literary material on CD-ROM using specialized computer software. There are many advantages inherent in digital recording. Digital voice recordings of books are easier to make because “spot” errors can easily be corrected “in place” rather than having to rerecord an entire selection. The sound quality is superior to audio tape, recordings can be made in any location because all background noise is blocked out automatically, the CD can be indexed. League volunteers record books using this specialized software and a library computer. The recorded books are placed in the library collection for checkout and use with CD ROM players. The League is also providing money to purchase six new CD-ROM players and batteries.